There once was a time when a company website was considered a state of the art concept and one which demonstrated vision and forward thinking. Today even the smallest and humblest of businesses will have a web presence of its own, either its own site or at least a dedicated Facebook page – possibly both – and not having one would be a guarantor of anonymity and commercial oblivion.
Today the way to announce that your business has arrived is to create your own company app – an easy to access, interactive resource through which your customers can engage with your product or service from their smartphones and place orders or seek out information without having to tread a laborious path through a series of links.
Having your own app brings a number of rapid benefits to your business at relatively little cost. Let’s take a look at just a few of them:
Brand recognition and visibility
When you have a logo or a particular design which people associate with your product it reminds them that you are out there – even if you are not telling them anything they don’t know already about what it is you have to offer. It is not by accident that some of the world’s biggest brands spend many millions on displaying their image repeatedly about the place.
An app on the screen of somebody’s smartphone fulfils a similar purpose. It is always there, subliminally, even if the user is simply scrolling through.
There is at least one study which suggests that the public will trust a branding they see displayed an average of twenty-one times, irrespective of whether they have ever actually bought or used that product.
Another interesting statistic is that most smartphone users spend up to three hours per day viewing or scrolling through their home screens. If your app is there, that means your logo will be seen on countless occasions even when it is not being used.
App stores also afford importance to a brand according to the number of downloads it receives. This means the more people you can persuade to install your app, the higher it will be placed in the listings and, in turn, the more people will see it. In this way recognition begets recognition.
Building in unique content and features
Find something that is unique about your service or product and emphasise that quality relentlessly. Don’t be afraid of overstatement – if others tire of seeing your logo then it will have done its work.
You should design your app in such a way as to make it exciting and different, incentivising users to return and to investigate further. Make as much use as you can of your customers’ smartphone functions – and of their imaginations.
Many apps can be perfunctory and dull. If you want users to return you should consider ways in which to make yours different. Don’t hold back on using new design ideas to generate interest.
Rewarding customer loyalty
Customers and potential customers don’t just want to read what you have to say to them, they want to input into your application and to interact with it. Some of the most popular apps feature simple games, surveys, or other opportunities through which the visitor can play a role and feel they are offering content as well as merely consuming it.
Rewards for purchasing your products can be a huge incentive towards dipping a toe into the proverbial water. Everybody likes to think they are getting something for nothing.
The other important thing to remember is to regularly update your content. Visitors do not want to come back to your app and read the same information every day. Mix it up, make it interesting, and make your customers want to return regularly to see what is new.
Reaching your users directly
Once your app is up and running, the next thing to do is to make sure you communicate new information to your visitors. Of course they will be able to access content whenever they use your app, but to maximise interaction why not send out push notifications giving regular updates and snippets of news about your service or product?
Most apps can be configured in such a way that its users can opt in to receive notifications, which will appear on their desktops or on the screens of their smartphones. Research has shown that pings and vibrations achieve far more by way of response than a text or e-mail sent out randomly.
An app takes the transmission of information to a new level, much beyond the old methods of electronic marketing. In fact studies suggest that push notifications will on average generate three times more active interest than news transmitted via e-mail.
Internet technology has brought in its wake a whole new level of expectation which once was absent from everyday life. Try to explain to a young person the extraordinary lengths people once went to to communicate with another person – maybe sending a postcard from a holiday resort or making repeated telephone calls to a landline before catching the intended recipient at home – and they will look on in disbelief.
Even during more recent times our lives have become progressively easier with new assistive technology, whether it be predictive text, address location or password storage. These days people want to input information and keep it stored with the absolute minimum of effort.
Having your own company app removes many of the obstacles which having to access a website presents, and enables interaction as effortlessly as possible.
The logistics of app development
The best way to build the app you need is first to decide what you want it to do and then to look for a developer with the capability you require. Creating an application is no longer the preserve off huge wealthy enterprises and is well within the reach of most businesses, but take some time out to make sure that what is offer is sufficient for your needs and if necessary be prepared to spend a little more in order to get it right. Launching an app which doesn’t serve your business well will always be a false economy.