While most organizations have an app to support their annual conference or a single large seminar, some have embraced using an app to support all educational and engagement endeavors.
This seems intuitive; after all apps can help save resource time, cut paper costs, increase member engagement and even build a revenue stream. So why not expand the app to support all educational meeting, webinars, and seminars? Once you include other in-app community features, there are benefits for members well beyond event details and materials. However, the success of any app whether event-specific or ongoing is dependent on resources and planning.
After working with a number of associations to launch educational and engagement apps, we know their app’s success will be impacted by the resources dedicated (monetary and human) and the plan followed during the app launch. Based on this experience, we have compiled a short list of questions and actions to consider when launching an app to support your members year-round:
- Assessment: Do you have an app budget? What are your app needs? How do your needs align with your educational goals or overall strategic plan for 2018? How do your needs align with your budget? Compile a needs list based on your answers to these questions. Conduct interviews with key members to confirm your initial needs assessment.
- Team and App Definition: Identify your internal app launch team and/or app owner. Task the team with defining your app features set or scope of work based on your needs uncovered during the assessment. These features can be shared with an internal or external team for development or purchase of your app platform.
- Marketing: Ta Da! Develop your marketing plan for app launch. This can be as simple as adding app teasers and launch announcements to your marketing calendar.
- Success Measurements: Determine your return on learning or key performance indicator for the app prior to building the app. What are the success measurements by which your app will be judged?
- Post Launch Touch Points: Your app owner doesn’t retire upon launch! Your app launch date isn’t the end of your app project, but the beginning of the life cycle phase of your app. Schedule periodic app touch point meetings with the app team and/or stakeholders to evaluate the app for new opportunities and any corrections needed long-term. On an annual basis (at a minimum) re-interview members and stakeholders to identify new app opportunities. The app’s performance and plan should be incorporated into your larger business plan and performance review.
As with your education program, the key to a successful app is careful planning, appropriate resource allocation, and continued support.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: We have teamed up with Aaron Wolowiec, Learning Strategist at Event Garde, to expand the above list into an executable plan for associations. The eBook “How to launch your own mobile app in just 8 steps!” is due out this fall. Join the 8 Steps eBook Waitlist