It is not always immediately clear as to why a business, or an Internet entrepreneur such as a blogger or Youtube star, would need a mobile app of their own. As the creator of AppMerge, the ‘App Making App’, I have been confronted with this question many times when making the marketing pitch for our app creation software product. So here in this article I will explain why you need an App, no matter who you are or what business you are in.
Most people when they think of a mobile app for their Android or Apple device think of a utility or game for example. Taking a basic example my mother, for example, uses her phone to shop on amazon, she loves her weather app, and the parking app on her phone allows her to pay for city parking eliminating the need for coins or credit cards to feed the city meters. All very convenient indeed. So the question becomes, “There is an app for everything, why would I need my own mobile app?”
For me the question is, how can you not have your own mobile app in today’s world? To understand the reasons you have to start thinking about your smartphone as a ‘platform’, just like Windows or OSX. If I have a business, let’s say I have an online store, or I distribute my own videos or music, I would not just offer my product on one platform, I need to have my product or content available on all platforms to achieve the widest distribution possible and maximize my potential customer base. So getting your app icon on a potential or existing customer’s phone is crucial to you. That is valuable real-estate you need, just as getting your website bookmarked in the user’s web-browser is valuable to retain that customer and interact with them in the future.
Which brings me to another point that potential customers of AppMerge often bring up. They say, “I have a website, so why would I need an app when they can just go to my website on their phone.” Well that is true, but having a mobile app for yourself or your business offers advantages that a website can not achieve, and this is important, so here are the top three reasons you need a mobile app over having simply a website or a social media account such as Youtube.
1- Probably the number one advantage to mobile apps is “push notifications”. These are the alerts that appear in your phone tray when an app alerts something to you, such as a special from a store you visit, some new content, or the score in from your favorite NFL game. A website can’t do that. These push notifications can be set in AppMerge and you can pro-actively notify your users of anything you wish, for example when you posted a new video, or when some special or event is going on in your store or on your web-based business.
2- The second thing the mobile app offers that is very valuable is “geolocation data”. This allows you to target your users by where they are in the world. So for example, if you have something specific you want to alert you app users to that are near New York, you can do this easily within the AppMerge interface and select the radius within miles or kilometers from your target region. You can target just a specific country as well. This is a great feature that helps you customize offers as well as make them timely. For example, a notification you send might be, “20% off all day today in our New York stores”. Very effective marketing indeed.
3- Thirdly, “easy accessibility” is key in today’s mobile smartphone world. We see people all day long staring at their phones, while waiting in line, eating dinner and even walking down the street. Often to kill time someone will open an app just because they have it on their phone and it’s in their face. So for example if you have a restaurant and your icon is on their phone, you are getting eyeballs on your business and a reservation is possible because you are in the client mind now. This is the same for a social media star, for example, someone who makes their living making and marketing Youtube videos. Sure they could go to Youtube and select your channel out of the many they follow, but they can also get distracted and go watch something else. By having your own app with your own icon on their phone, you are focusing the user, and when they open your app they will see only the content you want them to see, your videos, your tweets, your products, and you can have that more intimate relationship with your users that a mobile app provides.