Mobile apps are trending, and not just for big consumer brands. More and more small business owners are discovering the importance of maintaining a mobile presence and the value of creating their own mobile apps. The Pew Research Internet Project found that 91% of adults in America own a mobile phone, which more than half use to access the Internet. Savvy business owners are taking advantage of this trend to increase foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar enterprises. Mobile apps work in real time, and allow customers to receive push notifications, manage loyalty rewards programs, find coupons, make reservations, order takeout, get directions, check on orders, locate products and services, and more.
In a survey of 1,200 adults, market researcher Responsys found that 6 out of 10 have downloaded brand-related mobile apps, and 7 in 10 of those have enabled push notifications for those apps. Percentages were even higher for teens and young adults. And where roughly 10% of marketing emails get opened, a whopping 97% of push notifications are read.
What are Push Notifications?
Push notifications are pop-up alerts that appear on a user’s mobile device, usually showing up as a tiny red number next to the app icon which lets the user know there is a message waiting. When the user clicks on the app they’ll get a short message about a sale, a coupon or whatever the business owner desires to send. Of users who enable push notifications with mobile apps, 50% of them say they do so in order to receive access to exclusive offers, and 34% report it’s for real-time notification of sales and availability. Push notifications can even be geo-targeted so that whenever a user is in or near a selected location, for instance a competing business, they can receive a special offer that will entice them over to the sender’s business.
Loyalty Rewards Programs
Mobile apps can be used to simplify and enhance loyalty rewards programs, which in turn greatly enhances mobile app usage. Customers can document their visits and purchases on the business’ mobile app, check on their rewards points and even redeem them for goods and services. Together, loyalty rewards and mobile apps go a long way toward increasing customer loyalty to a local business.
How to Create a Local Business App?
Creating your own customized local business app is no longer difficult or expensive. A great number of online developers are available to help business owners create their own custom app with absolutely no programming knowledge or experience whatsoever. Using industry-specific templates, a business owner can customize, edit and manage iPhone, iPad, Android, and mobile web apps online, quickly, easily, and for very little investment.
Promoting Your Local Business App
However the user gets there, a business app is downloaded from a specific website upon which it is hosted. Business owners can post the website URL or even a direct link on social media pages, blogs, emails and their own business website, as well as printing the URL on business cards, signs, posters, and other media.
Printed QR Codes
QR codes, the odd-looking pixilated squares popping up everywhere as of late, can be used for the purpose of downloading a mobile app. The code is printed on an in-store sign, on a business card, a postcard, or wherever, and the user “scans” it, basically taking a picture with their cell phone camera. The code then directs the mobile device to the website from which the app can be downloaded. QR codes have many other uses, but downloading mobile apps is one of the most popular.
The takeaway here is that mobile apps are increasingly going from a quirky trend to a must- have marketing tool for local business owners to build brand loyalty and enhance the customer experience. Because of advances in technology, they’re available and accessible to every business owner who wants to tap into the lucrative and expanding mobile market. Don’t be the last one to get there!