How Local Businesses Can Use Mobile Applications to Attract and Retain More Customers

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1 How Local Businesses Can Use Mobile Applications to Attract and Retain More Customers Contents 1. Why not going mobile is unthinkable, for any business 2. How mobile apps can attract more customers 3. How mobile apps can retain more customers 4. What is possible with mobile applications? (specific strategies for local businesses) 5. The most important reason for having your own app 6. How local businesses can have their own affordable mobile applications This report will demonstrate how your business could have a permanent presence on your potential and existing customers smartphones, including the following mobile devices: iphone Android Blackberry Windows Bada

2 1. Why not going mobile is unthinkable, for any business The internet is going mobile on a massive scale, and at a rapid rate. Do you know what type of company Google is? You may think you do, but did you know that Google referrers to themselves as a mobile company. That is how they define their core identity now. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, announced that Google's focus is now more on smartphones than on desktops (traditional computers ). Google s new motto: "Mobile First". Our programmers are doing work on mobile first, he said. We ll still have a desktop version, but we ll also have one on a high- performance mobile phone. The top programmers want to work on mobile apps. Phones are so much more personal and satisfying. The phone is no longer just a phone, it s your alter ego it s fundamental to everything you do. Most businesses are still proud of the fact that they have a website. The truth is a website was the biggest digital marketing requirement last decade. The web as we have known it is currently in decline. While more people globally are still going online, they are doing it in a different way. The new web is not a collection of independent websites, but application- based. The reasons for this shift are many and varied, but the reality is that it is happing. At the end of 2010 (yes, more than a year ago) Wired magazine released their now- famous article The web is dead, Long live the internet. See the graph below for details.

3 The internet is still on the rise. Of course it is, thousands of new people are going online every day, but they are doing it in a different way not through traditional web browsing. The graph shows a massive decline of the traditional web that started happening as early as 2000, along with . We all know is far less effective than it used to be when it was still new and novel. Users are now accessing the internet through applications, both desktop and increasingly mobile. Mobile internet browsing will surpass desktop internet access during This means more people will be using mobile phones than computers. You need to meet your potential and existing customers where they are. Many businesses keep their head in the sand, not wanting to think about the fact that their current online marketing efforts may not be future- proof. This does not change the reality, however. This is good news for you. The more reluctant your competitors are to adapt to the change that is already well underway, the better position you are in to gain an early head start. Everyone eventually embraced the fact that a traditional website was a necessity. That same type of mass realisation will happen with mobile apps and mobile- optimised

4 marketing in general, but the majority will be late to the party, as usual. If there is one important point of understanding that readers take away from this report, let it be this. Here are some interesting facts to consider: - 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, from comparing prices, to finding more product info, to locating a retailer Google. - 70% use their smartphones while in a store Google. - 77% have contacted a business via mobile, with 61% calling and 59% visiting the local business Google. - There are now over 700,000 apps in the Apple App Store, to become 1- million by Half of smartphone users access apps 10+ times a day. - Over 20,000 apps are downloaded every minute.

5 40%+ of mobile phones in UK are smartphones, in the US is it 50%+ (Nielsen).

6 2. How mobile apps can attract more customers Mobile apps are an uncluttered way to market to prospective and existing customers. With an application you can control the environment and everything the user sees and experiences. On the internet, such as your website or even a mobile website, users can still click away in an instant if they are distracted by things on their web browser, or they get a pop- up advert or an , or for a myriad of other reasons. Applications hold attention for longer, and in this modern, fast- paced Businesses that attract the interest of potential new customers are the ones that are memorable and stand out in some way. Mobile applications have a great way of achieving this, because so few small and medium sized businesses are making use of them. In reality every business should have a mobile app (like each one should have a website), but the fact that 99% do not can be used to your benefit. Do not underestimate the power of novelty factor. Of course your app will deliver value and not be purely for novelty, but apps themselves have a novelty factor at the moment. Novelty attracts attention, and when you have that attention from your target audience you can direct it to whatever you want to tell them about your business. Later on in this report you will be able to read about specific functions that your app can perform, in order to facilitate and encourage your prospective customers becoming new customers. There are many options and creative ways that this can be done. 3. How mobile apps can retain more customers The key to any business retaining customers is continuing to provide value, open communication, and a consistent purchasing experience. Mobile applications are a great tool to facilitate that. On the next page you will read about many functions that apps can perform in order to keep your business top- of- mind with your existing and past customers.

7 4. What is possible with mobile applications? (specific strategies for local businesses) Mobile applications have many facets of functionality that can that can facilitate customer acquisition and retention. For a start, an application can be a web app, which means it can display any mobile- optimised website within the application, exactly as it would normally appear in a mobile web browser. This means that anything that can be done in a website can be done in a mobile application. This opens up countless possibilities. There is also the option of creating a native app, which can make use of the native functionality of the mobile device itself. Such functionality includes GPS, accelerometer, touch screen, etc. This open up countless further possibilities for user engagement, on both a functional and entertainment basis. The more engaging your app is, the more memorable it (and your business) will be. Users will also spend more time using your app, which gives you more valuable time to build your brand in front of them, offer value, elicit desired actions and ultimately encourage them to make a purchasing decision with you. The graph below (from Flurry) demonstrated how mobile users are now spending more time using applications each day, rather than mobile web browsing.

