We’ve talked about the concept of Content Marketing a lot lately. How creating and sharing relevant content can boost your web traffic, what kinds of content you can put out onto the web, and some examples of brands that are doing a great job. Today we’re going to look at a few companies that have taken content marketing to a whole new place – with branded mobile apps.
How does this apply to your small business? While it is certainly true that highly complex, flashy mobile apps can require a bit of an investment, the DIY mobile app scene has come a long way, and today there are a number of great options for small businesses.
Once you find a platform that you feel comfortable building on, you’ll need to get down to the business of figuring out what your app is going to do. As with all forms of content marketing, the first step is to put yourself in the position of your customers. What might they be searching for? How could you make their lives easier? How can you embed your brand in their every day life? As you look through the list of mobile apps below, think about how you can serve a purpose for your customers in the same way that these brands have done:
1. Dominos Pizza
A successful mobile app doesn’t have to be incredibly clever – it can serve a very direct and obvious purpose too. Domino’s app serves to make their customers’ lives easier, and position the pizza purveyors as the quickest and simplest way to order a pizza. Even if someone might prefer the taste of a different restaurant’s pies, the ability to quickly order a pizza with saved address and payment information and delivery tracking might just tip the scales in Domino’s favor.
2. Sephora To Go
While the branded mobile app from Sephora also encourages easy shopping, it dips a toe into content marketing and lifestyle as well. Allowing customers to keep their Beauty Insider Card (Sephora’s loyalty card) stored for easy access is one way this app makes itself indispensable. The app also offers lots of user-created content and product recommendations that help shoppers dial in the look that want in the same place where they can buy it.
3. Cartwheel by Target
This handy app from Target is a way for the retail giant to share special offers with customers that can be layered on top of other coupons. If you’re like me, and you find the experience of going to Target a big overwhelming, it’s really nice to be able to save all the coupons you want to use in advance, and plan your shopping trip around them. Think about how you might offer special incentives to customers who use your mobile app to encourage them to purchase the items you most want to sell at a given time.
4. Nike+ Running App
Perhaps the cleverest innovation of the group, Nike+ Running checks a number of boxes off the content marketing list. First, because it’s a self-measurement app that stores a ton of information, it very easily becomes embedded in the user’s everyday life. It stores your past runs with details like route maps, times, how you felt that day, even the shoes you were wearing. This makes it very unlikely that you’ll switch to another brand’s app because you would never want to walk away from that amount of historic data.
Another purpose this app serves is to create brand awareness and social proof. People like to brag, especially when it comes to their workouts. And Nike+ taps into this by allowing users to share their run details on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Meaning that all of the user’s friends see that someone in their network endorses the app and, implicitly, the Nike brand.
The final purpose of the app is well, to sell some gear! Not only does the app integrate with tech like FuelBand SE and SportWatch GPS, it also lets you tag the shoes you wore in each run, IF they are Nike brand. This not only reminds you of the shoes you were wearing on that day when you ran your fastest 5K ever, it subconsciously lets you know just how many miles you have put on those sneakers – all within an app that also features a “Shop Nike” link in the navigation.
If you’re looking for an exciting new tactic to add to your content marketing strategy, we highly recommend giving branded mobile apps a try. And if you do, come back and leave a link to your creation in the comments below!