To have a completely mobile marketing strategy, a mobile app is absolutely essential. However, a bad app is no better than having no app at all. And it’s hard to shake off the bad rep you will get for your app not being up to scratch. Here are a few key factors you need to consider when building  a mobile business app.
Building a Mobile Business App That Provides Value
Never think of your app as an extra screen. It is a completely separate entity that needs to have the same impact as your website. An investment in a functional and well designed mobile app is an investment in your long term business success. It really is as simple as that. As mobile devices have now taken over from desktops when it comes to browsing habits, not having a fully functional app that ticks all the boxes could be the difference between your business succeeding and failing.
For example, a huge mistake I personally see when small businesses are creating mobile apps is that they think simply putting content from their website into their mobile app will be enough to satisfy their users. The fact is, that is the no. 1 way to have users delete your mobile app as soon as they download it. Avoid creating a “billboard” app and try to think of functionality that your customers will actually use more than once. For example, include a loyalty program that will keep users coming back into your business or a food ordering system that will allow for easy orders. Make your app functional! Not static.
Keep Things Simple
Keep things simple and focused. Your app has to be simple enough for customers to find what they want and for them to complete any transactions within minutes. Less is definitely more when it comes to business apps. A common mistake is thinking your app has to be packed with features, but half of them won’t even be used. This simplicity also delivers great user experience, something every mobile user demands and expects.
For example, a lot of businesses create apps that are absolutely overloaded with features and can sometimes confuse users. If you do include a lot of features in your app, make sure to put your most useful features towards the front of your app so they are noticed first, not last. Sometimes, all it takes is one great feature to make your app a success. By keeping things simple and focusing on your desired outcome, you’ll be much better off. Do you want to increase revenue? Include a mobile shopping cart feature. Do you want to increase customer loyalty? Include coupons and other loyalty programs. Do you want to increase communication? Send timely push notifications for customers. But remember, less is more.
Measure Your App’s Performance
Only by having the correct formal metrics  in place will you be able to accurately gauge the impact your app is having on your business. Many companies don’t bother with this but if you can’t measure performance, how do you know it isn’t having a negative effect? You could assume it’s doing well when it isn’t, and not spend any more money on it. Your competitors will love this, and they’ll also love the cash your customers are spending with them!
One of my favorite quotes is “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” and this is especially true for mobile business apps. Keep an eye on what features your customers are using and what features they are not. If your analytics tell you your customers are using a “reservation” feature that is stuffed in the back of your app, move this feature to the front! Give customers what they want! If you have features in your business app that don’t seem to be used often, you should consider removing them. Always be testing!
Create a Marketing Strategy for Your App
This should be in place from the very beginning of the development process. Overlooked by many until it’s too late is the fact that it is way easier to market a new app from the outset rather than trying to foster interest in one that has been lying around doing nothing for several months. You wouldn’t start up a new business without having a mobile marketing strategy in place. And you shouldn’t launch a new app without one in place either.
A huge mistake I personally see with a lot of small businesses is they expect an app to be an overnight success. This is not the case. For example, if you create a website, but don’t advertise it or have a marketing strategy behind it — no one is going to visit your website. The same goes for your mobile app. Tell your customers about it. Place something on the counter of your establishment that entices people to download your app. Share it across your social media networks. The fact is, people will not download your mobile business app if you don’t let them know about it, so have a marketing strategy in place before launching.
Plan Your User Engagement
Once you launch your app, and it’s available to download from app stores, you need to have a plan in place for engaging with your users. Apps offer awesome opportunities for businesses to engage with their users, but this only works if you plan in advance how you will do this. Consider how to push those notifications and implement your in-app messages or how to keep users coming back to your app.
One of the easiest ways to do this is definitely with push notifications, again giving users a reason to come back to the app. This can be done in a few ways. Make their lives easier. Give them discounts only found in your mobile app. Send geofence push notifications in areas you think they will pass through. Basically, after your app is launched, give some thought to how to keep users coming back. One of the biggest benefits of a mobile app when compared to a mobile website is it’s ability to help retain users and have them engage with your business. Give them reasons to do so!
Mobile apps can be one of the most powerful marketing tools a small business can add to their marketing mix but it has to be well thought out to be a success. If your mobile business app is not functional and provides zero value to your customers, you’ll get zero value in return. If you do not plan a strategy to let customers know about your app, no one will use it. If you do not think through a way to entice customers back into your app you may see users open your app once and never return. Luckily, if you follow this advice you’ll see a huge return on investment from your business app as well as more loyal customers!
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