Do you want to reach the widest possible audience with your digital marketing? Then you need a mobile app.
Why Do You Need A Mobile App?
Consumers now spend more time online using mobile devices than desktop computers. That’s why I build mobile-friendly (aka “responsive”) websites as standard. Even if you already have a mobile-friendly website though, it still helps to have a mobile app as well. Why?
Well, “native” mobile apps offer features websites can’t, like:
- Electronic coupons and loyalty programmes to boost in-store visits and sales
- Tap-to-call (speed-dial) buttons to get more leads
- SMS “push” messages — to reach customers more reliably than email
- “Geofenced” (location-specific) offers to attract more visitors by sending them an SMS when they’re nearby
- Faster response times than mobile websites to improve user experiences — especially in weak-signal areas
They are also great for:
- Quick sales and secure in-app payments
- Lead generation and referral schemes to build your audience
- Gaining social shares, ratings and reviews
- Providing key business info, menus and price lists — letting shoppers check your deals on the move
- Booking systems with fast feedback by SMS
- Attracting visitors to your premises with maps and driving directions from the user’s location
- Recommend-a-friend schemes with incentives — adding SMS to the more usual options of social media or email
- Referral schemes to build your audience
…But Wait, There’s More…
A mobile app can include pages from mobile-friendly websites, too — so you don’t have to duplicate them on both systems. That can be handy if you have a web app or complex features on your website. Bespoke development can be a big investment, especially on mobile, so it can be more practical to link such pages into your app than to have the same features re-coded for a new platform.
In fact, some cheap “hybrid” apps are just limited web browsers serving a small set of web pages. Such in-app web pages may offer none of the advantages of “native” apps, but they can serve to keep visitors in the app.
Finally, whilst some customers prefer using websites, others prefer apps. Some simply won’t buy from firms who seem to be ignoring their mobile audience. So, you need both platforms to keep all your potential customers happy.
Okay, But Why Do You Need A Mobile App?
These mobile advantages can be vital for retailers during the imminent Holiday Shopping Season.
Imagine the scene — a family on a shopping run. They wander into one of the areas you’ve “geofenced” close to your premises and get an automatic SMS telling them about your latest deal. Or maybe they spot something they like in a competitor’s shop — but check your app first to see if you have a better offer. That’s the sort of edge that can make all the difference.
Apps can be great for service providers, too. Who hasn’t remembered they need to book an appointment for something — and forgotten to do it before they next sit down to a computer? Whether it’s a meal, a hairdressing appointment or even a dental checkup. A mobile booking system with fast SMS confirmations makes it all easier — and that means more sales!
So, Why Doesn’t Every Business Have A Mobile App?
The bespoke coding normally needed for “native” apps is complex and time-consuming. As a result, mobile app prices commonly range from £5k to £500k and up. That could be for a single platform, too — usually either iPhone or Android. Unique apps like games are even more involved, Don’t expect to be the next “Angry Birds” for less than seven figures plus a hefty promotional budget.
So, what’s an SME to do?
Well, luckily, you don’t need to be the next “Angry Birds”. You just need a cost-effective app for mobile marketing.
If you have a website that can promote your app, you don’t need to compete for top positioning in the app popularity charts, either. You just need an app that’s useful to your customers, so that they download, use and share it in ways that make you money.
Cost-Effective Mobile Apps for Small Businesses
The key features that can help you achieve those goals are predictable, so we don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. That makes cost-effective native mobile apps possible on typical SME budgets.
So, the big question is — how much would such a small business mobile app cost?
Well, my prices for mobile apps currently start from just £800 plus £50 per month for two “native” apps. So you don’t need to choose between serving Android or iPhone users — you can do both! The apps also come with an online dashboard to let you update deals, send messages, review usage stats and manage other information within your app.