Here’s why a mobile-friendly website isn’t good enough anymore.
Does your brand need a website? It’s a silly and obvious question. But that’s how you should be thinking about apps today.
In 2017, no company (or HR department) could survive without a web presence. But remember, the technology essentials of today were once just innovative ideas. Features like chat modules and SEO used to be “nice-to-have” extras not that long ago.
Just as it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s with websites, brands that see the marketing and communication potential of mobile apps now can benefit the most in the smartphone age. A mobile-friendly web presence alone is no longer sufficient mobile strategy.
Because online activity continues to shift to mobile in dramatic numbers:
- Nearly 75 percent of Americans check their smartphones at least once an hour, according to a Gallup survey.
- More than 90 percent of that mobile phone time is devoted to using apps, Internet trend-watcher KPCB found.
- Americans spend more time looking at their smartphones than they do watching television, reports TechCrunch.
This movement means that having your own dedicated mobile app is essential. Mobile apps boost engagement with customers — internally and externally. They increase repeat visits. They enable a variety of online transactions. They offer subtle reminders of opportunities, news and social interaction.
Will the boss need more convincing? Here are seven more key benefits of going down the path of owning your own mobile platform sooner than later.
Think of the marketing mojo
Apps are direct marketing machines. They provide reports, prices and forms. They offer search features and news feeds. They have messengers and user account controls. Much of the information you’d like to get in the hands of your key audience is in front of their face multiple times a day. Push notifications create direct interaction. Apps that send coupons and announcements to build sales could tease your upcoming wellness program or inform employees that their Form 1095-C is ready.
Be visible 24/7
App users are spending almost three hours a day on their mobile device. That could be non-stop visibility for your brand. Even those small smartphone icons provide a visual connection point that users recognize. Being in their space can be an advantage, as our brains unconsciously record every text and image they come across.
Know we’re on-the-go
Speed is important too. Apps accelerate contact with your brand, which builds trust and enhances relationships in an age when quick responses and on-demand information are prized by your base. They won’t always be at their desktops. They’ll be out and about when they need that crucial information the most. Having your benefits at a glance and providers list easily accessible will score points.
Mobile apps for employees are still an emerging trend. Having one can give you a distinction from your competitors, and your rank and file will be impressed with your forward-thinking approach. You could embed onboarding, training and professional development components, which are all increasingly valued by your workers. Retailer Family Dollar found that an employee-facing app also promoted collaboration, improvement and productivity.
Hook ‘em on a feeling
Beyond making your brand visible, apps can enhance the emotional tug users feel toward you. A mobile app is like a blank billboard: you can make it edgy, informative, functional, or stylish. Whatever you decide, what you’re really doing is creating a user experience. Useful features and eye-catching design reinforce what your brand is and means. The more often your employees get involved with your app, the sooner they will be inclined to participate in your programs. It’s your effective frequency. As a rule of thumb, it may take 20 times or more to truly get you noticed. And Forbes says compelling employee experiences are a trend for 2017.
No matter what your industry is, people need a way to reach you. Having a messaging function can open up dialogue with your employees. How many of them would prefer to communicate with you via text or IM than over the phone? It worked for OpenTable, which based its entire business model around this idea. Instead of calling a restaurant for availability, book a reservation in a few clicks.
There’s a lot of noise out there: websites, Facebook ads, email marketing, flyers, signs and more. We are slowly losing our impact because of the immense volume of messages all around us. Apps help us go back to making a genuine bond with a targeted audience. Being just a fingertip away — at home, at the doctor’s office, in the car — brings your company closer to the people it needs. In return, the more trust you for relevant content and information, the more loyal they will be.