Senior Producer, My Downtown Mobile
October 2, 2021
You’re a modern business development organization with a mobile app that pulls in all of the most valuable information about town (businesses, deals, events, town updates, etc.). It can be a valuable tool in your belt – if you do what it takes to make it that way. This is not an “if we build it, they will come” sort of situation. You put in the time and money to market the app, now you need to consistently find ways to demonstrate value for your users if you want them – and your town – to get full benefit from it.
Having – and maintaining – a purposeful and informative digital presence is the new ‘window shopping’, even for towns. Your digital presence might be a person’s first interaction with your town – you want to put your best foot forward!
So, today, let’s talk about a few ways to increase your ‘digital curb appeal’. These 9 tips will help you build your digital presence – and get people to download and use your app – so that you can start seeing a robust return on investment in the app, and the time you invest into it.
1) Who owns it? – It is very important to establish an “owner” or point person for running the app. That “someone” needs to make sure the app stays current and relevant. This person should plan to allocate about 10 hours per month (give or take depending on the number of sections you have in the app) to review the app, gather new content, and make the updates.
2) Start with a good foundation – First impressions are very important in all situations, and your mobile app is no different. To set yourself up for success, make sure you launch with a well-populated app with all of the most valuable and interesting information about what’s going on in town right out of the gate.
3) Fill it up with exclusive content – Post app-exclusive deals and promotions in the app. Who doesn’t love to feel part of an exclusive club with special perks being offered just for them? Exclusivity is desirable, and you can fuel that by getting businesses to promote special deals and promotions just for app members.
4) If you promote it, they’ll keep coming – Your app launch campaign is crucial to getting people to learn about your app for the first time. But it can’t stop there. Continue to post about the value of your app through social media channels, posters in businesses’ windows, postcards, flyers, ads in the local paper, and more. None of these promotions are high-cost endeavors, but they bring great rewards.
5) Remind them what’s in it – In your promotions, tell everyone about the exclusive deals only available in the app. Tell them how easy it is to find everything you’d ever want to know about the town and its businesses in one, easy-to-use app that’s always with them on their phones.
6) It takes a village – or downtown organization members, or whomever else, that can help create and provide you with content to update in the app. The information in your app must stay current, but that can be a major time investment if app maintenance is not your only or main focus. To help with this, you can set up a monthly newsletter to businesses, reminding them to send you deals and updates about their services, hours, and products.
7) Partner up! – Your town is fun and vibrant, which likely means you have a lot of movers and shakers in town creating their own content. Many of these people would be glad to partner up with you to help get their content in your app – give them a call and see what you can work out!
8) Check those less-updated sections – It’s easy to remember to add events and deals into your app regularly. Those are likely two of your most popular sections. But let’s not forget the slightly less popular -yet equally valuable sections – of your app. Make a calendar entry to check on your links, news, photos, parking information, etc. If anything needs updating, do it. There’s nothing worse for a user than going to an app only to find that the link is broken. That broken link might actually cost a small business a sale, or your town an opportunity. That’s easy to avoid with a simple maintenance schedule. It can be as infrequent as once a month or quarterly, depending on your content, and the amount of staffing resources you can dedicate to the task.
9) Push Notifications! – We saved the best for last. Push notifications are unique to apps and they’re a driving force in reminding people to open up the app. We suggest a monthly planning session to lay out your push notifications, so they find a good balance of value to your users without being overwhelmed by your pushes.
And there you have it. 9 Great Ways to keep users coming back and ensuring your mobile app provides more value than you put into it. Our new business and economic development reality is very similar to the old one – the biggest difference is that digital presence is becoming more important than ever.
Your ‘digital curb appeal’ needs to be as engaging and informative as possible to deliver the value that good digital user experience design can provide. Use these 9 tips, and you’ll be off to great start!
Vicky Winkler is a Senior Producer with MyDowntown Mobile®, a branded service offering from Gruskin Group™, an award-winning design firm. For over 30 years, they have been creating high-impact, memorable marketing and design experiences that continually build brand equity for our clients. For more information visit mydowntown-mobile.com, or follow them @mydowntownmobile on Facebook and Instagram.