18 May
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Geo-Fencing: Location-Based Mobile Engagement

geo-fence mobile app

 

What is a geo-fence?

A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. The virtual area is set up using global positioning system (GPS) technology. The majority of geo-fences work together with a mobile device and a downloaded mobile app. In most cases, as a mobile device enters a geo-fence, it triggers a pre-programmed action on the device.

 

 

How does a geo-fence work?

We will explain the process as if your geo-fence is working in conjunction with a mobile app.

First, the virtual area must be configured by an administrator in the backend of your mobile app. For many applications, this involves accessing a content management system and setting a longitude and latitude for the desired area. The administrator then determines how large the geographic boundary will be, in meters. The size of your geo-fence is set drawing a radius from the latitude and longitude and creates a virtual circle around your defined area. The final step is to determine what type of location-timed service you are going to provide, either a local notification or location-specific content.

Second, the user must have your app installed and they’ll require location services turned on for your app. It’s important to ensure the app users have location services turned on in order for your geo-fence to function.

 

How to use geo-fences

Geo-fencing is most commonly performed with local notifications. As a mobile device enters the pre-defined area, the device will become “activated” within the geo-fence. At 14 Oranges, we provide you two options for using geo-fences:

 

1. Automatically send a local notification to the user within seconds of the app user entering your defined perimeter. The notification can provide information, link them to other pages within the app, external URLs, and mobile resources.

2. Activate content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined area. When a user enters the area, they “unlock” new pieces of content in the app that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

Real-World Example: Snapchat

Snapchat uses geo-fence technology to enable specific filters as mobile devices enter new areas; this an example of “unlocking” location-based content. If you’ve used apps like Snapchat in the past, you’ve probably noticed this location-based service. Location-based filters and stickers are widely used with Snapchat. Most major cities in North America have their own unique Snapchat filter made with a geo-fence which covers city limits.

 

snapchat geo-fence

 

Benefits of geo-fences

There are countless benefits of geo-fence technology working with a mobile app, the most significant being improved mobile engagement. Geo-fencing allows you to notify your app users at the most relevant time or provide more relevant content. Businesses, governments, organizations, and events have a powerful toolkit for reaching their target audience in a timely fashion with geo-fences.

 

Geo-fences for Cities

 

geo-fence cities

 

Cities have a unique opportunity with geo-fence technology. Cities have a guaranteed user base for location-enabled services, as the citizens move around the city every day. Cities can set up geo-fences in the downtown shopping areas, parks and recreation facilities, and relevant boundaries.

Cities can use geo-fences to set up notifications to connect citizens to local deals, discounts, or events, and provide useful information about the physical area they’ve just entered. For example, as a user approaches a trailhead for a hike, they could be greeted with information about rules and safety in the outdoors.

 

Geo-fences for Associations

 

association geo-fence

 

Associations are able to use geo-fences in a few creative ways to enhance member engagement and the overall member (mobile) experience.

 

EVENTS:

Events are a great way to leverage geo-fence technology for associations and organizations. As attendees enter the venue, you’re able to greet them with an automated notification. A geo-fence could remind them about the day’s activities, schedule, or direct them to more content in the app. Add a new geo-fence for every day of the event, or set up a few smaller perimeters for larger events.

Also, associations can enable content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined radius. When a user enters the event, they “unlock” new content for the event that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

ADVOCACY:

Associations are routinely engaging members with grassroots advocacy campaigns. Try setting up a geo-fence around your state legislature or political building and remind users as they cross the radius to contact his or her representative. The notification will likely be viewed as relevant and less obstructive than usual push notifications, as the user is physically located near the building you’ve chosen.

If your mobile app integrates with KnowWho, an online government directory for advocacy, the geo-fence can link users to send an email or phone his or her representative regarding the advocacy issue.

 

MEMBER BENEFITS:

Many associations provide members with a variety of benefits. So many in fact, that members often forget what’s available to them. Enable geo-fence locations around physical storefronts for member benefits.

For example, an association may offer a bank or credit union account or car rental services with membership, so a geo-fence could be set up around those locations to send reminder notifications to members.

You will most likely require members to possess his or her membership card (QR Code) within the mobile app if they wish to redeem their benefits at the locations.

 

Geo-fences for Businesses

 

business geo-fence

 

Businesses with a physical storefront have a competitive advantage with geo-fencing, especially if the business has people returning often, like a restaurant or clothing store. If your business has multiple locations, you can configure separate location-timed notifications.

