Core Mobile for Small Business

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The necessity of keen mobile strategy becomes more evident every day. As smartphone ownership and app usage continue to climb dramatically, businesses realize that mobile represents one of the few marketing platforms that presents the opportunity for both micro-targeted efforts and nearly universal appeal. All that being said, many businesses still have only a token presence on mobile, often represented by social interaction or a mobile-optimized website. These are great supplementary marketing avenues, but they are not enough. To become truly successful in the current climate, it is necessary to treat mobile as a primary marketing channel.

Of course, some companies have staked their reputation on mobile marketing. However, these are primarily enterprise-level businesses or tech companies. The reason for this is simple: small businesses treat any new potential investment with suspicion, particularly when it is as modern as the recent trend towards mobile engagement. Somewhat ironically, small businesses have the most to benefit from adopting a core mobile strategy.

Where big-brands can afford to increase top of mind awareness through traditional marketing efforts, they struggle to establish unique and personalized customer interactions. This key differentiator has always existed as a benefit for small business, but for the first time it is possible to furnish those personal relationships on a massive scale.

A mobile-first marketing approach gives small businesses the power to directly approach their customer base and thereby increase top-of-mind awareness without investing a ton of money. Rather, the mobile approach is one that allows the personality of the business to shine through the marketing clutter that consumers regularly encounter. A push notification coming through an app you have specifically downloaded to your device from a company you trust is always more effective than a spammy email.

Generalizations are dangerous, yet it is safe to say that the majority of small businesses would be wise to consider adopting mobile as their primary outreach method. Due to the mass numbers of customers with smartphones, the opportunity to create brand loyalty and mutually beneficial interactions through a mobile device, and the cost-effective nature of mobile marketing efforts businesses can greatly benefit from establishing a mobile presence.

 

ROI of Mobile Apps for Business

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Why would my clients want to spend money on a mobile app? What is the return on investment (ROI) for a business mobile app? This blog post draws upon a white paper we wrote a little while back helping Value Added Resellers and end businesses understand why gaining a mobile presence with an app has a positive impact all the way to the bottom line.

As with any new product or service a business is considering, mobile app ROI is important. Let’s estimate the ROI for a representative small businesses to give you a more concrete idea of what it might be for your clients.

For this example we’ll look at a hypothetical day spa. Let’s set up some assumptions first. Our assumptions are:

  • – Day Spa paid $300 upfront and $29.99/month fee for their app.
  • – Average spa treatment is priced at $100
  • – Average Profit Margin for a spa treatment is 50%
  • – Day Spa has 500 customers who have downloaded app
  • – Day Spa sends one push Deal per week, or 4 per month
  • – Each Deal is for 25% off regular price
  • – Open Rate for “Deal” push notifications sent by Day Spa to customers is 30%
  • – Conversion or redemption rate for a Deal sent by Day Spa is 2.5%

So, taking all of these numbers into consideration let’s calculate the ROI of Day Spa’s mobile app in the first year.

  • – First, based on the numbers above, we’re saying that 4 push Deals were sent in the month and that 150 customers opened the Deal each time for a total of 600 Deal opens.
  • – Based on a Deal conversion rate of 5% that means we sell 15 incremental treatments during the month with the push of Deals.
  • – Based on assumption laid out, the normal profit margin of a $100 treatment is 50%, or $50.
  • – In this instance the Deal is for 25% off, so average treatment is priced at $75. This means profit margin in dollar terms is $25 per treatment sold from the push of the Deals.
  • – 15 incremental treatments sold X $25 profit per treatment equals $325, multiplied by 12 months equals $3,900.

So we calculate Return on Investment with the following formula:
((Return-Investment)/Investment ) x 100

In our case then, ROI would be:
(($3900-($300+(12*$29.99))/($300+(12*$29.99)) x 100 = 491% Return on Investment

Obviously a 491% return on investment is a nice result for any business. When taking into account the fact that it will be so much easier for customers to interact with a business from their smartphones for calling, booking appointments and sharing with friends, and that they’re likely to see your brand multiple times per day if your app icon is on their smartphone screen then it’s easy to imagine actual ROI is much, much higher.

Having a mobile app and mobile optimized presence is becoming table stakes for businesses as web sites were in the late 90’s and 2000 era. Combined with their high ROI potential, getting a mobile app makes sense for almost all small and medium sized businesses, organizations and non-profits.

Three Ways to Establish a Mobile Presence

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A prospective customer asked me a good question the other day: “What are the different ways I can have a mobile presence right now?”. I thought this might be a useful topic to briefly cover for everyone.

There are three primary ways you can think about getting a mobile presence. They are:

1) Let customers find your regular website on their mobile browser of choice.
2) Create a mobile optimized version of your website and let customers find that from their mobile browser of choice.
3) Create a mobile app and let customers find and interact with directly from their smartphone.

