This article was published on January 22, 2016

9 ways to thrill your mobile app users

9 ways to thrill your mobile app users
Scott Gerber
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Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

Increasing user engagement on your mobile app should be every company’s resolution. Engaged users stick around, offer valuable feedback and help attract others through word-of-mouth marketing.

But getting users (and then keeping them happy) is easier said than done. That’s why I asked nine Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members the following question:

What is one best practice for better engaging (and retaining) my mobile app users?

Here are their best answers.

Use a sophisticated CRM system

carlo ciscoWhether proprietary or a software developed by another company, you need a sophisticated CRM system. We use a combination of things, but for the software we use Intercom. They’ve built an incredibly sophisticated suite of tools that allow you to take action based on interaction and engagement as well as automate personalization. We’ve had dramatically increased app utilization, purchases, email open rates and every other measure of engagement you canthink with this. – Carlo CiscoSELECT

Provide fresh content

Dan SapozhnikovContent is king. Users love new content — whether it’s a new article, level or feature. Fresh content will not only keep your users coming back, but it can also encourage to share your app and leave new reviews on the app/play store. Without constant updates, you may actually leave users discouraged. Apps that don’t provide frequent updates can seem stale to the user and leave them thinking that the company has given up on supporting the app. – Dan SapozhnikovAdGate Media

Use timely and relevant communication

Robi GangulyIntelligently engaging your customers in a timely and contextually relevant way is the key to boosting retention in mobile apps. As a best practice, try not to interrupt customers; for example, don’t ask them to rate your app the moment they launch it. Instead, communicate with them after they’ve used a new feature, after they’ve completed two purchases, or after they’ve used the app 10 times in a week. Ask for feedback, listen and respond in a thoughtful manner. Don’t worry — there are tools like Apptentive and Intercom that can help you do this at scale. – Robi GangulyApptentive

Collect superusers’ data

Shilpi SharmaUnderstand who your superusers are. See historical trends, see in aggregate how often they are using specific features and see at a very granular level exactly what a user does throughout the course of a day. Based on superusers’ behavior, build small interactive tutorials for others that can improve app usage. Make your superusers brand ambassadors. Share their stories of how they have used the app to achieve certain goals. Build a community around these superusers and start providing them with promotions (like beta access to new features, loyalty points, etc.). – Shilpi SharmaKvantum Inc.

Create smart and tactical push notifications

Piyush JainPush notifications are a good tactic to engage users and keep them active. You can build push notification in your app to inform users about events, locations, updates, scores, new features and so many other things. Notifications entice them to click on the app and use it. If users download apps and forget them, you can notify them again. However, you want to be careful as well. You don’t want to send too many or useless notifications, as users might get annoyed and delete your app. You can send them notifications to get feedback as well that would help you improve user engagement. – Piyush JainSIMpalm

Create a powerful first experience

Matan TalmiThe average app loses 77 percent of its users in the first three days. Focus on the top of the funnel by setting users up for success rather than trying to seal leaks further down the line with activities of lesser impact (notifications, emails, etc.). To succeed at creating a powerful first user experience, A/B test rigorously and diversify tests before diving into micro-optimizations. Focus efforts on what can lead to maximum impact. If you’re wondering what that might be, ask yourself: “what is that single thing, that if achieved, all the rest simply wouldn’t matter?” – Matan TalmiDrippler

Get user feedback

Brian David CraneIt’s important to listen to your users and make it easy for them to give their feedback. We use AppBoy to manage our feedback queue and make sure that each user gets responded to whether it’s an issue that they’re having or just a thought that they have. It gives us insights into user experience and how we canimprove it. – Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.

Include self-service options

eli rubelEngage and retain app users with proactive and contextual FAQs. This can be done by providing users with the option to self-serve from a pre-curated list of topics based on where they are inside your app. For app users, the help button is there, they click it and then the app already knows everything about you, including what app screen you’re viewing. It can then suggest high-quality FAQ’s based on that information. – Eli RubelHelpshift

Execute on the fundamentals

Blair ThomasThe first question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your app has a purpose; if it does and it fills a need, then low or waning engagement means you’re not executing on the fundamentals. Ensure that you’re offering the best interface and user experience possible; use personas and real-world testing to find pain points and refine your application, and then find ways in which you can deeper engage your users by giving them a reason to return to your app. The key is making sure that reason to return is not a gimmick, and something that provides real — perceived — value to the user. – Blair ThomasEMerchantBroker

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