With the rise in digital marketing trends, marketers are not looking back at any cost. Any strategy that involves a quick layout, an e-commerce website, customer attention, and exclusivity is thriving today. The recent invite-only apps are a classified example of them. So what are the driving factors and benefits that fuel the invite-only strategy? Will it survive long term with the competition from customer-focused services/products, or will the glitter soon fade away? Let's understand more about the need to create such apps.
Invite-Only Apps are applications that require you to use the apps only after being invited to them by the company or current user. The development idea is simple where the company does a test run and collects feedback on user experience. They may have a waitlist or might have planned for a certain target group. While the app might be in beta mode, the users will not get access unless invited. Creating an account would also amount to restrictions unless verified by the company owners.
The app owners might target opening the app to only certain niche groups while avoiding crowds from others, such as Clubhouse. This audio app enables elite client groups to chat, share stories, and deepen friendships over at the app. Celebrities use Clubhouse to expand their influences and build communities with regular pitches from Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Hart, Oprah Winfrey, among others.
Marketing thrives on hype, and invite-only apps see it no different from what it is. By releasing their beta versions and helping people wait in the long lists, invite-only apps spark the customers' interest. People curious about the app stay for the updates and popularise it. Many apps started their journey through the invite-only strategy viz. Pinterest, Facebook, etc., and later invested in other strategies like video marketing and email marketing.
The best part of the invite-only strategy is to receive feedback from the initial customers and improve the service. Through beta testing, companies get an idea of what product or service is on-demand and how well the app will give it to its customers. Moreover, they also focus on minimizing loopholes generated during the beta testing phase.
Invite-only social media apps already create a buzz with their special invitation to exclusive members. While the buzz does its job, the initial members circulate the invitation to their networks that highlight the app's features. In a way, without spending on advertising and promotion events, they start getting customer attention.
An invite-only app strategy is great if the company has given a good thought to the structure of the app, the products, services, and customer experience. After all that buzz, there must be a product to survive in the competitive market. How otherwise does the strategy disappoint?
A company always strives to gather customers who would, later on, market the products/services through indirect marketing. There is great importance of user research as companies build their brands through that. Limiting users or exclusivity for selected groups can give a wrong idea to users who really want to be a part of the project. Also, when companies can tweak algorithms to filter spammers, why create a strategy that limits even genuine users?
Marketing is only the first part of a product launch; the rest is driven through performance. If the app does not deliver after all the hype, that's the end of it. Even agencies who write stories about the app will stop if the invite-only apps don't create an extraordinary user experience with those applications.
Adding on to the above point, if the app has triggered users to build expectations post the beta test phase and fails to create any value, in reality, that's a disappointment. For example, the latest invite-only app, Clubhouse, hasn't marked up its territory among giants like Facebook and Twitter because of the lack of a surviving strategy. Of course, users would look for something more than just connectivity, and they wish the app could present them with a better solution that does not exist in the market.
The number and quality of feedback will be limited to the users who got an invite in the beta testing phase. So, the app may be saved out of suggestions from interested groups of users who might have better ways to put up experiences or be genuine with their feedback.
One of the intelligent ways of app marketing is invite-only apps' strategy- selective access, creating hype, and network invites. The idea of the strategy is great to kickstart your startup, but if you wish to stay on the radar, you have to incorporate user feedback into your brand. You have to identify consumers' wants and needs, problems not yet been picked by other apps, and focus on providing a solution.
We have moved way past the initial internet revolution when unlocking the security and accessing the app meant everything. Easy download, access to app products are a thing, but the value of the products is equally important. Because let's not underestimate the vastness of the internet of things today, in the split of a second, an app maker can take up the problem you have been busy marketing, innovate, and develop a better alternative sooner than you.
So, the decision is yours, an invite-only app with an intricate business plan or a copied idea with one of the unique marketing strategies?
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A believer of good things and pursuer of diverse avocation, she is a fiction lover and a simple writer. Supriti has a number of professions to her list and she feels challenges are the only answers to failures.