Mobile Apps For Business – The Power Is in the PUSH

Thinking about launching a Mobile App for your business? If not now, when?

Now is the time to ride this wave of opportunity.

We all know as Entrepreneurs and Business Owners that in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, you need to position your business to take advantage of emerging trends. Mobile Marketing is NOT in the future, it’s NOW!

Did you know that statistics show mobile consumers have their phone or mobile devices within 3 feet of them 23 hours a day? Just think about the opportunity you have before you to have YOUR business on your clients or prospects mobile device 23 hours a day / 365 days out of the year? Now that my friends is what I call OPPORTUNITY! I don’t know any other marketing medium that has the same power to instantly get the attention for your target market.

What do you think the average response or open rate is today with email marketing? Unless you have a super responsive and active list, you will only see 4% – 9% open rates within the first 24-48 hours of you pushing the send button. Mobile push or text messages are seen and opened 97% of the time within the first 4 minutes. Now that is impressive! Just think about your own mobile behavior, or heck just look around you.

Consumer expectation is that every “Brand” has an app they can download and access on their mobile device.

We are often asked the question, “Why should I have a mobile app?” Here are just a few reasons why you should have one:

Builds customer loyalty. Everyone likes to feel included in something special, so make customers feel like VIPs by offering discounts, coupons, and promotions just for using and downloading the app.
Creates a viral buzz. Encourage customers to use the mobile app to quickly tell all of their friends about the business using the built-in sharing capabilities of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, SMS, and Email.
Grow customer lists. A mobile app can gather names and email addresses from directly within the app and easily export them into the top email marketing campaign services to be used in additional emails.
Get instant feedback. Mobile apps allow customers to leave feedback on fan walls, share photos, and send comments in a variety of ways.

What is an App? An App is an application that has to be downloaded and installed on a mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, and the Android Google Play Market in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. An app provides an interactive engagement with users and works more like a computer program than a website.

The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

It is expected that by mid-2012 more people will be accessing the internet on their mobile devices than on PC’s. With that in mind, it cannot be emphasized enough the importance of having one’s business or service seen properly across all the different mobile platforms otherwise you will lose business.

What better way for your business to stay in touch with your customers than with your own customized mobile application!

Do you have clients and customers that you want to communicate and stay in touch with? If so, what is the best way to do that and get responsive results? The clear choice is through Mobile Apps.

I’ve put together my top ten tips to ensure your app success:

1. Determine your Objective

Are you looking for sales, brand awareness, social media engagement or to stay in constant contact and in front of your clients and prospects?

As Entrepreneurs and Business Owners it’s easy for us to get distracted and become overwhelmed with all our responsibilities and otherwise great ideas. Be sure when developing your mobile marketing strategy that it aligns with your core message, and resonates with your viewing audience.

2. Integrate Social Sharing Features

We all know and understand the power of social engagement, and social sharing features of our information. All of your social sites can be integrated into your Mobile App which will insure and increase your brand awareness.

3. Keep Your App and its content up to date

Just as important as updating a blog, your app must be updated with relevant and engaging content. You need to keep the end user engaged, or just as quickly as they downloaded your app, they can remove it.

4. Integrate interactive and events features

Provide up-to-date information about all of your business events and specials by creating an events calendar. Whether you conduct live events or virtual events online, you will want to keep your new users engaged and in-the-know of what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and how they can participate. We are social creatures by nature, and want this information available at our fingertips..literally!

5. Create Loyalty / VIP Programs

You will want to incentivize your subscribers, and give them a reason not only to download your app, but to also keep it on their mobile device. It’s very simple to create Loyalty or VIP programs, and your clients and prospects will LOVE you for it.

6. Develop an effective Mobile Marketing Strategy

It’s not if you build it they will come… You need to prepare your marketing plan prior to the launch of your new App in the App Stores. This will include, but is definitely not limited to:

Be sure to send an email notification to your subscribers with URL links to the Apple and Android (Google Play) Marketplaces. So they can download it. Don’t forget to incentivize them in some way for doing so!
Create QR Codes that link directly to your App (QR Codes are 2-dimensional black and white squares that contains a url or specially coded message that your phone’s camera along with QR Scanner Software will decode for you.)
Social Network promotions… oh this can be a great tool!!!
Keyword research for your App is just as important as for your website. As you build your App, or have a developer do it for you, determine what your keywords will be as well as the description for your App. These are both extremely important as they are two of the more permanent features of your App and will immediately assist you in generating new clients and leads when done correctly.