Sending a local notification to users who already have your app installed will go a long way for increased customer loyalty. For example, configure a geo-fence so when an app user gets within 2km of your storefront, they receive a push notification with a code for 10% off their next purchase. Within the notification, you can list the details of the promo, such as “valid only at our downtown location” or “expires within 24h”.

 

Potential Limitations

 

HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS

 

high rise building

 

It’s important to remember that geo-fences leverage longitude and latitude when generating a perimeter, so a geo-fence can only measure the width of a certain space and not the height.

Why is this important? High rise buildings present a few obstacles for geo-fences.

Example: For a 12 story building, only one geo-fence can be enabled for the entire building. You are not able to add a geo-fence for each floor as the user is passing through the same radius for each floor. If you are attempting to integrate location-based services for this type of scenario, a beacon would be a better fit.

Also, many high rise buildings may interfere with the connectivity of cellular devices to global positioning systems, meaning the geo-fence may not detect the device has entered the area.

 

LOCATION SERVICES

 

location services

We have already touched on location services, but it’s important to discuss again. At the end of the day, if the user does not have location services and data/wifi enabled, they will not receive the geo-fence content.

We recommend reminding users to turn on the feature in their settings, especially for city apps or events. Make sure you explain to the user the benefit of turning these services on and what type of information they will receive.

 

How to set up geo-fences with Info Grove

 

In Info Grove, we define geo-fences as “Location Links.” The reason for this is because geo-fences leverage user locations and often link users to a new location in the mobile app.

 

info grove mobile apps

 

Step 1: Define your geo-fence

The “Name” you choose is only for internal purposes and will not be seen by app users.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 2: Set your geo-fence

We recommend opening Google Maps and clicking on the centre of your desired location. After you click on the centre, Google Maps will automatically generate a longitude and latitude (example: 49.185974, -123.144002)

 

google maps geo-fence

 

Enter the longitude and latitude in the Info Grove backend. Then, determine how large you want your geo-fence to be. Info Grove recommends making the radius no smaller than 100m to improve accuracy of location services.

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 3: Set your location-link (if necessary)

Info Grove gives you the option to redirect people when they click on the geo-fence. If you’re providing additional information, you can use this section to define the landing page in the app. You’re able to send users to any of the modules you’ve created in Info Grove. Setting a location is optional; however, if you leave the space blank it will launch the home page of the app when clicked on.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


 

Step 4: Set local notification (if applicable)

 

 

 


End Result!

As app users enter your geo-fence they will be greeted with a timely local notification!

 

 

If you’re having trouble with your geo-fence, contact us at support@14oranges.com. Or, if you want to learn more about our geo-fence technology and Info Grove, contact us as sales@14oranges.com.

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

26 Apr
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Mobile Apps for Cities: 10 Citizen Engagement Features

city mobile apps

Cities across North America are developing mobile apps as a new way of reaching citizens in a mobile-first environment. In 2017, the average user spent over two hours a day on mobile apps, and over three hours a day for millennials. Mobile apps present a new avenue to reach citizens, gather insight and opinions, and connect them to local services and events. We often see cities tackling mobile communication with a single-focus app, such as a 311 report or garbage schedule app. While we do see immense value in these types of apps, we believe that a complete city app, with a wide-range of services, provides the most value to citizens. For example, the City of Hamilton uses our Info Grove platform to send emergency notifications, promote events, link citizens to jobs and other services.

 

In addition to the City of Hamilton, we’ve worked with the City of Surrey and several U.S. counties to provide new avenues for mobile-first citizen engagement. Here are the top 10 features to include in a city app for citizen engagement:

 

 

 

1. 311 Reports

 

 

311 report mobile app

 

 

Allow citizens to complete reports in the mobile app to notify city staff regarding important issues.

311 reports provide citizens with the tools to report any problems to the city, such as potholes, graffiti, or property damage. Ideally, you’re able to configure each report so it’s emailed to the appropriate staff member.

 

2. Emergency Notifications

 

 

emergency notification mobile app

 

 

Keep citizens up to date with push notifications for city emergencies.

The City of Hamilton uses push notifications to inform citizens about road closures, weather warnings, and changes in hours of operation for public facilities.

 

 

3. Startup Questions

 

 

personalized mobile app

 

 

Allow citizens to personalize their experience with the mobile app with startup questions.

Not every push notification needs to be sent to every app user. Startup questions give the power to the citizen to determine how often they want to be notified.

 

 

4. Spatial-Based Triggers

 

 

geofencing mobile app

 

 

Integrate geo-fence technology to alert citizens who enter a specific location with push notifications or location-specific content.

For example, when an app user reaches the trailhead for a hike, he or she would automatically be sent a push notification with trail details and any relevant information.

 

 

5. Things To Do

 

 

parks and rec mobile app

 

 

Provide an active directory of things to do in the city. Users should be able to sort by “near me”

Connect citizens to public parks, recreation facilities, hiking trails, shopping malls, bike routes, and other points of interest. The City of Surrey links users to its large system of bike routes for easy access.

 

 

6. Event Information

 

 

event mobile app

 

 

Keep citizens informed with everything happening in the city.

Allow citizens to add events to their native calendars, share on social media, and get directions. Create new content to promote new festivals and conferences in the city.

 

 

7. Weather

 

 

weather mobile app

 

 

A good mobile app has features that keep users coming back for more. Every citizen is interested in weather, right?

Including an active weather widget in the app encourages citizens to launch the app on an ongoing basis and will link them to other app features.

 

 

8. Contact Information

 

 

contact list mobile app

 

 

Two-way communication is vital. Provide citizens with a city contact list organized by citizen need or department.

Allow citizens to email, phone, or schedule a meeting with staff representatives.

 

 

9. City Resources

 

 

city job mobile app

 

 

The list of resources will vary depending on each city’s specific needs:

  • Garbage/recycling schedules
  • Jobs and employment opportunities
  • Renew dog licenses
  • Public transit schedules
  • Pay a parking ticket

 

 

10. Social Media Integration

 

 

social media mobile app

 

 

Gaining organic engagement on social media is difficult. Are citizens even viewing your Tweets?

Integrate your social media accounts in the app and connect users to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube account.

 

Conclusion

 

The most important feature to include in a city app is updated content. Whatever features you decide to implement, whether a 311 report, garbage schedule, or local events, if your content is outdated or irrelevant you will not gain a consistent user base. Unfortunately, many cities fall behind in this category and we are left with archaic city apps in the app stores. To combat this challenge, a mobile app should find ways to integrate to current communications, such as a website hosted with WordPress or Drupal.

However, you’ll likely have content that does require ongoing maintenance. If you’re choosing to outsource your development to save costs and gain expertise, look for an app service that provides a backend content management system so non-technical staff can log in and update content — no coding required. Also, don’t forget to set up Google Firebase Analytics to track your success!

 

Interested in building a mobile app for your city? Click here to see if Info Grove is right for you!

 

20 Apr
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

14 Oranges Joins Wavefront’s Trusted Partner Network to Drive Digital Transformation

Wavefront and 14 Oranges partner to jointly deliver innovative mobile app solutions to enterprises looking to digitally transform.

 

 

 

 

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wavefront Innovation Society (“Wavefront”), a Centre of Excellence headquartered in Vancouver, BC, announced today a new partnership with 14 Oranges Software Inc. (“14 Oranges”), a premier mobile application development company. 14 Oranges is the latest addition to Wavefront’s trusted partner network, a group of companies dedicated to driving mobile and IoT innovation in Canada.

Wavefront and 14 Oranges will collaborate to deliver mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions into large enterprises. With complementary expertise and resources, the companies are jointly positioned to drive digital transformation across Canada through thought leadership and innovative solutions.

Wavefront works with mobile and IoT companies at all stages of their lifecycle and across multiple industry sectors to launch new business models, change organizational processes and enhance enterprise customers’ experiences. As an innovation intermediary, Wavefront helps large enterprises digitally transform their business by connecting them to innovative Canadian startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

With extensive experience in product and mobile app development, 14 Oranges brings tremendous value to the Wavefront trusted partner network. Founded in 2009, the company serves a range of organizations including government, retail, entertainment and telecom clients. 14 Oranges has been a member of the Wavefront community for many years, participating in Wavefront’s Accelerator programs in the past to grow their business.

“Wavefront chose to work with 14 Oranges for their expertise in product and mobile app development,” says Christian Magsisi, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions with Wavefront. “We are thrilled to have their team support the delivery of mobile solutions into large enterprises who are looking to increase their digital capacity.”

“We are excited to partner with Wavefront to offer our services to organizations across North America. Since joining the Wavefront Entrepreneurship program in 2011, our company has benefited greatly from the mentorship, resources and connections provided by Wavefront and we couldn’t be prouder to now become a trusted partner,” says Sylvain Marcotte, CEO of 14 Oranges.

Wavefront is actively looking to expand the trusted partner network by onboarding Canadian SMEs to jointly deliver mobile and IoT solutions into large enterprise. By partnering with companies who have graduated from Wavefront’s Accelerator and Global Market Entry Programs, Wavefront continues to strengthen Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

About Wavefront

Wavefront is Canada’s leader in transforming business through mobile and IoT innovation. We are a centre for commercialization for companies in the wireless and IoT technologies space. Our vision is to build a globally relevant, nationally connected ecosystem that delivers digital capacity, competitiveness and prosperity for Canadians.

About 14 Oranges

Located in Vancouver, 14 Oranges works with the philosophy of serving our customers by understanding both your business problem and mobile application needs, delivering a complete mobile solution.

For more information, contact:
Elise Asanias, Content Manager, Wavefront
elise.asanias@wavefront.ca
(778) 331-7485

18 Apr
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Mount Seymour Little Leagues Goes Mobile! With a new app available on iOS and Android

mount seymour little league

 

The Mount Seymour Little League has launched its new mobile app for players, parents, coaches, and fans to stay connected with all things baseball in Mount Seymour.

mount seymour baseball mobile app

 

 

 

The MSLL provides baseball for boys and girls ages 5 to 19 in the Deep Cove and Seymour communities of North Vancouver, B.C. The Little League promotes fun, friendship, sportsmanship, volunteerism, and skills development to players of all ages and abilities.

 

The mobile app, available for free on both iOS and Android, acts as an all-in-one toolkit for league information.

 

 

sports team mobile app

 

 

The MSLL mobile app includes game schedules, local weather, rules, field locations, and other league information. People can use the MSLL app to:


– View game schedules for all age divisions
– Filter game schedules by division and/or field location
– Browse the league event calendar and sign up for events
– Check out the local Deep Cove weather forecast

– View the Myrtle Park concession schedule
– Access useful volunteer information about scorekeeping, pitch counting, and field prep
– Download the MSLL division rules
– Verify a player’s Little League baseball age
– Access information and maps for MSLL baseball diamond locations around North Vancouver
– View contact list for the MSLL Executive Committee and Division Coordinators
– Stay up to date with quick access to the website and social media pages
– Watch MSLL videos including coaches training
– Report an injury to our Safety Officer

 

The mobile app allows users to personalize their mobile experience with the Mount Seymour Little League. After first launching the mobile app, users are asked “startup questions” which let them define what baseball teams are relevant to them. 

 

 

startup questions mobile app

 

 

The mobile app uses 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform, which allows league staff to send targeted push notifications to relevant users using the info from the startup questions. For example, parents of Rally Caps would not be notified for a rain delay affecting Minors AA. Users are able to change their answers at anytime by going to the setting option in the app. 

 

The league administrators also plan to use push notifications to alert users about large events, picture days, and coaching clinics. 

 

Download the Mount Seymour Little League mobile app today!

 

 

02 Apr
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Why Mobile Optimization Should Be Your Focus for 2018 REPOST: From Small Business BC

website development

To view the original post from Small Business BC, click here.


In 2017, nearly 70% of all media time was spent on smartphones, on either a mobile app or a website. Just a few years ago, having a website was the bare minimum for a business. In 2018, a mobile-responsive website is now the benchmark for success. As we move towards a mobile-first society, mobile optimization is necessary for customer engagement and retention. At the same time, we also see increased use of mobile apps by the public. So, what is best for your business? A mobile-responsive website or a mobile app?

Mobile Responsive Websites

Going with a mobile responsive website model has the following advantages:

  • Content is being increasingly consumed on mobile devices over desktop.

  • It helps site usability by improving the user interface and user experience, making it easier for customers to access your content. It’s important to ensure your content consistent across all platforms, including iPhones, Androids, iPads, tablets, and desktops.

  • Google values mobile-friendly websites, so it helps search rankings (SEO) while decreasing your bounce rate for mobile traffic.

  • Ideal for your social media marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., especially if you’re driving traffic back to your website.

  • Mobile ecommerce is on the rise. People are getting more comfortable completing shopping orders on mobile devices. Look at the latest stats from Black Friday and Cyber Monday from 2017.

  • Improves email marketing campaigns that direct traffic to websites, if the user opens emails on their smartphone.

Not sure when it’s time to take mobile engagement one step further? Here’s why a mobile app is better than a website for brand engagement, and when it’s time to upgrade.

Mobile App Advantages

  • Apps are faster than websites.

  • Apps are more convenient and familiar than mobile-websites.

  • Mobile apps can offer offline support to content without needing wifi or data.

  • Apps better integrate with social media and help increase organic engagement.

  • Apps provide improved access to onboard services (i.e. native calendar, GPS, Google Maps, beacons, camera, and targeted push notifications.)

When to Upgrade?

  • When mobile traffic surpasses desktop traffic.

  • When you’re ready to adjust to changing demographics (millennials)

  • When you see a high percentage of returning visitors (via analytics) and want to increase brand loyalty, engagement, and grow returning customers.

  • When your email open rate is lower than industry standard.

  • When you want to leverage targeted push notifications (based on age, location, interests, etc.)

  • Promote two-way communication by having forms, surveys, and polls in the app.

  • If you want to run mobile campaigns in 2018 by using notifications for promotions, events, and news. Encourage action by the user, such as “share on social to be entered to win!”, “add the event to your native calendar”, or “One-day sale! Stop by today!”

  • When you want to increase revenue and cut costs by adding banner advertisements in the app and cutting print media.

The first step for any business is to ensure your content is accessible across all devices. It’s important to consider the user interface and user experience as they interact with your mobile website or app. Review your current website analytics and display the primary use cases in easy to spot areas for all devices. For example, items such as contact us and services should be easy to find. Ensuring your website is mobile-responsive is the first step to converting website visitors into leads.

26 Mar
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

City of Pittsburgh Mobile App Allows Citizens to Report Fraud

pittsburgh logo

pittsburgh mobile app

The City of Pittsburgh is taking a mobile-first approach to government accountability and transparency.

 

Pittsburgh residents and employees who suspect the fraud, theft or waste of city dollars can now report it through a mobile app.

“We have employees in every neighborhood in the city. We have citizens who are watching them. This gives an opportunity for citizens to immediately report any of that kind of activity that they believe to be waste or misuse,” said City Controller, Michael Lamb.

This app increases government transparency by bringing mobile accessibility of information to citizens and stakeholders of the City of Pittsburgh. Citizens and staff for the City of Pittsburgh can use the mobile app to:

 

    • Learn more about the Office of the Controller and its role as the independent watchdog of the city’s resources. 
    • Report fraud, waste, and abuse against the City of Pittsburgh. 
    • Search city contracts, campaign donations and expenditures of candidates for City offices, and lobbyist that do business with the City. 
    • Use Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh to create and analyze custom reports on the City’s financial data. 
    • Search Unclaimed Property to see if the City owes citizens or businesses money. 
    • Read Pittsburgh’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the detailed explanation of the City’s revenues and expenditures, or the abbreviated version, Popular Annual Financial Report. 
    • Find City Financial and Performance Audits to see how Pittsburgh has ensured your tax dollars are working for citizens. 
    • Connect with Pittsburgh through social media to get all the latest news from the City office and about City finances. 
    • Give Pittsburgh feedback on how to better to protect Pittsburgh’s finances. 

 

The mobile app collects and stores all forms and information from the app in a backend content management system. All reports are submitted anonymously to ensure citizen safety and confidentiality.

 

The City of Pittsburgh mobile app was built and maintained using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove software.

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

Governments across North America are using Info Grove to reach citizens using a mobile-first approach. Info Grove allows multiple levels of government staff to access the backend to add and edit content in real-time. To learn how Info Grove can help your city, visit our government page today.

15 Mar
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

CityApp: A Mobile App for Citizens of Hamilton

city of hamilton logo

The City of Hamilton has launched “CityApp”, a new way for citizens to find news and information in a mobile-first environment.

CityApp was built to provide the most used tools from the City of Hamilton website into a mobile app. After scanning website analytics, City staff identified several primary use cases that became primary integrations in the app. Converting these features into a mobile app environment helps decrease obstacles that citizens face when completing tasks. Download the app for iPhone and Android today!

Mobile-First Approach

hamilton mobile app
 

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says it’s about taking advantage of the tools that people “tend to travel around with and use most often.”
Since the app has launched, Eisenberger notes there are “12 different areas you can delve into” such as transit, recreational services and waste collection. Types of features include:

 

  • Access waste collection resources, including our interactive waste collection calendar and sorting tools.

