Having a cohesive mobile marketing strategy is essential to any small business that wants to stay in business. 80% of internet users own a smartphone, the majority of Google searches are performed on mobile devices, and 37% of all website visits are from a mobile device. Smartphone users spend an average of 3 hours a day on their phones and most of that time (over 80%) is spent in an app.
Not only does increasing your mobile presence provide more exposure engagement with your customers but mobile commerce will soon make up 50% of all digital business. That means for every two sales; one will come directly from a mobile device. Do you want to miss out on every other sale?
Mobile is just as important for businesses with brick and mortar locations, too. If your customer is going to do a search for “local restaurants” or “toy stores near me” the chances that they’ll efficiently arrive to your website are slim. In fact, they will most likely be presented with a list ordered from closest to farthest away via “search engine magic.” That “magic” is really just information collected over time from various websites.
Want your business to appear sooner rather than later? You’ll need more information available in more places – or make a direct submission. Registering your location, hours of operation, and adding professional photos of your location are key to convincing a shopper to choose your location over a competitor’s.
A Website Isn’t Enough
Every business these days that wants to remain competitive and relevant needs a website. It’s your home-base. The place your customers know they can get the most accurate up-to-date information. However, with the prevalence of mobile technology and artificial intelligence, your website isn’t as robust as it once was.
Even if your site is optimized for mobile, you may still be missing out on the advantages an exclusive app can bring: engagement, loyalty, personality, efficiency, and immediacy. Not only that, but you need to keep your business profiles relevant on other apps and services, too. If there’s an app relevant to your industry, register for it to be listed. More exposure is never a bad thing, and the process usually doesn’t take more than 5 minutes. If you don’t know how to build an app, you can hire someone to build it or use an app maker.
How Apps Boost Sales in the Real World
Big businesses have already seen the writing on the wall: mobile is here to stay, and it’s growing fast.
Starbucks: Starbucks attributes over 20% of its sales to mobile orders and predicts that number to grow to more than 50% by as soon as 2020 as mobile adoption increases. These sales are typically the result of an “Order and Pay Ahead of Time” feature that allows customers to skip the line and pick up their drinks without having to pay in-store.
Target: Target, unlike many similar retail chains, has been a breakout success when it comes to mobile marketing. Their app, Cartwheel, streamlines the shopping process, offers deals, and even compares your savings to the savings of Facebook friends who also use the app.
After releasing Cartwheel, time spent browsing Target’s website jumped 251%. App users also spent 30% more in-store on average and were more likely to become regular shoppers.
Domino’s Pizza: This is the app you should check out before you make your own. Yes, your customers will have different needs, but seeing how Domino’s app absolutely hit all of their clients’ needs and kept them coming back could give you some great ideas.
The app not only has the standard “order online” and coupon find features, but it has a pizza-themed game to play while you wait, a visual order tracker, and even a “pizza topping slot machine” for those that can never decide what to order. In this first year alone, orders from the Domino’s app made up 30% of their sales for that year.
Embrace Your Brand’s Humanity and Boost Loyalty
Like your website, the design and features offered through your app say a lot about your brand and your business. Does the app provide a reason to keep using it, like a loyalty program or special deals and suggestions? Does it help them stay in touch with the services you offer by giving easy access to support options or calendar updates? When an app makes things convenient and keeps the process friendly and intuitive, you are almost guaranteed to impress your customers and endear them to your brand.
Want to Make Your Business More Efficient?
Features like in-app ordering, scheduling, reminders and notifications all streamline a number of processes. It can reduce the time your staff spends on these day-to-day tasks and make it more convenient for your customers to make an appointment or reschedule – without having to worry about calling within office hours or being put on hold.
Not only that but in addition to having an app for your customers, it’s possible to have an app for your employees, too. This can help everyone communicate more effectively with shared messaging, checklists, resources, and more. Today, apps help streamline the day to day tasks of all kinds of businesses – from accounting firms to fire stations.
Can Your Small Business Afford an App?
Yes, you can. Any business that wants the benefits of mobile can afford an app. It’s not nearly as expensive as you might think, either. These days there are a handful of reliable app makers that cost well under $100/mo (and if it means a 20-30% increase in sales, isn’t it worth the investment?)
The companies that make the top app makers are often more reliable and more secure than a company that makes apps from scratch each time. They’re easy to use and let you make changes whenever you want – all you have to do is fill out a form or drag and drop the part you want. It’s easy – even if you get a little nervous around technical things. Today, putting together a professional app isn’t much harder than playing a game of Tetris – and it can be a lot more fun.
Not only is building an app with a reliable app maker easy, but these companies almost always offer great support options. That means if you get stuck help is just a call or email away.
Andrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps — making mobile apps affordable and simple for small businesses. We’re a do-it-yourself iPhone, iPad, Android & HTML5 app platform that allows any small business to simultaneously create, edit, and manage mobile apps without any programming knowledge needed. Think of us as “WordPress for mobile app creation.” Many of our customers are mobile app resellers — marketing or design agencies that use our platform to cost effectively build mobile apps for small business clients.
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