A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the different ways that a mobile app can help you build your business, and one of my key points was that it creates new marketing opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. In fact, if you provide an app that adds value for your customers, then it can become a critical and substantially profitable element of your business’ overall marketing strategy.
Market analysis suggests that 55.5% of all US mobile users will own a smartphone by the end of this year, and that number is expected to rise to 80% in the next three years. Worldwide, the number of smartphones will exceed 1.82 billion. Clearly, there’s significant potential in marketing to this group.
Create an app that people want to use, and tie it to your brand. An example of this was the app for the movie Super 8, which generated a tremendous amount of buzz for the film leading up to its release. The app’s primary use is to make videos with filters on them for cool effects, but it also incorporates an interesting way of viewing the film’s trailers (while you play the videos, you get parts of clues that you can put together for exclusive access to a special clip on the film’s website). Many people downloaded the app just for the video filter features, which gave Super 8 an opportunity to share news of the upcoming film with the app’s users and ultimately helped it earn close to $80 million at the box office.
Another way your app can be used to market your business is to promote and sell products directly through the app. Comscore found that 4 out of 5 smartphone owners (this represents 86 million users in the US) use the device to shop. And just in case you’re thinking “Okay, but maybe they’re doing it in mobile web browsers…” you’ll be interested to know that Flurry recently revealed that smartphone users spend 80% of their mobile time using apps.
Since the majority of mobile users prefer apps over mobile websites, the best way to reach them and engage with them is to create an app of your own. Make it easy to browse your offerings and complete transactions through your app, and customers will appreciate the new shopping experience you’ve created. Offer a user experience that is convenient, simple, and fun, and your customers will keep coming back. A couple of real-world success stories include Canadian restaurant Pizza Pizza, which fulfilled 111,111 orders through their mobile app in its first six months, and McDonald’s made an app that earned an ROI of 2:1.
If you had designed the furniture in your living room, you would probably think that’s pretty awesome, right? That’s exactly what furniture company Smart Furniture made possible with their mobile app. Their app empowers you to design your own custom furniture, and then order it directly through the app. That’s a lot more fun than wandering through furniture stores, searching for the perfect fit, and weeding through countless variations of not-what-you’re-looking-for. You get the furniture you really want, and Smart Furniture wins your business, so everybody is happy. That is how business should work, so take a lesson from Smart Furniture and apply it to your business – how can you go above and beyond to solve your customers’ problems?
The key is to engage your customers in a way that makes them less of a customer and more of a brand advocate. They’ll be happy to promote you within their networks because they believe in you and want to see you succeed. You can improve engagement through a variety of tactics, such as sending out first-to-know notifications about new arrivals or sales, offering mobile-only coupons or contests, or inviting them to send you pictures of themselves with your products. If you need more ideas, here’s an article about 25 different ideas for building loyalty and engagement with your customers through a mobile app.
In today’s world, mobility corresponds with accessibility, and an app is the perfect way to interact with your customers and make your business more accessible for them. You still need to include a variety of tactics in your overall marketing plan, but an app will give you a huge advantage over your competition and give you the edge you need to stand out. As Michael Schneider of app development company Mobile Roadie stated, “Small businesses can really take advantage of the perception that apps are only for large companies. Home Depot has an app, but people don’t expect Joe’s Hardware to have an app. It’s an impressive thing for any business to have, like a website was 20 years ago. It sets your company apart, and it puts you on the same playing field as the big boys.”
We recognize that custom app development can be prohibitively expensive for many businesses, which is why we offer a variety of pricing options that make app development a realistic possibility for entrepreneurs and small businesses, too. So if you have an app idea for your company, what are you waiting for? Contact us today and we’ll help you build an app, so you can build your business!