How To Build Engaging Apps Across the Customer Journey

With digital solutions, as with life, you only get one chance to make a first impression and for many brands, that pivotal introduction to a new customer will occur via an app. While all verticals should expect a certain amount of churn, around one fifth of users will abandon an app after a single interaction. 

Building engagement through your app is imperative.

Your customers’ initial experience with your app can have lasting impacts on your brand due to the halo effect. The psychological principle may be over a hundred years old, but it still retains merit in our modern world as a means of explaining how even a miniscule bad encounter with an app can negatively shape a customer’s overall feelings about a brand.

Fortunately, there are ways your app can circumvent that fate. Here are three key methods for building engagement during various stages of your customer’s journey.

1. PRE-DOWNLOAD: Highlight value with a preview video

Increasingly, consumers want to experience a product as closely as possible before committing to an online purchase. Video has proven an effective way to drive conversion, swaying nearly 80% of people to download a digital solution over the past eight years. 

App stores that utilize autoplay functionality can readily capture your audience’s attention, resulting in effortless engagement. Highlight your app’s main benefit and features in a manner that’s accessible and informative, as Audible has accomplished with their preview. Not every brand will have access to Audible’s budget, of course, but it is worth investing in quality production, as your preview video could end up providing that foundational impression of your app.

2. ONBOARDING: Avoid frustration with streamlined registration

In an ideal scenario, customers gain value from your app immediately after downloading. In reality, it’s not always that straightforward, particularly when collecting personal data is a necessity for users to realize the app’s utmost value, as is the case for many insurance brands.

When there’s no getting around having some degree of registration, keep your audience’s interactive costs in check and ensure the onboarding process is intuitive and hassle-free. RateHub has epitomized this technique with a minimalist approach to submitting quote requests. From the home page, users are clearly directed to the appropriate form and fields are enabled step by step, so users’ attention remains focused on what’s essential.

3. RETENTION: Build a community, not just an application

Customer engagement often goes beyond interaction with the brand itself, to involve facilitating a sense of camaraderie between users. If that’s a focal point of your app, don’t delay in bringing new users into the fold. Introduction messages and chat capabilities offer instant gratification, affirming customers made the right decision by clicking ‘download.’

Health brands, especially, should consider prioritizing that level of connection, as patients tend to place a high value on active support while dealing with a chronic condition. Digital health organization, The Mighty, puts community front and center, immediately welcoming new members and fostering an environment where they are safe to share both their stories and their data.

Engagement at every touchpoint

A strong first impression of your app can have a far-reaching impact on your brand. Success is possible at every stage, from before your app has been downloaded to retaining engagement long afterward. 

For more tips that span the entirety of your app’s journey, download our guide: First Impressions Matter: A Guide to Building Engaging Apps.

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