November 21, 2011 · 3 min read
Does your business need a mobile app?
Mobile apps are becoming more and more commonplace in today’s marketing mix, and with over one billion apps downloaded every month, they are a platform that should be considered by every business. But before jumping in feet first, you’ll need to figure out whether or not they are the right option for your business.
A study done earlier this year by Juniper and GetJar found that 72% of small businesses use mobile apps, and one-third claim they wouldn’t survive without them. Not only do apps save on time, productivity, and cost but they also fit in with the modern way of getting things done. The offer great customer insight and reach people 24/7, however like any other medium, they must be part of the right marketing strategy.
Today’s digital marketing mix is not just about sticky websites, it’s about being present when and where your consumers need you, and mobile apps may just be the answer you are looking for. Apps should fit within your digital strategy, so first and foremost make sure your app would work with everything else you are implementing to achieve your marketing goals.
When used properly apps are a great way to reach your target audience. The most effective apps offer people a basic functionality that they need to access while on-the-go. So, if you can give people something they will use while away from a computer then you’re on the right track.
You’ll also need to determine whether or not your core audience uses smartphones and how likely they would be to download and use an app you’ve created. For example, apps are most popular among 25-34 years old, followed by 35-44 year olds and then 18-24 year olds. Additionally, business people interact with apps is very differently than students or retirees, so do a bit of research to see if your target market would want to use your app.
You’ll also have to figure out whether or not the app’s functionality will appeal to your audience. Apps are a great option if your customers need to get a hold of your or your company information quickly, for example if you’re a plumber, car mechanic, or real estate agent. If your research shows that your app would be well-received, then go for it; if not, consider a mobile website instead.
Repeat use is also an important factor for apps. A successful app will have users accessing the app’s functionality regularly and often. So, if you manufacture industrial pipes, your repeat customers may only make up a small percentage of your overall customers, and even then they could go for long periods of time without seeking you out, so an app may not be so handy for them. However, the people who install your pipes may really benefit from an app that offers them some sort of functionality to help them on a day-to-day basis.
Not only should people want to reuse your app, but there should also be a reason to share it with others that will make them want to get it too. This doesn’t necessarily mean “share” in the social media sense of the word (although that is a great option too) but to literally show it to others because of how useful the app is. The more people want to share your app, the better its reputation will become, so try to offer something unique or special.
Also take a look at your own industry, are many of your competitors releasing mobile apps? If so then you may need to release an app in order to stay competitive. Since many people are turning to apps as a source of information and convenience, you do not want to miss out on marketing opportunities that your competitors are successfully using.
With nearly 300 million smartphones sold last year alone, mobile apps can be a great method to reach your target audience. But, like any marketing strategy, apps need to be the right platform for your company, your audience, and your goals.