Integrate App With Website

In a world where websites are becoming more app-like and apps are becoming more powerful. People peruse websites, but they use apps.

Websites are browsed passively, while apps are used actively. Websites provide information, while apps help accomplish a task. Websites may have a larger audience, but apps have a more engaged audience.

Websites are different from apps in their purpose and performance. 

That’s why these two marketing channels shouldn’t compete for your customers’ attention, they should complement each other.

Don’t think about your app as a mobile version of your website. Let each marketing channel do what it does best, and lean on the other to fill in the gaps. Websites are great at providing information, while apps are powerful vehicles of engagement.

Guide people to the best experience you can deliver on each medium. Move people from your website to your app when they’ve understood your brand message and are ready to convert into customers.

Tip #1: Redirect mobile website traffic to your app

Even if you have a responsive website, direct people who visit your site on their smartphone or tablet to your app. Why? Because mobile apps are more robust, efficient, and usually better designed than the mobile web. Think of your mobile website as a gateway to your app – it’s funneling people to the best experience your brand can provide on that medium.

For example, Amazon’s mobile website allows consumers to search, find, and add items to their shopping cart. But, this same experience is smoother in Amazon’s app, which also includes additional functionality like a “Buy Now” button.


Tip #2: Reproduce your website’s most beloved features

People who download a company’s app generally expect it to retain the core functionality and purpose as that company’s website, albeit with a more mobile-friendly user interface. Don’t blindside your consumers with an app feels unrelated to your web presence. Instead, bring your site’s most used and most loved features to the mobile sphere.

Take a look at how Amazon built its robust product search and account management features into its app.


Tip #3: Be innovative and add some app-specific functionality

To be clear, the above tip does not mean that your app should simply replicate your web experience. Yes, your app should include your website’s best features, but it should also enhance them in some way using mobile’s unique capabilities.

For example, Amazon augmented its mobile search functionality by leveraging smartphone cameras so its app users can find items by scanning them!


Tip #4: Create a seamless experience (and linked conversion funnels!) for people who go from your website to your app

Continuity between devices is becoming increasingly important. Companies need to provide customers with a consistent brand experience as they move from their laptops to their smartphones. In other words, people should be able to open your app and pick up where they left off on your website. So, make sure your app pulls in user information and behavior from your website to create a seamless transition. By the way, one way to feed this data into your app is through profiles!

Returning to the Amazon example, notice how you can add an item to your cart on the ecommerce giant’s website, and then open Amazon’s app to continue the check out process on your mobile device.



Integrate My App Into Marketing Ecosystem

App must be well-integrated part of your marketing family. App is an extension of your brand and can’t leave it to fend for itself.

Changing your company’s mindset on mobile is only the first step to finding a place for your app in the big picture of your marketing. Now, it’s time to execute on the compelling idea that your app is a vehicle for long-term success. 

Avoid a tug of war between product and marketing departments by giving responsibility of your app to a bipartisan team right at the beginning. This way, you’ll get an app that is both well designed and aligned with your business goals. You’ll get an app with cool conversion funnels with thought given to what’s going to kick off that funnel.

Think of Your App as a Channel

Your mobile app has the potential to be a whole new channel. It can be a vehicle for higher sales, improved customer relationships, increased brand awareness, etc.

Wondering how? Take your app out of its silo and get the right people involved as early as possible.

Big Takeaway: Your app is a means to an end, not the end itself. Understand and embrace its position as a channel through which you can grow your business.

How to Solve the Great “Who Owns Our App?” Debate

Assigning ownership of your company’s app is a tricky thing. Which department do you hold responsible for bringing your app to life? Is it the product or development team? Or is it marketing’s job?

Spoiler alert: The answer is both. Right from the start.

Although it may seem easier to first task your design team with creating a beautiful app, and then hand it off to marketing to launch, you actually need to get these two powers working together from the get-go.

Alone, your product team will build a powerful app that’s chock full of features (but these might not be what your customers want). Alone, they will deliver a bulletproof mobile experience that renders well on any smartphone or tablet (but they might not know how to get people to actually use your app).

With marketing’s early involvement, you can be sure that:

  • Every feature built into your app is in line with user expectations, needs, and wants

  • There is a go-to-market strategy in place to drum up hype and excitement around your app’s debut

  • Your app’s unique qualities are identified and promoted

  • Your app’s user data is funneled to the marketing team for additional insight, and then distilled back to the product team for app updates

Get your Apps discovered … avoid being zombie app

Apps have been around for much longer than most of us realize.

The first apps made their appearance in the 1990’s via PDAs like the Psion and the Palm Pilot. Apps as we know them today made their debut in 2008 with the launch of Apple’s App Store shortly followed by the launch of the Android Market by Google.

The flip side to this boomtown story is that of the 1.2 million apps currently hosted on the App Store, nearly 80% are ‘zombie apps with barely measurable downloads. The story is not too different for the nearly 1.4 million apps that Google Play hosts.

The biggest problem most apps face is one of discovery.

The answer is mobile app marketing.

1. A Great Product is a Great Start

Bounce off your app idea with friends and family to see what they think of it. If you have an existing business for which you’re building the app, get inputs from your existing users on what they’d like to have in an app.

