From the first mobile phone being sold in 1983 for around £2,500, the mobile phone has come a long way to playing a massive part in most people’s lives.
We use it to communicate with loved ones, for social media, taking pictures or video clips, as a diary, music player, for work, for entertainment – we could go on and on about the beneficial features, but we’re sure you know for yourself how invaluable your mobile phone is. Part of this is to do with the apps created for use on it that allow you to interact with businesses online.
From a business perspective, this is a must-have tool providing access to potential customers, so if you’re a small business owner without an app for your small business, this article explains the benefits of having one created for it.
Let’s start with some facts: from 2008, the average amount of time spent on our phones has increased from a few minutes a day to three hours. In 2014, mobiles overtook desktop computers to access the internet, and that has been increasing year-on-year. Additionally, 90% of users’ time was spent on apps and not websites. Therefore, you need to seriously consider moving from face-to-face contact with customers and think about having an app to give them a better point of contact.
The first thing you need to do is research. Think about what you use your mobile phone for and the apps that you’ve downloaded. What do you like/dislike about them? Then, look at the apps your competitors have, considering what you like about them or would do differently for your business’s app. You’ll begin to form an idea about what you want for it, so now you’ll need to find a frontend development company that can bring your idea to life. Looking online will allow you to see their work and even look at reviews. It would be good to select a company that has experience of designing apps for businesses in your sector. This is because they’ll know the integral aspects your app will need to provide a robust interface for your customers to use at any time of the day or night, and anywhere they happen.
Your business needs to reach out to customers to enable them to engage with it, and having an app enables this. Connecting to customers was once expensive, as it would typically include an advertising campaign, which may involve radio ads, billboard advertising, as well as taking ads out in various printed mediums. Mobile apps have drastically changed this, as has the internet. You want to get as close as you can to your customers, offering them a place to interact with your business, which your app can provide.
Another thing to consider is that, on average, people have around 26 apps on their phone – does that sound a lot? Most of them will not be providing the products or services that you are. Besides, 26 apps is nothing when you think about how many websites your business’s one competes with, which is millions.
With a mobile app, your business would
- Be visible at all times for both your customers and potential ones
- Easy usability, with visible transaction options
- Set up payments to be made in the app
- Providing support mechanisms, like online chat facilities via the app
Along with this, you could incorporate more social features to interact with your customers, such as
- Having a space for customers to leave a review or comment
- Enabling customers to have favourite items listed for a better shopping experience
- Providing an easy way for social media integration
If you have any special offers or promotions for customers, or potential ones, you can have it running via your app. Push notifications are a considerably invaluable feature because they won’t get caught up in spam folders. It enables you to post timely, location-based, and relevant messages, for the ultimate personalized customer experience.
It’s worth thinking about the way you plan to do this, because you want to reach out to customers in the right way and at the right time, without being overbearing or constantly using pop-ups because this can spoil the shopping experience. For instance, emojis on push notifications have roughly double the opening rates than notifications without them.
To promote your app, you’ll need to work on your app store optimization (ASO) to ensure yours doesn’t get swallowed up by competitors and stands out. This will include how your app is designed and how different it is to those operating in the same market as you. Other things that require consideration are
- The uniqueness of your app name – how similar are others to yours? You want something that totally stands out.
- The amount of relevant keywords in your app that are typically used by users and how much they feature in your app. Be careful not to keyword stuff as this can have a detrimental effect on your search engine ranking
- Your app description. Keep it current and regularly update it. Mention its value and the updates you’ve made to it, as and when you do.
- Your app ratings. Do you have them? What can you learn from them? If you don’t have any, you can always ask customers to leave a rating or review via an after-sale email or notification.
With more people relying on reviews and ratings, this is an important part of the promotion process. From a business perspective, it can help you refine aspects of your service and acknowledge things that customers like.
The success of your business will eventually all point to your customers having a meaningful experience. If customers respond to the way you reach out to them, then you want to make sure that your delivery is on par to none. The more you take care of your customers’ experience, in terms of their convenience and needs, the more success you’ll have.
One way of doing this is to provide different points of contact to fit in with their lives. One effective way is to use your app to run a loyalty programme. So the more customers engage with your brand and product or service, the more rewards they’ll receive. Cater these rewards to the products or services they use so that they truly benefit from being loyal to your business.
Use various social media platforms to promote your loyalty programme. Make sure you know what platforms your customers and potential customers are likely to use for maximum impact.
Having an app for your business is as important, if not more so, than having an online presence. However, you need to have an app that will get your business noticed and not blend in with others. Hiring a frontend developer is vital if you’re serious about increasing your business’s exposure and profits. Finding one that will meet your business’s needs is the first step to doing this, and the reasons we’ve set out should make you do this sooner rather than later.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.