So you want to build an app that will be used by men, women and children of all ages while they wait in line for coffee, eat lunch or do their pre-bedtime tooth brushing routine? In a world with millions of apps you need more than a great icon to hook your users and keep them coming back. You need to become as much a part of their lifestyle as their phone. It’s not easy – but here are some great tips we’ve learned while building BeauCoo.
1) Your users need more than your app to connect with
We often talk about Red Bull when we discuss the idea of giving your users something to purchase to get them hooked on your brand. Is Red Bull about the product in the can – or what the product says about the consumer holding the can? Red Bull doesn’t even mention their product on their main landing page! Instead their main landing page focuses on the Red Bull lifestyle and offers apparel for fans of the product to purchase. Typically the only reason a person wears branded clothing is due to an emotional connection to the product and what they gain from wearing it, such as credibility or community association.
Other types of products, such as skateboards, are the same. Boards are all made in one of a few factories, but the brand name, imagery and team associated with a skate brand let the people who participate in the skate lifestyle connect and signal their world view. The best apps have that same mojo.
2) Your users are actually much smarter then you are (that’s why they’re not doing what you tell them to do)
Just like no battle plan survives 10 minutes with the enemy, no app survives 2 minutes in the hands of your users. It’s critical to use a service such as usertesting.com to see what users think of your app and how it should be used. You’ll be surprised, humbled and probably moved to tears, and your app will be the better for it. Also spending 15 minutes watching helplessly as testers fumble through your app will build lasting character.
3) Even your enterprise app can be a lifestyle app (and probably should be)
You know that excited feeling you get every week when it’s time to sit down and fill out your timesheet? Exactly – not many people get excited by enterprise apps they’re forced to use. However, I bet you can think of an app or tool (ahem – email and text) that creates ‘the itch’ – that feeling you get when your phone buzzes and tells you that you have a new text or email and you just have to check it or you’ll go crazy. This is something that can be capitalized on in enterprise with some basic understanding of what makes apps addictive to users. And now consider this – nothing sells better to management than apps you can prove employees want to use.
4) Focus on the Why
You’ve probably seen this great TED talk by Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action by having a clear “why”. Your lifestyle app needs to do the same – your users need to understand why you took the time to build the app in the first place and why that means they should care. You’d be surprised how having a clear “why” can inspire users to stick with you through product iterations, bugs and other frustrations, if they understand why you care enough to help solve their problems.
5) Let users peek behind the curtain
Early on in we produced two videos for BeauCoo – one is a short video that shows how to use BeauCoo – it’s happy, it has music and people understand how and when to use our app in 60 seconds.
The second video is a 3 minute video of Victoria and I talking about why we built BeauCoo, why we think BeauCoo matters, and our lives and personal experiences. It even has pictures of us at our high school graduation.
Which of these videos has been watched tens of thousands of times?
It may seem counterintuitive to show the people behind your product – but our video has been shared, watched and embedded by tech media, lifestyle media, bloggers and users specifically because people love to see the humanity behind the technology. And this drives downloads from qualified users who already understand your “Why” and care about your product – and that’s the heart of a good lifestyle app.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.