Many businesses, both big and small, are getting on the mobile app bandwagon, and reasonably so because over 80% of the time spent on mobile is spent on apps.
If you haven’t jumped on it yet, your reasons for this may be some of the following:
- You can’t justify the high cost of a mobile app when your marketing is working well for you already.
- You are a small business or an agency with a limited number of clients and an app doesn’t fit into your business model.
- You’d like to have an app, but you don’t want to hire extra staff just to manage it.
…and many more.
The key to having a successful app isn’t simply in its virality or the ability to sell more of your product. While that is one of the potential benefits, it really depends on your specific business goals and ongoing pain points.
This is a common misbelief, but an app can benefit your business in many more ways. Most of them don’t involve thousands of app users, and many can exponentially improve and scale the way you do business.
You can use a mobile app to:
- Increase your brand awareness and improve your presence on mobile devices.
- Multiply your client engagement and increase customer lifetime value.
- Enhance your internal communications and improve ongoing processes.
Your app may be used by 10 or 200 or 10,000 people and be equally as successful. As marketers and business people, we often just look at success through vanity metrics, such as number of downloads or users, but it’s really all about who is using the app and the goal they want to accomplish with the app.
That’s all that matters, and that’s the single way to look at the success of an app!
It’s time to look at apps from the perspective of your business. We’ll do this by looking at some common pain points in a company and finding a solution through a mobile app.
Even more good news – when you find the right app solution for your problem, it doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars each month, meaning you’ll make your business even more cost-efficient. Let’s start!
Know your business communication channels
Before you look at individual pain points in your business, you first need to know how they differentiate from each other. You may be dealing with dysfunctional one-to-one communication between teams, low customer engagement and unscalable client onboarding, but all these issues fall into different sets of processes within your company.
The majority of business processes can be sorted into these key groups:
- Your overall marketing, directed at your target audience. This is the public domain, where anyone can engage with your business.
- Your client and customer interactions. This is limited to people and/or other companies that are in a monetary relationship with you.
- Your internal processes and communications. This is strictly limited to the employees of your company and protected data, and it is never seen by existing or potential customers.
Each of these brings different challenges and potential problems. They also affect various groups of people with different goals to accomplish. To make these goals achievable, we first need to look at different categories of apps and the common behaviors for each.
Know the power of different apps
With 24 categories in Apple’s App Store and 32 categories in the Google Play Store, it can get overwhelming to find the inspiration and solution that suit your exact business need. Categories exist based on purposes, so they are used differently and they can affect humans in various ways.
They can be sorted in these large groupings:
- Features: minimal setup, simple flows and layouts, standard user interface elements, usually with one or two screens
- Common use: used frequently to complete simple tasks quickly with short session times; the goal is to increase the frequency of their use
- Examples: calculator, notepad, reminders, weather, taxi apps
- Features: capable of performing complex tasks on the go, hierarchical structure, accelerators and shortcuts, lists, detailed views and text entry ability
- Common use: to reduce workload and increase productivity through both B2B and personal use, such as billing, buying, booking, sending emails and tracking progress
- Examples: Indeed Job Search, Facebook Pages Manager, Evernote, Apple Wallet, Google Sheets
- Features: addictive, immersive, entertaining through gamification, unique experience without standard controls and with high interactivity
- Common use: entertainment
- Examples: Candy Crush Saga, Temple Run, DubSmash, Talking Tom
- Features: available across different categories because of many different ways for an app to be educational, from interactive text lessons and video lectures to brain teasers and various quizzes
- Common use: used by kids, adults, and teachers, with the benefit of the freedom to adjust to the user’s individual learning pace
- Examples: Duolingo, Lumosity, TED, Photomath
- Features: they streamline processes by enabling employees to achieve internal business goals as quickly and efficiently as possible
- Common use: used by employees and teams across all levels to carry out various functions and tasks, such as communication, project management, HR functions, inventory, meetings, and more
- Examples: appointments, events, time tracking, HR self-service, CRM, sales intelligence
Other categories you may also come across are news, social and lifestyle categories. These are large apps such as BuzzFeed, Feedly, Reddit, all social media networks, as well as platforms and services such as Tripadvisor and Spotify.
This should give you an idea of how different apps fit various scenarios. Let’s look at what your app can do for your business so you can start building your app!
Improve your mobile marketing
Let’s start with marketing and brand awareness. This is the one businesses and marketers are often most familiar with, and most likely to want to create.
With a well-planned mobile app, your marketing processes can be largely improved in different ways and use cases. Some examples are scaling your sales process, introducing a new revenue stream, and shifting some marketing budget into your app to gain higher return on investment.
Let’s now look at examples of common problems in a business and ways to solve them with a mobile app.
Scale your sales process
Pain point: an inefficient and time-consuming sales channel
If there is a person or a team in your company that spends a lot of time and energy to close a deal, an app could be the solution to scale the sales process and free up the team for other tasks that may require more of their time, such as customer service.
A good example of this is a travel agency that operates across the country. The majority of their sales come from desktop users. Because of a limited mobile experience, mobile users are reluctant to research and purchase through mobile. Instead of switching to desktop to make their decision, they prefer calling the agency, which consumes more of agent’s time to make the sale.
If this agency creates a mobile app available to general public, they can enhance the experience for their mobile visitors. By allowing them to research destinations, build their own packages, and chat online with a travel agent from their phone, they would be more likely to book online instead of calling the agency.
This way, a mobile app acts as another sales touchpoint and allows for a better resource management!
Introduce a new revenue stream
Pain point: a wide, interested audience that can’t afford you
Is there a new way to monetize your audience that would be completely unique to mobile users? Can you use a mobile app to convert the audience that you otherwise can’t?