8 There are many ways that local businesses specifically can make use of can make use of the fact that mobile applications appear on mobile phones, because they are the following: 1. Location- based device By using GPS and triangulation modern smartphones know where they are. You can use this advantage to interact with users in location- based manner. Your app can give visual directions on a map, to help users to find their way from where they are, to your business location. Applications can also be used to detect when users are in the local vicinity and deliver special offer coupons to entice visitors, for example. There are many possibilities, but to understand the power of this location- specific functionality consider this: if you knew for a fact that high- potential customers were within walking distance from your business right now, would you get a sales representative to go out to entice them to pay a visit, if you had one? Your mobile app can be your always- alert sales rep, selling your brand and services to your potential customers. And an app does not work for commission, or even a salary. Apart for any updates, it is set- and- forget. 2. Communications device As a business, do you want your potential customers to phone or you? Of course you do, otherwise why do you take out advertisements with your phone number, or put your contact details on your website. When someone is using a mobile app on a smartphone what do they have in their hand? A phone! Let s not forget the fundamental purpose of a mobile phone. You can have customers phone, text or you. You can have quick and easy functions in your app, such as click- to- call, click- to- or click- to- text, so that users can contact you with a single click. You can incentivise these actions, or have simple and effective calls to action. This is a perfect opportunity to make use of the mobile device s core functionality. You can also make contact with all app users whenever you want, using push messaging. This is more powerful even than text messaging, and it can even be free to do. The power of that communication is great. 3. Multimedia device Your app can make use of the multimedia functions of a smartphone. You can connect with social websites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) in a number of ways. You can play videos and audio files and display images to engage on a deeper level. The more senses your users experience your brand using, the more memorable your business will be. Do you have videos that sell your products or services? Use your app to deliver them to your wider target audience. Applications should be used to disseminate your content: information about you and your products or services.

9 Here is a non- exhaustive list of many popular functions that can be performed with apps: - Deliver mobile coupons - Maps: position and directions - Click- to- call, click- to- or click- to- text - Instant push messaging - Display videos - Display social and content feeds: blog RSS, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. - Convey information content - Display business details: contact, address, opening hours - Display your pre- existing mobile website - Custom HTML - Display reviews - Notify of events, updates, business news, special offers, etc.

10 5. The most important reason for having your own app The most important reason is prime virtual real estate. Businesses collectively pay many millions of dollars every year for advertising on mobile internet, and even more for advertising and marketing in general. With a mobile app you can arguably have a presence in your potential and existing customers lives that is worth more than almost any form of online advertising. And you can have it for free. These days people have mobile phones on them almost all day, every day. This is especially true for smartphone users. They use them for all sorts of function throughout their days, and sleep with the, next to the bed. Have a look at this example of a smartphone menu: Would you like to have your business appear here? You can appear amongst their apps that they use daily for , music, video, social, etc. This is prime real estate within your target market s daily life, which will help keep your brand and business top- of- mind. A good mobile app marketing consultant can help you businessseo.com.au - 14 Spence Street, Cairns QLD 4870, Ph (07)

11 develop a plan for your app that will ensure a value- adding user experience. This will help to keep your app on your users mobile devices, where they can see it constantly.

12 Another way you can make use of this prime virtual real estate, for free, is by using a push messaging service. Text marketing is a powerful marketing tool, but push messaging takes it a step further. Once a user has you app installed you can send them instant messages to promote various events, announcements or special offers. These messages appear as notifications on the users mobile phones, and will remain there until they acknowledge them by reading the message or opening the app. businessseo.com.au - 14 Spence Street, Cairns QLD 4870, Ph (07)

13 6. How local businesses can have their own affordable mobile applications The first and most important step is to decide what your goals are before building your app. Having a mobile app simply for the sake of having one is not a wise strategy, even though the reasons for having an app are many. A mobile app consultant can help you identify the key benefits an app can offer to your specific business, according to your type of products/services and required customers, and facilitate designing the required functionally of your app. For more information, or a demonstration of how a mobile application could function for your specific business, please contact me at any time. Initial consultations are always free of any cost or obligation. We create mobile applications to suit all budgets, and can help with marketing your application to your prospective and existing customers, as well as develop an ongoing marketing plan to allow your app to unlock its full potential for your business going forward. An app is not a business strategy in itself, but it is a powerful enabler of a well- constructed marketing strategy and set of goals. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about how Mobile Apps or Mobile Web Sites can help you grow your business please contact me at Business SEO: Dallas McMillan businessseo.com.au 14 Spence Street, Cairns QLD 4870, Ph (07)

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