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10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part Two

Disruptive apps create a ‘new normal’ for consumers and businesses alike. They make life easier and often improve upon the traditional practices that came before it. We look at five new apps that are changing the way we shop, find a car park and do chores.

A disruptive app strives to challenge the status quo within an industry – so much so that the traditional way of doing business becomes obsolete. That’s easier said than done, and a lot harder than creating an app that follows market trends and consumer demand. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

Well, as the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

In the first part, I discovered apps that aim to change the way we live. For instance, grabbing a coffee, finding nearby friends and even monitoring our health. I also discovered that these app startups that are crazy enough to think they can change world, are the ones who do.

Related: 10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part One

In this second part, I examine five more apps that disrupt the way we live our lives for the better.

 

1. Witness

What if live streaming, like those that run today on apps like Periscope or Meerkat, could be used to save lives? That’s the premise behind Witness – An app that does everything your phone can do to keep you safe in an emergency. With one touch, the app broadcast your location, audio and video to your loved ones and emergency contacts.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Live Mobile Video Streaming

Winner of the TechCrunch 2015 Hackathon, Witness can be activated by launching the app and pressing the ‘Witness’ button. As soon as you activate it, it will call and text your emergency contacts.

In addition to alerting your friends and family, Witness will record your location, camera and microphone activity. It also streams it over data and Wi-Fi to your emergency contacts in real time. In the meantime, your screen fades to black so nobody can notice that you’re streaming what’s happening.

Witness App

Source: iTunes

Changing the way we stay safe in an emergency

What makes Witness a game-changer in the live streaming app market is that rather than having the stream sent out to the public via social networks like Twitter, only designated contacts you’ve previously configured in the app’s settings are alerted to the incident via phone calls and text messages.

“Whatever emergency I have, I pretty much always have my phone and my wallet with me,” developer Marinos Bernitsas explains. That’s why he says it made sense to take advantage of the smartphone’s camera, microphone and GPS to build an app that could help keep people safe.

Operating as a ‘panic button’ of sorts for your iPhone, Witness empowers individuals and law enforcement agencies with a secure and efficient way to capture and deliver digital media in an emergency situation.

 

2. Membit

While searching for disruptive apps, I found that one of the most difficult industries to shake up was social networking. Companies like Facebook and Google are always striving, and spending, to remain at the forefront of how we connect to one another. With that being the case, how can a startup disrupt an industry where the most powerful are also the most innovative?

Well, when your app has a feature that Snapchat filed a patent for, it’s safe to say that you may have the attention of Silicon Valley. That’s what Membit has – a breakthrough mobile image sharing app that utilises a patented Human Positioning System (HPS) to share images.

Membit is a new way to share memories by letting users unlock past clips (‘membits’ ), captured at a specific location.

Changing the way we share memories

“Membit is destined to become the world’s way of memorialising and sharing moments that matter.” It’s a bold statement by Membit Founder Jay Van Buren. But when you consider the patented form of augmented reality the Membit has for geo-locative photo sharing, it’s a statement that he can say with confidence.

Membit photos know where they belong in the real world, and users can share Membits simply by leaving them in a particular place. Others can experience these images through a 3D interface or through their mobile devices at the Membit’s actual physical location. It’s a uniquely compelling way to experience and share photos.

 

3. Mallzee

Tinder-esque ‘swipe to filter’ interfaces (A.K.A. ‘Tinderfaces’) are in app vogue right now. ‘X app is the Tinder of Y’ has become the standard descriptive shorthand for this trend, named from the dating app Tinder which popularised making snap aesthetic judgements swipe style.

U.K. startup Mallzee is just one example of apps following in the gestural footsteps of Tinder by applying a Tinderface to high street shopping decisions.

