Mobile is the fastest growing industry in history and it is projected to continue to grow with no signs of slowing down. Does your company have a presence in the mobile market?
There used to be a time when mobile devices where only used to make calls and carry an address book. Today, smartphones and tablets are replacing laptops, desktops and touch on every aspect of our digital self. It should be no surprise that thousands of businesses have already created a mobile apps to stay connected with their clients.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS AN APP
The most important thing any business looking to build an app should do is to identify what the main purpose of the app will be. This could be as simple as having a virtual business card, building a mailing list or having a gallery of your products. You can also build your app with advanced features such as geo fencing, push notifications and selling products.
Many businesses will also come across questions like “What content will I show in the app?”, “What am I looking to learn from the people who download the apps?” and “Is my business big enough to warrant an app?”. The answers to these questions vary from business to business and should definitely be part of the evaluation process.
The main thing you should keep in mind is that an app for your business should really be an extension to your brand.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A BUSINESS APP
There are several benefits of having an app for your business including:
Increase customer loyalty
Improve customer service
Stay connected with your clients
Gather valuable insight on your clients
Send notifications and promotions directly to clients
Additionally, having your own business app effectively creates a presence on your clients mobile device. Every time your client browses through their list of apps they will see your business. This could trigger a subconscious reminder of a good experience they had with you or that they had to tell someone about your business or that they should contact you again for other services.
When a client downloads your app it’s safe to say that they value your offerings. Once they have the app they can share it with friends and family. This method of word of mouth marketing can greatly increase your customer base.
If your company has a storefront you can mark an area around a geographic location (geofencing) so that whenever a client finds themselves in that area they will receive a notification informing them about a new sale in the store. As an example, the notification could look like “Hello from Widget Co. We noticed you are in the area, why don’t you drop by to check out our 35% discount on the latest widgets”.
Having an app will also expand the reach of your customer service. If your company is a photo studio and you have a client coming in for a shoot, that client can send you images via your app of other photos that they have seen. They may want to simulate those photos and this will give you time to prepare for their session. This can also apply to a hair salon studio.
These are only a couple of examples but there is really no limit to the possibilities of what an app can do for your business.
DEVELOPING A BUSINESS APP
The process of creating and maintaining a mobile app can be very complex and time consuming for any business. It is for this reason that you should seek out a development firm to help you along the way. Having an external firm work with you will be of great value because they specialize in mobile apps and can help you understand the technology available. In many cases these firms will help you determine the main functionality of your app.
Be sure to have a budget in mind prior to starting the development process. Some companies will charge a large setup fee and then charge separately for updating the app. Other companies will charge based on a small setup fee followed by monthly services charges to make sure your app is always up to date. The firm you choose should offer a free consultation and conduct a full needs analysis of your process and goals prior to charging and developing the app.
SO DO YOU NEED A BUSINESS APP?
Yes, you should strongly consider creating an app for your business. Mobile is the next evolution of the information age. This new technology needs to be embraced and failing to adapt to its advancements can be catastrophic to some businesses. Currently 74% of all Canadians and 103% of all Americans have a mobile phone (SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use).
With that said, your clients are already on mobile devices, so please take the time to carefully evaluate the great benefits that your business can receive from having a mobile presence.
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