Should your company have its own mobile app or apps? With social networks becoming tougher to compete with, pay per click getting more expensive and overall internet competition for our attention at an all time high, it might be something to consider.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of developing a mobile app for your business.
The Power of The App
We’ll start with some positives. I looked at a variety of studies on the average number of apps people have on their phones and the number seems to center around 25.
If this sounds like competition could be tough, this is nothing compared to all the other forms of marketing and advertising people do to get our attention plus the thousands of websites out there wanting our business.
Consider also whether your competition uses apps. If not, that’s a plus for you and a unique way to interact with current and future customers.
You are always a click away. Turn on the phone, swipe to find the icon, and click. Someone can now be using your app. That’s a powerful incentive and a consideration that should not be taken lightly.
Do you have a site that for whatever reason, is going to cost a considerable amount of money to make mobile responsive or compatible? Or possibly the cost of updating your mobile version is expensive for every website change.
You could show an app install screen for mobile users and encourage the use of the app. Some of the app services have built in mobile compatible tools to use for your website.
Using Push Notices and SMS Technology (text messages) is probably the biggest benefit to mobile apps. Sending your customers notices about new educational content, sales, promotions or new products is a fantastic way to get their attention.
You just want to make sure that if you use these techniques you provide something that is valuable to them or they will install your app or turn off notifications.
Location based notices are great when you want to remind someone of a sale if they are close to your physical store. Again, make the notices relevant and not spammy for maximum effect.
You can reward for purchases with loyalty programs and in-app coupons. These are great incentives for increased purchases from your app users.
Contests are great ways to engage people.
You can provide the ability for picture or video uploads and sharing with others to use your app.
Some apps provide scratch cards where the user “rubs off” the screen to reveal winning numbers and prizes. You can capture email addresses for promotions right inside the app.
People can schedule appointments with your app. You can provide one-to-one chat for support or pre-sales questions.
Things To Keep In Mind
Make it useful, entertaining or solve problems. If it’s not interesting or useful, people are not going to use it. Simply providing an extension of your e-commerce site is not going to be exciting and does not provide unique value.
As in all things marketing these days, creative strategies can win if executed correctly. If you are not willing to invest in this type of approach, then mobile apps are probably not for you.
Are your products used by people that travel a lot? Charmin provides an app that recommends clean rest rooms all over the country. Users rate and share the bathrooms providing a gold mine of information that is always up to date.
Creative Thinking In Action
Purina Petcentric recommends pet friendly places when you travel. I know how important this information is since I travel with an 83 pound German Shepherd.
Need some outside-the-box inspiration? Phoenix Children’s Hospital created an app to help parents purchase the right car seat for their children.
Give It A Chance To Work
Small businesses sometimes make the mistake of expecting instant results, then abandon their efforts when the app doesn’t generate sales immediately. You want to give it some time to work, analyze the data and get the word out about your app.
This includes a dedicated page on your website explaining the benefits. Include printed signs and handouts if you have a physical store.
Use The Facebook Audience Network
There are many ways to market your app which is a subject for another newsletter. But Facebook initiatives this year are very attractive to app developers.
In April, Facebook announced the Facebook Audience Network so that app developers could use the Facebook advertising platform to market their apps.
So imagine being able to target using all of those Facebook ad features which include re-targeting and custom audiences, to encourage people to install your app.
This past week, Facebook announced that it is opening up video ads to publishers that show Facebook Audience Network ads.
I’ve seen website click through rates of less than a tenth of a cent for Facebook video ads. So create compelling videos for installs and target, target, target!
With all the emphasis on apps, it’s not surprising that there are a plethora of do-it-yourself apps to choose from.
Appery.io has a cost effective basic plan starting at $25 per month. The typical monthly fees start around $45 per month and go up from there based on features and app traffic.
Most of the services let you get started for free to try out the platform. Of course highly customized features are always best done with custom designs which can run in to the many thousands of dollars. But there are some excellent app design firms out there to choose from.
So whether you desire to create your own app or not should center around your business goals and how creative you can get at solving problems or providing educational or entertaining content your target market(s) desire.
If you do take on creating and launching and app, remember that’s only part of the plan. Patience, marketing and diligent attention will be needed to insure your app is successful. Good luck!
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