From specialized shops like Mokriya, PaperKite and Vogey, to digital powerhouses like Digitas, there are thousands of agencies across the globe all vying for new app business. Although every company wants to be different, among a pool of thousands, it’s difficult to get noticed, let alone be remembered.
Before launching our mobile marketing automation platform, Carnival developed apps for some of the biggest brands in the world. Our eight years in mobile tech and the startup world has taught us a lot, including these five tactics to stand apart from the competition.
1. Specialize to be the best in the world
Every world-class organization is truly great at just a handful of things. Your agency should be no exception. While it may be difficult to differentiate yourself in the early days, it’s much easier to tell your story, get referral business, and win pitches if you’ve got a clear focus. Whether it’s on-demand services, retail apps, working with brands, or something else – gain an understanding of the specific issues of one industry. Building a library of case studies will allow you to legitimately claim to possess unmatched skills and expertise in a specific niche.
2. Publish useful content (and make sure it’s seen!)
Thought leadership builds credibility and trust, as clients look to you to solve the very problems they’re thinking about. Think about the issues that impact your clients and create content that offers insights on ways to address the issues. But just like the tree falling in the woods, if you create great content but no-one reads it, you may as well not have bothered. You should spend as much time maximizing content distribution as you do creating it. While social is a great channel to give your content reach, a few tweets or a Facebook post aren’t going to get you the eyeballs you deserve. Consider guest posts on prominent industry blogs, and respond to and start threads on Quora.
3. Tout your successes
You’ve got smart folks. You’ve won awards. Make sure that this is reflected prominently on your website. You know how you skilled you are, but your potential clients may not. If Apple selected you to be one of the first developers for a new product, make sure that’s front and center on your homepage. Touting your wins will give prospects confidence that you’re worthy of their trust.
4. Sell solutions, not services
A customer’s goal is to drive revenue by engaging their customers on mobile. Too often we focus on just selling developer services, rather than actually solving the customer’s problem. Every agency should be able to intelligently advise their customers on running an app, not just building it. This includes how to promote and distribute the app, what analytics to pay attention to, messaging for post-launch engagement, and even how to build out a team to run a successful app. By doing this, you position yourself as a trusted advisor to your clients and an integral part of their team, rather than a commodity provider of development services.
5. Partner for success
Delivering across all these areas is tough. Few agencies have the skills to excel in every area, and may not be able to support full-time employees. So work with partners to fill these gaps. Look for partners who want this kind of relationship, will invest in upskilling you and your team, and ideally who will share the rewards with you. As it happens, this is just how we’ve designed our new Mobile Agency Program at Carnival.
What else? We’d love to hear what has helped your agency stand apart.