The most fundamental requirement for any smash-hit app is simple. Your app has got to have swag.

By swag, I don’t mean all style and no substance. I mean, build an app that users will vie with each other to download. You could fulfill a need that currently exists. You could add unique functionality to an existing app type and create something totally new. You could build a game that makes Candy Crush pale in comparison. After all, according to Macquarie Research, games accounted for an estimated 75% of income on the App Store in 2014.

Work on the UI of your app to make it flow as intuitively as possible. Adhere to usability best practices while designing your app layouts. From beautiful transitions to minimal user inputs, spend enough time perfecting the user experience before you launch. Test your app with real users to identify flaws and fine-tune problem areas.

2. Fully Optimize Your App

By optimizing your app to search inside app stores, you are offering it the visibility it needs to be discovered and hopefully downloaded. Approach app optimization the way you would optimize a web page. There are very clear ‘in-app’ elements that help boost your app’s visibility.

  • Begin with your app name: A name that contains keywords related to your app’s core function is a good bet for being picked up by app store search engines. Think Evernote, Snapchat or RunKeeper and you now know a big reason for their success.
  • Get a professional writer to write a description of your app that excites the user: Ensure your description includes important keywords that will help your app be discovered easily.
  • List your app in the right category before you proceed: A wrongly categorized app not only slips through the cracks of in-app search services, it also becomes hard to find when users filter by app category.
  • A picture speaks a thousand words: Pick out the most beautiful screenshots of your app for the app stores you’re present on. Add a video walk through for a 1-2 punch.
  • More than anything you can say about your app, a potential user will believe the words of existing users: Don’t forget to include reviews of your app in your app listing – one good review is worth more than ten average ads. Keep the virtuous cycle going by soliciting reviews from new users once they have used the app for at least a week.
  • Size matters when it comes to app downloads: Keep the size of your app at a minimum to encourage users to download even more. This becomes even more important with an iOS app, thanks to the fact that the size of an iPhone’s memory cannot be expanded unlike Android and other platforms.

Still not convinced that app optimization is worth your time? Take a look at this piece of research from Forrester.

5 Steps to Ace Mobile Apps Marketing | Search Engine Journal

Discovering an app via the app store remains the most popular way in which users find and download apps.

3. Maintain an Active Mobile Optimized Site

Close to 40% of users discover an app via the internet or the mobile web. When a user clicks through from a search results page or clicks on an ad on their mobile phone, she needs to be taken to a page where she can learn more about your app. In other words, a functional, mobile optimized site that showcases your app’s best features  is an essential component of getting users to learn about and download your app.

Some quick advice for an app homepage that converts:

  • Just as you SEO any regular website, your app’s homepage on the net needs to be optimized for search engines.
  • A good app home is one that pulls the user in with inviting visuals of the app, captivating descriptions of what it is capable of even demo videos of the app in action.
  • Offer social proof of how good your app is by including reviews by real users on your site.
  • Did your app win any awards or honorable mentions in top publications? Show off your laurels to impress users into downloading your app.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, do not forget to offer a download link to the leading app stores from your website.

4. Promote on Social Media

No marketing plan today is complete without including social media into the mix. Promoting your app is no different.

Before you sink in thousands of dollars into marketing your app, set up a social presence for your app on platforms that are frequented by your target audience. Developed a news reader app? Attack Twitter. Built a productivity app? Capitalize on LinkedIn. Got a female-centric app? Explore Pinterest. Built ANY app? Don’t miss Facebook.

Post content on social media that revolves around your app and links back to your app store page or your app website to maximize downloads. However, your posts can’t be all about downloading your app. Spice up your social media persona with content your target audience will value. Don’t stick to boring old text-based posts. Create interesting info-graphics, post arresting images, or share videos related to your line of business, and you will have users flocking to you for the variety of content on offer.

Use the extensive audience filters available on networks like Facebook to narrow down your target audience to improve your ROI. A Google+ page is a good idea if you have an Android version of your app. Not only does it help your app SEO, it also keeps Google happy.

5. Get Existing Users to Market Your App for You

There’s no better brand advocate than an existing user.

Once you get users to start downloading your app, don’t forget about them. Show some TLC to your existing users, and they’ll return the favor. According to Forrester Research, recommendations from friends and family is the second most important factor that contributes to new app downloads.

There are multiple ways to get your users talking about your app, such as:

  • Offer exciting freebies to users in a way that benefits them without really hurting you. An app upgrade or an extra feature for zero cost is a good idea in return for sharing your app on their social networks.
  • Build social sharing into your app with neat information bytes like “Sam just completed a three mile run using RunKeeper.” Vanity updates like these massage a user’s ego and are very likely to be shared by them on social media, increasing visibility and familiarity for your app.

In Closing

App marketing borrows from online marketing principles in many ways, but also has its own nuances that are unique to it. Compare and contrast them with this summary of the five steps to follow while marketing an app:

  1. Start with a great product
  2. Fully optimize your app
  3. Maintain an active, mobile-optimized site
  4. Promote your app on social media
  5. Get existing users to market your app for you

Flurry’s annual app statistics for 2014. For the first time ever, in the last quarter of 2014, Americans spent more time using their smartphones than watching TV.