The self-proclaimed ‘Tinder for Fashion’, Mallzee has captured the attention of fashion labels and investors alike. With a database that let’s you search over 2 million products from around 200 major brand retailers, the company has raised a nearly $6.7 million since being founded in 2013.

mallzee-app-screenshots

Source: Student Fashion

Changing the way we shop for clothes

Mallzee’s personalisation technology and retailer analytics appears to be the biggest draw here. The former creates what the startup describes as unique personalised style profiles that make finding ‘the perfect outfit’ quick and easy. This includes sending you alerts when items you have swiped-to-like are reduced in price.

For the retailers, Mallzee provides a data insight tool, which claims to provide ‘actionable real-time knowledge’ of how their products. For instance, how they are perceived and used across various consumer demographics, such as location, age and gender.

It’s quite the innovative shopping startup, but it’s Mallzee’s clever social twist that’s shaking up the personalised shopping experience for users. The app lets you share the item you intend to buy with friends. If the consensus is a thumbs-down, Mallzee will actually prohibit you from making a purchase — the buy button becomes disabled — helping to avoid any potential fashion faux pas. This feature could prove to be a viral hit with the young demographic. Or just a bit annoying. Time will tell.

 

4. DoStuff

Algorithms can’t tell you what to do tonight. You need a local who knows about all the events and can tell you what’ll actually be fun. That’s why DoStuff hire natives from cities across the United States to power recommendations in its new event discovery app.

The app is smartly designed to find awesome local events that are the real deal. While most other event aggregation apps force you through the chore of sifting out what’s good (I’m looking at you, That’s Melbourne!), DoStuff has real humans curating the events.

Changing the way we… well, do stuff!

So how does DoStuff stand out from the heavily saturated event discovery market? “There’s probably been 87,000 companies that have tried to tackle this,” DoStuff’s founder and CEO Scott Owens admits. “Where we’re different is that we’ve become a part of the scene in those communities by partnering with people.”

DoStuff understands that it doesn’t have to build an empire to create a disruptive app. The fact is that the companies perhaps best equipped data-wise to nail event recommendations just don’t care. EventBrite only makes money by selling tickets to events on its system, so Owens says “they’re fighting against themselves if they surface other things.”

Owens thinks similarly about Facebook. “It’s not in their DNA to be a part of a local community. They’re a platform.” Facebook knows where your friends are going, just not if where they’re going is any good.

Event discovery may be saturated, but that just shows there’s a clear need for it to be done well. DoStuff have realised that it’s people that are needed to do that.

 

5. Parkhound

After publishing the first part of this blog, I had a mate astutely say ‘Cool apps bro. Any Aussie ones?’. Considering Launchpad is Melbourne-based helping Australians develop their innovative app ideas, he had a good point.

As such, this app startup is disrupting a something that most Australians can relate to: finding a car park!

Enter Parkhound – An online marketplace that connects drivers looking for parking with local property owners who have spare parking spaces. A 2014 Australian Mobile and App Awards nominee, the app aims to make sure you won’t have to drive around aimlessly looking for a parking spot ever again.

Changing the way we find a car park

Parkhound works very similarly to Airbnb, but as a marketplace for empty parking spaces instead of rent accommodation. Drivers reserve a parking spot in advance and parking space owners get to make extra income on the side.

As a Melbourne motorist that heads to the city every morning, here’s how I feel about this app…

Blog Meme

As indicated in the above meme, parking has been a major issue for all Australian motorists. Lack of investment in infrastructure meant that parking is either unavailable or is too expensive.

Instead of ignoring the issue, Parkhound has decided to challenge it head on. The solution? parking spaces need to be better utilised. Through collaborative consumption, here’s hoping that Parkhound can give the Australian parking industry the much needed shake-up it deserves.

 

Bonus App (Surprise!)

Apps like Tinder have gained popularity by shallowly focusing on physical attractiveness. It’s unfortunate, but also understandable. How is another way someone can find the perfect match with an app? Well, Oscar Mayer believes it has found the perfect equation for this and it all comes down to bacon.

Last month, the company released Sizzl, a dating app that allows lovestruck users a closed network of bacon lovers where they can scour for their ideal dates. This ‘totally real dating app’ allows people to “specify their bacon preferences in a customisable profile, upload photos and start swiping through profiles of local fellow bacon lovers, with the ability to message and meet up with other Sizzl users based on a mutual-matching system,” according to a company press release.

