Mobile has become part of everyday life.
There’s a good chance you use your phone as an alarm to wake yourself up each morning, to check emails, pay bills, connect with friends, get up to date on current news, listen to your favorite songs, or read blog posts like this.
Your heart probably sinks a little when you leave your home or office only to realize you’re without your small but mighty and powerful cell phone.
Mobile isn’t just seeping into our daily lives, it’s also becoming a critical part of business in 2017.
45% of all online sales in 2016 were made using a mobile device, with more than 50% of e-commerce web traffic coming as the result of mobile.
The way consumers spend time online has shifted from desktop and laptops to mobile over the last seven years.
With all this data staring you right in the face, how do you as a business owner or brand figure decide where to spend your marketing budget in 2017?
Do you allocate more towards your website or should you think about building a mobile app?
In this article, you will learn how to make the most of your marketing budget in 2017 to not only grow your business, but to future-proof it for years to come.
The Benefits Of Having A Mobile Website
Regardless of the industry your business operates in, you need a mobile website.
Notice how I said mobile website and not just a website.
Google recently shook up the online world by changing the way they rank web pages by using a mobile-first index.
What this essentially means is that Google will no longer rank websites based on how they appear on a desktop, but how they appear and work on mobile. This is a huge statement that mobile is the future. When one of the biggest tech companies in the world say they are prioritizing mobile over desktop, business owners should take note that mobile is going to become a huge part of their strategy going forward.
A website is the foundation of every business.
When consumers look for a product or service, 81% start their search online.
You need a website to meet your customers half-way through their buying journey to lead them on to your website where they can learn more about your brand, sign up to your email list, or even make a purchase on the spot.
Websites also help with branding, generating awareness, and social proof.
A website is a must for every business, but if you already have a website, should you invest more of your marketing budget towards it?
Should You Start Improving Your Website?
While a website is a fundamental cog of any business in 2017, do you really need to spend more money improving it?
For example, if you decided to spend $5,000 on optimizing your website, how much better would it actually be and how much increased revenue would you see?
If you manage an e-commerce business selling thousands of products, you may see a positive return on investment with increased conversions (assuming you ran a bunch of tests to find your website’s weak points).
However, if you’re an artist, small business, startup, or sell only a few products or services, spending all that money on revamping your website most likely won’t make that much of a difference.
You also need to consider if, by investing in your website, you are investing in the future or a dying platform.
Don’t get me wrong, websites will be around for a long time, but studies are already reporting a decline in users visiting websites and an increase in app use.
The average time a user spends on a mobile device is 3 hours and 40 minutes, and 90% of that time is spent on apps.
For businesses that already have a website set up that receives continual traffic and steady sales, is improving your website the right way to go?
As the old adage goes, you should never put all your eggs in one basket. The more mediums you use to promote your business, the more customers you can reach and the faster you can grow your business.
The Benefits Of Having A Mobile App
Mobile apps are an incredibly useful tool that are underutilized in business simply because the average business owner doesn’t understand the power they hold.
Having your own dedicated mobile app has the several following benefits:
Reach – Just imagine every customer or fan having your mobile app on their smartphone. The next time you run an offer, release a product, or use a new feature, you can connect with them instantly.
The average email open rate is 22%~, but every single user of your app will receive your push notification when they next look at their phone or log in to your app.
Engagement through apps is much stronger for two reasons:
- You’re not fighting for users’ attention against competitors. For example, when you post a Facebook update or send an email, your customers also see content from other businesses and friends, diluting your message.
If they are receiving dozens of emails per day, they may end up unsubscribing from your list.
- You’re in complete control of your message and reach. Google is always changing their organic search listings, and if your website is on top today, there’s nothing stopping them from removing you tomorrow or a competitor out-ranking you.
A mobile app is your space, and nobody else is allowed to enter.
Omni-channel marketing – Consumers today want choice, whether that is ordering your product via your website, app, or by going in-store to get a better feel for the item.