     

  • View and filter drop-in recreation schedules by date or location. Add classes to your calendar and get notifications when drop-in programs are cancelled or facilities have emergency closures.

     

  • Browse job opportunities in the City.

     

  • ‘Near Me’ GPS functionality – find local events and festival listings based upon distance from your current location.

     

  • Read recent media releases from the City.

     

  • Find and contact Councillors, easily add committee meetings to your smartphone calendar, check meeting agendas and watch videos of Council sessions.

     

  • Check out City of Hamilton’s official Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels.

     

  • Pay and view parking tickets.

     

  • Access public transit routes and schedules.

     

  • Buy or renew your dog license, and find a dog park.

     

  • Access information regarding Food Safety and inspection results of restaurants in the City.

     

  • View city locations, including parking lots, flu shot clinics, fire stations, hospitals, swimming pools, and more.

     

  • Write a feedback survey to provide input about the mobile app, feature set, and what to improve.

 

When users first download CityApp, they are prompted to answer a series of start-up questions to personalize their experience with the app. Users are asked questions such as what area of Hamilton they live in and specific services or topics of interest. This allows the City of Hamilton to send out notifications for emergencies, road closures, program cancellations, and service changes citywide or surrounding areas only.

 

A Dynamic Mobile Experience

 

The City of Hamilton plans to update the app on an ongoing basis and provide new links and resources for citizens. The CityApp is built and maintained using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform, allowing city staff to easily update and edit content in the app. Info Grove is built with a unique framework that allows City staff without a technical background to make changes in the app.

 

At any time, citizens are able to update their preferences to receive more or less push notifications. Citizens are also encouraged to give their opinions about the app and how it can be improved.

 

“We are working hard to grow our digital capacity and provide residents and visitors with a better online experience. Our new CityApp provides more opportunities to access information and interact with the City of Hamilton on the go. I encourage our residents and visitors to download CityApp and take advantage of this new, convenient and fun way to access our programs and services.”  – Mayor Fred Eisenberger

While growing its digital capacity, City of Hamilton staff were trained on how to use the content management system tied to Info Grove. City of Hamilton staff have access to the backend where they can add and edit content, send push notifications, collect forms and data, and create banner ads for emergencies. The system is easy to learn and is able to sync with 3rd party tools, such as WordPress and Drupal.

To learn more about the app platform that the City of Hamilton is using to reach its citizens, visit our Info Grove page today!

Info Grove Mobile Apps

13 Mar
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Mobile Apps for Associations: 6 Must-Have Features Member Engagement & Communication

association mobile apps

Advocacy associations often have a difficult time connecting with members regarding industry news and events. As email open rates decline, association executives are searching for new ways of reaching members to keep everyone informed. In order to match the changing demographics (millennials), associations are beginning to migrate to mobile apps.

Within the last few years, many advocacy associations have begun developing mobile apps to provide members with a mobile-first approach to engagement. Mobile-first strategies are implemented with the goal of allowing members to access content on the platform of their choice, and not limiting the user to a desktop. If your association is considering a mobile app for member engagement, here are six must-have features to guarantee mobile engagement.

1) Targeted push notifications

Sending a mass push notification is the same as sending a mass email, though useful, segmenting communication will increase engagement and open rates. Mobile apps for associations must be equipped with targeted push notifications so members don’t feel overwhelmed with constant alerts.

Associations should target members based on a variety of factors, such as age, location, personal interests, profession, etc. When members first launch the mobile app, they should be asked a series of questions to personalize their experience with your new app.

The Washington State Pharmacy Association asks users to list their profession (either pharmacist, retired, student, or pharmacist technician). In doing so, the WSPA can send news and information to those who it’s most relevant; meaning students will not be notified for events regarding retired professionals in Washington.

arkansas education association mobile app

2) Polls, surveys, and forms

When adopting a mobile-first strategy, integrating polls and surveys is critical for two-way communication. Associations are able to collect data and information that help better understand the needs and opinions of members for future development. It’s important to eliminate barriers that members face when attempting to engage with your association – make engagement as easy as possible.

Use polls to ask members about recent legislative initiatives, their favourite parts of the app, or whatever your association finds most important. Coupled with targeted push notifications, quick polls are a powerful tool to receive member insight fast.

