My good friend and brand marketing expert Tim Tyrell-Smith sometime ago wrote a great post about how to blog for a transient audience. Tim at the time was targeting a job searching audience who were transient because they would leave his blog once they found a job.
Even though you might not be targeting an audience that could abandon you after they complete a life event, you probably have the exact same challenge of building engagement and loyalty from readers that find your blog through search engines, social media, or links from other websites and often leave as soon as they find the information they were looking for – and never come back.
Businesses build blogs to satisfy content and social media marketing needs, but if visitors come and leave quickly without any type of engagement or conversion, your blog is not serving any strategic objective.
Marketers have even more challenges facing their blog these days in terms of both cutting through the noise that exists in the world of content to be heard and read as well as satisfying the needs of the growing numbers of mobile users that are consuming your content.
Fortunately, there is a simple answer that will help solve all of the above challenges and provide you a competitive disadvantage because so few realize the potential: Building a mobile app for your blog, which is actually easier than you might think. We’ve even built one here at Maximize Social Business (see our app in the App Store and Google Play).
If you haven’t bought into how a mobile app can help you build loyal readers, let’s take a deeper dive into the advantages of having an app for your blog:
1.) A Native App Increases Your Blog’s Reach
A native app is an app that will run on iOS (iPhone) and Android smartphones, like the news apps from the New York Times or other media organizations. It will have its own name, icon and unique locations in the App Store and Google Play. If you think of these two stores as the huge search engines that they are, just having an app gives you additional reach much as having a podcast gives you additional reach in the iTunes podcast search engine.
Beyond that, though, think of your app as an additional channel to a growing number of readers: If you have your own app and you manage to get the reader not only excited about your content but encourage them to successfully download your app, you now have a new channel to make them a truly loyal reader. The app is installed on their smartphone and whenever you post, a push notification is sent directly to the user informing them about your new post.
2.) Reach the Most Valuable Digital Real Estate
When I present on social media, I often tell my business audience that to show up in the Facebook notifications of your target reader is the holy grail of social media marketing. Taking a step back, there is one piece of digital real estate that might be even more valuable: The notifications screen on a smartphone.
I asked the creator of our app, Blappsta, if people actually allow push notifications to go through for blog apps. Their answer is simple: They do if they are interested in your content and want to be informed by you. If not, then they likely will disable push notifications and will deinstall the app sooner or later. If you think about it, that’s no different than your own website blog. People come and go, but because not everyone subscribes to RSS feeds these days, on your website blog people are more likely to not come back even though they initially liked your content when compared to an app.
Don’t believe me?
Blappsta has actyally launched over 600 apps and gathered millions of interactions with the apps. They also compared these with the website blog statistics. Their findings were that not only about 30% of your website blog visitors can be converted to app users and therefore loyal readers, native app users also come back 40 times more often than website blog users.
3.) Mobile Readers Share More
Blappsta also measured the activity of social engagement in its deployed native apps. When the data was compared with the website blog data, the sharing rate on a native app was a whopping 3 times higher sharing rate per person. Mobile readers who share more results in more readers for your blog and app downloads through the back linking. This means that you gain even more loyal readers if you let your loyal readers use your own app through this tumbleweed effect.
4.) Native Apps Improve Your Blog’s SEO
Both Google and Apple have already launched App Indexing that allows them to index content inside apps and display the content in their mobile search results. I’m not an SEO expert by any means, but if you think holistically as to what smartphone search engines like Google and Apple Siri would serve up when people are searching for information on a mobile device, one would assume that they would prefer to serve up results from a native app rather than an external website, even if that website is mobile responsive. It’s all about the user experience, and the fact that Google and Apple have invested in app indexing actually proves my point!
Has your company developed a mobile app for your blog? What has your experience been? If you haven’t created a native app, what’s been holding you back?