These days it seems like every business has a mobile app. Spend a day at a shopping mall and your phone will be loaded with new apps from a variety of businesses.
It’s become second nature for users to download apps to their phones since it’s a convenient alternative to Google websites. Considering how most of us use our mobile phones for just about everything, it’s smart business.
This technology is more accessible for small businesses as well. Previously out of range both in resources and cost, it’s possible now for a small business to design a web app for their customers. Statistics on the increase of app development in smaller businesses confirm this.
Mobile apps offer an incredible technology for expanding a business. But for many small business owners, any new technology requires a serious evaluation of risk vs reward. The apprehension that comes with launching a complex, expensive technology is normal. Remember, you probably had these fears when launching your first business website or social media campaign.
Now that mobile app technology has demonstrated success for businesses and popularity among customers, it’s a technology worth investing in. This poses an important question for businesses that have not yet developed an app – how are some of the ways your business can benefit?
The New 24 Hour Business Model
Mobile apps provide customers with immediate solutions and information. A customer can check their next appointment, make a reservation, find out about store hours, leave a review, and access other services at any time. With a mobile app, your business is always open, ready to help customers.
Since a staggering 90% of user activity with mobile phones happens over applications, it makes sense that an app is an accessible solution to simple customer service inquiries. This saves time and money, since your team will spend less time responding to basic customer inquiries.
Businesses learned from social media that customers demand prompt responses to their questions online. Mobile apps provide that functionality using technology such as push notifications. This allows for a new level of customer service and greater customer satisfaction.
Push notifications are a unique feature of mobile app technology. Want to send out messages about promotions, products or other company information? The push notification immediately appears on the customer’s mobile phone, similar to a text message.
Unlike email marketing or ad campaigns, you can instantly communicate a message to your customers. Customers can disable push notifications, but they are more likely to reach customers then emails trapped by spam filters. For example, your business can offer a 24 hour sale on a product through a push notification. Unlike an email or social media advertisement that your customer may or may not even look at, chances are they’ll glance at the buzzing message from their cell phone. From there they can access your mobile app and immediately make a purchase.
As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to use good judgment with push notifications. Aggressive push notifications will annoy your customers and get you blocked. However, clever, informative push notifications can increase sales and keep your brand on your customers’ radar.
Define Your Brand
The mobile app is a way to reinvent and redefine your brand. Similar to a website, your app can be a place to experiment with design. You can focus on user experience, functionality and messaging.
When you begin developing a mobile app, you can evaluate what aspects of your branding can be improved through the use of this technology. What are your goals with branding that work better with an app? Have you experienced success with social media or email marketing? How can that success be transferred to this platform?
These are all questions that will develop successful branding for your business. Effective brand marketing on mobile apps has a number of long-term benefits – it encourages your customers to not only read push notifications but act on the messaging. The reason why users rely on apps now is that they downloaded an app from a brand that they enjoy. A well designed, useful app that promotes an engaging brand message is what keeps that app loaded on their phones.
The success of mobile apps means this technology has a bright future. If you run a small business, the investment can yield significant customer growth and revenue.
With all the positive aspects of mobile app technology, it’s still a considerable investment in labor and financial expenses. It takes time and research to produce an app that promotes your brand and engages customers. From what we’ve seen so far, a user-friendly mobile app that offers customer immediate benefits and solutions can launch a business to a new level of success. That’s a risk worth taking.