As the online ecosystem evolves, marketing teams often debate what is the most effective way to reach and engage with the customers on mobile. The fundamental question revolves around the if the company should focus only on a mobile-friendly website or mobile App development.
The logic of such decision should be hinged on two points. Primarily a mobile-friendly website is not an option but a must. This is not because of the rising figures of customers who access websites via mobile but because Google interprets a non-mobile friendly website negatively and thus the ranking in SERPS is adversely affected. Having a mobile-friendly website is simply the first point of entry and not the source of competitive advantage.
This brings us to the second point. Having a mobile App is another opportunity of providing a channel through which the customers can reach you, access your services, and transact with you. In essence, it is about providing yet another way of building a relationship. This is one the main benefits of having a mobile App. It is true that mobile App development is not something to be taken lightly because mobile App can be a costly venture especially when one ropes in skilled App developers, but one cannot negate the benefits that can be reaped from an App.
Once a mobile App is downloaded on a device, it is resident on the device and its icon occupies some ‘real estate’ of the device’s screen. This in itself helps in raising brand awareness. Every time the user scrolls through the assortment of Apps available on his device, he will even if for a split second view the App’s icon. Even when the App is not being used, it still serves as a reminder to the customer in question.
The App is also like a 24/7 connecting mechanism. If the App is resident on the customers’ mobile and it enables with ways of communicating via mobile and email, this will make it much easier for customers to reach out to the organization.
Apps are as valuable as the function or service they provide. If the Apps will not provide any real value added, then it will be difficult to convince customers that they should download it. Apps can deliver a variety of services like entertainment (such as gaming Apps, sweepstake Apps, Apps with which to while away the time), communication (Apps through which one can communicate with others), information (Apps that provided valuable information and that help the customer keep track of own information or that provide a learning opportunity).
Apps are all the more interesting when they take advantage of the special features of the mobile device and rope them in the App. A real estate company can make use of the geolocation on its Apps to show customers properties available in the area.
Through Mobile Apps, one can provide a series of more value-added services to the customers. Quick login, real-time online booking, accessing own accounts, special offer alerts, and sharing on social media are all facilities that once residing on Apps bring the customer closer to the organization. Naturally, from the business perspective, one has to identify how the App in question is going to help improve the bottom line and generate a profit.
In some cases, it is easy to have online catalogs for online sales and orders but it other cases it is more about sustaining a relationship with the customer and thus sales will occur in an indirect way. Loyalty programs that are managed via the App are also worth considering in order to ensure that customers will download and make use of the App.
One of the overlooked benefits of Apps is the reach of the App. When Apps are developed in such a way that they can still be used when the user is not connected to the Internet, there is extended use of the App. Apps are also easier to handle in the sense that it is simply a matter of tapping on the App’s icon and access the facilities provided. Through Apps it is easy to reach to the segment of customers who are in movement or in transit. When analyzing the usage of Apps, sometimes it becomes clear that a lot of people reach out for their mobile at points where they are waiting for something ‘else’, like for example when they are waiting for their flight at an airport. Thus wise App development should focus on providing users with facilities that work both offline and online.
If you’re thinking of creating an App to promote your business or your brand, ask what will make the audience want to download and use the App. If the App has got some kind of useful mechanism than can be a crowd-puller and ultimately a strong touch point for your marketing activities, then it is worth considering. For example, if you’re in the business of selling baby products, your App should be one that not only promotes your products and brings special offers to parents, but it helps new parents in their everyday routines like keeping track of the baby’s sleeping and eating patterns, along with growth charts and reaching milestones.
Once the mobile App is developed, make sure you plan a campaign instigating download and usage of the App as this will give it life and keep it going. Feedback coming in from the App users is essential for improving the workings of the App and extending its longevity.