Remember those days when televisions hit the market and became a household appliance? Viewership of television increased to about millions and billions. In those days, businesses used to line-up to buy air time for providing worldwide and nation wide exposure to their services and products via expensive advertising on television.
Likewise when telephones got popular, business owners headed to Yellow Pages for giving ads.
Fast forward to present – the era of smartphones. In an era when the number of smartphone users is continuously increasing, and people are spending more and more time on their smartphones, shouldn’t small businesses consider taking full advantage of this scenario for brand building? YES, they should! And the way to do this is building MOBILE APPS.
Here comes a question that some may ask – “What’s the exact difference between a mobile app and a mobile-friendly site?”
Well, as per Small Business Trends, mobile apps are completely independent programs, unlike websites. You download and install them on your mobile device, instead of accessing them through the browser. Although this doesn’t seem to be a huge difference, however, the way a mobile app lets you access content is remarkably different from that of .html’s. According to Business 2 Community, more and more people are making use of mobile apps, or are looking for the businesses they are interested in, in mobile app stores.
Tapping into the potential of this situation, small businesses can leverage mobile apps for boosting their brand visibility on platforms apart from traditional websites. Your mobile app would actually create a user experience far more personalized than that created by your website, and would let mobile users access your company’s products or content within the app’s specialized space.
A mobile app has two key abilities that a traditional website doesn’t, and they are:
Ability to interact with your smartphone’s existing features, like phone book, camera and GPS.
Ability to be present in your mobile device always, once you download it.
So, mobile applications have emerged as effective marketing tools. However, if you are thinking how exactly creating a mobile app can benefit your business, then read on.
Benefits of having a mobile app for small businesses:
1. Your Customers can See You Always
According to statistics, on average an American spends over 2 hours per day using his/her mobile device. Although one accesses only a few apps during this time, however, the fact still remains the same that one needs to unlock his/her device, scroll and scan it to find the apps he/she is searching for. If your company’s app is “in the way”, it can prove to be very advantageous for your business. This is because human brain unconsciously records each text and image (and app icon with a great design) that comes across it.
2. Apps Serve as Direct Marketing Channel
Apps do many jobs – they offer general information, booking forms, prices, news feeds, messengers, user accounts, search features and many others. A key benefit of having your own app is that you can enable your customers get all the necessary information, including promotions and special sales, right at the fingertips. You can send push notifications to remind your customers of your services and products. Push notifications are quite like a direct interaction.
3. Apps Offer Value to Customers
Ever thought about making your loyalty program digital? Rather than having the traditional point-collection card system, let your customers get their rewards through your mobile application. The result would be greater downloads and more number of return customers. Have a look at PunchMe, which allows creation of loyalty programs based on smartphone.
4. Apps Build Your Brand and Enhance Recognition
A mobile application can significantly heighten your brand awareness. This topic can be broken into two factors, the blend of which would bring success for your mobile app.
Apps are quite like blank billboard signs. They can be made informative, shocking, functional, hip or stylish. You can make them whatever you want to. However, what’s really important is your app should have features that your customers would love. Simultaneously, your app should have an appealing design and should be well-branded.
The more frequently your customers engage with your mobile app, the earlier they are likely to purchase your services or products. This phenomenon is referred to as “effective frequency” in advertising. The rule of thumb is that an individual needs to see or hear your brand about 20 times, in order to truly notice you.
5. Apps Enhance Customer Engagement
Irrespective of what you sell, people need a way for reaching you. Putting a feature of help desk or messaging in your mobile app, can make communication within you and your customers considerably different. Give a thought to this. For example, the whole business model of OpenTable is built around this principle. Here, rather than calling the restaurant to get a table, you can book a table through their platform with just five clicks or less.
6. Apps Let You Stay Ahead of the Competition
The small business sector has still not started building mobile apps in a full-fledged manner. It’s rare to find mobile applications at small business level. This is the area where you can gain an edge over your rivals. How about being the first company in your region that offers a mobile application? Your customers would certainly be impressed by your technologically advanced approach and forward-thinking mindset!
7. Apps offer Offline Information
In your app, you can provide a wide range of information like general company details, directions, user guides, FAQs and product details. The great thing about apps is that once customers download them, they are able to access the information online as well as offline. So, by having a mobile app, you can let your customers avail information even when they don’t have mobile signal.
As a small business owner, you are well-aware that setting up a business involves risk – both psychological as well as financial. Reaching more and more people, and getting more and more customers is what a small business owner would want, as that is the key to growing a business. Mobile App is a powerful tool to reach out to the world. Now that you know that having your own app can provide you the much needed exposure along with various other benefits, go ahead and start planning how to create a well-designed, effective mobile app for business.