As marketers, we should be working with prospects the way our prospects want to be working with us. Today, companies are using digital marketing and apps as much as they’re using their websites. In some cases, the lines are so blurred that you can’t even tell them apart.
For instance: Want to do banking? Click on the app, not the website. Want to buy something? You can use either the app or the website. Need to manage your account? Log into the app, as there is no website.
An app is a marketing tactic that keeps prospects engaged, keeps them coming back, delivers real value and solves real pain. And, with 50% of users gaining access to brands via their devices, let’s face it: Apps work better than even a responsive website.
Here’s how to include apps in your inbound marketing program.
Apps Make Your Business Remarkable
The truth is your customers and prospects are impressed when you have an app. It shows that you’re on the cutting edge, and if it delivers value, they’re going to see you differently than they see your competitors. This is the essence of remarkable. You can say something that none of your competitors can. You have an asset that they don’t, and you’re delivering value in a way they’re not. It’s a big deal.
More important, being remarkable makes a statement in your industry. Keep up or get left behind. Now your competitors have to follow you; they have to try and catch up. While you’re onto the next big thing, they’re working on their own app. This is a place you want to be. If you’re trying to catch up, that’s always harder than trying to stay out in front.
Apps Improve the Customer Experience
If you choose your app wisely, you’re creating something that adds value for your customers and prospects. It might make it easier for them to order your product or track inventory of your product. It might make it easier to provide feedback to you or get an update on status. Regardless of what it does, if it makes their lives easier and improves the experience, it often drives referrals, reviews and positive stories about your business. In turn, many of the most important marketing metrics follow, like website visitors, conversion rate, leads, sales-qualified leads, sales opportunities and new customers.
Apps Generate Revenue, Sometimes
Once all of those key marketing metrics fall into place, they quickly convert into revenue for your business. But, the app itself could provide a nice stream of passive income, too. As more people download the app and pay $0.99, $1.99 or even $9.99, that becomes revenue for your business, which can supplement a second or third app or support your ability to continue upgrading the app and keeping it current. Remember, competitors will copy it; so keeping it updated should be part of your plan.
Apps Serve As Content To Generate Leads
If we look at this from a purely inbound marketing perspective, what better piece of content is there than an app? Downloading the app in exchange for contact information is a no-brainer. Even if you charge for it, the nature of apps means you can collect a lot of valuable marketing information as part of that process. Now you have an extensive profile of everyone downloading the app, and you can market to him or her much differently than you market to people who have only provided you with their email address.
In a highly competitive space, where everyone has a whitepaper, e-book, on-demand Webinar or infographic, having an app to differentiate your educational content is going to mean the difference between a slow, moderate growth curve and a hockey-stick growth curve. I prefer the second option.
BUDGETING FOR THE APP
As you get your 2017 marketing budget together, consider putting some money aside for your app. Apps typically cost between $25,000 and $50,000, depending on the feature set. As I mentioned, you can also find app creator code that makes apps even less expensive.
Apps are the future. These little, self-contained software programs are changing the way we all do business. You need to look at your clients and prospects. Figure out how an app can make their lives easier and how it can more closely connect them to your company. If you don’t, your competitors are going to beat you to it.
Start Today Tip – Ask yourself or your company one simple question: What do customers/prospects hate about doing business with us that we can solve with a digital application? Is it communication? Is it data? Is it access to answers or an expert? Is it account management? There’s always something that needs to be improved. All you have to do is apply the app to that problem, and you’re halfway home. Today, there are app development firms and app tools that make creating the app much less expensive and much quicker to deliver. Once the app is done, make sure you integrate it with your company stories to make it a key piece of what you use to do business. Now you’re thinking like a marketing master.