A 3-step guide to treating app users like your lover

In the beginning, we believed that if a user downloaded our app, they’ll use it forever. Nowadays, with thousands of new apps popping up every single day, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep users loyal.

A successful app is like a great relationship. Obviously, it has to begin with a good first date, making a good first impression; but more importantly it has to be good consistently – so that your lover is happy each time she/he sees you, and wants to meet again and again, maybe even with their families and friends, and shares with the world on social media.

Here are a few popular strategies to help engage users long after they’ve downloaded your app:

1. Make a good first impression: User Onboarding

A first date, a first kiss…like any first impressions or experiences, the user onboarding can make or break the relationship. The key is to keep it clean and simple. If your app requires a login signup, simplify it by using social logins (Facebook, Twitter…); if you have a tutorial, keep it under 1 minute. Some apps are simple enough that they don’t require an explanation. According to Useronboard – a site dedicated to exploring the best practices of user onboarding – the best onboarding hack is having an interface that doesn’t need explaining.

2. Communicate: Use Notifications

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.20.13Constant communication is key to maintaining any relationship. There are two types of notifications, push notifications and in-app notifications. Push notifications are pop-ups sent to users when they are not using the app (and thus more pushy). If used strategically, push notifications are like cute “I miss you!” messages you send to your lover, encouraging the user to re-engage with your app. However, it is important to bear in mind that push notifications require users’ permission, so bombarding them with notifications like an overly needy lover will only cause users to turn off notifications, or even stop using the app all together. In-app notifications are much less intrusive. They might not help bring back inactive users, but it’s a good way to engage and communicate with your users while they’re using your app nonetheless.

3. Share the love: Build a Social Media Community

social-media-optimization

A relationship is not official until you tell your friends and family. The same goes for an app and its users. There are two ways to go about integrating social media – 1) allowing users to share updates from the app to their social platforms, and 2) creating social pages where users can follow your updates and interact with fellow users. An added plus – this not only helps retain users, but also helps recruit new ones. After all, worth of mouth remains the best and most effective form of marketing, and no one wants to miss out on the hot app that everybody is using and talking about.

With user acquisition getting increasingly competitive and expensive, it is more important than ever to be able to keep the users you do get. What’s your take on this? Do you have other tips for keeping users happy and loyal? Drop a comment to share with us your experiences!