User engagement and retention are huge problems when it comes to mobile apps. These days, the app stores are littered with many apps that do the same thing, so competition is fierce. Even in this environment, though, a successful mobile app can be a critical component for many businesses.

So you’ve created an app for your business, but you’re struggling with getting people to use it. What can you do to increase user engagement? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to get your app onto more phones.

  1. Make sure you add value. The first step to getting people to use your app, and keep using it, is to make sure that it gives the customer something they need or want. An app can’t just be a mobile flyer or advertisement for your business. People should have a reason to actually open the app that improves their life. If you’re a brick and mortar service business, maybe you have all your information updated and easily accessible on the app. Maybe you send out offers or coupons every so often via the app. Maybe there’s a direct contact form or scheduling portion of the app that makes it easy for the customer to get your service. The point is that there should actually be a reason the customer will prefer to open and use the app than do something else.
  2. Keep a low app footprint. Make sure your app takes up as little space as possible and has a light footprint on user devices. Today, privacy and data concerns are very prevalent, and bulky apps immediately bring up these concerns in users. Bulk also impacts performance, and you want to make sure your app is performing as smoothly as possible on as many devices as possible. If you’re going to have push notifications, make sure they’re not too frequent, and make sure they contain actually valuable information. You don’t want people disabling the notifications or uninstalling the app because it becomes a nuisance.
  3. Include two way communication. People much prefer to text than make a phone call if they will receive a quick answer. Including this functionality within your app is a tremendous user engagement asset. If your customer can text you or a member of your staff and receive an immediate response, they will be much more likely to continue to use the app. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean you need to give out your phone number. There are many ways to build texting and chat portals right within the app.
  4. Link your app on your website. Have you ever gotten those popups or notifications on a mobile website that say you should download the company’s app? The reason those popups exist is because they work. Mobile websites aren’t nearly as effective as apps, so you should encourage people to download your app if they visit your website, particularly on a mobile device. At the very least, you should have a prominent link to your app right on the website’s front page.
  5. Make account creation easy. You should include a personalized account component for your app so that users feel they’re getting a unique experience that’s specific to them. Whether that account links to a reward program, to specialized offers, or something else, it should allow the customer to feel like they’re receiving special treatment. In order for this to be successful, though, you need to make sure it’s easy for your users to create and manage their accounts. “Sign up with Facebook” is popular for a reason. One click account creation is effective.

Congratulations on developing your app and getting it out there. Hopefully these few tips help you increase your user engagement and get your app onto more and more phones. Good luck!

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