If you like to surf waves, and you see a big one coming your way, you paddle like mad to catch it. As a small business owner, you should be paddling like mad to catch and ride the huge wave of helpful mobile apps that are propelling our digital lives forward.
And now is the time to consider creating your own mobile app. Here are 10 good reasons why:
1. Increase sales. Usage statistics tell us that people spend nearly five hours on their smart phones every day. They are migrating – no, that word is too weak – they are fleeing from traditional desktop and even laptop computers. You need to be where your customers are, which is on their smartphones.
2. Communicate via push messages. If you can show that your messages are valuable, your app users will allow you to send them push messages. You can use these to alert customers to sales or other pieces of information.
3. Advertise by geography. With your app, push notices, and GPS enablement, you can send messages to your customers that are tied to their location, and yours. Why pay for someone to stand on the corner in a gorilla costume waving an oversized arrow when you can accomplish much more with a GPS-enabled smartphone app?
4. Stay top of mind. Frankly, even if you don’t send push messages, every time a customer or prospect sees your app icon on their smart phone screen, it reminds them that you exist. It’s like following them around, tapping them on the shoulder and saying, “Hey, I’m here for you!”
5. Be viewed as a local leader. Back in the day, advertisers used to appeal to people by urging them to “Be first on your block!” There is a sense of pride that comes with being the first to accomplish something. In today’s tech world, this quality is even more valued. Don’t you want to be seen as a local technology leader?
6. Establish a loyalty program. I have a good friend who used to exclusively frequent Panera, but after he discovered the Starbucks app, he often goes there instead. The Starbucks loyalty program built into the app is a big part of why he is now less loyal to Panera.
7. Personalize your customer data. If you implement a loyalty program you can collect some demographics that will help you better target offers. Even information as simple as a birthdate can be very helpful. I know that I always like it when I get a birthday offer.
8. Improve customer service. You can build messaging into your app that customers can use when they have a question or need a problem resolved. This shows your customers that you care about their experience and are willing to give them a special channel that goes straight to your problem solvers.
9. Deliver content. It’s true that you can do this via the various social media, but then your content may be spread across different platforms. You can get it organized (or at least indexed/linked) in one place if you have your own app.
10. You can afford it. App development isn’t what it used to be when it comes to cost. Today, there are a number of affordable DIY app services and even hiring an experienced app developer usually won’t break the bank. You can check out the various freelance websites and you might include Toptal in your hunt; it has a good reputation for developers.
Have I given you enough reasons to start you down the path of developing your own app? Let me give you one more observation. With any technology, you can be an early adopter, an average adopter, or find yourself “bringing up the rear.” There’s no danger of adopting the app technology too early; we’re well beyond that point.
Today, the only danger is being left behind.