Changing the way bacon lovers find their soulmate

“In love, as it is in bacon, it’s important to be discerning when selecting your perfect match and to never settle for less than the best,” said Eric Dahmer, Oscar Mayer’s marketing director in a statement. “With the launch of Sizzl, we’re thrilled to give our true bacon lovers the chance to find each other and potentially meet their soulmates, in life and in bacon.”

This is a real app, and you really can attempt to meet your love match via a bacon-based matching service. It may not be disrupting the online dating industry anytime soon, but let’s be honest — it can’t be any worse than what’s already out there.

Are there any other disruptive (or bacon-centric) apps we should be checking out? We’d love to hear about them.

 

VALIDATE-MY-IDEA!

 

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4 Key Elements to Write Blogs for Your App Startup

Photo Source: Essential App Marketing

Entrepreneurs need to market their App startups. When it comes to marketing an App offering online, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to spread the word about your App and position yourself as an industry expert. But an effective blog post is not the same as churning out written content.

Effective content marketing is about telling really great stories that connect with your target audience. To write a great blog that attracts clicks, reads, and shares from your target market, there are key elements that need to be incorporated.

As part of my blog writing practices for Launchpad App Development and our clients, I have researched the methodology applied by Online Marketing expert Neil Patel and formatted the key app marketing elements to accomplish the writing goals of successful App Entrepreneurs.

So, without further ado, here are the four key elements of successful blog posts when marketing your app.

The Title

The headline is vitally important to a blog post’s success, as it is the first piece of content your audience will read. You may have put a substantial amount of time and effort into writing the blog, but if no one clicks it because the headline is boring, you might as well have not written anything to promote your app.

Research from Copyblogger found that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, while approximately only 2 out of 10 will continue on to read the blog post.

So how do you create a title that has the power to draw eyes and clicks?

Use the following practices to create your blog headline:

Give yourself at least 30 minutes to generate a great headline

Do not rush the key element in grabbing the initial attention of your target market. Instead, apply a different kind of R&R once you have written the blog content: Research & Review.

Research articles that cover similar topics to your app product, as well as the titles of those that received a high-volume of shares and comments from readers. How were the headlines effective in getting the online audience to read the article?

Review the content you have prepared for your blog. More specifically, assess the keywords you have applied throughout your writing. This will help to understand the point you want to communicate in the headline and the keywords that will advance your audience to be engaged, read on and, in turn, download your app.

Include numbers to catch the eye of readers

Research has shown that including numbers in a title directly leads to more clicks and shares of the written content. Along with a subtitle of how long a blog will take to read (E.g. Read in 5 minutes), this technique helps the reader to know exactly what to expect, timewise. If a title includes that the blog is comprised of ‘5 tips’, no more and no less, than the audience, can instantaneously make a decision on whether they have the time to read on.

Example: The title for Launchpad’s ‘Naming Your App’ Blog

✗   How to Name An App – Overused phrase in ‘How to’ with no keywords that express the blog’s benefits or prompt action from the reader.

✓   A 3 Step Guide to Naming Your App – Clearly states what to expect from reading on (‘3 Step Guide’) and engages the reader to do so (‘Your App’).

 

The Structure

So your title has persuaded people to click on your blog post. Now your content needs to sell your app.

Here’s some proof why content sells: In one study, 71% of B2B marketers used content marketing to generate leads, and content marketing generated three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but cost 62% less.

If you want potential customers to read on and engage with the content, you need to organise the layout of your blog. Organising the flow of the blog into easily digestible content will determine whether readers leave your page without care or stick around to get the most out of your app offering.

Here’s the model you should follow to engage readers with your blog content:

Introduction – Set the stage for your discussion

After the title, this is the next step to hooking the interest of your audience. Therefore, you’ve got to have a hook within your introduction. The hook of your introduction is where you truly grab the attention of the reader and is preferably achieved by presenting a problem that your reader desperately wants solved.

