It might seem that the mobile business app space is dominated by the big brands – and it is. But you’d be wrong to think that they were the only companies benefiting from the technology. The mobile app market has matured considerably. And today, mobile apps are just as common among corner shops as they are corporate giants.
Mobile apps involve more than just making your website mobile friendly. They’re an effective marketing strategy in their own right. And if your business is in a suitable industry, they can take your marketing efforts to the next level.
There’s a chance that you’ve already experienced this phenomenon in action. You might have been to a beauty spa or a restaurant with its own app. The purpose of these apps is to make the customer experience more engaging and boost brand appeal.
Businesses are developing apps for all sorts of reasons. Around a fifth are building apps purely for the purpose of marketing their products. Another 30 percent are doing it to directly generate revenue. And around half use apps to either support or engage with customers on a regular basis.
If that hasn’t sold you on the idea already, check out these reasons why mobile apps are good for the little guy too.
Increased Customer Visibility
The data shows that the average person spends around two hours a day on mobile devices. That’s a lot of time to be exposed to just one platform. Granted, customers probably aren’t spending all of that time exploring every nook and cranny of their business apps. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t, at some point, want to use your app.
Customers will often scan their phones for the apps that they want to use. When your app is there on the screen, your brand gets imprinted on the customer’s mind. Suddenly, your logo is strangely recognisable. And customers find themselves thinking about your company way more than they would have otherwise. Thus, having an app can serve as an important source of advertising, regardless of whether customers use its actual functions.
Direct Marketing Channel
Your mobile app doesn’t just have to provide a link to buy your products. And it doesn’t just have to facilitate your particular service. It can provide customers with any information you feel would be helpful to them. Apps can serve up booking forms, messengers, user accounts and news feeds. This means that apps are a lot more self-contained than other platforms, like websites. Businesses can, therefore, target the type of information they want to put in front of their customers. Sales and promotional activities can be much more focused. Push notifications can be used to prompt customers when your product or services make sense.
Provide Your Customers With Value
Most companies offer some kind of loyalty or reward programme to their repeat customers. The old fashioned way was to do this using a physical card. And so getting points onto your card or account was a hassle. But with a mobile app, it needn’t be. You can use mobile apps to make it easier for your customers to build up rewards. And you can even build in smart features that allow them to track their progress toward a particular goal. Once you make the customer experience easier, you’ll get more customers and more revenue. Make sure you check out services, like PunchMe, that allow you to create loyalty programmes on smartphones.
Stand Out From The Competition
Now might be the time for small businesses to embrace the mobile app. But the mobile app is still rare among smaller companies. Those that take the time to learn how to make apps put themselves at a distinct advantage over the competition. It’s the sort of thing that customers really notice. The cool thing is that there are now a bunch of courses, like this from Simplilearn, that can help businesses learn how to make their own apps. These days, you don’t even need to hire an app developer to give yourself a leg up. You can invest in yourself and start making great apps for your business today.
Increase Customer Engagement
One of the things that web experts always go on about is the importance of having a chat feature. Chat features allow customers to immediately engage with your business and build trust. You can do the same thing with mobile apps. Mobile apps provide a platform for messenger services or help desks. You can communicate update information through your mobile app to your customers. Or you can offer a help desk service, providing technical support and advice.
Just think about apps like OpenTable. OpenTable built its success on its messenger function. The last thing customers wanted to do was to spend ages, ringing up restaurants and booking tables. OpenTable made it possible for them to get the table that they wanted with just a few taps on their smartphone. There is probably a whole host of ways you could simplify your business too with a mobile app. Right now, your customers might have to ring up and spend time talking to a representative over the phone. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and better if they could just get what they wanted through a targeted app?
The evidence suggests that most customers prefer texting to calling. This is particularly the case when the task is something routine, like booking a cab. Thus, with a mobile app, you may be able to capture customers who would otherwise be put off.
Build Brand Recognition
Building a brand is a complicated operation that involves many channels. But one of the best channels is the mobile apps. The mobile app is much more than just a visual image or a slogan. It can brand your business through unconventional channels. Let’s say, for instance that you run a consulting firm, and you want to build a brand around expertise. You could use a mobile app as a conduit, through which to send customers bespoke information. Customers would see you producing regular content, convincing them that you truly are at the top of your field.
What if you run a legal firm? Well, one way you could brand your business would be to include a “calculator” function into your app. Customers could use your app to work out a compensation estimate for various injuries or accidents. Thus, your app would be far more than just a newsfeed about your firm. It’d be a tool that clients could use to work out if it is worth pressing charges.
How about if you run a medical practice? Well, there are some obvious uses for mobile apps here too. The number one problem facing practitioners is the fact that patients don’t turn up to their appointments. Apps, therefore, can be used to both book appointments, and remind people they need to show up. The other big problem is making sure that patients stick to their treatment plan. Apps can be used to automate reminders, telling patients what they need to take, and when.
But it’s not just the practical applications that can help build a brand. It’s also the fact that exposure to your brand makes customers want to buy more quickly. The important concept here is something called “effective frequency.” Effective frequency is advertising jargon for the number of times a person needs to be exposed to a brand before they buy it. You can reduce the cost of these exposures by getting your brand in front of your clients. The more personality you can inject into your app, the more effective each exposure will be. According to data and experience, you need around 20 brand exposures to really make an impact on your customers.
Perhaps the biggest reason why your business should use mobile apps is customer loyalty. To be successful, you need customers who come back over and over again. The advertising space is a crowded one. Your rivals have AdWords campaigns, ads in the phonebook, Facebook pages, email marketing and so on. With so many advertisements all over the place, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the chaos. This is how mobile apps can help. They’re not so much an advertising platform as they are a tool to connect with customers. Just as in the past, the thing that customers value the most is the connection they have to your business. Mobile apps can help customers become loyal lovers of your product in a way that just wasn’t possible in the past.
If there was ever a year in which the mobile app was set to hit the big time, it was 2016. According to figures published last year, 40,402 businesses created apps. Golf course, hotels and even plumbers all got in on the action. Companies are realising that consumers have an appetite for interacting with their firm on a daily basis. They don’t necessarily have to be loyal to their brand. There just needs to be something that they can grab onto in the app itself that’s useful.