Techniques on Increasing User Engagement

If you’re getting ready to have an app built for your company (or perhaps you already have one and are deciding on your next move), you’re probably asking yourself how you can convince consumers to use your app, in order to make it a worthwhile investment? The answer is to make use of habit forming techniques.

For a sales and services company, one of the best ways to entice users into using your application is savings. Provide them with discounts and monetary rewards, and you’ll see your application’s usage grow. Remember, every time somebody uses your application, they’ve seen your logo and your branding. You’re building and maintaining your customer base by encouraging more people to use your application. So, how can you make users come back to your application?

There’s a hot topic in technology and marketing called “gamification”. The idea of gamification is to make consumer experiences more fun and “game-like”. Some examples of this are McDonald’s yearly Monopoly game, collecting stamps or stickers to reach a free product (ex. buy eight coffees, get one free), and Tim Horton’s “roll-up-the-rim” promotion.

These types of promotions have very obvious benefits for these companies. At McDonalds, people get in the habit of collecting Monopoly pieces, and will go to McDonalds more and more frequently. On top of this benefit, they encourage customers to come back into the store by giving out frequent prizes that customers are unlikely to come to the store to claim, without buying more products.

How can you take advantage of ideas like this and what does this have to do with your mobile application? Ideas like this are easily translated to mobile applications.

Here’s a few examples I’ve come up with of how these techniques could be leveraged:

  • Every time a customer makes a purchase at the store (of over X dollars) give them a token/code (perhaps on the receipt) that can be scanned with your mobile application for a reward (5% off the next purchase, for example).
  • Give your customers the option to tweet about or share compelling parts of your application (deals or offers, for example), for in-app points. These points could be redeemed for money off, or to unlock additional offers, within the application. This, or a similar tactic, is employed by many viral marketing campaigns.
  • Give your users in-app points for entering your store (using a technology like iBeacon alongside your app) that can be redeemed for rewards.
  • Have special (more valuable) promotions that last only a short period of time (one day or even one afternoon) that are pushed as a push notification to the customer (note that it’s important not to push notifications to application users too frequently, or your application will quickly be uninstalled or silenced). This will encourage the user to interact with your application more frequently, for these big deals. Your cost would be relatively low, because a lower percentage of people will be able to take advantage of such a short term offer.
  • Digitize any current promotions you have, to encourage more interaction with your application. For example, McDonalds could have a game board application for their Monopoly promotion. In this way they could have users interact with their application every time they wanted to add a Monopoly piece. As a side effect, users may look at other offers and content within the application.

These are just a few examples of how you could prepare your mobile application to take its next steps alongside your business. Simply building an application for the sake of having one will not cut it. You and all your competition will soon (if they don’t already) have mobile applications. Having an application with great user engagement and lots of functionality will help continue to grow and maintain your business.

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