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News & ArticlesFriday 22nd July 2016
Why Small Businesses Need Mobile Apps
Small businesses should make efforts to be aware of developing trends that can affect their success. The use of mobile internet continues to grow due to the rapid spread of smartphones and mobile apps. All businesses have been affected by this changing digital trend, and small businesses should look for ways to benefit from it. By studying more closely how potential consumers might interact with a small business digitally, they can begin to more efficiently reach consumers.
A business needs to periodically take stock of the digital landscape around them. Whether or not they want it, changes in this environment will affect their abilities to reach their customers. Small business can use the ideas they see around them to make advances in their own market. It can give a small business a subtle marketing edge if they have adopted and implemented innovative ways to interact with customers. This is especially true if the businesses competitors have not implemented these new ideas.
The majority of the population has started to rely on mobile for their online experience. The rapid growth of smartphones has led to many people doing most things on their mobile phone that they used to do from a stationary computer. Business should reach out to where their consumers are found, which is increasingly on a smartphone. This developing digital ecosystem comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.
Small businesses should try to make sure that every dollar invested in their online marketing efforts helps raise revenue. Many small businesses will already have some sort of online presence, usually in the form of a static website. As the progression towards mobile has continued, all types of businesses are now being faced with the decision of how to enhance this home website experience.
The normal choices are for developing a responsive mobile website or investing in creating a mobile app. Some businesses will have the capital to do all simultaneously. A smaller business could be forced to pick one or the other of what their more limited capital is spent on. The responsive website is redesigning a classic web site into a more mobile user friendly version.
This can be a complex process which requires that you do more with less. Since the phone screen real estate is smaller than, say a laptop or tablet, the web developer and website owner have to find ways to deliver a good experience in a narrower format. It can be difficult to decide what is most important to present the potential customer. But overall, the mobile responsive website is essentially the same as the previous static version.
The other choice a business has to reach the end mobile user is by creating an application. This business app would be downloaded onto the consumers smartphone or tablet via one the major app stores, and would provide various functional features to the customer. This functionality, along with the branding potential, make an app a good idea for most small businesses.
One of the key concepts for having an app is to further extend your brand’s outreach. Having your branded app logo residing on customers’ phones and being seen, most likely at least once a day, has value. An app also gives a business more freedom to further develop their brand in unique ways. They can retain the brand theme from the business website but create a more personalized idea for their app. This new channel to interact with the customer should be utilized to experiment with different branding concepts to further enhance the company’s image in the consumer’s mind.
The businesses app allows a company to learn more about their customers, giving them an opportunity to enhance their user experience. Being able to observe user’s actions and choices provides increased marketing intelligence to a small business. You can easily measure your app’s value and the impact it has on your small business by using, for example, Google Analytics. You’ll get valuable insights into who your users are (including their geography, gender, interests, age group), how many users have downloaded this app, how long they spend in the app, which screens they visit, etc.
The most basic concept is based on five types of behavior:
- Acquisition – where/what channels do users come from
- Activation – what percentage of users have a good user experience with your app
- Retention – do they come back in a period of time (it is one of the most important parts)
- Referral – do they like it enough to suggest it to their friends
- Revenue – can you monetize any of this behavior?
For most small businesses, the benefits of having an app available for download are very apparent. They can imagine all the great things they can do once they have a spot on the users smartphone screen. However, there are various challenges one must face in how to get the app out there in the world. The owner needs to sit down and try to map out how an app would make customer interaction more positive. This is a good time to reach out to app developers and find someone they can work with. The developer can listen and give unique insight which can launch your startup faster. The business owner should have an overall theme they wish to present. And this theme should not be a break from what is presented elsewhere.
Providing site visitor analysis and using their websites as source material, are good ways for an app developer to more fully understand the situation. They can then estimate the complexity of the job and provide a detailed breakdown of the cost and time that it would take to develop the app. Bringing in these developers at the earliest possible stage, the business can more effectively use their resources to create their app.
As small businesses seek to grow their online presence, they should consider investing in mobile apps. These apps can help the business to find out more about their customers and market to them more effectively. By overcoming the challenges associated with developing an application, the business can deliver a superior experience to their customer. Thus, a well branded and designed app will most likely result in sales and business growth.