With smart devices (be it tablets, smart phones or hybrid devices) becoming the norm at home and in the work place it is important to realise how vital it is to give your business the ability to interacting with customers on these devices.

As well a offering a rich user experience to users, apps installed on a smart device allow you to reach out to your customer to interact with them as opposed to them coming to find you.

When apps are combined with push messaging technology the result is a marketing engine with so much power that all business should be able to gain an advantage.

Web apps can also be beneficial to customers and should also be considered. Installed apps however have the significant benefit of being visible in the various app stores provided by the operating system providers. Installed apps also have the advantage of being able to integrate in a more effective way with hardware on the device (although pure html applications will continue to make ground in this area).

 

 

The Journey

It obviously all starts with a product or service that needs selling. It is important that the product is attractive to customers, implementing an app will not magically sell your product however it will get your customers closer to your products.

 

Platforms to target

The most important platforms to target currently are iOS and Android. Whilst other Operating Systems are available, if you can target customers on those two platforms you will already be making significant gains.

Differentiate

Whilst the core navigation within your app may follow development guidelines and in that effect not be that different or memorable it is certainly possible to differentiate your app in the way that imagery and icons are used as well as implementing some unique feature to the app which is relevant to your customers in your industry. These unique features can be very effective at capturing an audience and encouraging them to return.

What to offer

So you know you want to develop an app for your business. That’s the easy decision. “No brainer” as Kevin Bacon would say in the EE adverts (late 2013). The difficult part if deciding what you want to put into the app to present your business and products in the most logical and attractive way to customers.

Obvious options would be things like latest news, special offers, voucher codes, latest products and events. Depending on the type of business you are looking to promote all or some of these may have a place.

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Free or Paid?

There are thousands of app developers and business’ out there all trying to compete. What you are attempting to do with your business is no different (in most cases) than all the other business out there. To try and sell your products and service or to raise awareness of particular information.

 Because of the massive choice off apps already out there, it is important in most cases to reduce the number of barriers in place to get the app installed on the customer’s handset. Therefore unless it is required, offer your app for free and get your ROI from the products or services you’ll be selling using the app. There are so many free apps out there that asking your customer to pay £0.99 may introduce a barrier that will stop them from installing your app and instead install your competitor’s. It doesn’t really matter how much you wish to charge, it is more about the principle and the number of clicks it takes to get a paid app installed (which is just a few more than a free one but it all makes a difference).

And what if your app IS the product? The justification to make customers pay for the app before they can install is increased however it is worth considering an “In app purchase” sales approach. The app itself is free however certain features are unlocked upon purchase of the additional feature. This ensures that you get your app installed on the customer’s handset but you can still drive some revenue from it.

Push messaging

Push messaging allows you to interact with an audience who have your app installed on their device. Many thousands of messages can be pushed out to users depending on a variety of factors and how much you know about each individual user. Latest offers and voucher codes are valuable ways of giving your business a reason to interact in this way. As long as the products you wish to sell are well targeted to your audience you can expect a high ROI for each message sent.

It is important not to flood your end users with push messages. It’s easy for a user to become overwhelmed and turn them off. We don’t want to get to that stage. Instead pushing messages to users at relevant moments will keep them interested and coming back to your app and your business.

 

Look and Feel

There are some brilliant rich apps out there and we all aspire to create apps like those, where the user experience is engaging and navigation is simple and effective. These are the apps that will keep users interested and spending money.

It is also important for your app to have a shared identity with your other marketing campaigns. Some of the efficacy of the app will be lost if it looks nothing like your business’ identity.

Complementary technology

Apps are a complimentary to other marketing methods you may already be using. All can feed off each other in an effort to build your brand and extend the your reach to customers. Email marketing can be used to spread the word about your company’s new app. Once users have installed it, feedback from the app can be used to drive email marketing campaigns as well as gain more insight into your customer’s requirements which could be utilised across the whole business.

 

Not just a selling tool

Whilst it is important to realise how useful apps can be to increase your business’ product sales it is equally important to be aware that apps can be used to spread awareness of important information to interested users or provide some useful tools for users. It doesn’t all have to be about selling!

How can we help?

With our experience we can help you make the right decisions throughout the life-cycle of your project; from developing your business objectives through to development and deployment of your app into the various app stores. The frameworks and solutions we use to develop your apps will shortcut the development cycle and allow you to get your app to your customers without missing the “sweet spot” of an opportunity.

Our push messaging solution can be integrated into your own content management system so that messages can be targeted to all or a subset of customers when new content is published or amended. Depending on how much information you have asked your app to collect about users, messages can be targeted specifically to each user.

The user interface of your app can easily be updated using a push message without having to deploy a new app to the app store. This allows for fundamental changes to the app to be made as well as incremental or content updates for one, a number or all your customers. This has a variety of benefits depending on the sort of app your wish to develop.

If you would like further information please email info@link-infotec.co.uk or call 01925 607310