To better understand this, let’s take an accountancy firm as an example. Most of their revenue comes from ongoing services with their clients. However, they often hear from prospects that can’t quite afford them, but they need help with their bookkeeping.
This company could create an app based on either a freemium or a subscription model for a self-service bookkeeping system, with a much more affordable price point. This way, they get a stable additional revenue stream that includes a wider audience, and the audience gets their help. Win-win!
Shift your marketing costs into the app
Pain point: lack of precise targeting and messaging on mobile
Do you struggle with precise targeting of your mobile users? Is your cost per acquisition much higher on mobile devices because of it? This is where a mobile app can help.
Let’s take an example of a bookstore chain that can’t seem to reach their users on mobile in a cost-effective manner. A brilliant solution for this issue would be an app that would let users track the books they’ve read, their friends’ reading activities, new books in their favorite genres, and book-related events near them. And all of this – for free, simply delivering lots of value to book lovers!
Once they establish their user base, this bookstore can leverage the user data from the app, like interests, trends, reading patterns and purchasing behaviors. They can then use features like tagging and segmentation to reach these users with perfectly tailored content and influence their book purchasing decisions!
Enhance your client experience
If your biggest challenges and issues come from within your relationships with customers or clients, maybe a client-focused app can fix them. The key is to look at your day-to-day workflow and the average frequency of your client interactions.
Another core factor is the nature of your business: are you a brick and mortar shop, or do you operate online? Maybe you’re both? Take this into account so you can understand your customer’s context and history any time they are interacting with you.
Leverage user profiles
Pain point: lack of a unique mobile experience
First things first: one of the most important benefits of a mobile app for your paying users is the ability for them to log into their profile on the go. This is where most other benefits are derived from, too. With user profiles, you can easily track all of their activities, friction points, customer inquiries, and give a ‘home’ to their individual place in your mobile world.
This will also allow you to create a tailored experience for each user based on their previous purchases, in-app behavior and screen flow patterns.
Create a seamless cross-device experience
Pain point: lack of data and insights because of a poor mobile experience
Maybe you know that the majority of your customers purchase on desktop, but they mostly do their research on mobile. However, you’re having a hard time tracking the discrepancies between their browsing history on mobile and the purchase they made on desktop.
There is also a chance your user accounts don’t work as well on mobile as they do on desktop, so your customers don’t even bother logging in until they get to desktop to purchase, which means they can’t shop from their previously browsed items or saved items.
With a mobile app, you will be able to connect the dots between the mobile and the desktop behavior and create a seamless experience for those who are often switching between the two. You will also get a whole new insight into the early stage of the purchase – research – so you can track and identify any friction points in the overall journey.
Increase loyalty and retention
Pain point: low number of loyal, repeat customers
Can your app increase the value that your customers or clients get from you? Is there a way for you to gain an advantage over other competitors because of what you offer through a mobile app?
Let’s take a clothing shop as an example. Their sales are on target, but they’re struggling to get their customers to buy more frequently.
With a mobile app, not only can their customers access their past purchases, but also create outfits and plan their shopping based on it, access tips on how to wash and maintain each piece of clothing to prolong its shape and color, combine clothing pieces from different seasons, and more.
Another great option here is tagging and sorting your customer data so you can segment them based on their in-app activity and target them with push notifications and in-app messages specifically designed for them.
It’s a super easy way to keep the customers engaged with your business and keep coming back!
Improve your internal processes
And finally, let’s see how a mobile app could improve your business from the inside, which can will result in better productivity, resourcing and hiring.
You can decide to have separate apps with standalone features for different teams and purposes, or combine them into a single enterprise app, depending on company’s needs and resources.
You can improve almost any internal team or process with a well thought-out mobile app – let’s see how!
Think about this for a moment: are your coworkers using several different apps to communicate? Email, Hangouts, Skype, maybe WhatsApp, too?
This is far from efficient internal communication. Switching between apps just to get a message to several different people wastes precious minutes (and hours!). A dedicated communications app with the ability to safely share internal documents and information will save your teams’ time and preserve their attention.
Here, let’s take an example of a medium-sized business. Regardless of the industry, a company with a couple of hundreds of employees has to deal with a large employee database, HR documents, resources, employee benefits, annual leave and time trackers, and more.
Human resources issues are often of a sensitive nature, and all the files and processes they require are usually documented across Excel spreadsheets, Dropbox and various content platforms. This especially proves inefficient when a new starter joins a company and needs to be onboarded.
With a single HR app (or a section within the enterprise app), you could manage all HR issues in one place, ensuring that each person has the correct access. All the sensitive information can be kept safe thanks to the option for various levels of access.
Many companies struggle to keep their employees engaged, especially when it comes to cooperation across teams.
With a central mobile app, companies can increase employee engagement with more efficient company updates and transparent reports from teams. With a calendar of both in-house and external events, they can encourage networking.
Employee engagement can also be increased through gamification and quizzes to connect segments of the company that don’t get to interact with each other often.
And finally, a mobile app can multiply operational efficiency of a company by centralizing project management, employee training, sales and marketing processes, document storage, tools, and platforms.
A great internal mobile app will integrate all these systems into a single place and allow employees to optimize the experience for themselves, as well as upskill themselves and continuously learn.
Ultimately, it will make them more productive, meet their deadlines, save time, connect with their coworkers more efficiently, and simply do their jobs better, which will ultimately result in better quality of work and a more profitable business.
It’s your turn!
We hope we’ve given you some ideas and encouragement to analyze your business situations so you can build a stronger brand, provide more value to your customer and work better by having a mobile app.
If you now have an idea for your business app, you can start building it for free!