Should You Design a Mobile App for Your Business?

Not too long ago we talked about mobile apps being the future. And now? There’s an app for everything. But… is there an app for your business? Being mobile has allowed entrepreneurs to do things that they never dreamed were possible in the past. They’re able to keep their customers for longer and make them happier, all thanks to the mobile platform. So how has mobile helped?

should-you-design-a-mobile-app-for-your-business

 

Connecting with Customers

Some of us have noticed web ads mimicking our shopping preferences. We see ads on Facebook showing us something that we may just browsed on Amazon.com. Although we sometimes think of it as big brother watching, the truth is that it’s brilliant marketing. Keeping it in front of our eyes keep it on our mind. Having a mobile app is rather like the perfect secret service weapon. Using your mobile app, you begin to build up a profile of their preferences and personality. This can help offer products and services to your customer at the right time. And you can send your customer alerts depending on their purchasing history or location.

For example, if you run an online jewelry shop and one of your customer abandons her cart before checking out, you could then use that information to market free shipping to them to entice them to complete their order.

Other companies are using the mobile platforms in very inventive ways. Dutch airline KLM has developed a mobile game that lets customers fly paper jets over a 3D version of Amsterdam. The idea is to promote customer loyalty by offering in-game rewards. The game is also location-based. It means that KLM can track customers through the airport, and unlock different game features as they move. We know another popular location based game that acts in a similar way, don’t we? If you don’t have the skills to write your own app, hire a software development company to get the job done.

 

You Can Provide Content And Exclusive Deals

Spam is a bad thing, right? Well, it depends. Remember, it’s only spam if it’s not relevant to your audience, and you send it without their permission. Your audience has decided to download your app. That means that they’re already interested in your product, and they’ve given you permission to show them relevant information. Take the Starbucks app (LOVE!) as an example. The app itself is designed to make user experience at Starbucks better by making payments easier. And it’s how customers collect rewards when making purchases. And when Starbucks has specials and deals you get a Push alert so that you don’t miss out.

Some Apps allow businesses to tailor deals to the time of day, or even the individual customer. Offering deals gets customers to check into apps regularly

 

You Engage On A More Meaningful Level

In the past, if you wanted to engage with customers, you plastered your brand everywhere you could. Brands showed up on billboards, mugs, cups, pens and radio stations. But the problem with this approach was that it wasn’t tailored. Businesses were just putting up their ads and desperately hoping that something would stick. It didn’t work. The Internet, and therefore mobile apps introduce a potentially endless number of ways to change customer interactions and make them authentic. For instance, many brands are finding ways to get your product in front of customers.

The organization behind TED talks decided it wanted to use mobile apps to drive interest in a conference. The conference was on the subject of perfection. The app wrote the word “perfect” over the top of people’s pictures. The idea was to make people curious about the subject of the conference. And it worked. Suddenly everybody was talking about the concept of perfection and taking their discussions to social media.

 

If you decide to use mobile, it’s important to remember to be creative. Think about what it is that your audience wants, and get them to take your brand along for the ride.

Kris McDonald is Chicago mom to 2 sets of twins, photography nut, gadget addict, travel addict, and tech blogger who has worked in IT for over 16 years. Kris figured out a while ago that she was destined to be really busy (hence the 2 sets of twins), and she has found peace with that. Read More
  • One of the dilemma(s) I see is creating an app to convert sales leads or new readers in a manner that doesn’t duplicate the efforts of your website. Given that a lot of website design has moved towards mobile friendly / app like layouts … what should an app give that a website can’t? I know incentives would be a good way to convert leads, but what if you are using the app as a blogger.

    This is a great subject. You’ve definitely got me thinking! I’m going share this post with my Blog Group!

    • Renee Townsend

      My feelings are mixed on this. Like you, I wonder why an individual would get an app developed when websites are so mobile friendly.

      With a website, there’s a lot of exploration possibilities. The visitor reaches the website through the landing page, then hopefully explores further. The visitor is free to explore pretty much everywhere accessible to them. I think a visitor typically visits a website for educational purpose with the possibility of being reeled in for something else… the sale.

      For a business, an app is more specific in its purpose. In my mind, it’s really about the sale. It’s the place visitors go when they’re ready to make a purchase. There’s not a lot of wandering, because the app is limited in what’s available, unlike the website. The app is more of… “this is what we offer and/or these are the deals we have. Now that you’re here, this is how you buy it.”

      The other advantage to apps is the push notifications. For example, if someone was looking for business coaching and came across my website, they may really want my services, but the timing may be off. As a business owner, I can send them push notifications when deals come about. Yes, I can do it with email campaigns also (for those who opt in). However push notifications have a different feel to them… they’re more in your face and visual.

      Really, I think it comes down to your need and purpose.

      • Great points! I actually like push notifications as a consumer and as a seller. However, that then begs the question…. how do you make your app so engaging that a consumer wants to have that captive engagement with your company? Many of us consumers realize that our time and our attention is very valuable.

        Again, great points!