In todays society with everything being on demand, we are infatuated with the use of mobile for convenience and accessibility. There has been a significant change in the online landscape where mobile devices are the vehicle for more than half of all internet access. Consumers use their mobile devices to find information they want immediately, often depending on the instant accessibility of mobile apps to quickly provide them with what they need to know. Businesses are having to adapt to this evolution in consumer lifestyle. People are constantly on the move making today’s consumer a moving target. These consumers are also savvy shoppers leveraging technology to access market research as well as assist with purchasing decisions. They communicate via social media to source information from their trusted network about brands and products. This weighs heavy with their purchase decisions and brand preferences.
Businesses are challenged with engaging these consumers, and having a mobile app can be a great way to keep your brand in front of them as they are on the move. The mobile app has become the tool of choice for consumers, and businesses that have adapted to using this technology are seeing significant returns on their investment. There are a multitude of different apps in the marketplace. Some of these are classified as informative, others meant for convenience, and some are purely for entertainment. This medium of engagement isn’t for every business and finding the right solution to meet your business needs requires a great amount of knowledge about your customer base. It is critical to understand their demographic information, lifestyle choices, purchase preferences, and overall experience with your brand. It is even important to understand how specifically they are using mobile devices in their daily lives.
A recent study conducted by mobile carrier AT&T found that the predominate reason for using mobile applications was in order to save time, according to 62 percent of respondents. Twenty-nine percent stated that cost-saving was their primary reason for using a mobile app. This same study polled more than 2,200 small business owners (with less than 50 employees) and found 72 percent were utilizing mobile apps in their businesses. A quarter of these companies were using apps for social media marketing and location based services, while 20 percent had bought in to mobile credit card payments. The most dominant use of mobile applications on the list was GPS and mapping, which is being used by nearly half of those surveyed.
Many businesses are leveraging mobile apps to not only assist with their operations, but to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and more importantly revenue. IBM’s Retail Online Index reported that retailers experienced a 15 percent growth in sales from mobile devices. There are many different ways to go about achieving these goals and it starts with understanding different ways a mobile app can be leveraged to connect with your consumers. Apps are used to appeal to people in primarily three basic ways.
The first is to make their lives easier by simplifying a task or streamlining a regular process. Second, is to save them money or provide additional value in some way. Finally, the third is to make things more fun and provide a source of entertainment for the user. If your app can provide one or more of these things to users then you’re well on your way to having a successful mobile app.
Here are 10 things you can do with a customized mobile app for your business in order to build customer loyalty, increase traffic, and ultimately boost your revenues.
- Build customer loyalty and make them feel special by offering discounts, coupons, and promotions just for using your app. Create or integrate your customer loyalty program within your mobile app. With Apple’s release of iOS 6 many companies are leveraging the new Passbook app for loyalty programs.
- Utilize push notifications to promote events, offer special deals, and provide relevant information about your brand to users. Push allows you to deliver instant messages to your customers’ mobile phones whenever you wish. While only 4% to 10% of email marketing messages get opened, push notifications get read 97% of the time.
- Create a viral buzz by leveraging your biggest asset, your army of existing customers. Let them quickly tell all of their friends about you using the built-in sharing capabilities of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Ask users for their opinions and engage in contesting through these social media channels. Integrating with these networks allows your business to tap into users trusted groups of friends and acquaintances for cross selling opportunities.
- Grow your list by gathering names and email addresses directly inside your app. Request an Opt-In or Sign-up and give them a reward for providing you with that valuable information. You can then easily export that data into your favorite email marketing campaign service.
- Promote special events by providing up-to-date information about where your brand will be or that your hosting something at your locations. Use an in-app event calendar to outline monthly shows, dinners, open houses, guest appearances, product launches, etc. Take it a step further and direct users to your website to pre-book, pre-pay, or even pre-order.
- Use location based marketing to engage users with customized marketing messages based on their specific location and preferences. This can be done with a blend of technologies including location based services, GPS, geo-fencing, bluetooth, MMS, and near-field communications.
- Keep your customers informed about new developments, product launches, guest appearances, and other unique things your doing that would interest them. Fill your app with information about your business, service offerings, menus, and more.
- Connect with ease making it simple for customers to reach you using one touch calling, email, link to your website, and GPS directions all from inside your app.
- Get instant feedback and use it to improve customer service or to further product research. Create a survey or run a poll then show them that your listening by taking action on their feedback.
- Track your success through app analytics and results from different marketing campaigns.
These 10 things are all effective tactics a business can use to get the most out of having a mobile app. No approach will guarantee success, but a blend of these along with a unified marketing message throughout your communication channels will certainly put you ahead of the competition. By recognizing this evolution in online access and consumer behavior you’ll be able to address the business challenge of engaging these mobile consumers. Leveraging mobile apps will be a necessary piece of your long term business strategy. Big chains and brands already get it and have aggressively launched into the mobile application space. They are willing to pay the cost necessary to be in there customers hands and realize if they are not that someone else will be there.