Does my business need a mobile app?
If you are looking to take your business to the next level, you may be considering developing a mobile app. With the capacity to do nearly everything through a mere mobile device, apps have become essential tools in running a business.
Through a mobile app, a company can continue to build up their brand and to attract attention to their company. Ultimately an app can help company gain recognition and gain a wider customer base by increasing visibility, loyalty, and accessibility. There are, however, lots of variables to take into consideration beyond time, money, and scope.
Why have a mobile app?
Usually we only think of very large companies as having mobile apps. However, having an app within Google Play or the App Store can help a business gain more traction.
Even if a customer is entirely unfamiliar with a certain business, seeing that company’s app could familiarize the company. It could be something as simple as igniting the curiosity of the person. This could ultimately lead to downloading your app. It’s a very common tactic in marketing.
Apps help increase the engagement of the consumers. The average American typically spends five hours on the internet, and close to 2.5 hours specifically on a mobile device. Approximately 80% of that time is spent within mobile apps.
Apps provide a direct communication between the company and the customer. People can access an app to view any sort of information. This might be hours, contact information, the status of their order, appointments, and more.
Additionally, a company can directly inform the customers about promotions, sales, and special events. The ability to send push notifications also serves as a direct reminder to the public about the company, in the case that the person hasn’t opened the app in a while. Surely we’ve all come across this type of notification.
Raising awareness and engagement
By candidly engaging with your client base, you emphasize the importance of your customers in a way that increases the likelihood of increasing brand loyalty. It can help raise more awareness about current events in relation to the company or industry alike. This provides a very easy pathway to purchasing products, in turn leading to return customers.
Having an app simply makes the client feel more connected to the company due to the direct interaction. Similarly, the app would make the customers think directly of the company itself as opposed to first thinking of opening up a search engine.
Increasing brand loyalty
Research shows that the more a customer browses, the less likely he or she is to make a decision based on loyalty. An app could also personalize your customer’s app by remembering user data and changing the interface if necessary. When rolling out updates and/or bug fixes, the can be sent directly and hassle-free through the user’s mobile app store.
Moreover, having an app dramatically increases customer loyalty. When a customer searches for a specific product, the customer would likely see similar prices from their competition. If a customer is considering buying a product, having them search a catalog on the company’s exclusive app would highly increase the chance of them buying the product directly through the company, as opposed to from another seller at a slightly lower price.
Similarly, you might implement a loyalty program to drive repeat sales. An easy way to do this is by encouraging the customer to make purchases in exchange for a point system. Those points can then be redeemed at a later time for a discount or offer of some sort.
Controlling the ecosystem
Mobile apps also present exclusivity of the company. Within a mobile app, a company can freely advertise their own products without having to worry about their competitors. It’s extremely powerful to control what the audience views. When designed top to bottom, an app can become a one-stop shop if done correctly.
If other companies become interested in advertising through your company’s app, that is an added benefit for two reasons:
- You are free to charge whatever you like
- With other companies wanting to advertise on your platform, it demonstrates an increased sense of authority in your respective marketplace
The effects on Search Engine Optimization
One major advantage to having a mobile application for your business that you should not overlook is the benefit of increased SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Mobile applications literally rule smartphones. This means that app stores by Google and Apple are more likely to properly index your application, and thus your business.
When a customer searches for services that meet his or her needs, it’s likely for people to suggest your app to your ideal market. This will lead to higher rankings, increased backlinks/inbound links, and ultimately higher conversions.
What about the downsides of having a mobile app?
Although developing a mobile app for your business can prove to be extremely beneficial, it is critical to understand that just as a great app can drive your business to new growth, an underdeveloped app can also hurt your firm and your company’s image.
It’s also important to consider the time, money, and energy you must invest in order to maintain the app. Building it is only the first part––now how do you grow it? Does is truly offer something unique to your customers? (It’s important to note that app stores will actually reject your app if it’s just a repackaged mobile website.) How do you make sure people use your app regularly? Do you have the resources to scale?
An app will usually not make or break you (depending on your business), but you will absolutely fall somewhere on that spectrum during your launch. Not everything has to be perfect, so no need to fret if it isn’t. In fact, it shouldn’t be perfect on the first try. But before undergoing development and incurring unnecessary costs, be sure to understand the value that your app is providing to your customers and potential clients.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
-Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
If your app does not create value for your customers first and foremost, it is of no use. It also cannot be a clone of your mobile website. (It won't even make it to the App Store.) Once your value propositions have been locked in, your app will enhance your business through SEO (provided it’s done correctly), increased customer interaction, loyalty, brand awareness, and beyond. You empower your growth and becomes nearly limitless.