With around 1.4 million apps each in the Google Play and App store, you may think that the market is saturated, so why bother? If you build a mobile app for your business you will know how you can gain visibility in the market. If you are running a business through a website, consider turning your website into an app.

If you have already invested your time, money, and efforts in building a fantastic mobile website, you should understand that your customers want your business information on-the-go. To understand, ask these questions to yourself:

How often customers take a picture of your product and share it on their social accounts?

  • Does your website voice out when a valuable customer walks in your door?
  • Can your website offer exclusive perks and discounts to high profile customers?
  • Does your website give coupons and incentives to your regular customers?
  • Does your website customize the shopping experience for your regular visitors?

These are just a few examples that a mobile app offers an inherent marketing value over a mobile website. Within app capabilities such as biometrics, geolocation, sensors, and cameras, the possibilities of gaining customers’ trust in your brand are virtually endless.

If you are still wondering whether your business needs a mobile app, think about the role of smartphones in this modern-day and age.

Mobile is the king

The average smartphone users have gone from spending only a few minutes a day on their mobile device to spending nearly three hours each day consuming mobile digital media since 2008.

Around 90% of those three hours each day is spent interacting with mobile apps, over 10% spent on mobile websites. The trend is only growing year over year.

Google has released a research in November 2013, that maps out the path of purchasing power of mobile shopping across a significant number of verticals, including restaurants, travel, fashion, health, automotive, home and garden. The results were surprising: nearly three in ten consumers began their path to purchase on mobile apps.

About 48% of users have purchased products using mobile search, far below the percentage using the search on a desktop. The use of mobile topped the use of desktop in 2014.

One of the location marketing firms, xAD also give an insight of promising findings for businesses planning to launch an app

  • 42% of smartphone users who browse products on-the-go purchase within an hour.
  • 69% of these on-the-go users will convert their shopping in the store.

If you are banking on your mobile website to draw attention to your customers, you need to think again, because:

  • Consumers are now more dependent on their mobile devices to make a purchase, and they expect information on demand
  • Proximity is the key to conversion or retaining your customers. Geolocation services enable many businesses to predate and meet their customers’ needs

Mobile marketing is the key to capitalizing on impulse shopping by delivering a personalized shopping experience to customers.

Mobile website vs. mobile app

With limited resources and budgets, mobile marketing is not a proposal.

In fact, a mobile website and a native mobile app work together to accomplish your marketing objectives and build your revenue goals.

Have a look at the functionality and advantage of both mobile websites and mobile apps.

  • The marketing objective of a mobile website is to attract new customers, whereas mobile app helps you create loyal customers to get a competitive advantage
  • To use a mobile website, you need to open a browser and enter the website URL. However, the mechanism of a mobile app is simply to tap an icon on a smartphone screen
  • User interaction on mobile websites is likely to complete an activity and exits. On the other hand, mobile apps offer their users an open, two-way, and ongoing user experience
  • Mobile websites are more responsive to search queries in the case of mobile advantage. Mobile apps are easy-to-use and help in increasing customer engagement, that brings loyalty.

Businesses limiting their mobile presence to a responsive website and risk the ‘buy and bye’ scenario. In this case, a customer finds you on a mobile search, shops or even makes a purchase, and disappears, perhaps forever. Conversely, businesses focusing solely on mobile marketing via an app might miss out on finding new customers.

The most successful trick is to make your users use your mobile website and convince them to download your app. This strategy generates an opportunity for profitability, ongoing relationships by creating engagement, building loyalty, expanding social reach, and delivering highly personalized shopping experiences for your customers.

Many small businesses are using mobile apps 

Pretty much every smartphone user has an app from major retailers, and you will be surprised at how many small businesses are getting into the app market.

An app development company presented statistics on how small businesses are using apps to achieve their goals. Highlights from the study:

  • Around 15% of small businesses created a native app by late 2015. Of those apps, one third were developed in 2014.
  • 18% of small businesses plan to build or launch an app in the upcoming years.

Small businesses also listed their reasons for creating a mobile app. Have a look:

  • To improve customer service (76%)
  • To increase sales (37%)
  • To compete with other businesses (35%)

Conclusively, small businesses found their mobile apps were most useful for:

  • Using push notifications to engage their target customers
  • Rewarding loyal customers with offers and discounts
  • In-app selling, orders entry and payments, streamlining retail trade, and liberating staff to use their time in other chores

You must have heard an adage, that it costs you less to retain the customer in contrast to acquiring new ones. Just imagine, your business app can go a long way toward achieving your goal.

Plan building your mobile app 

Depending on the scale of your organization, the first step is to hire a group of employees who can build your app and represents your business to the market through the app. Else, you can also get help from WooCommerce mobile app builder, like App My Site that understands your prerequisites and build your app accordingly in affordable prices. You only need to provide CS/CK keys and a URL of your WooCommerce website to the app-building company to create your app.

