Learn how to acquire and retain app users

Are you thinking about creating a new mobile app for your business? Or maybe you already have an app published but it’s missing user traction? User acquisition and retention are the two most important business aspects of publishing an app after the development is done. Even during the development phase, a successful app owner keeps a close eye on correlating design, usability and user experience with the goal of acquiring as many high quality users as possible, with the end goal of turning them into brand ambassadors through retention.

This blog post will give you a clear overview of tactics and techniques used by the most popular apps, to help you build your own app audience, which in turn will help your business grow. We will go through each individual aspect of app user acquisition and retention to help you identify key points of interest. Just keep in mind that not all apps are the same, and some tweaking and adjustment might be needed in order to get the most out of your own app.

1. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Ask users for feedback and thou shalt receive amazing optimization ideas. Make it easy for users to reach out, especially if they are encountering a problem while using your app, or have a feature suggestion. While solving users issues and providing support, there is always an opportunity for upsell. This way you will be piggybacking on the communication channel which the user her/himself has opened, thus fully skipping the process of getting your users to be susceptible to your flirting efforts. The best way to utilize feedback opportunities is by having a “Contact us” form within the app, or even better, showcase your contact phone number to make it even more clear that you’re available to your users 24/7.

2. Update your app design on a regular basis

Users stay engaged if you keep your app looking fresh. User retention depends heavily on the type of business you’re dealing with. Seasonal business owners might think about refreshing their app design for each new season to keep user interest at high levels, e.g. each time a new product line gets announced. Regular business owners may customize their design refreshment rates. Higher scale design changes shouldn’t be done more than once a year, to give new users an opportunity to get accustomed to the app itself. Changes on a lower scale (new content, typeface, borders etc.) may be tested on a more regular basis. Notice that we’ve used the word ‘tested’ instead of ‘implemented’. Testing design changes is a must, prior to publishing said changes to your whole user base. Every design change should first be introduced to a user test group. Choosing the testing route prior to publishing the changes immediately will significantly lower you margin of error and give you a chance to further optimize changes for the best possible effect. With Shoutem’s Home Screen Editor, you can control literally every pixel of your home screen, which makes it so much easier to make changes and test design.

3. Reach out to your users at the right time

Use push notifications to reach out to your users, but don’t make the mistake of contacting your users at the wrong time. Would you want ice cream in February or hot chocolate in August? You will get better engagement with well-timed messages. Push notifications are definitely a great way to make sure all users are informed about anything you might have added to your inventory, or breaking news, but keep in mind not to overdo (abuse?) it. If your app sends too many push notifications, users might delete the app rather than deal with the annoying notification alerts. Make sure to research and employ a good push notification marketing strategy which can lead to customer conversion and loyalty.

4. Use Giveaways to Build User Retention

Is there a better way to engage users than giving stuff away? App users love freebies, even if we’re only talking about a digital product. To maximize your growth and retention efforts, make sure to create a requirement for entering the Giveaway contest. The requirement might be something as trivial as sharing your app to their social media channels or to answer a series of questions or to create original content. Add deals or loyalty rewards, and your users will find your app much more engaging, adding value besides pure content. It might be a good idea to use push notifications to inform users about the new giveaway taking place!

5. Keep content fresh and engaging

Regarding to Google, fresh and relevant content is king amongst websites and apps alike. Use content to your advantage by providing users with added value in terms of content relevant to your inventory, which they couldn’t get anywhere else. Try not to copy your website content fully, but add a little bit extra to the app content version. It’s that little extra which will make users check your app in addition to your website. In turn, you will be able to showcase active, engaged users, which will shortly turn into brand ambassadors.

Are there any tactics we might have overlooked? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update the article.