Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

Your business more than likely has a website. It’s the first marketing tool you probably put your time and budgeting into when originally starting up. That website forms the backbone of your business, attracts people to your brand and encourages them to buy. 

But have you ever considered developing your own business app? Here are a couple of stats that might convince you take a closer look:

As consumers, we’ve become used to downloading a wide range of apps onto our phones. These cover everything from social media, entertainment, games and news to productivity, health and dating. 

While you might think it’s all Facebook, health monitoring apps or the latest Candy Crush game, there’s no reason why your SME shouldn’t benefit too. 

I’ve got a website, why do I need an app?

This is one of the first questions that businesses normally ask us at Creative.onl. It’s perfectly legitimate. After all, it takes money and staff resource to develop an app. 

What if your customer picks up their phone and always sees your app on their screen? Wouldn’t they be more to buy something or visit your site? 

When you consider that people carry their smartphones around with them all the time, you may begin to see the real benefit. You suddenly move to the enviable position of always being there, ready and waiting for when the customer wants to buy. You can even send them push notifications from your app to alert them about upcoming promotions. 

Here are some business arguments for having an app developed for your company:

1. Influence customer perception

Your competitors will have their website and you will have yours. The question is what really sets you apart, from a customer-perception point of view? 

It’s still not that common for SMEs to have their own mobile app. While social media, video sites, Netflix and Amazon may first come to mind, there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t have one too. 

A business app is an excellent way to steal a march on your competitors and stand out from the crowd.

It gives your customer something of value and allows you to influence their buying behaviour because you’re at the heart of their personal communications network. 

2. Build greater brand loyalty

If you have a feature that monitors usage on your phone, you may well be surprised at the number of hours a week you spend on that tiny device. According to a report by Ofcomrecently:

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“People are on average online for 24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago, with one in five of all adults spending as much as 40 hours a week on the web. This is partly due to the rise in use by those aged 16 to 24, who average 34.3 hours a week on the internet.”

Whether you view this as a good or bad thing, if you’re a business, it’s important to understand that a smartphone screen has now become a valuable advertising space. 

A customer likes your product, downloads your app and every time they switch on their phone they see that touch icon on their screen. It reminds them you exist and, the next time they have a problem or something they want to solve or buy, they are more likely to choose you because your business is fresh in their mind. You’re there and you’re convenient.

3. Create a new sales channel

We’re moving away from big desktops stuck in one place to mobile commerce. There are several reasons for this. The first is that it’s so easy. You simply switch on your phone and buy. The second is that you can do it whenever you like, wherever you are. And with today’s buy-with-one tap apps it’s more immediate than ever. 

According to Statista, mobile commerce accounted for nearly 40% of e-commerce transactions in 2018. That’s expected to grow to 50% by 2020. If half your customers prefer buying on their mobile phone, an app is certainly going to improve engagement and make things simpler for them. 

4. Reach new demographics

After so long relying on your website and other digital or even offline marketing, you may think there isn’t an issue. This is your market, this is how you’ve always reached out to them. But things change.

The truth is that many new and future customers may not be engaged at all with your current marketing activities because they simply don’t get to see them. The chances are you are only reaching a limited segment of your customer base because your business is not actually engaging where it needs to. 

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If you’re regularly finding new demographics, that means your business has a competitive edge. You’re not only visible, you’re highly accessible to a much broader range of people. Find a way to add real value to your customers on top of this and you’ll add real value to your brand. 

5. Strive for relevance

Recent history has shown us the each generation is always more digitally-engaged than the last. We now have customers who have never known a world without computers or mobile phones. In another ten years or so, the iPhone generation will be in their 20s. What will our smartphones look like then? What will they be able to do?

More importantly, what will users want them to do?

Keeping up with the technology and recognising the potential is vital for any modern business. In the near future, there’s no doubt businesses will focus a lot more on their branded app, often before anything else in their marketing armoury.

6. Build a stronger emotional connection

Of course, everything depends on the quality of your app. To get a customer to open it up, again and again, takes a lot of work and development. What are you going to offer that really provides the user with an experience they’ll want to repeat? How do you stand out from all the other apps on their phone? How do you stop them deleting your app because they never use it?

These are serious questions and ones that need to be thought through before launch. If you get it right, however, you can use your business app to create a strong affinity and emotional connection with your customer base. 

Developing an app for your business may not be top of your list of marketing priorities at the moment, especially if you are a small or medium size company with a limited budget. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, however, and remain relevant to your customer base, it’s certainly something that you should consider seriously at least sometime in the future. 

If you’d like to find out more how an app can help transform your business marketing, contact the team at Creative.onl today or request a free consultation.

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