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BUSINESS GROWTH - Does Your Business Need a Mobile App?
If the Pew Research Center's findings from its Mobile Technology Fact Sheet are any indication of mobile device usage, your business should consider developing a mobile app.
With nine in 10 Americans using a cellphone and 64 percent of the U.S. population possessing a smartphone, there is an ample audience out there for you to reach using a mobile app. One important finding from the Pew Research Center is that 67 percent of cellphone owners monitor their phone for a call or notification, even when their phone is silent. So what considerations should be made to determine if a mobile app is right for your business?
Increase Awareness Among Clients
Whether smartphone users own an iOS or an Android device, they spend an average of 162 minutes on their mobile device per day, according to GeekWire. Of that time, they spend 86 percent of that on an app. Apps are fully customizable and can make access to information such as booking options, search options, service and price guides much easier and faster for clients to review.
Increase Customer Outreach and Survey Methods
Many of today’s mobile apps integrate social media and forums. Internal forums can give customers a bit more privacy while still interacting with other clients and internal staff. Social media, such as Twitter, can also be integrated into an app. This is useful to help customers give feedback and even create keyword-based campaigns through hashtags that are searchable on Twitter.
Engage Local and Visiting Customers
Through location-based marketing, businesses can use their app to target and alert customers within a defined geography for nearby events or holidays. Apps can be used to upsell and notify customers of additional products or services when they book an appointment or research a complimentary product or service. Apps also can measure the effectiveness of specific promotions and coupons, and alert businesses to existing customers and pull their purchase history.
Considerations Before and During the Mobile App Development
Depending on the size of the organization, the first step is to determine if your existing IT staff can devote time away from security and other important matters. Beyond that, you must consider functionality such as messaging and scheduling. What platforms will it be developed for – only iOS and Android, or Blackberry and Windows, too? Is the app functional online, offline or both? These are just some factors that must be determined before an app can be released to the public, and should be tested in Beta versions in house or through test groups.
Testing is just as important for mobile app functioning as it is for mobile and desktop friendly content. You can beta test with internal staff, external developers, test groups or a combination thereof. This is a critical phase of development, because if consumers find it does not function well, it will hinder the app's chances of widespread adoption.
Considerations if a Mobile App is Not Right
If a mobile application is not right, another option is to create mobile friendly websites. This may help companies rank higher in Google and enable exposure to the mobile device market in lieu of a full-blown app. Whether a company chooses to create an app based on its clientele, budget, or marketing and outreach basis, many experts believe it is definitely worth taking a look at the mobile device market's adoption rate – which shows no sign of slowing down.