So what constitutes a hook?

A question is one of the most effective techniques to draw people in. Once a question is posed, our natural response is to look for an answer. Another technique is to tell a story. Depending on your particular audience, a story that readers can relate to is the quickest way to grab the attention of your target audience.

Example: The hook in ‘How To Make Your App A Money Maker

  • How can you be sure that you are moving forward with the best monetisation strategy for your app concept? We examine the ideal business models available to help you generate the most revenue.

  ✓ Presents a premise that any App Entrepreneur can relate to.

  ✓ Poses a question to prompt the action to read on and find out the answer.

Body – Make your points and explain them

Your planned blog is made up of any number of tips, steps, ideas or any other particular way to itemize your written content. Each of these points makes up the body of your blog post. Therefore, each point must be something that your readers can latch onto by solving the problem you have presented to them in the premise.

Be sure to outline each point and explain them in a succinct manner with the use of subheadings, paragraph breaks, and bullet points. Do this for each point you want to communicate to the reader. Solving your reader’s problem in this organised and clear manner will ultimately decide whether they respond to the call to action at the end of your blog or not.

The Visual Appeal

Reading text on a screen is a lot different than reading it on paper. Whereas a magazine article can feature long paragraphs and complex sentences, blogs need to be visually broken up in some way to help readers understand the content. Therefore, how you present your blog in terms of format, imagery and length is what will make the written content look professional and approachable to the reader.

Focus on the following details to improve the visual appeal of your blog:

Format – Use headings, subheadings, and dot points

When reading online content, research has shown that Internet users gravitate towards shorter blocks of text that are broken up with space around and between lines. The reason for this is that many users often skim through online content in comparison to printed publications.

Therefore, you must format your blog in a way that allows the reader to easily speed-read through it, while still digesting the content and being prompted to your call to action. The best way to accomplish this is shorter sentences and paragraphs, subheadings for each point you are making, and dot points to communicate a concept in an efficient and effect manner.

Images – Use them to enhance the written content

First things first: The written content of your blog is the most important thing for search engine optimisation and to spread the word about your App. However, your blog will be more aesthetically appealing if it includes images that are complementary to your written content. Therefore, you should have a goal to include 1 to 3 strategic images that help your readers and enhance your content.

Smartphones in the air

Content-relevant images enhance the aesthetic appeal of your Blog. Source: News Cred

Length – As long as it takes to say what you need to say

The ideal length for a blog post is a matter that remains under continuous debate. However, all the market research and data point to long-form content performing better in social sharing, search indexing, organic traffic, and conversions.

Your aim should be to regularly create content that is in the 1,000 to 1,500-word range. As long as this written content is broken up into manageable blocks with strategically placed images, your blog will attract people based on visual appeal.

The Call to Action

The call to action is the way to achieve results from your blog post. The blog content has an eye-catching title, a clear structure and is visually appealing. Now that the reader is ready to respond, do, click and/or engage, you need a call to action.

What do you want the readers of your blog to do? Whether it’s capturing an email address, visiting another page or downloading an App, the call to action is the key to accomplishing this.

Truly effective calls to action begin and end with a strong, compelling conclusion to your blog post. The conclusion needs to feature an appeal – the reader should be invited to take the next step or do the next logical thing.

Example: The conclusion and call to action for this very blog!

Blog writing is one of the most effective content marketing methods for App Entrepreneurs to connect with their target audience.

In my experience, you need to carefully consider the Title, Structure, Visual Appeal and Call to Action of your blog to ensure that your potential app consumers engage with your content.

If you have an approach to app marketing that includes this blog writing methodology, you’ll start generating more traffic, build your startup and, most importantly, increase app downloads and user loyalty.

What other tips do you have for writing an app blog? Please share your thoughts and let other readers know!

✓ Strong and compelling in summarising the blog’s main points.

✓ Invites and guides the reader toward the next logical step.