The idea of developing and marketing an app on top of the marketing work you’re already doing for your business might sound like a lot of hard work. After all, you’ve probably got enough on your plate already.
While you’d be forgiven for thinking that adding an app to the huge amount of work you’re already doing developing your brand, it actually works that has the potential to produce enormous returns – both on investment and effort.
If you can find a forward-thinking software company to help you bring your app to the market, an mobile application unlocks a new realm of interactions and possibilities for your company and brand.
1Improving business visibility and recognition
Mobile users spend a LOT of time on their phones. In fact, estimates of around 2-3 hours generally factor in low-use users, so, if your application appeals to a younger audience (under the age of around 45) then you can expect user’s screen time to be significantly more.
Apps are user’s weapon of choice too – in fact, in the under 45 demographic, around 65% of screen time is spent exclusively on applications – so if you can put your offering amongst the social media and shopping icons on people’s phones, your brand is going to get huge bump invisibility.
The thing is, people don’t have to be actually opening and using your app to see your brand become more recognizable. The more your app appears on phones and on app stores, the more trust in your brand increases. While positive experiences are a big factor in brand recognition and trust, exposure isn’t far behind – so, the more you’re seen, the more likely people are to use your products and services moving forward.
Of course, having a solid brand image and message is important here – but as long as you have, you can expect interactions to increase.
Like it or not, customers are lazy. If someone has to work hard to use your service, they probably won’t – which means engagement figures will drop away. You might have an outstanding store in a prime big city location – but if you’re not online, people won’t buy in the kind of volumes they might otherwise. The same is true of restaurants – you might serve the best pizza in your town, but if you don’t offer JustEat or UberEats, then you’re likely to lose business.
Having an app is the ideal solution to this kind of laziness problem. If you can remove the steps between a customer thinking about your service or product, to actually using your product or service, then you’re on to a good thing. The beauty of an app is that your customer is likely to stay logged in too – so there’s no need to continually re-enter login details or payment details either.
Concentration spans are waning – if you can account for that, then you’re likely to see far more interactions than assuming people are willing to make an effort for your business.
3Creating new, unique features
A lot of apps work under the radar – that’s to say, the business side of the application is somewhat secondary, at least in terms of function, to the part that users interact with.
Sound cryptic? Let me explain further.
Facebook isn’t a social network per se. Facebook is a way of collecting user data which can then be repurposed to sell as advertising opportunities for businesses. So, Facebook makes money from businesses – not users. That said, the only reason people download Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other apps is that they’ll get to use a unique feature.
This covert way of balancing interesting user function with real business benefit is rife in app stores – and you can make it work to your advantage. For instance, if you’re a restaurant business, your app might provide local area information. If you’re a garage, your app might be about car maintenance tips or records. If you’re a financial advisor, your app might be a budgeting tool.
It’s worth thinking about what your app could be, rather than just making it a portal to your website. While big businesses might carry enough market traction so people want the convenience of the app, it’s unlikely to be enough of a download incentive for smaller businesses. As such, thinking of a hook for users is absolutely key – and, when they’re using your app, you start to reap the other benefits on this list.
4A direct marketing channel
Few people realize quite how powerful phone notifications are. Generally, it’s considered a ‘life hack’ to switch them off, and around 90% of people have every notification enabled for every application they use. As a result, it’s estimated that we look at our phones around 200+ times every day.
If you want a piece of this attention action, you need to use your app to send push notifications to your users. When you do, they’ll be alerted, they’ll pick up their phone – and they’ll open your app. When they do, you get all the benefits of increased recognition, improved trust – as well as an opportunity to keep people engaged with the unique app function we’ve just talked about.
The great thing about push notifications is that they get opened – which is more than can be said for most email marketing campaigns. While you’d be lucky to see an open rate of 20% using a tool like MailChimp, you’re likely to get significantly more when you’re flashing as a notification on someone’s phone.
5Developing your app
So, benefits considered, you might be wondering how you go about developing an app. The truth is, you’re going to want to work with a developer that shares your vision – and can expand on what’s possible. Rather than looking to find a cheap app developer, you should take your time and aim to find a company that understands your business and shares your understanding of the marketplace. The difference between a decent app and a great app can be the difference between your marketing standing still – or exploding.