7. Create Raving Fans

It’s very important to create an opportunity for your App users to feel as though they are part of your community. Remember the Social Sharing feature? Well this is just as important. What if at your next event, you gave your App users the ability to upload their photos from the event, or even write on your App fan wall? We have seen it time and time again on Social Networks how important this is, in fact it’s a must!

8. Track your progress with in-App Analytics

You want to be sure you have a way to track the downloads of your App in the App Stores/Markets. Tracking the number of downloads is important as you prepare for future promotions, as well as revenue streams from advertising opportunities. The more downloads you have, the more valuable you are to advertising partners. This is a great way to help monetize your app!

9. YES… The Power IS in the PUSH!!!!

Here’s the most important feature of all… PUSH Notifications! This is very similar to sending out an email notification, but is much more effective. Remember you will have a 97% open rate within the first few minutes of sending it. You can send out notices immediately, or schedule them to go out on a particular day, and time you set.

The push notification will show up on a mobile device just like a text message would. These are delivered to everyone who has downloaded your app on their mobile device. They are displayed on smartphones and iPads/Tablets. The message will be displayed on the home screen of the phone or tablet literally the moment you press “Send”.

One word of caution though… Do NOT over use the Push Notification feature. This can be interpreted at SPAM, so please don’t abuse it. Treat your new App Subscribers just like you would your email list and provide value first, then create the hunger and desire for your products and services and the sales will naturally follow.

10. Promote, Promote, Promote!

Once your App is completed and published in the App Stores, you will need to get busy promoting your new marketing tool! Your app will not download itself to other mobile devices, so you will need to be proactive in the marketing and promotion of your new App. Now is the time to get in front of potential clients and customers.

Enroll the help of marketing partners to promote your new App, and yes even your friends and family, and most importantly don’t forget about your existing client base. They are already your RAVING FANS!

In order for your App to be successful and provide you a great new way to market to your audience, you must be willing to follow the steps listed above.

Don’t forget the golden rule of marketing: People buy from People, and those they Know, Like and Trust! Having a mobile app for your business will help expand your “Brand!”

Isn’t it time to share your expertise and reach your mobile consumers before your competition? It’s your responsibility to make it easy for them to connect with you!

The possibilities for your Mobile App are endless.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7165344

Mobile App Vs Mobile Website

Most businesses know the necessity of having a mobile presence for their company. But what they might not understand is, “just what is the difference between a native mobile application and a mobile web app and when do I choose one over the other?” At first-glance, it may be hard to distinguish a mobile web app / website from a native app because they can look a lot alike depending on which features you pick and choose. Deciding whether to choose a mobile-friendly web app vs a native mobile application depends on a variety of factors like: understanding who your target audience is, determining your budget, defining your business purpose, and identifying which features are most important to you. Learn these key differences between the two, and you’ll know which will serve your needs the best.

Accessibility – A mobile web app is made up of web pages which have been specially formatted to look good on handheld devices, like smartphones and tablets. This is accessed via the browser on the mobile device and requires mobile devices to have Internet connection. In addition, mobile websites are designed to take advantage of special mobile-specific features like location-based mapping and click-to-call features. Conversely, mobile apps which are also formatted for handheld devises and tablets must be downloaded from an app store and installed on your mobile device. A mobile app can work with or without the Internet depending on the features of the app.

Know Your Audience – How do you want to serve your target market? Make sure you understand your customers’ needs so you address them correctly. If you are a restaurant owner, your customer probably wants to be able to find you while traveling on the road, locate the nearest restaurant if you are a chain, make a reservation, view a menu, and see if there are any available coupons. On the flip side, if you want to develop a standalone app that works without the Internet or an interactive game, then an app is your best bet. Studies have shown Internet users prefer mobile browsers for shopping, searching and entertainment, whereas they prefer mobile apps for managing data, playing games, and using productive apps.

New Customer or Loyal Consumer – This actually plays a big factor in determining whether you want an app or a mobile-friendly website. If you have a new customer who wants to learn about your company, see your offerings, find directions, or place a call from their phone to your retail store or business, chances are they are not going to want to download an app on their phone to do this. Instead, they would usually prefer to access a mobile-friendly website to learn more or contact you. Loyal customers on the other hand (think local restaurant or coffee joint where your customer wants to place orders weekly or even daily while on the go) would find an app on their phone convenient and time-saving and wouldn’t hesitate to download it onto their mobile device because it’s useful to them.

