Early last year, CNN reported that Americans officially began using smart phones and tablets to access the internet more than desktop computers. For small business owners, this means maintaining a web presence that is optimized for mobile devices is very important. One way to do that is to build a mobile version of your company’s website, but a more effective method of connecting with customers is through a mobile app. Here are a few reasons why having a branded app will help your company stay visible in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.

Food ordering apps are very popular
According to this Entrepreneur piece, Americans spent about 37.5 hours per month using their mobile applications. Aside from social media programs, one kind of app that’s achieved a remarkable amount of popularity are those that are designed to allow customers to order food. The Domino’s app allows customers to order pizza that will be delivered to their location with a few taps and swipes. The Starbucks app allows users to order and pay for coffee before they arrive at a physical store. If you’re a restaurateur or a coffee shop owner, having a direct line to consumers will give you a tremendous advantage over your competitors.

Apps level the playing field
Let’s say that your business doesn’t involve food. A mobile app can still be a largely effective marketing tool for your business. If you own a boutique clothing shop, you can let customers know about the newest items you’ve gotten in stock. A good way to drive business to your salon is to send a push notification through the app letting customers know that you’re offering half off haircuts until the end of the week. As this Build Fire piece points out to consumers, app ads from your small business and app ads from a global brand will have equal weight.

Apps can be excellent loyalty programs
Lastly, branded apps can serve as excellent loyalty programs. One advantage apps have over punch cards and membership key chains is that they can actively remind customers that your business exists. An app can send a customer a push notification letting them know that they are only one sundae away from earning a free scoop of ice cream or that they’re only $30 away from a $10 gift card. Every time one of your customers checks Twitter or response to a text message, they’ll also see your logo. As this Forbes piece makes clear, this evergreen and non-aggressive form of advertising will have an impact on people who have trained themselves to ignore ads on website banners and billboard signs.
This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse


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