It’s important to ensure that the polls you create are linked to a backend data source for collection and organization. If the poll requires immediate attention, such as a live event or political policy action, it would help for association staff to receive the forms via email or text if needed.

association mobile apps

3) Event integration

Gone are the days of “one-and-done” event apps. Associations are now realizing the value of a year-round mobile app as a platform for member engagement. As many marketers are aware, the hardest part of marketing your mobile app is getting people to download it to their personal devices. It’s believed that once a user has downloaded the app, you’ve passed the largest hurdle for mobile engagement. Provide the event schedule, speaker lists, sponsor list, etc., for event attendees to make the mobile app a must download.

It’s common for associations to have multiple events per year, whether an annual general conference, a local meeting, or even online webinars. A mobile app should allow your staff to create new pages and content for every event your association hosts.

Event pages in the app should allow users to add events to their native calendars and schedule reminders. To improve engagement, event pages should let users seamlessly share on social media to promote attendance by more members. Further, users should be able to find key information, such as directions, contact info, and links to sign up for the event.

Coupled with targeted push notifications and polls, your mobile app will provide a next-level event engagement strategy and create a new event experience for members.

Event app

4) Political contacts

At its foundation, advocacy associations strive to make positive change with respect to political policy and government action. An association mobile app should link users to their local state/provincial/municipal representative to contact via email or phone.

One mobile app integration to consider for political advocacy is KnowWho, a membership engagement service to contact legislature representatives. By adding a third party service like KnowWho, associations can run a mass advocacy campaign in a mobile environment with targeted push notifications. Send call-to-actions to members and ask them to send an email to their state representative through the app or share information on social media.

mobile app advocacy

5) Backend content management system

Mobile apps must make the life of association staff easier, not harder. Many mobile apps developed today are equipped with a backend content management system to allow staff to easily add and edit content. 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform is easy to learn and offers drag and drop mechanisms along with simple data import capabilities.

A second way to reduce the workload for association staff is to provide unique logins for the backend of the mobile app. Specific staff should have their own login information and authority within the backend, meaning not all staff would have the same power to change content. Association executives should be able to appoint new staff to edit content or send a notification without fear of a mass application error. The backend should require no coding knowledge to make changes and add content!

Info Grove mobile apps CMS

6) Donation Portals

It’s essential for your mobile app to feature donation portals in easy to locate places to help streamline fundraising campaigns on mobile devices. For member donations, it works best to link members to your existing association web page from the app.

The Missouri Education Association uses its mobile app to link members to three separate donation portals: The PAC, the Hope Fund, and the Cheer Fund. By providing a donation portal in your mobile app, you are making the donation process as easy as possible for members.

association mobile apps infographic

Read more about Why Associations need a mobile app here.

14 Oranges provides mobile apps for associations across the U.S. and Canada. Info Grove is the platform designed to make mobile apps easy. With Info Grove, association staff can build a unique mobile app with features specific for each association. No coding required. Contact us today to see if Info Grove is right for your association.

Info Grove

08 Mar
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Why Associations Need a Mobile App (Infographic)

arkansas association mobile app

14 Oranges develops mobile apps for advocacy associations and non-profits across the U.S. and Canada. As mobile media consumption rises, more associations are migrating to mobile apps to engage their members and the general public. From the Arkansas Education Association to the Washington State Pharmacy Association, advocacy groups are turning to mobile to find new ways of informing members about industry news, events, and resources. Several associations are also using mobile apps and push notifications to streamline donation campaigns in a mobile-first environment.

 

WSPA mobile app

 

Mobile apps offer a unique opportunity for member-based associations to stand out, attract new members, and improve engagement. Here’s a brief infographic outlining why your association needs a mobile app in 2018!

 

 

association mobile apps infographic

 

 

association mobile apps

 

Mobile Apps for Advocacy Associations

Looking for a mobile-first engagement strategy for your association? Click here to see if Info Grove mobile apps is right for your association.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

05 Mar
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Arkansas Education Association

aea mobile app
aea logo

Arkansas Education Association

Mobile-first communication

The Arkansas Education Association needed a complete digital and mobile overhaul. 14 Oranges provided them with a new mobile-responsive website along with a mobile app available for both iOS & Android. Members of the AEA now have access to industry news and information on the platform of their choice. The website, although mobile-responsive, is perfect for desktop browsing, while the mobile app is great for on-the-go resources. A lot of content within the app is also available offline, so no wifi/data is required.

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