Budget – It always comes down to dollars and how to get your best return on your investment. Basically, feature for feature, a mobile-friendly web application is usually the least expensive choice. That’s because typically a mobile web application takes less time to develop, maintain, and release; and usually the mobile web app is a stripped down version of an existing web application so much of the content is already in place.

So which is better, a native mobile app or a mobile web app? The best answer really depends on your end goals. If you want to develop an interactive game or need special features that only an app can address, then your choice will be to go with mobile application development. If you want to reach the biggest audience with mobile-friendly content or create a stream-lined version of your existing website, then a mobile web app / website is the logical choice. In lots of cases, you may decide that you need both, a mobile website to reach a large audience without having a ‘call to action’ requirement from your customers and a mobile app to handle a specially complex or value added component that can only be addressed with a customized mobile application. Generally speaking though, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

 

The Top iPhone Apps – What’s the Secret of Their Success?

Earlier this year, Apple released its list of top iPhone apps at the one billion download mark. Downloads just hit two billion, making Apple’s “All-Time” Top Apps label even sillier than it was at the time — but that aside, it’s a very interesting list and there are a lot of good lessons to be learned from it.

We know that developers of some top apps have earned from $350,000 (Pocket God) to $800,000 (iShoot). Some have probably earned much more. It’s difficult to estimate income even if the number of downloads is known, because app pricing bounces around a lot. Koi Pond has been downloaded about 900,000 times and Enigmo over 800,000. Even at, say, a dollar a time, that’s very good money.

How to get access to this giant cash cow? Here are some tips, based on our analysis of Apple’s twenty top paid apps:

Get in early

The iPhone 3G came out in July 2008. Almost half of the top apps had been released by August. The rest were all out by the end of 2008, except one that came out in January 2009.

Timing is everything. Of course, some of this is just a matter of physical reality — if you sell 5,000 apps a day for 100 days, that’s 500,000 sales; if you only have 5 days, you can only reach 25,000. But there’s more to it than that. There are simply so many apps now (over 50,000) that it’s very difficult to be seen. Apps that came out early, and gained traction, had a huge advantage over competitors, and that kind of advantage is often maintained long-term.

Entertain the masses

If you want to save the planet, enlighten humanity or improve people’s health, you’ll get your reward in heaven, but you won’t have a winning iPhone app. Every one of the top paid apps is a toy of some kind. Fourteen are in the Games category, 4 Entertainment and 2 Music.

Interestingly, this entertainment is generally not mindless. Most of the games are complex, requiring skill and concentration, and quite a few have many permutations or constant updates (Pocket God). Complex games include Pocket God, Fieldrunners, Texas Hold’em Poker and Monopoly. The simpler games, like the memory matching game Bejeweled 2 or the skateboard app Touchgrind, still require skill and concentration.

Only a few, like Koi Pond, require little mental effort, but even this one has many options and constant movement. Nearly all the apps have great graphics and plenty of movement.

There were only 2 entirely silly and pointless apps, namely the simulated beer app, iBeer, and the self-explanatory iFart Mobile.

There’s a surprise in every package

Ocarina, the ancient flute simulation, is a real surprise. Who would have thought an obscure musical instrument would have ranked so high? The app developers are just as interesting — a high-flying crowd of musicians and computer scientists from places like Stanford and Princeton. Could it be that there is still a place for real quality and innovation on the Internet? Happy thought.

Develop for the device

Using the accelerometer seems to increase an app’s chances of success. Most of the top paid apps are accelerometer-intensive, or use other novel or unique iPhone features.

The message here is that successful app developers take advantage of the device’s novel or unique functionality. The iPhone is mobile, it has a touchscreen, it has an accelerometer. Develop for the device! Apps that act as though they’re on a regular desktop computer are likely to be less successful.

Have the right background

It really helps to be an experienced software developer, preferably with a background in Internet games. Most of the companies and individuals who distinguished themselves have a long track record in this market. In some cases, it was just a matter of taking an existing business model and making the logical leap to iPhone apps. In others, the app was the start of the business and in some cases it could also be the end of the road.

