The first rule of marketing is to go where your customers are. Meet them on their own turf. And what better way to do that than to get on their smartphone with a mobile app?
When someone downloads your mobile app, they’ve essentially agreed to take you (well, not you personally, but your company and/or products) everywhere they go. With just a tap of the screen, they can engage with you—find information, ask questions, place orders, schedule appointments and so much more.
Because the primary purpose of a mobile app is customer engagement and retention, just about any type of business can benefit from one, says Alex Serrano, president of Creative Bulldog Company, a mobile app creator.
“Consumers spend so much time on their smartphones and tablets,” Serrano points out. “Businesses have to pay attention to this and be responsive to it. And the way to do that is with a mobile app.”
Mobile apps are not just for big companies. In an article for Forbes, Melanie Haselmayr wrote:
If you think that mobile apps are solely for big name brands like Walmart and Bank of America, you are wrong. More and more small and midsize businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website.
According to a recent Gallup survey, about half of U.S. smartphone owners check their devices several times an hour or more frequently and 20 percent of Americans say they check their phones about once an hour. Also, according to the survey, 81 percent of smartphone users say they keep their phone near them “almost all the time during waking hours.”
A mobile app lets you be right there in front of your customers on their smartphone. When they scroll through their apps, they’ll see your icon—which means they’ll think of you even if they weren’t specifically looking for what you offer at the moment. And when they are looking for what you offer, your mobile app makes it easy for them to connect with you.
In terms of functionality, mobile apps range from simple to complex. “It’s important that you have a feature-rich mobile app that will keep your customers engaged by offering the functions they want and will use,” Serrano says.
Before you begin building your mobile app, do some in-depth analysis to determine what your customers want and how to deliver that in a way that supports your business goals.
Concerned about the cost? Don’t be. It’s true that hiring a developer to build your app from scratch is likely going to be cost-prohibitive for most small to midsize businesses, but there are a number of do-it-yourself mobile app platforms—like the one Serrano’s Creative Bulldog Company offers—that will allow you to build your own app for a reasonable cost.
Serrano says well-built and promoted mobile apps will quickly pay for themselves and then continue to increase your revenue and profits. Just be sure to do your homework and choose a reputable company that will provide the support you need.
Update: You can read my full interview with Alex Serrano in my ebook, The Power of Mobile Apps: How a Mobile App Can Increase Sales, Strengthen Customer Loyalty and Grow Your Bottom Line—No Matter What Business You’re In. It’s available for immediate download for just $2.99. Click here to get your copy now.
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