First of all decide what kind of app you want. If you have a restaurant it’s quite easy. The ability to browse your menu, book a table or order a take away would be very welcome. To see how the big boys do it, take a look at how easy it is to order a pizza.
Retail stores also have it easy as they can offer customers the chance to browse the articles for sale, find out more about an item, maybe pre-order if you sell big goods. They could book delivery slots, service visits or buy maintenance contracts. Think about what you would want to do from the comfort of your armchair.
Service companies like plumbers and builders can use the app to showcase their services, show a new bathroom recently installed and book an estimate.
Creative based companies such as wedding planners, florists or cake makers can offer basic planning services or pictures of past offerings. You could even get together with complimentary companies and offer an outline planning service so that a wedding dress fitting, buffet lunch, wedding cake meeting, photography, car hire and dress hire service could all be booked through one app. Benefits to everyone involved and you can get commission from the participating companies. Florists could enable the purchase and delivery of bouquets; gift shops could do the same for their gift baskets. Cake makers can offer the ability to order batches of cakes for parties and the list goes on.
Service providers are not forgotten. Perhaps your app could enable the user to tailor your service, ordering the part that they needed. Trainer could provide course details and the ability to book a course. If you have regular seminars or talks these could be highlighted and bookable. Hairdressers could offer details of the latest styles, beauty salons the latest treatments. Learner driver schools could offer hints and accountants details of the last tax changes. All of the apps should offer the option to contact the small company or book a meeting.
Of course you could do something different and design a game. The more addictive the game the more often people will come back to it. All the time your company name is in front of the customer whilst they play the game. You could make the game synonymous with your company products. You might even be able to make some extra cash from the game with in game purchases.
Launching Your Mobile App
A quick look in iTunes and Google Play gives you the bad news first. There are an awful lot of apps available. So how do you get your app noticed? Not as hard as you might think. The first hurdle is to get it into Apple iTunes and Google Play. There are full details of how to do this on the respective web sites. Both sites make it easy and there are no hosting or marketing fees. Both companies do have a quality test so there are a few hoops to jump through. However once you have been passed, and most are, your app is free to be downloaded by millions of prospective customers.
Make sure that you have a good app description written so that it can be found. If your services are local, include your locality in your description. If you are unsure how to do this, there are plenty of good writers available on sites such as elance, who will do this for a small fee.
Getting the App in Front of your Customer
Now is your chance to tell people about it. Send out a mail shot or email telling your customers about this great new app. Remember to sell its virtues such as how convenient the app can be. Offer a discount for the customers that book via the app, this can be done easily with a booking code. Put details of your app on your website, your brochure, in your store, sign written on your van and on your business cards. Put some posts on your Twitter account and your Facebook page. Create a buzz and get people excited. The novelty of a small business having a mobile app will encourage the curious to take a peek.
Prepare a press release extolling its virtues and give it to your local newspaper and radio station. Be prepared to be interviewed on this great idea. Send details to local clubs and ask them to include it in their newsletters, you can offer members a discount code to encourage its usage. All good, free, effective marketing. An experienced writer will help you with the press release if you are unsure what to write.
Make sure that you do not forget about your app. Frequently update the information seen by your users. Offer discounts on a regular basis, so that they go back to your mobile app and do not forget your company.
Your mobile app will create a buzz about your small business. Users will be able to find you using their preferred shopping method. You will soon discover that it is a great marketing tool.
Costs of Marketing Apps
Now you are probably thinking that this is far too expensive and difficult a project for a small company to undertake. Pepperpot Digital specialises in affordable mobiles apps for SMEs. We look at your specification and decide the most effective method for bringing to life your creation.
Why aren’t more small companies doing this? The answer is simple – they are not as clever as you are.
Ref: OfComs report Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014:http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/other/research-publications/adults/adults-media-lit-14/