Now, you need to decide on the objectives of building a mobile app of your business. The decision of building an app falls into one of the three categories, such as acquisition, engagement, and conversion. Next, consider the features of your mobile app that you will need to achieve.

Here, we will discuss the most popular app features that you can include in your app:

Push notifications

Push notifications are one of the most valuable app features. This app feature enables timely, relevant, on-demand communication with the customers. If these notifications can be combined with location-based messaging, it can provide a personalized experience to your users.

Geolocation and map integration

Integration of maps and geo-location can identify the location of your app users and give them detailed directions on how to find you. Give your VIP customers an advantage by offering location-based coupons and incentives.

Mobile shopping or mobile payments

Must-have feature of mobile apps. Give your users an opportunity to make a purchase of products and services from your mobile app with mobile payment gateways. The user experience of your mobile app should be as easy as possible for your customers.

Integrated loyalty program

Incorporating a loyalty program into the app will increase customer engagement towards your brand. Customers can easily procure, monitor, and redeem their loyalty points using their mobile device.

Integration of social accounts

Allow your users to sign up on the app through their social media accounts. This makes it easy for your customers to connect and engage with you, without spending too much time on keying different usernames and passwords for multiple accounts.

One-touch contact

Give your users a helping hand by including all your contact information, such as one-click calling, emailing, and social connections. You can also add step-by-step directions with a single tap to the contact page of your app.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality has become a huge marketing tool and a way to build an engagement. If you want to show your customers how they look in a new pair of spectacles, or may want to convince them that the black leather couch would look great in the living room, you can add this feature to your app.

Smart sync and smart updates

With a mobile app, you can automatically push updates and sync content across all your digital channels. A mobile app built with AppMySite offers this ultimate feature that helps in real-time sync of all your products on your app (the changes you will make on the website will reflect on your app).

After mapping out what you want your app to do and the features you want to include, answer these critical questions, such as:

  • What platform will you use for your app-building? Google Analytics will give you an insight into what devices your target customers use.
  • What is the timeline for your app launch? Is there any special event, such as the opening of a new branch, or the introduction of a new product or service, that would unite with your app launch?
  • What is your budget for building an app? Take account of the development, support, and marketing costs in your planning.
  • Where would you prefer to build your app?

Market your app on a small business budget

The app launch is the first step after you have successfully developed one. Getting your potential customers to download and use it takes just as much work.

Marketing your business app on a small budget requires a creative approach that maximizes your sales and revenue.

Build a landing page on your website to promote your app. A landing page is used for app discoverability and SEO (search engine optimization) on a mobile search after a launch. Ensure your mobile website and social accounts are linked to your app’s landing page to showcase your app’s useful features with compelling screenshots and videos. Figure out your user ratings and reviews to get more visibility before building a landing page.

Look into your existing customer base and offer them an incentive to download your app. A free sample, discount coupon, or loyalty points can be all attractive offers you can provide to your users. Do not forget to ask your app users to rate your app as this affects app store discoverability.

Also, you can reach out to social influencers and ask them to review your app. This can be a great way to yield powerful benefits in terms of app exposure, traffic, and backlinks that further improve your search results. Keep remembering that app store discoverability and SEO work hand-in-hand, you cannot just rely on Google Play and App store searches to get your app in front of your customers.

Pay attention to a few things for app store optimization too, like:

  • Carry out the keyword research process
  • Design an eye-catching app icon
  • Incorporate compelling screenshots
  • Write top-notch descriptions (short and long)
  • Get good ratings

Mobile app marketing is an ongoing process, but once it pays off, it will be a good return on investment.

The road to ROI (Return on Investment)

The road to ROI (Return on Investment)

No matter how you develop and support your app, you should always keep an eye toward recouping your app costs. Measure the impact of your investment on your overall marketing strategy.

Reaching new users

  • Number of app downloads
  • Number of active users
  • The growth rate of new users

Retaining existing users

  • Number of app sessions per user
  • Length of an app session
  • Interval of an app session
  • Number of permissions granted access to location, photo library, and more
  • Churning rate (total number of customers divided by uninstalls for a determined time interval)

Creating paying customers

  • The average revenue per app user
  • Transactions per customer
  • Customer lifetime value

Measure these KPIs to financially validate your decision to create an app. These indicators will help to identify strengths and weaknesses in your overall mobile marketing strategy and identify areas to build an app on loyalty and engagement to generate even higher returns.

If you have been hesitant in the past to jump into the mobile app market, is time to realise that every business is competing in the mobile realm as it becomes a necessity for businesses of every size. Having a mobile website can be a great first start, but a mobile app can give you an edge in creating a highly engaged and loyal customer base.