Written by Jaykishan Panchal
Do you think mobile apps are only for big name brands such as Amazon or Walmart?
You cannot be more wrong, if you think so. Mobile apps are becoming integral part of almost all businesses. A number of small and mid-sized businesses have also profited from mobile apps and more and more businesses are now following the trend. It is important to understand that an effective mobile strategy requires having more than a mobile-friendly website.
These days a number of small businesses, ranging from the beauty spa to a corner coffee shop are investing in building their own dedicated mobile apps to take their marketing efforts to the next level. If you are yet to be convinced why you need to build your own mobile platform, here are some reasons why you should consider going down this path.
Apps as a Promotional Tool
If you haven’t noticed already, apps serve many functions. Your Android and iOS apps can provide general information about your products and services, search features, booking forms, prices, user accounts, news feeds, messengers and more.
Using your mobile app, you can provide all information you want your customers to have right at their fingertips, including information about special sales and promotions. This is probably the biggest advantage of a mobile app for an entrepreneur. Push notifications allow small business owners to get closer to a direct interaction and remind customers about their services and products.
Consider the example of Starbucks app for iOS and Android devices that help coffee lovers find a store, access store-specific hours and amenities and get directions every time they happen to be nearby a Starbucks store. Not only that, the app help them earn stars and redeem them later for food and beverages, in other words, promoting upsales.
In addition, you can use a mobile app to improve your brand awareness.
When it comes to branding, mobile apps function like blank billboard signs. You can make it functional, informative, stylish or shocking, depending on your business strategy. However, it is important that your app contains features that are likely to attract your users’ attention. At the same time, the app must be beautifully designed and well-branded.
Another thing that your app will help you obtain is recognition. The more frequently your potential customers use your app, the more recognition you will earn and the more likely you are about to make sales. This is called “effective frequency” in advertising term. A rule of thumb here is that a potential customer needs to hear or see your brand at least 20 times to truly notice you.
Reaching Many More Customers
More people are now using mobile and almost two-thirds of consumers in the U.S. now own smartphones. Statistics further indicate that there will be over 196 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone by 2016.
These smartphone and tablet users access the Internet through their devices. This makes mobile apps more likely to become the future of computing. As a result, there are growing trends of making transaction for commerce, payment and trading via mobile devices and a lot of such transactions are happening on mobile apps. A mobile app therefore is extremely beneficial for your business to take it to the next level.
According to Flurry’s analysis, an average American tend to spend over two hours each day using his/her mobile device. This indicates that a user browses various applications before zeroing on the right one. Another Gartner report predicts that mobile users will be providing personalized data streams to over 100 apps and services per day, by 2017.
“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve.” – Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
Considering these statistics and findings, it is fairly evident that mobile apps are a good investment for small businesses to expand their market reach. However, it is equally important to market them well to maximize the app visibility.
If properly used, mobile apps can help you build customer loyalty. As marketers and owners, we have used all viable channels out there to market our products including billboards, roadside banners, newspaper ads, flashing signs, coupons, flyers, websites, email marketing, Facebook ads and more. Now, they all are great marketing channels, but they also create a lot of noise and the impact on customers is gradually lost, given the immense amount of advertising surrounding them.
Businesses that can make a true and sincere connection with their customers can stand out from the crowd. Mobile apps are a good option to carry out direct and personalized communication. Now, it’s not that a mobile app can save your business but it will surely help you stay closer to your customers and remain connected to them 24/7. It offers a great potential for small businesses to take a big leap ahead of competitors.
Even local businesses can leverage upon mobile apps by being the first to offer something like that in their neighbourhood to showcase their products and services and make sales. In fact, a number of retailers are actually monetizing their apps to create an additional stream of income, be it through in-app purchases or with ads.
Benefits of Mobile App Marketing vs. Other Marketing Mediums
Average smartphone users install 26 apps on their phones. This means you need to compete with 26 other apps to attract a user’s attention. In contrast, you need to compete with millions of websites out there. A mobile app is still a virgin channel compared to other marketing mediums.
Even though social media is a relatively new medium and many small businesses have just started exploring the potentials of Facebook and Twitter, the competition is steep here. Besides, making a purchase is not the reason why users are on social media. They socialize there and promoting your business there needs to be much more strategic. In contrast, users who have downloaded your app are aware of your intention and have a similar purpose in mind. It therefore becomes easier to pitch your sales messages through this medium.
Talking about your known-intention, people who subscribe to your email list are also aware of it and certainly welcome it. However, there is no guarantee that one will open the email or read it. Mobile apps, on the other hand, use push notifications to send updates to your customers. Unlike emails, push notifications get read and people do interact with the app almost immediately after reading the notification.
The choice of building a mobile app, however, depends on the needs of your business and how much you are ready to invest on mobile platform. For a business that is too local and only serves the immediate community or has no plan to expand beyond will not be as beneficial as a business (though small in nature) in a large city which is ready to expand. But one thing is undeniable that mobile apps are great option to streamline your marketing strategies.
Jaykishan Panchal is a content marketer at MoveoApps, a iphone app development company. He enjoys writing about Technology, marketing & industry trends. He is tech enthusiast and love to explore new stuff. You can follow him on Twitter @jaypanchal8.
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Does Your Small Business Need a Mobile App? is a post from: ConverStations