Looking for a way to make your SMB stand out from the crowd? Consider creating a mobile app that adds value to the customer experience. They’re one of the fastest growing, but most underused, marketing techniques around.
That’s understandable, to some extent. Not all small businesses are tech-related, and those outside of the tech industry rarely feel they have the budget or expertise to create one that’s useful and relevant to their business model.
That’s not you.
You’re a progressive business owner who knows the value of investing in technology and how much it improves everything from service delivery to customer engagement.
Why do you need a mobile app for your business?
- Because there were more than 204 billion apps released on the market in 2019
- Because the average reach of the typical mobile app in the US alone is 64 percent of the smartphone market
- Because more than 80 percent of consumers now access websites via mobile device. More than 94 percent of people living in advanced economies own a mobile device of some sort; in developing countries, that percentage is still 83.
- Because these numbers are expected to increase, and you don’t want to be left behind
There are two ways that you can go about marketing via mobile app. There’s paid advertising, where you pay for ad space on someone else’s app, and developing your own app, which you use to market your business or provide a service for your customers.
If your app is successful, you could even monetize it and generate a passive income with the app itself.
Marketing With Mobile
The easy way is for you to locate businesses in your physical location or market segment, if you’re an eCommerce business. Then, you would pay a fee to advertise on their app. Ads traditionally take the form of a banner or
This route is the most labor intensive and difficult for business owners. Success depends on advertising with the right app and hoping their audience won’t click away when they see your ad.
There are a number of tools that will help you find the right mobile vehicle to promote your business and analyze the results.
- Tatango: This company helps businesses launch an effective mobile marketing strategy, and they give you the tools you need to do it right.
- AppsFlyer: Provides research and analytics that gauge the effectiveness of mobile marketing campaigns
- Tune: This is a mobile console that helps you track reach and effectiveness over multiple channels and platforms.
- Kiip: This company helps brands market via mobile in a way that’s fun and effective. The match companies with the right mobile environment and engage users at the most opportune moments. For example, Kiip might produce a coupon from an advertiser as a reward to the user for reaching a milestone on a related app.
You could also take matters into your own hands and develop an app of your own. Some of the above tools will help with analytics and app marketing in either case.
Developing a Small Business App
In order for your app to be successful, it has to reach your customers among the millions of other apps. This incurs some risk, but a quality app that’s created using best practices and marketed effectively will find success.
You’ve already got a business website up and running. Your mobile app is an extension of your business, and your website is the perfect vehicle to promote it.
Now, how do you go about creating an app that adds to the customer experience, is easy to create and use, and takes your business to the next level?
Know Your Audience
If you’ve done your homework, most of this part should already be done. Now, you have to decide how your app will best serve this audience. What added value or service could you deliver through your app?
Promote Your App
There are several ways that you can do this. The simplest are to add a button to download your app from your website, mention your app on print advertising and TV ads, and promote it on your social platforms. Make sure to tell your visitors what the app does and why it would benefit them to use it.
If you plan to monetize your app, create a simple marketing plan that includes:
- A keyword optimized landing page. Up to 83 percent of apps at Apple’s AppStore are completely invisible to organic search due to bad SEO.
- Create a blog, if your website doesn’t already have one. Don’t have the time or the talent to write blog posts? We’ve got you covered.
- Start an email campaign to let your subscribers and existing customers know about your app
Make a Big Splash With Your Launch
Hype your app while it’s in development to create excitement, and schedule an Official Launch Day. An effective, well-planned launch will lead to hundreds of downloads the first day.
Get Feedback and Monitor Your App’s Success
Even some of the best apps run into bumps and hiccups at first. As with any promotional vehicle, you need to keep in touch with your audience and monitor your analytics. This will tell you where you’re doing well and what you need to tweak. Major glitches that affect UX should be addressed immediately.
Find a Reputable Developer
Finding a developer is actually the easy part. There are thousands of freelancers. You could check local web developers, or use an online service like Fiverr or Upwork. These platforms are affordable and you can check out the developers portfolio before you decide on one. Look for experience in your industry, someone who’s enthusiastic about your business, and has a provable record of success.
Mobile is the future. If you;re not finding ways to leverage a huge and growing audience, you’re in danger of being left behind in the dust of your competitors. They’re fun, effective, and a lot less expensive to develop and market than you’d think. You can find an experienced developer for as little as $12 an hour.
Are you using apps as part of your engagement and outreach? Tell us about your challenges and success stories.
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