Your website is a powerful asset. It helps showcase your brand, provides a sales platform, and is a cost-effective communication tool. From a browser (such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer), your customers can access your site from their desktops, laptops, and handheld devices. Recently, the pattern of usage has dramatically changed: (1) customers are now using hand-held mobile devices more frequently than non-mobile devices and (2) hand-held devices provide incredible advantages for both businesses and users not available in non-mobile devices.
To stay current with the exploding growth of mobile device users, companies initially moved to a responsive or “mobile friendly” website design. These responsive sites improved the user experience primarily by improving the user interface. But responsive websites accessed by mobile users do not take advantage of the functionality of handheld devices, such as push notification, camera, GPS, offline access and others. To take advantage of those functions, large businesses have invested significant capital in developing native mobile apps. This reflects a realization that customers prefer mobile apps. For example, when using their mobile device, people spend nearly 9 times more time in mobile apps than in a browser.
Let's discuss 5 benefits of mobile apps and how they help your mobile marketing strategy.
Benefit #1: Be More Accessible
Apps put you where your customers are…their phone. After your customers download your app to their phone, your icon is on your customers’ phone. You are now just one click of the button away for them to call you, set an appointment or place an order. Apps eliminate the need for your customers to try and remember your website address or to take the time to enter the URL.
Benefit #2: Elevate Your Perception and Brand
Customers want to do business with companies that that are keeping up with the trends. People are now spending more time in apps than watching television. Incredible right! As a matter of fact of the time people spend on their mobile devices, 86% of that time is spent in mobile apps vs. web browsers.
Benefit #3: Increase Search Engine Optimization
Google has already started linking websites to your mobile apps. In 2016, Google is expected to roll out its “app first” rating. Having a mobile app will no longer be a nice to have, it will be a need to have. Want to keep your business on the cutting edge…just follow Google’s roadmap.
Benefit #4: Enhance Customer Engagement
Apps allow you send timely messages directly to your customer’s phone via Push Notifications. These messages can include coupons, promotions, special product offerings, and links to your shopping cart, school alerts or other inspirational and thought leadership messages. It’s no wonder that big brands like Walmart love mobile apps and the push notifications they send get nearly 18x higher click through rates as compared to email blasts. Let’s say you’re a Bar & Grill attempting to get a larger lunch crowd. You can push a message like: "Thanks for being our customer. Please stop by for lunch this Tuesday – Friday and bring a friend. Buy 1 Burger, get another for $1." Your push notification message can include a link to your advertisement or shopping cart.
Benefit #5: Gain Customer Loyalty
Buyers love specials and coupons. Mobile apps allow you to gain your customer’s loyalty by giving them specials that are only available through your app. It costs more to gain a customer than to keep one. Apps make it easier for you to keep your customers engaged and happy.