These days we do everything on our phones, from social media and shopping, to perhaps even making a phone call or two. If you’re developing apps for smart phones, you’re probably looking to make a little money from them. The thing is, many people we meet with fail to put as much thought into how to take their app to market, as they do with the app development process.

It is just as important to get your app onto consumers mobile phones, as it is to have a wonderful product, so we always encourage our clients to start thinking about how they are going to market their products, as we work through the various stages of app development.  So here are 5 ways to improve consumer engagement with your mobile applications:

Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.

Steve Jobs

1. Advertising

If you offer your app for free, you might want to consider monetising by letting a little advertising sneak into it. You should think about how you present it though, as loads of coloured flashing ads can be invasive to the quality of your app – annoying your users and driving them to seek solace in a competitor’s app. Ultimately, while there are a plethora of advertising options available, the three most widely adopted ways to advertise in your app are: Banner Ads; Native Ads; and Pre-Roll Ads on video.

It is really important during the app development process to ensure that when you incorporate advertising into your mobile app, you are working with specialists. Integrating with ad exchanges and managing third party Software Development Kits (SDKs) is not for the faint hearted, so always make sure that you are getting the right advice.

Also, don’t forget to diversify the ad products with multiple units of different sizes, as this tends to work best on mobile devices.

2. Newsletters

Newsletters are a powerful tool. Getting users of your app to sign up to one is a great way to strengthen your brand image. It’s also an easy reminder for people to visit your website, check out what you’re up to and maybe to buy a thing or two, share your updates on social media, or just simply to remain interested in your product.

Newsletters aren’t the easiest thing to track in terms of statistics, but there’s a reason why they work; they circulate your presence as the company behind an app – your own personal marketing.

3. VIP App Access

If you can supply two iterations of your app then you’ll be almost guaranteed to boost interest in what ‘the premium version’ offers. Having a free version and a paid version of your app is also a fantastic way to monetise. The free version essentially works as a demo, or as a piece of advertising. It enables the user to see how great your app is, and gives them a call to action as to why they should sink their hard-earned cash into the full, paid version.

The goal here is covert – get your customers to integrate your app into their daily lives, then make them realise they can’t live without it. Once you’ve achieved this they’ll be throwing money at you, because they’ve been romanced by the beauty of your app and its uses.

4. Status Based Product and Service Marketing

A major part of your app’s strategy should be about keeping the customer informed. As with newsletters, you have a clear user base through which to convert people into loyal customers. For those apps that are developed as market places, or service seeking apps, a great way to keep in touch with your customers is through promotional offers and status recognition. I don’t mean texting them at 3am to ask for a deep chat, but metaphorically it opens a dialogue with your consumer-base when you are able to market to them letting them know how valuable they are as a customer or user of the app, and how much you would like to reward them for their ongoing support.

Keeping in touch with your customers is one thing, but messaging is also an efficient way to promote upcoming deals, contests and asking for feedback directly. Not to mention the fact you’ll be building brand loyalty here too.

4. Status Based Product and Service Marketing

A major part of your app’s strategy should be about keeping the customer informed. As with newsletters, you have a clear user base through which to convert people into loyal customers. For those apps that are developed as market places, or service seeking apps, a great way to keep in touch with your customers is through promotional offers and status recognition. I don’t mean texting them at 3am to ask for a deep chat, but metaphorically it opens a dialogue with your consumer-base when you are able to market to them letting them know how valuable they are as a customer or user of the app, and how much you would like to reward them for their ongoing support.

Keeping in touch with your customers is one thing, but messaging is also an efficient way to promote upcoming deals, contests and asking for feedback directly. Not to mention the fact you’ll be building brand loyalty here too.

5. Multiple payment schemes

If you’ve begun to monetise through subscriptions or in-app purchasing, you might want to consider the options available to your customers. For subscriptions, offer tiered payment plans such as $5.99 for X, $9.99 for X + Y and $15.99 for X + Y + Z. This is a great way to get your customers thinking about spending that little bit extra on what you’ve got to offer.

Getting the value of your offers is critical here, as you’ll want to make sure customers spend as much money as possible, and that they feel they’re getting the best value for money.

Conclusion

As smart phones continue to get smarter, you’ll be wanting to take advantage of driving and enhancing the customer experience.  The five strategies above aren’t the only ones out there, but they’re proven methods to help drive engagement with mobile apps and also to maybe squeeze that little bit extra from the investment you have made in App Development. The great thing about these strategies is that they get your customers thinking and engaging with you. Building a rapport with the consumer is key, whether it be face-to-face, online or via your mobile application.