There’s something cathartic about commiserating with business owners who say they’ve tried it all and yet they have no understanding of online marketing and how people interact with their brand. Some of the things I hear when introducing a mobile app for their business are: “We already have this” or “We don’t need this” and yet they don’t know the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app.
Or if they do understand the technology at worse they will say, “My business does not need a mobile app or mobile website.” “We go by word of mouth, so we don’t need this technology.” Go figure. Later you see their business struggling to make ends meet or closed and out of business for good. The irony in all this is they take that same mindset to their next business thinking they will succeed in it because it’s a better idea. I’m sorry to say, it’s not the idea that sucks but the marketing process of how you attract your users for your product or brand. Anyone can have a great idea, but if your business does not have the right tools or marketing strategy, you’ll fail.
As a marketer who has been doing this for years, I’m pretty blunt when I see business owners who have not caught on how things have changed. I’ll say things like, “Your website sucks and looks like a dying breed” or “You have no presence at all, how do you expect your customers to find you or trust you when you can’t even update or spend a little extra money for marketing your business?” Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come.
With that being said, being cheap with marketing will not be able to help business owners with succeeding in the online game of the internet and where majority of their customers live and breath, their Smart phones. The following 10 are reasons why your business or organization needs a mobile app.
1. Get In Front of Your Customers by Being Visible 24/ 7
More and more Americans spend more time in front of their devices. The average American spends more than 2 hours a day on their mobile device. A handful of them use applications in their total usage.
2. One Stop Direct Marketing Channel
Your branded mobile app can have many functions: They provide general info, prices, important forms, search features, user accounts, messengers, news feeds, sharing capabilities and more.
As a business owner, non-profit or establishment, your organization has to determine what pertinent information you’d like to provide to your customers and users. Do you have a special sale going on? Is it an event you are promoting? Is it reminders to be sent out? What about traffic to a certain form on your website or mobile app? With push-notifications you can get a two-way engagement with your customers in real-time. Because it’s permission-based marketing there is no longer the desperation of trying to get your customers to see your brand with interrupted messages that they have not opted-in to.
3. Build Value with Your Customers
With existing business patronage, your customer’s expect to be taken care of: that means building value in the eyes of your customers. The question is, how will you do that as a business owner? How do you build value for them? Loyalty rewards and programs can bring them back to your business on an on-going basis. This builds trust with your customers. Because they trust you, they’re more than willing to share with their friends and family members about your brand, which brings us the next reason.
4. Create Brand and Recognition
When you create a brand, you create an identity of your product or service. Your brand tells your customers who you are and what you do. As a business you create awareness, so let’s talk about brand and recognition
1. Brand – your branded mobile app is like seeing a billboard sign up on the highways, it drives traffic to your brand without the high cost of billboards or advertising. This brand can be established by an apps function, informative messages using the right features that can be change on the fly.
2. Recognition –Get your customers involved with exposures to your brand. To get a call to action to do something weather it’s through an incentive or promotion.The more often you can get customers involved using your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service because they recognize your brand through frequent use. In advertising this is called “effective frequency” it is the number of times a person must be exposed to a message before a response is made. Response varies to the individual.
5. Better Customer Engagement
Customer engagement is a process of interacting with your product or brand. If you have ever eaten out with your family or friends at a restaurant and you want to be seated, who is the first person you see? Or course it’s a person who takes your reservation. They are the first step of engagement of your brand. Just like online customer engagement can be used in your app through a reservation form or like a platform like OpenTable Reservations. There has to be that exchange to start the process of getting to know you. However your mobile app can take your reservation via text instead of calling it in and without a 3rd party reservation platform like OpenTable or GrubHub. Now that’s effective and convenient without the high cost of 3rd party platforms that are based on performance.
6. Separate Yourself from Your Competition
A big question you have to ask yourself as a business owner is: Are you competitive? Are you keeping up on technology and how smart marketing is changing the way businesses attract customers? Marketing and how we use technology is changing how we do business and customer behaviors are changing how we market to them.
7. Bring Back Customers with Incentive Programs
As we spoke above about loyalty programs, customers want value. Creating value can save your business not only monetary, but also where your business falls short when it comes ineffective marketing. Customer’s are smart, they don’t fall for interrupted messages anymore. They respond when you care about what they need. Ways you can do this is through mobile coupons, QR coupons and GPS coupons and tailoring your messages based on their needs.
8. Drive Existing Traffic to Your Establishment
We all know that potential customers find you through search, but what happens when they find you? It is said when a customer finds you through search the first time around, they never go back to your business the second time not unless there is an incentive to do so. The best way to attract them again is through your mobile app. When users know you have a mobile app, they are more likely to download your app to their device, by doing this they are giving you permission to contact them with more offers you can provide in the future.
9. Measure Your Marketing Efforts through Metrics
With all the work in bringing your customers in your doors, how do you measure your marketing efforts in all this? Mobile app metrics can tell you how customers respond to your functionality on your app and the messages you push out to them. They give you the information on how well you’re doing with your brand. This allows you to test and tweak messages or functions to better suit your business and its users.
Just like numbers tell the story on how well a business is doing financially, metrics tell you the story on how well your customers are responding to your business offers and messages. Do you need to change your marketing message for better response rate? Or do you need to delete the ineffective function or message? Either way you have creative ways to change things up for your business or organization.
10. Apps Are Becoming The Dominant Form of Digital Interaction
On my last post, “Mobile App Usage Will Only Increase In 2015 and Beyond” It’s happening and still going strong. More and more people are on their mobile devices than they spend more time on television. Yes that’s true. And Smartphone users are spending 80% of their time in mobile apps. Jay Baer from Convince and Convert when interviewed by: Kyle Lacy from Exact Target say’s that “Your Website will eventually be the AM Radio of the Internet.”
So it’s not a matter of when an app is a way a user is going to interact with your business, but a matter of time. The big question is, “What will you do when your business hasn’t caught on while everyone else is working smarter and more efficient with their online marketing strategy? I guess they’ll just go to your competition.