Want to Grow Your Small Business? There’s an App For That!

Actually there are probably dozens of apps that can help you, and if you can’t find a perfect fit you can easily develop one customized to your needs. There seems to be apps for everything, and there’s a reason for that. Applications (Apps) make communication between two or more parties exceptionally convenient and robust and, compared to even a couple of years ago, the threshold for developing or buying one off the shelf is exceptionally low.

In fact a recent survey by the Small Business Entrepreneurial Council found that over 30% of businesses with 20 employees or fewer are utilizing one or more mobile applications to increase productivity internally and to reach out to customers. Mobile applications are credited with saving over 725 million employee hours annually, drastically reducing paper use and keeping up with customer expectations for convenience.

Applications that make you stand out in the crowd

Apps can do wonders in improving productivity, but let’s look at what they can do for marketing. Apps can literally put you in your customer’s pocket (or purse or wherever your customer carries his or her smart phone). Once your app resides on a customer’s phone you can send “push messages” which can communicate with your customer using text, video, audio, graphics, photos or any other media that you care to use. And, unlike a text message, a push message is free.

That’s a quick description of capabilities: now let’s see how they might be used.

A realtor, for example, can use a push message to send a video tour of a home he or she just listed to his app list of prospective homebuyers. In fact, he can leverage his list as a selling tool to get the listing in the first place. “I’ve got a list of 300 people looking to buy in this neighborhood. I can create a quick video tour using my phone and get your house out to that list in less than 20 minutes.”

How does that compare to the standard “I’ll buy ads in the Sunday real estate section of the paper and make sure it gets posted on our website.” Which approach says, “the realtor is offering more value”?

Getting your application on the customer’s phone

So you can get up close and personal with your application list, but how do you get that app on their phone in the first place?

Let’s look at that realtor again. Outside of every house for sale there’s a realtor’s sign and usually a little plastic bucket that holds a one page description of the house. And that plastic bucket is almost always empty after the first open house. But what if you put a message on the sign that said “for more info text 512 Spring Ave to 68546.” The text is answered with a prompt to download the app from a link. The customer gets the information they want, when they want it.

That same approach could be used on the side of a service van; “for a 20% off coupon text plumbing pros to 63259.”

QR codes are another convenient method to distribute your app. Put a QR your customer can scan on your business card, direct mail, printed promotional material or next to your point of sale stations.

Lastly, don’t forget your existing customers. Use your email list to promote the app and then use the app to cement your relationship with your customers.

Think it through

Before you race out and buy apps off the shelf or have one built, ask yourself just what you want it to do, how it should impact your business and what you will use as a measurement of its success. Don’t waste resources on something that becomes just a novelty. If you need help with this planning stage, we’d be happy to give you our opinions. Call us at 305-791-0077 or drop us a line today.

FREE live chat software