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Mobile Apps for Biz

Is a Mobile App Right For Your Business?  | Written By: Colleen Lloyd-Roberts

Most Business Owners don’t realize how much un-tapped potential lies within the marketing power of a mobile app. Some proverbially scratch their heads asking, “What would an app do for my business?”

The truth is that a mobile app will work well for most businesses, but some may not see as big of an impact as others. If you’re one of those businesses that the results could go either way, there are some ultra creative ways that we’re seeing businesses use apps in order to keep a competitive edge.

If you are trying to decide if an app is the right choice. Honestly answer the 6 questions below to help you gain some clarity and decide “to app or not to app?”

Would you benefit from reaching your customers 24/7?

Pretty easy question, right? Our customers are just as busy as we are. Some of them are business owners too or they work long hours at their jobs. Sometimes the only time to connect, research or shop with a business is sitting on the sidelines of a soccer game or cheerleading practice, late at night when everyone else has gone to sleep or at the crack of dawn when they have to let the dog outside. Mobile apps bring your business to your customers any time they are ready to interact, engage, make a reservation, schedule an appointment or make a purchase.

Can you provide an enthusiastic, informative and efficient mobile experience around your brand or business?

An app provides you with great ways to be creative with promotions, coupons, rewards points, punch cards, videos (even if they’re not your own), forms (personal chef/ personal shopper, contests and reviews just to name a few). A good Small Business App Developer is a great person to ask for some creative ideas. Start by asking yourself what are your top 5 biggest challenges in your business and then see how many of those top 5 challenges can be solved with a mobile app.

For example if you own a bakery, obviously an app cannot bake a cake for you. But what it can do is cut down on phone calls so you have more time to bake. If you think about all of the reasons people call, such as for price quotes or “can you make a cake that looks like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers?” those questions can all be in a form on your app. People fill out the form and can even submit photos through the form and then you can return calls when its convenient for you.

How will your business benefit from your mobile app?

Before answering ask yourself, “What is the end result I want my app to do:

…make more sales at my place of business or on-line stores?

…create goodwill?

…information source?

…generate leads for my sales team by creating a community?

Once you know what you want your app to do, you can quantify the benefits. Will you have an increase in revenues? Will you have an increase in memberships? Will you have an increase in referrals? Will you have an increase in participation?

What’s in it for me?

The answer to question number four will be found by asking yourself:

“If I can earn more money through my mobile app, what will that mean to my business?”

“If I can reach a new set of customers, what will that mean to my business?”

“If I can showcase new products and services what will that mean to my business?”

“If I can offer rewards points to members across the country what will that mean to our membership loyalty?”

What’s in it for my customers?

Ask yourself:

“Am I making it easier to do business with me?”

“Am I making it more fun or a more enjoyable experience to do business with me?”

“Will they feel like they are getting a VIP experience?”

In 1994, there were fewer than 3,000 websites live on the internet. In 2014 that number surpassed 1 billion!

In July 2008 there were 800 apps on the App Store and as of 1.5 million apps.

http://ipod.about.com/od/iphonesoftwareterms/qt/apps-in-app-store.htm

Mobile Apps today are where Websites were 20 years ago and where Facebook was 10 years ago… in their infancy. Just like you can Google search a website or products, I think in the near future you will be able to do the same kind of searches in the App Store. You used to only be able to search an app by its full and proper name but now Apple is changing the criteria for how we search for apps, making them easier and more accessible.

This brings me to the final question to ask yourself:

What will I lose by not having an app?

Will you lose anything? Competitive advantage? Growth potential? Sales and customers to your competition? Nothing at all?

I’ve personally never met a business owner who has regretted building a mobile app. I’m sure they are out there, and its mostly likely because their app was created by an app developer who didn’t ask the question, “how can your business benefit from this app?” When you build an app based around that question, the business owner will win and win and win and have an incredible experience “growing mobile.”

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