Published on January 29th, 2016 | by Ivan Widjaya0
7 Helpful Tips for Taking your Business Mobile
So, you’re a business owner and have been thinking lately that you should join the rest of the world and dive into the millennial age of business that is the mobile world. That’s a scary thought – especially for someone stuck in their old ways.
According to eMarketer, mobile use accounts for 51% of time spent with digital media for adults. Desktops / Laptops has fallen from 80% in 2008 to a low 42% in 2015. When you face the facts, mobile business is starting to take over and if you’re looking to increase sales, gain more attention, or simply create a new avenue for you’re younger customers, this is your solution.
Now it’s not as simple as creating a login, filling out a few boxes of information, and hitting generate. You’re creating a digital business, not joining eHarmony. Creating a mobile app for you and your business takes a well thought out strategy and commitment. With those two things, this whole process is actually pretty painless.
Did I scare you off yet? No? Okay good.
Here are a few tips to help you make this leap a little easier and give you an outline of how to proceed.
What is your app going to be used for? The main purpose for creating a mobile app for your business is to provide and easy and user friendly way for you and your customers to interact.
Having an app that is beneficial to the end user is key to success. As an example, Esurance has a mobile app catered to their customers that allows a user to pay bills, pull up a digital insurance ID card, and call for roadside assistance among other features. The app provides a seamless experience designed around making life easier for their consumer base.
Little things like direct phone numbers and a clear layout can go miles in user experience.
You’re not Steve Jobs and neither am I. Designing an app that is appealing to the general public can seem like a daunting task. Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
The first step in your design process is deciding what features you’d like to have available in your app. Create a list of functions that you believe will be beneficial to your customer. This is where you have to get in the mind of your customers.
Now that you have that done, create a layout that is easy on the eyes and provides a stress free flow from screen to screen. Make the navigation through your app easy enough that a first time smartphone user (if there are any left) can find their way to every page and understand their options.
Design a look and feel that speaks to your customer and makes them feel at ease. There’s enough stress in the world already, we don’t need people smashing their phones on a rock.
3. Operating Platform
With the explosion of smartphones on the market, everyone wanted to be unique. You have the big 3 – Apple iOS, Google Android, and Windows. You also still have Blackberry clinging on for dear life, trying to make a comeback – sorry, 2006.
Of course, just because those are the three or four you hear most often doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. With that in mind, most of your customers will be using one of the big 3 so focus on those. Each of these operating software have their own unique coding designs and your development team will need to cater to each platform you’d like it to be offered on.
The most successful apps will be available on all three or at least Android and iOS, however you’ll occasionally see platform specific apps. Your choice.
Money. We like that, right? Good news, you have the ability to advertise within your mobile app to provide another source of income to your company.
According to eMarketer, mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide in 2016. Companies are always looking for new ways to get their products in front of consumers and in a generation of candy crush and tinder, mobile apps are the new avenue.
You can drive mobile ad revenue by integrating banner, video, or full page ads into your app. This might worry you as far as user experience, however these ads function exactly like the ones you see on websites. There are many services you can use to help manage this process such as Google AdMob.
Ah, the most important tip of all. After mentioning Blackberry above, you probably thought back to the crackberry period where that was the “must have” of the new millennium. What happened? Simple, they didn’t keep up with the times.
Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 which did everything a Blackberry did, but more. They fell behind and thus fell off. Don’t get me wrong, there are still die-hard Blackberry users and some people prefer those phones over any of the newer smartphone models on the market. My point is that if you don’t release software updates, your app becomes old and outdated. As an iPhone user, I’m constantly bombarded with software updates for iOS which are then followed by software updates for every app installed on my phone. New software can bring glitches and bugs.
Updates are a good way to address these and smooth out any kinks as well as offer new features. Maybe you thought of a great idea 2 years after your app release. Great! Release a software update and leave your customers ogling over the cool new features/layout. Be like the 50 year olds that shop at Forever 21, stay cool and never get old and boring.
6. Push Notifications
When you were trying to get the attention of the cute girl across the classroom, what did you do? You might have passed a note across your classmates, hoping the teacher didn’t intercept it, and having it land in her hands. That’s kind of what push notifications are. They’re attention getting and honestly meant to make the user experience more inviting.
Redbox does a great job with theirs. When they release promo codes for their movies or games, a push notification is sent to your phone through the app that lets you know there are deals waiting inside. Delta Airlines sends you push notifications to let you know when it’s time to check in. By doing this, you are creating a worry free environment by saying “Don’t worry, we got you”.
7. Hire a team and establish a HQ
Now that you have your mobile app up and running, you need people who are going to look after it and take care of it. It is your baby after all. A lack of attention and it will fall through the cracks and become another unused icon on the fourth page of someone’s iPhone.
Hire a team to handle the advertising, the software updates, generating new ideas, and most importantly attend to your mobile customers.
Technology bugs out. Have an IT guy who is the Clark Kent (superman) of your office to take care of any issues that are incurred by your customers through technical support.
With a growing staff, make sure you have a fun work environment to fit the changing atmosphere of your company. It might be time to ditch your mom’s basement or that old building where the roof leaks and the toilet flushes only sometimes. Pack up your stuff, get your free moving quote, get situated in your new crib and prepare for some fun times ahead. Maybe get an office mini horse.