In 1989, when Stephen Covey first published “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” mobile content marketing was nonexistent. “Mobile” was the brick-sized cell phone Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko barked stock evaluations into during the 1987 film “Wall Street.”
Mobile apps? They didn’t come onto the scene until 2008 when Apple launched the App Store to coincide with the release of its second-generation iPhone. Available apps numbered around 500. Today–a mere six years later–millions of apps are available for download.
However, though hundreds of apps are downloaded every second, 22 percent are never used more than once. With such extensive industry saturation, how can mobile content marketers create and maintain a successful branded mobile app?
Let’s take a new-school approach to an old-school concept: It’s all about habit.
Habit #1: Listen
Mobile content marketers too frequently speak without first taking the time and effort to listen. Before communicating your agenda, take a backseat and listen to your consumers. In this manner, content marketers can gain insight into what type of content people like. Learn the language, ingest the signals, and understand what is relevant. Only then should content marketers enter the conversation. Creating a meaningful connection with the consumer curates relationships that eventually become valuable commodities.
Habit #2: Be Personable
Trying to think beyond the basic utility of an app and find other reasons for users to keep coming back is not easy. How can you create a more meaningful connection with your audience? What can an app offer that has the highest customer life time value?
Consider personalization. Take a weather app, for example: What about including updated weather reports based on a user’s location, or a customized city guide that offers pertinent weekly notifications on the comings and goings in your neighborhood? Perhaps the app could provide updates to local events or special travel offers at nearby airports. A weather app could consider letting appropriate partners provide additional content that is relevant to the audience. This opens up a new revenue stream that goes a step beyond advertising to provide true mobile content marketing. The bottom line is that apps that offer a personalized value add are going to stand out from the crowd, and continue to draw them in.
Habit #3: Be Relevant
Just because you create an app doesn't mean everybody in the world is going to download it and/or use it repeatedly. You have to strategically align your content so people who want to learn more will come back to the app. Offering easy access to a consistently fresh flow of content is fundamental to transforming app users into app loyalists. Your app should offer value each and every time it’s accessed. Consumers who check in periodically (potentially your most devoted app users) and find nothing new, interesting, or useful will inevitably stop returning, visit less often, or perhaps even press delete to free up storage space.
Creating a stream of meaningful content is not as hard as it sounds. Brands are continually creating new content for a variety of marketing efforts across different channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even printed magazines. Consider leveraging these types of outlets as direct feeds into your app. This will maintain a real-time relationship with your consumer.
Habit #4: Be Original
Consumers are intelligent and know when brands are simply repurposing content for promotional reasons. It is imperative to surprise and delight with original, inventive content that veritably appeals to the app user. When branded mobile content provides information and is entertaining, it becomes infotainment. Amusing branded content is more likely to be thought-provoking, memorable, and socially shared. It doesn’t have to be lengthy–in fact, the shorter the better–but it does have to resonant and stay fresh.
Habit #5: Be Fresh
Don’t let the lack of fresh, updated content bury your app in the App Store graveyard. The app market is saturated, and mobile marketers must consistently provide new or curated real-time content to the user. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, the eight different real-time campaigns executed during the World Cup generated 2 million fan interactions across 200 different countries. Granted, content marketers can’t base their mobile strategies around events occurring once every four years; however, they can anticipate what content will be relevant and when.
Habit #6: Make It Easy
Leverage existing content. This is not easy, especially in large organizations where it takes many departments to get your app updated. Brands may want to consider using a mobile content marketing platform that enables app updates in real time without involving IT or creating a new version in the App Store. This enables marketers to drive interesting app content that is favored by consumers.
Habit #7: Rinse. Lather. Repeat
Content consumption, in general, has changed. Consumer behavior is constantly wavering. Content delivery is evolving. Mobile content marketers have little choice but to keep up.