How to Create a Download-Worthy Mobile App for Your Law Firm

We’re regularly asked by clients how many downloads they should expect to receive on their mobile app. Naturally, this answer will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to things like:
  • App type
  • Company size – if the app is for employees
  • App discoverability – is the intention to actively promote the app through the app stores, or to distribute by other means?
  • App store optimization (ASO) – is your app optimized for the app store?
  • Who’s already using the app – large organizations or multiple users with powerful ‘word of mouth’
That said, based on the recent research we carried out we can certainly estimate how particular types of apps will perform. Let’s take an example from our report on the State of Mobile in Law Firms 2017. We found that most law firm marketing apps (most of them being content marketing apps with legal guidance, calculators and the like) get between 200 and 500 downloads on the Android app store (that’s the only store that provides public downloads information in the form of a range). By that token, if the iTunes version had as many downloads, we can say around 1,000 downloads is what should be expected for a law firm content marketing app.This is for apps with an average time since launch of 1 year. There are some exceptions. A glossary app by one firm had between 2000 and 5000 downloads on Android, so it’s fairly safe to assume it might have about 10,000 downloads in total if we counted the iTunes store download numbers as well. Another firm reported in a case study that their cloud computing law app had 3,500 downloads in the first year.So what can you do to ensure that your app is actually downloaded and used? Well, you might be surprised …Mobile App Downloads Ftd

Don’t make users download an app in the first place

Asking users to download an app is a high-friction activity. It’s not just as simple as asking a user to click a link through to some content. You’re asking them to take the time to open their app store, search for the app, download it, take up space on their mobile device (which might be limited) and then re-use it on a regular basis.Content creators are now making sure that their material is cross-device compatible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an app is required — they will have apps, but they will also have web versions of the app.This can be a boon in two scenarios:
  1. If your app is for an event or another temporary purpose, the user won’t see why they need to download something on their phone, so a web app will be more convenient.
  2. If your app is for a longer lasting purpose, having a web app will allow your user to try out the functionality with minimum friction, and they will be more likely to download the actual app.

If you’ve created an app, market it effectively

Some firms are a little shy about promoting their marketing materials. As opposed to other materials like PDFs or articles, with apps it’s not enough to launch the app and then leave it to its fate. If you’re promoting your content marketing app to a public audience you should be leveraging all your social channels on a consistent basis – what seems like a single tweet will evolve over time to 100s of tweets!Use PR and other marketing channels to publish news of your app into relevant publications and mediums — and don’t just do it once, do it every time there’s an update to your app. Similarly, if it’s internal to your firm you can use posters, internal announcements, word of mouth, lunchtime demos and emails to promote it to your colleagues.You can also use app success stories to fuel greater interest in your app – for example, if you launched an event app you can highlight the impact that adding event information and content prior to the event, and the increased effectiveness of attendees for their networking efforts simply by using the app.

Give users good reasons to download your app

As we mentioned, downloading an app is a big ask to a user, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure you give your audience more reason than not to download your app.

Avoid using static content

Responsive image The Bird & Bird ‘JudgmentDay’ app is a perfect example of an app that is not only updated regularly, but one that offers you content based on your preferences.Many firms create content apps with content they never intend to update — by definition, that won’t make a good app – why would any user want to download (or more importantly, return to) an app that will be redundant after a day or two. Pre-load your app with relevant, compelling content and have a process and resources in place to ensure that it is constantly updated with new material.News updates, headline announcements, or upcoming events are all examples of app-worthy content.

Integrate engaging features

Using features like push notifications, interactive checklists and rewards/challenges is a great way to not only re-engage users, but also to attract them in the first place. If they’re able to recognize that you’re offering not only a valuable experience, but an enjoyable one, they’ll be more likely to choose your app over another.Responsive image The Taylor Wessing ‘Cyber Response’ app allows users to add their own emergency contact details amongst many other features.

Make it useful

In-house counsel are always on the lookout for tools that can make their jobs easier. An example of this kind of tool is the apps that enable the user to compare complex laws/regulations across different jurisdictions in a quick and friendly way; these make out the top most downloaded legal apps. The reason why is because users will find themselves coming back to the app as a reference tool.Responsive imageEversheds Sutherland released their ‘Guide to International Employment and Pensions Law’ app, which provides an easy to access reference source for employment and pensions law across the globe and allows you to compare legislation in different jurisdictions.

The bottom line

We’ve highlighted a selection of ways to you can increase the downloads of your app. As we mentioned, it’s heavily dependent on a number of scenarios (e.g. app type, company size, current users, discoverability, and others) but in general it’s a good idea to:
  • Make sure your app is cross-device, so you’re never forcing users into having to download an app unless they want to
  • Offer high value, regularly updated content in your app – avoid static content
  • Use engaging features to lure users into downloading your app and to retain them
  • Actively promote your app through social media and PR, or within your organization should the case be that it is for colleagues
If you take these points into consideration you’re sure to see a rise in the number of downloads your app receives. If you’d like to learn more about how law firms are actually using mobile apps you can download our 2017 report into the state of mobile in the legal industry.Or, if you’re ready to build cross-device, engaging apps in the blink of an eye and with no code required, learn more about Fliplet, the premier app creation platform for law firms.