Why Your Small Business Needs an App
These days, mobile apps aren’t just for big name brands like Shoppers Drug Mart and Pizza Pizza. More and more often, small and medium-sized businesses are following the mobile trend, embracing the fact that a successful marketing and customer loyalty strategy entails more than just a website.
Whether it’s the corner auto body shop or the custom clothing boutique downtown, if you look into it, you’ll find that some of the small businesses you interact with in your daily life have already developed their own personalized mobile app. These companies are ahead of the game when it comes to connecting with their customers.
Perhaps you don’t yet understand why small businesses would want to create their own mobile app, so here are what I think are the top five benefits of taking your marketing to the next tech level.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Today, mobile apps for small businesses are still relatively uncommon, so this is where you can gain a competitive advantage. You could be the first in your area to offer a mobile app to your customers, and that’s who you’re really trying to impress anyway, right?
Mobile apps just generally have so many benefits to customers that no one would ask, why does So-and-So Company have an app? For starters, they’re just really easy. Instead of opening the phone’s browser, and either typing in a web address or finding a link, the user just taps one button and BOOM – they’re in. Not only do customers have a direct access to your business, without using a browser, but they’re also privy to a host of other great features, including One-Click Calling, Click-to-Map, Social Media sharing, and even mobile commerce.
Enable a Direct Marketing Avenue
Apps are multifunctional – they can provide general contact information, appointment booking forms, personalized user accounts, pricing and quoting structures, search capabilities, and social media feeds, and those are just the basics.
The biggest benefit to offering a mobile app is that all the information you want your customers to see – especially special sales and promotions – is already on their phone or tablet. An additional benefit is that apps can be closed or inactive but are still “working” in the background to send geo-targeted push notifications. This way you’re getting even closer to a direct interaction, and can easily remind customers about your products and services when you’ve got something new to share.
With a well-designed app, you can learn more about your customers. From their locations and ages, to their job roles and spending habits, this data could be useful when you’re tailoring communications and potential offers to them.
Build Brand Recognition
A mobile app for your business can greatly contribute to your brand awareness, as it’s there all the time and therefore seen daily by your customers. The more often you can get customers involved with your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service. In advertising this is called the “effective frequency”; the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful. Recent studies have shown that frequency levels (or number of customer interactions) between 15 and 25 generate the highest levels of response.
Improve Customer Engagement & Loyalty
It’s sensory overload these days —banners on buildings and banners on websites, flashing signs, twirling signs, and goofy mascots dancing with signs, newspaper ads, Facebook ads, television ads and flyers, never forgetting the time-honoured email and telemarketing. We are losing our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us, all day every day. It’s time to go back to making a true and sincere connection with your customers, and making them a loyal lover of your product and/or service.
Regardless of whether you are selling real estate or dog grooming services, your customers need a way to reach you. Good customer support is crucial to maintaining and retaining accounts and obtaining new referrals, and a mobile app is an excellent channel for delivering support instantly and efficiently. It’s also a great way to scale your customer support by introducing new channels of communication and delivery directly from the app. Having a help desk feature within your app can really make a difference in the way you communicate with your customers.
Always Be With Your Customers
It’s estimated that Canadians who own smartphones and tablets are now spending about 43 per cent of their overall online time within an app. And app usage accounts for over 80 per cent of the time Canadians spend online with a mobile device, versus just 20 per cent spent using a web browser. Would you have guessed it was that high? Now think about this – while maybe only a few applications make up the bulk of this total usage, the user still has to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the particular app they want to use. Being “in the way” in this case is a huge advantage for your business, as our mind subconsciously notes every image (or eye catching app icon!) it comes across — even if it happens without you realizing it. You’ll be on your customers’ minds all day!
Hopefully these benefits encourage you to evaluate your business, and decide whether a mobile app is right for you. If you decide Yes! It is for me! then you have options – and good ones! Deciding to create an app for your small business doesn’t mean you have to have a development team or create expensive code – you certainly can, and your business will only benefit from it, but it’s not necessary.
Read More: Top 3 Absolutely Free App Builders
There are extremely easy to use, free app builders online that let you create an app icon and home screen with links to anything on the web – including your website and social media feeds! Hosting the app on the Google Play Store will only cost you a one-time fee of $25 (don’t get me started on the outrageous iTunes Store developer fees), or you can simply have users download the .apk or .ipa files from your website.
So now are you ready to take the mobile leap for your business?