Apps is short for applications, which we all know have been around since software was created. After all Microsoft Office is an application just like Word Perfect is a former application we used for word processing in 1992.  Apps are the new hip term for software and have altered the colloquial definition for such software to be the software or a software shell accessible from a bookmark on your phone.  The difference between software and software shell on your phone is determined by whether you need the internet to access the software; you need the internet to use Pandora, therefore this is merely an icon used to access the mobile version of Pandora the website.  An app that would not require the internet would be a self-contained game like Dots.

Now that we know what an app is, let’s think about creative uses for apps – as you need one!  The reason you need one is that consumers are now spending 90% of their phone time on mobile apps.  And consider if your prospect adds your app to their home screen; your opportunity is even greater when they can see your icon right when they tap their phone.  Let’s talk about what gets folks engaged on apps.

There are the obvious utilitarian apps; banking, airlines, review sites, career sites, and investments sites.  These are sites that you need to use daily or get valuable information.  Checking your bank balance, planning travel, checking frequent flyer points, finding a new restaurant or handyman, following up on a job lead, and seeing how much you’re worth is very utilitarian and something you may do daily. Your business may qualify for a utilitarian app. Consider whether you could make your basic desired behaviors better with your user interface optimized solely for phone engagement – would this make your prospect and client experience better?  You may have your base app foundation here.

If you do not believe that your product or service would benefit from a consumer app that enables utilitarian behavior for frequent access, then we need to start looking at our business for opportunities.  Just like the pandemic brought back QR codes and made them utilitarian for menu retrieval at restaurants to be touchless, we can also pivot and find something you can brand an app to make your brand be found on the home screen of hundreds of thousands of users.  If you’re a retailer, it may be a great place to save wish lists, collect coupons, buy gift certificates, and access your loyalty program.  If you provide services, it may be a great place to enable your clients to access your calendar to schedule services, review loyalty points, and buy gift certificates.

Let’s consider neither the retailer nor service provider works; consider something that you think may not work, an attorney.  Let’s flip this will all the tools available in your phone. Scanning, photos, copy, paste, etc. An attorney or insurance company may leverage the technology to use an app as your communication tool to share evidence, upload notes, and communicate statuses with your client.  The same type of communication tools could be used by your remodeling firm, your doctor, your esthetician, and your dentist.  Another potential use is if your product has refills, enable you to have your customer login and get their refill.

Let’s say you’re in the fitness market – apps are built for this market, but not something that has been done, how many steps until you need to replace your shoes. How many sleeps on your mattress produces skin debris build-up?  How many toothbrush uses with the same toothbrush head?  Daily companion quotes that are complementary to your product or service. All of these are simple timers for ensuring you know when to replace a product.  Consider a retailer that offered all of these in their app or each brand that is important to you offering them.

Another fantastic use for an app is an event; your brand hosting a unique event will not only want the app to support it, but now you have an app you can repurpose for any event. Remember technology can be used for different purposes and save money on reinventing the wheel. You will want to have your event schedule, map of the event, social media posts with event hashtags scrolling, hostess FAQs, and contact the hostess.  You may also have event surprises that include treasure hunts, challenges, ice breakers, and more.  You may even use your app for a virtual event.

And if you do not have a loyalty program – now is the time. This is a fantastic way to announce your program – you must sign up for the program with your app; you may ask the benefit to this and that is that they now have it on their home screen and just as we know advertising works, that little icon on their phone will make them access your brand that much more.  Though you do need to incent users to continue to use the app.  Consider making this the preferred points tool with gamification – doing any interactions on the app will multiply rewards, making users continually engage with your brand in an easy and intuitive format.  A marketers dream.

Now that you have some creative solutions for your app, you will want to be sure to get in front of the folks that want your app.  Forty percent of app users find apps in the app store; this means there really are app enthusiasts looking for apps that make their life easier. Can you imagine finding these folks looking to be a regular user of your app. These same folks that seek out apps consider themselves influencers and share their favorite apps with friends. You want to be that app!

Of course, you also want to go to your gravy base and offer it to your customers.  You will also want the refer a friend option in your app to give your users the ability to also become micro-influencers. Each referral can earn you more rewards or coupons based on your brand goals.  You should be well on your way to noodling a genius app for your brand; when you are ready to add gamification to your app, give us a ring and we’ll be sure to help make an app that keeps them coming back!



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