Patrick Mower, Product Marketing Manager
These days it seems like just about everybody has a mobile app on the market—this is great if you’re an app junkie like myself. The only problem is that many companies seem to be completely missing the mark with their mobile app offerings: they simply release an app for the sake of releasing an app, without putting a whole lot of thought into how they can most effectively meet the needs of their users. When considering a mobile app for your property, it’s important to consider a few simple principles:
- People use mobile apps to do something
People will often visit a company website for a variety of reasons, sometimes just to browse around. Mobile apps are different in that people tend to use them to complete an action – order a pizza, make a purchase, or, like with Entrata’s ResidentPortal app, pay their rent so they don’t have to run to the leasing office. The point of an app is to make life easier. It should be developed by determining what the key actions are for your users, and finding ways to streamline them as much as possible in the app. Your residents want to be able to pay their bills, no muss no fuss with as few taps on their screen as possible.
- Interact with your audience on their terms
Smart phones and mobile apps have provided marketers (and therefore your property management company) with a variety of new options for communicating with their customer base (or, your residents). Between email, text, in-app, and push notifications it can be easy to make the mistake of choosing an “all of the above” strategy. This can be irritating to residents, overwhelming them and resulting in higher uninstall rates. When choosing which communication channels to use it is important to think about the content of the message and how the receiver will use the information. It is also important to let residents set communication preferences that are most convenient to them. Most residents will most likely only want reminders to pay their rent and an email confirmation, but it’s still good to have other options open to them.
- Get ratings and reviews
It seems hard enough to get residents to give out ratings on Google, but ratings and reviews for any app you may use for your community are just as essential and may even be easier to come by as residents use it. Ratings and reviews are useful to potential app users (future or current residents), as they provide a glimpse into the experiences other users are actually having with it. Monitoring ratings and reviews can help keep you informed of potential bugs that need to be fixed or additional features that would be helpful to users. Reviews also help keep us honest about the product. When you’re working closely with a project, it is easy to only see the positive things and ignore the negative aspects completely. Soliciting ratings and reviews from users ensures that you have your finger on the pulse of what your residents need from the app.
If your properties use Entrata’s ResidentPortal, then look into utilizing the ResidentPortal app for your residents. It’ll help your leasing office go paperless and residents will be able to pay rent on the go, without you having to spend the hundreds of hours developing your own app.