The ability to buy through a number of mediums and cross-leveraging marketing strategies and platforms is where business is moving towards.
For example, a study in 2015 revealed that 48% of emails opened were on mobile devices, with that number being much higher today.
If your app users are subscribed to your email list, you can send them product emails that, once clicked, automatically open your app leading directly to the item and offering them a personalized and seamless shopping experience between two different platforms.
You may consider this advanced marketing, but in the next few years it will become the norm. As a business owner who plans to stick around for a long time, these sorts of sales funnels are needed to grow your business.
Remember when bricks and mortar businesses were reluctant to set up an online presence because they thought they either didn’t need one or it was too advanced for their business model?
Today, you couldn’t survive as a business without having a website and social media account. The same pattern will repeat itself for businesses that don’t have their own mobile app in the coming years.
Growth indicator – A mobile app is the next natural step in business growth. Not every business will have the same order, but most businesses will go through a similar lineage of progression.
- It started with a brick and mortar store (1990).
- Then they decided to create a website (2000).
- Next, to grow their customer base and reach more users they set up an email list and social media accounts (2005).
- They shifted from spending money on radio and magazines to using Facebook or Google ads (2015).
As more of their customer base spend time on apps, they now create an app to drive more sales and reach more customers (present day).
A mobile app is the next logical step for businesses. Apple, who are known for their high-end mobile phones and computers, made more than $28 billion in revenue off of their app products.
While sales in laptops and phones are slowing down, their mobile app service is growing much faster than any other part of their business.
Mobile apps aren’t just for brands such as Apple who sell high-end products; even coffee shops can use mobile apps to transform their business.
Yes, I just said coffee shops.
In 2015, Starbucks attributed 16% of their total transactions from their mobile app.
During their first quarter of 2016, 21% of all transactions where through mobile. Starbucks, as well as finding new avenues to generate sales, also personalized the customer shopping experience and made it easier for their customers to order coffee.
Their customers could redeem points, increase their loyalty level, and receive free gifts and promotions from Starbucks all through a single app.
These are just two examples of businesses that offer completely different products but leveraged the power of apps to grow their business and provide customers with a better experience.
Should You Invest In Building A Mobile App?
Yes, you most certainly should if you:
- already have a website;
- already have a customer or fan base; and
- are looking to take your business to the next level.
Unless you’re running a dedicated app service (like Uber), you need to have all of your ducks in a row before you can truly make full use of a mobile app.
This typically means that you have a website and an audience (customers or fans).
These are the basics to running a successful business. Once you have these down, you’re ready to take your business to new heights.
When investing in a mobile app for your business, you’re not only investing in an application, but you’re also investing in your business’s future.
If you manage to crush it with your business, and if you’ve dreamed about a huge buy-out from a major competitor, then the value of your app can easily be worth 300x more than the cost of production.
Creating the right app with the right features will also give you an instant ROI in the short, medium, and long term as you get more people to download and use your app.
Investing in a mobile app is also getting a head start on your competitors who may be in a similar place to you, but are not sure what they should do next.
When Facebook first went mainstream, people were saying it was just a fad and it would end up like Myspace in a few years. Today, it is the biggest social network in the world and arguably the biggest global brand.
Why did Myspace die a slow death yet 12 years on, Facebook is growing with their stock price at a record high?
Because Facebook is continually revamping their product and staying ahead of the curve. Facebook has dedicated apps for the following categories:
- Adverts Manager
- Work Chat
Facebook has turned each feature of its core product into an app. The Messenger app alone has over a billion downloads.
Facebook is future proofing their business by staying ahead of the game; are you?
What’s Next For Your Business?
Building a mobile app is a worthwhile investment, but it isn’t something you should take lightly or do without research. There are many ways to build an app, many features to implement, and dozens of ways to promote and grow your business through a mobile app.
If you feel your business is ready to hit the next stage in its evolution and would like to know more about creating the right app for your business, then get your free guide, Generating Revenue via Mobile Apps – A Guide for Businesses and Brands, by clicking below: