Event app adoption is gradually growing throughout the industry and those of us using apps understand the value. The 63 percent still on the fence will begin to trickle in once they’ve got the budgets and resources in place. Though it’s becoming an event standard for those events with plenty of content to share among its large number of attendees, many of us are still learning our way around app adoption and development. Depending on your app provider, you may be outsourcing the development or maybe you’re keeping the creation process internal. Either way, you need to establish a clear understanding on what to expect for you and your team.
One thing we always stress for our rappidApp clients is the importance of timing. Apps aren’t an afterthought. During the event planning process, you need to incorporate your event app creation and deployment strategy. The objective of your app needs to support the objective of your event for complete success. With our product in particular, you’re looking at approximately 10-12 weeks to get your app up and running. Of course times will vary depending on app provider, unexpected changes, and how quickly your team meets deadlines. Remember, this time frame does not include the marketing and promotion of your app.
So whether you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, create a more personalized experience, drive engagement or capture new sales, these next five tips will dramatically improve your event app creation process.
1. Create An App Map
Create your timeline, establish your resources, content strategy, a submission strategy and a promotion strategy. Again, this is why we stress timing and planning early. I feel like I’m preaching to the choir, but you would be surprised how with the whirlwind of event planning activities, apps get overlooked. Within these strategies should be hard deadlines, task owners and additional padding for the unexpected. This map will be shared among all stakeholders and will act as the official guide for your app’s development/deployment.
2. Have Your Content Ready
Some apps require you to have all of your content loaded before submission. We allow customers to upload the basics and continue to build content after app store submission, without having to completely re-submit. The more content you have prepared from the beginning, the less grammatical, user, and submission issues you will run into later. Create an app content calendar with strict deadlines, task owners for accountability and specific details. You’ll also need to gather information from outside resources. And like with any project you can supply deadlines, but life happens and you will run into bumps along the way. Communication and accountability will help drive compliance with deliverables.
3. Don’t Forget About Sponsors
Aside from attendees, sponsors are your bread and butter, especially if you’re offsetting app costs through sponsorship opportunities. Start communications early and establish points of contact for consistent conversations. Collect hires logos, company descriptions, preferred links and engagement opportunities for your attendees to connect with your sponsors. Once you’ve committed to designing your app, develop the sponsorship packages and connect early.
4. Test, Test & Test Again
You’re going to test your app at two main points throughout the creation process (and hopefully more than just that) – before submission and before promotions to attendees. Prior to submitting to app stores you want to make sure your images are high res and not pixelated, faces match names, content is grammatically correct, links are directed to appropriate locations, tabs are properly labeled and overall usability is user friendly. Before you start promotions to attendees, review everything and most importantly test on all devices available. Knowing which devices your audience will be using can be exceptionally helpful – if possible. Once your event is live, you will probably need to make updates to your app. If so, get team members to proof. Functionality and accuracy will greatly affect your attendees overall experience. Remember – your app should support your event’s objective(s).
5. Integrate Analytics
How will you know if your app contributed to the success of your event? Through integrating app analytics. At rappidApp, we use Flurry analytics which is free to integrate. You can measure what matters most for your specific event such as number of downloads, demographic of users, which areas of your app were most viewed, when, and where. You will gain insight into interest, geography, usage and the value of acquired users to improve traffic acquisition. This feedback will help you improve the creation and adoption of future apps for upcoming events.
Mobile apps won’t be appropriate for every event and app providers offer different features and functionality, so you need to do your research. Once you’ve chosen your provider, which means you’ve addressed the need for an app, you need to start planning. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task, if you create timelines and strategies for success.
If you want to take a deeper dive into app creation, view our free, on-demand Event App Basics: From Creation to Submission to Marketing session ... and earn 1 credit hour in Strategic Planning!
Resources: Event App Bible & Flurry Analytics