Everybody knows the importance of going directly to where your customers are and although the app revolution only started a few years ago, this form of marketing is growing fast with no signs of slowing down.
Currently 77% of the world’s population are online. With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets businesses are faced with more and more opportunities every day that will radically change how their service or product is delivered and accessed.
The ACMA Communications report for 2012 – 2013 confirms that mobility is all-consuming and is playing a significant role in the daily lives of Australians. Last year in Australia alone 13.08 million people downloaded a mobile app over a 6-month period.
There are more mobile devices in the world than the total number of computers and television units combined, meaning your business needs a mobile presence to stay connected with its customers. Zach Cusimano, co-founder of San Francisco-based app developer BiznessApps says “Ignoring mobile marketing is simply no longer an option for any business”
What are the benefits of having a mobile app?
- Customers don’t have to play the waiting game
Mobile apps provide a much faster alternative than mobile web browsing. Web browsing requires a user to launch a web browser, enter a URL and wait for the site to load (providing there is adequate reception), whereas it only takes a second to launch a mobile app because the majority of the information is stored in the application itself making it possible to function offline.
- Apps are a constant reminder of your business
Mobile apps reinforce your brand by increasing your visibility. An app gives a business more presence on a phone than a browser bookmark does because it is always visible on the phone?s screen. This helps build loyalty with customers because your business is in front of them at all times.
- Apps increase customer engagement
Customers are calling out for mobile apps because they quickly connect them to businesses they most commonly want or need. Businesses are using apps to improve their processes and increase the level of accessibility their customers have to them. The point of a mobile app is to seamlessly connect and interact with customers, making it a valuable tool for the modern business.
- Apps reduce costs
Apps reduce costs of SMS messages and paper newsletters. They simplify communications by securely, instantly and directly messaging customers. Apps reduce staff workload by information requests and phone calls.
What should be considered before developing a mobile app?
- Determining how popular your app will be
Is my app going to be helpful to customers and are people going to use it? The only answer to this question can be found through research. Poll your existing customers and your online visitors and ask the question. This will help you better understand whether there is a market for your app.
- Defining the purpose of your app
First and foremost the app has to have a clear purpose to provide value. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, what do they want and need from your app? How is your app going to improve your service to them? What will grab their attention?
- Allocation of time and resources
Mobile apps are not just a financial investment, but also require an investment of time as well. Like anything technology based, mobile apps should be maintained to stay relevant to provide the best service to your customers and to continue improving internal processes.
- Your business requirements
Mobile apps aren’t for every business so before you make any decisions you need to focus on the actual needs of your business. If you need something with high functionality and have a website that requires customers to login, then a mobile app would be worthwhile because of the performance benefits mentioned earlier. Apps are also particularly useful for businesses that have high customer interaction and engagement.
An example where mobile apps are working particularly well is for many Australian schools. This is because they bring together all school-to-parent communication in a convenient and effective way, enabling parents access to important school information, including, school newsletters, notices and alerts directly via their smartphone.