If you're thinking of creating a mobile app for your small business, it's important to know what your app is going to do. Some companies, like delivery or subscription services, lend themselves very naturally to apps. Others require a little more creativity. Here are some ways you can use mobile apps to boost your budding business:
One of the most straightforward ways to use your mobile app is to distribute coupons. This approach to mobile usage benefits your business in two big ways. First, it gives users an incentive to actually download your app. Once they know that the app gives them coupons, they're a lot more likely to be interested in it. Second, getting the coupons encourages customers to buy your product or use your service.
Coupon apps also give customers an impression of exclusivity: They're special because they got this coupon. This, along with the habit they'll build by using the coupon, is likely to expand your customer base and loyalty.
Although mobile shopping hasn't overtaken online shopping yet, it's on its way. According to Smart Insight's mobile marketing statistics for 2015, people spend more than half of their total Internet time on mobile devices. Additionally, mobile grew significantly between July 2014 and December 2014, which means it's becoming more and more popular for consumers.
Taking advantage of this trend may be a strong plan for new businesses. You should keep in mind the transition between Web and mobile and try to keep it as smooth as possible. Allowing customers to create profiles so their purchases and wish lists show up in both places is a great way to keep the experience consistent.
A mobile app is a great way to build a community. It may make sense for your business to have a place for customers to connect with one another. For example, if your company makes gourmet pet treats, your app can have a way for pet owners to share advice about animal care. Something as simple as a shared message board can establish you firmly in your customers' minds.
You can also use your app as a way to connect employees. Having a back-end app that employees need a password to enter can be a way to share quick communications that don't need to be said in-person. This is a good goal to have in mind for a company that has already made their customer-facing mobile app.
An app can be the perfect opportunity to establish yourself as a market expert. If your company runs a relevant blog, make those articles available to app users. This will increase your blog audience, and give your customers valuable insight. When you prove to your users that you know what you're talking about, you're letting them know your company is trustworthy.
You can also use your app to announce big news, like awards and accolades. Dedicate a portion of your app to these kinds of announcements so potential investors downloading your app can see what makes your company great.
Push notifications help you stay in your customers' minds. However, it's important that you use push notifications well, or you will risk coming off as annoying. Notifications should always prompt users to do something, not simply appear without a call to action. Use push notifications to alert customers to sales or discounts or to let them know if they have unpurchased items in their cart.
Limiting your use of push notifications to only the most useful moments will establish you as helpful, rather than irritating. Overuse may lead to your notifications being ignored – or worse, turned off entirely.