In our increasingly digitized world, maximizing your online presence is one of the best ways to grow your small business. Mobile app development is your secret key to boosting your brand.
It’s hard to imagine a day without the internet. Portable cell phones make accessing the web so unbelievably easy. If I search for “yogurt shops near me,” Google provides 139,000,000 results in just 0.84 seconds. Of those millions of results, I can specify my search with terms like “dairy-free options,” “walking distance,” “4.5 stars or higher,” “inexpensive,” and even “dog-friendly.” Within moments, I’ve found the perfect business that fits every one of my requirements, downloaded the company’s mobile app, and take a screenshot of a mobile punch card that offers a special discount after ten yogurts.
So how can you use this information to help boost your brand? Let’s review why mobile app development is so important for business owners.
Why Mobile Apps?
You might think that a mobile app just for your company is overkill. After all, if you already have a mobile-friendly website, customers can access your company’s information by phone. Though mobile optimized websites certainly have their merit, the majority of Americans spend significantly more of their screen time browsing on apps than browsing search engines.
The reality is that mobile app development can increase sales, engagement, and opportunity for your company. Consider the following statistics about current screen trends in America:
- Of the four hours that the average American spends on their phone daily, 90% is through mobile apps.
- Only 8% of time spent on mobile is spent using a web browser.
- Social networking and communication apps take up 44% of time spent on mobile applications.
In-app experiences are clearly the way to engage and draw in new customers. Apps give your audience a direct line to your latest content and a new way to engage with your brand. It’s also just smart from a marketing perspective. Offering a variety of ways for your audience to interact with you widens the scope of your audience. We’ve already established that mobile app usage trumps web browser time, so with the aid of a quality mobile app designer, this relatively simple application can seriously garner traction for your brand.
Here are a few things mobile apps can do to engage your audience that a regular website can’t:
Send Push Notifications
With this optional feature, customers can subscribe to notifications from your mobile app. Alerts about special offers, coupons, holiday sales, newsletters, or new products can reach your client whenever you want. Sending push notifications at regular intervals helps engage your customers and inform them of your exciting new offers!
With so many companies out there and a finite amount of information really available from a website, customers often turn to their peers for feedback. More quality reviews show that your company was approved by others and increases your chances of being selected again and again by new customers! Did you know that businesses with more than 82 total reviews earn 54% more in annual revenue?
Quality reviews with pictures and written content increase that number even more. With mobile app features, you can prompt your customers to leave a review immediately after they have received service. Make it easy for your customers to review your excellent service and watch your engagement grow.
Fact: Ninety percent of consumers who read the online reviews of a business reflected that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.
Mobile apps offer in-platform ways to simply click and share content on social media. If you update blog content on your mobile app, a few clickable icons at the bottom of the page can allow a customer to share directly to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or any preferred social media platform. Every share means that your content reaches a wider audience, providing more opportunities for engagement.
Millennials and Gen Z-ers don’t like talking on the phone. Seriously: this survey of over 1,200 millennials cites a considerable number of reasons why. Plenty of anecdotal evidence also reveals that the younger generation avoids phone calls. Enter the solution: mobile app appointments! Based on your availability, a client can use your mobile app to choose an appointment. It saves you time on scheduling appointments while allowing clients to book appointments at their leisure—and not just during your open hours.
There really is no downside to modernizing your appointment scheduling process. Finish the experience with in-app payment options linked to Apple Pay or digital credit cards for a totally automated appointment scheduling system.
Pushing discounts through your mobile app can entice more customers to download your app. Thus begins the wonderfully upward spiral of engagement. More customers download your app, more customers engage with and share your content, your audience grows, and demand for your services or products grows steadily with positive reviews and consistent output of awesome content. You can offer special discounts to members, digital punch cards, promote online-only sales, or notify customers about the status of items in their cart… The options are limitless. Each special promotion will attract attention to your brand and your mobile app.
New Content, New Content, New Content
Most people consider the space on their mobile devices before downloading or purchasing new apps. Samsung and iPhone users alike don’t download apps that aren’t worth their while. If a customer downloads an app and later discovers it’s useless, boring, or lacking in engagement options, that application is going in the virtual garbage can. You must offer exciting or interesting new content regularly, or your customers will lose interest. In fact, more than 60% of new customer usage dwindles away after the first month of trying a new app. Only 20% last for a three-month period.
Note: Having an app downloaded on a mobile device and engaging with a downloaded app on a mobile device are not the same thing. Your app has to be enticing and constantly churning out fresh content to keep your audience’s attention.
How to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Mobile App
Once you’ve finally developed a mobile app, continual development keeps customers hooked. A mobile app should be a constantly evolving interactive features that connect you to your customers.
Here are a few proven strategies to increase engagement on your mobile app:
“Users try out a lot of apps but decide which ones they want to ‘stop using’ within the first three-to-seven days. For ‘decent’ apps, the majority of users retained for seven days stick around much longer. The key to success is to get the users hooked during that critical first three-to-seven day period.” – Ankit Jain, Head of Search and Discovery, Google Play.
The first three to seven days after a user downloads your app is the most critical engagement period. Annoying obstacles can prevent your customer from recognizing the value of your app, but luckily there are several proven strategies to clean up your app’s first impression.
Streamline Your App’s Onboarding Process
If your app requires a lengthy onboarding process with sequences of questions and answers, your customers are more likely to abandon your app right away. People expect mobile experiences to be quick. Avoid lengthy prose and get straight to the point. Offer graphics and video to break up text-heavy pages.
Make Signing Up Easy
Is there anything more tedious than typing out the same login information for every single account on every single website and mobile app? It might sound lazy, but monotony is a customer’s first deterrent from continuing on an app. Link your “Create Account” option to Google, Facebook, or email so your users can instantly create their accounts and get to your content quicker.
Use In-App Messaging
When your customers are using your app for the first time, your in-app prompts should easily guide them through your user process. It’s important to reduce information overload as much as possible, so an intuitive app design with clear in-app instructions is paramount. The messages have to feel like a part of the app’s design and not marketing jabs. Keep it natural, simple, and intuitive.
Shortcuts with Widgets
Widgets serve as quick, directly-linked reminders of what’s new on your app. Use widgets to offer special discounts and notify customers about time-sensitive sales and events. This great feature removes so many roadblocks to your content – it’s like extending a hand to your customers and giving them direct access to whatever you may be offering!
Make it a Game
Reward your customers for choosing you. Make them feel appreciated with stickers, badges, special unlockable discounts, or leaderboards! Game-like experiences tap into the natural competitive streak that we all have inside of us. It’s motivating to be rewarded for coming back to your app, and it gives your customers a reason to keep returning!
Professional Mobile App Development
At D-Kode Technology, our professional developers can help you create a mobile app that drives the customer engagement you need. Let’s talk! Give us a call at 925.856.5342 to schedule a free consultation. You can also click here to drop us a line.