I’ll layout how each of these options measure up below.

Regular Website Mobile Website Mobile App
Formatted For Smartphone No Yes Yes
Installed on Smartphone No No Yes
Offline Access No No Yes
Leverages Smartphone Capabilities No Some Yes

So which way should you go? Obviously we’re strong proponents of the mobile app route.

That’s why we’ve created EasyApp – so you can get an app for your business or organization, stand out from the crowd, and create a way for your customers to connect with you from their always-on, location aware devices/smartphones. And the best part is no coding is required so you can do it yourself.

Why Your Business Needs an App

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Obviously we’re passionate about mobile apps here at Apptive and believe it is absolutely essential for businesses to utilize these nifty little gems to gain an optimized presence on smartphones. I thought it would be useful to share a few data points and thoughts on this topic to help give a clearer picture of just why a native mobile app is so important for your business.

The first area I’d like to touch on is the rapid shift away from run of the mill feature phones to smartphones. Anecdotally you’ve surely noticed this trend, everyone you know and everyone you see seems to have an iPhone or an Android device. Well, studies backup what you’re seeing. Nielsen recently released a study with some very interesting but hardly surprisingly results. They found that:

  • 62% of 25-34 year olds reported owning a smartphone.
  • 18-24 year olds had the next highest smartphone usage rate at 54%.
  • 35-44 year olds come in right behind that with 53% reporting smartphone ownership.

Other interesting data points we’ve taken notice of lately include…

According to Google:

  • mobile searches have exploded by 4x since 2010, to over 100 billion mobile searches in 2011. (people are looking for a lot of information directly from their smartphones)
  • 30% of all restaurant searches are done on the mobile phone.
  • 70% of smartphone users use their device while shopping in-store
  • 53% of searchers purchase as a result of a smartphone search
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
  • By 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PCs to get online

A study was just released by eMarketer looking at time spent by people each day with the major media types. They found that people are now spending more time on their smartphones each day (1hr 5mins) than they are with newspapers or magazines.

The last stat I’ll mention today comes from a study Flurry Analytics conducted over the Summer. They found people are now spending more time in Native Apps vs. the mobile Web (81 minutes per day in apps vs. 74 minutes per day for mobile Web).

Looking at these numbers from a purely defensive standpoint you may think having a mobile app is becoming table stakes for doing business – that is, a de facto necessary thing for doing business in today’s on-the-go, hyper-connected marketplace. I would agree with you there for sure. But I also see great opportunity looking at it from a slightly different viewpoint. And that is, these devices offer truly unique functionality you can use to proactively grow your business. A specific example is utilizing push notifications to drive loyal customers into your business with specials and deals. Ok, so those were just a few of the things on my mind this last week, I hope they were helpful and maybe even a bit interesting! Contact us here at Apptive today to learn more about how an app can optimize you for mobile and help grow your business.

Marketing Your Business with an iPhone App

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I was thinking today about best practices around marketing your business with an iPhone app. Some of the things I came up with are obvious and a few may not be, but I think all are useful to consider while you’re getting up and going with an app.

First thing is first: getting customers to download your app. In order to make your app a useful marketing channel you first have to get your customers to download it. It won’t magically appear on their iPhones – you have to let them know about it! Following are some ideas to drive downloads of your app.

  • Promote your app in your place of business: place flyers, stickers, table tents, etc. around your place of business that say: “Download Our iPhone App at the App Store”.
  • Promote your app in the same places you promote your website and Facebook pages right now – on your menus, at the bottom of your receipts, in-store signage, etc.
  • In fact, promote your app ON your website and Facebook page. You can also place a direct link to your app in these places to make it very easy for people to find. To get that link, simply right click on the app icon on your app’s homepage in iTunes and select copy.
  • Promote your app on your email distribution list and your blog if you you’ve got them. Place a direct link to your app in those places too.
  • Give your customers incentive to download your app. Offer some sort of special, coupon or other deal that only people with the app can get.
  • Come up with creative deals like: Get three friends to download our app, bring them in and get this deal.

Now to some best practices about using your app to reach those customers who have downloaded it:

  • Keep the info in your app up to date: If your info is out of date, customers will not view your app as a live channel.
  • Don’t send push offers out too often or else customers will tune them out and maybe view your messages as spam.
  • When sending push offers, make sure they are of significant value to your customers. If an offer or message isn’t perceived to be valuable, customers may tune our your next push.
  • Create offers specific to app users and incent them to share these deals with friends.

So, those are the thoughts I came up with today – I hope they are helpful to you. Check back often because this is a topic we’ll continue to develop and explore.