Don’t be a one-hit wonder

Four of the top paid apps were orphans or close, with only 1 to 2 apps per developer. Far more common, though, were developers with stables of 3 to 10 apps. Only 1 developer had more than 10 apps. Successful developers leveraged existing products and apps, building on one to create others – but adapting an app to make very similar spin-offs (iBeer, iMilk, iSoda, Magic Wallet), while smart, seems a little too opportunistic. The app developers that have developed several unique, compelling games are far more likely to have multiple successes.

In fact, 3 companies (Freeverse, Pangea Software, Electronic Arts) each had 2 top-twenty apps. All 3 are big or biggish companies, implying that it takes significant resources to product a winning app.

Don’t be too hung up on price

The de facto standard iPhone app price is $0.99. This level was quickly established in the App Store as the place where most buyers seemed happy. Possibly it’s due to the standard cost of iTunes music.

In any case, most of the winning apps command better prices, with 13 of the 20 priced from $1.99 up, and 4 of them commanding the majestic (for iPhone apps) price of $4.99 on the day we did the analysis.

You don’t need Lite or Free teaser apps

Here’s a very interesting factoid. Only 2 of the top twenty apps (iHunt and iShoot) have a free or lite version, at least at the time of writing. Both developers are individuals rather than companies, and it’s interesting that the bigger outfits don’t see the need for teasers. The implication is that if it’s worth buying, people will pay for it.

The freebie iShoot Lite had 2.4 million downloads in January, and there were 320,000 paid downloads. So it’s quite possible that the free app drove sales of the paid app — but it’s also possible that there might have been more paid downloads had the free app not been available.

You don’t have to be a huge company (although it helps)

Could it be that success in iPhone apps depends on having massive, sophisticated, expensive marketing strategies? Not necessarily.

There’s no question that it helps to be Internet savvy and have deep pockets, but the winning app developers were an encouraging mix of sizes and types.

Four of the 17 developers are big multinational companies — Apple itself (Texas Hold’em), Electronic Arts (TETRIS, Monopoly), Activision (Crash Bandicoot) and SEGA (Super Monkey Ball). Then there are a bunch of mid-sized companies and, happily, also 7 small groups and 4 individuals.

iFart Mobile is an interesting story. It was developed by an Internet marketing guru who understood how to work the system and get incredible publicity by producing a pointless app that he must have known would easily generate controversy, laughter and interest.

The Internet mythology of smart guys working evenings or weekends, or out of the garage, and hitting the jackpot, lives on. The little guys in this group are John Moffett (iHunt), Ethan Nicholas (iShoot) and, so far as we can tell, Shinya Kasatani (Pocket Guitar). These guys might not be the next Steve Jobs, but they have been successful to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, just a dollar or two at a time. Pretty impressive.

Controversy is useful, but by no means essential

iFart Mobile in particular, and to a lesser extent iBeer and iHunt, are quite controversial and almost certainly gained a lot of publicity because of this. You can almost view the controversy in the ratings — while most of the 20 top apps have a dominant rating of 5 stars, gradually dropping down, these 3 controversial apps had large numbers of ratings for both 5 stars and 1 star. So this distribution of rating might not hurt an app, and might show a developer that the app has a lot of potential to create buzz.

The other top apps did not seem designed to attract controversy and this obviously didn’t hurt them.

Five-star ratings are neither essential nor possible for top apps

You can’t please all of the people all of the time — so the more ratings there are, the lower the odds of a 5 or even 4.5 star average. None of the top apps had 5 stars and most had 3 to 4 stars. iHunt had only 2.5 stars, because a lot of people hated it.

It takes a LOT of downloads to develop a lot of ratings

Although probably millions of people collectively downloaded the 20 top apps, the highest number of ratings (Fieldrunners) was 1,479 and the lowest (Pocket God) was 226. Most users don’t provide ratings, and even fewer write reviews.

Given that people like to be part of a happy herd, it’s almost certain that savvy developers actively promote positive ratings and reviews.

The theme doesn’t have to be classic or familiar

Classics like Texas Hold’em, Monopoly and TETRIS (all developed by public companies) did feature in the 20 top apps. The other apps were sometimes familiar, sometimes not, but none of them really adapted a big-name, well-known game. Pocket Guitar, of course, used a well-loved instrument with great success. But to balance that, Ocarina catapulted an obscure ancient flute to fame.

Quality counts

There are many, many, many iPhone games with themes not dissimilar to the top games. There are dozens of guitar simulations. There are 5 other iFart apps. So just having a good idea isn’t enough.

The iFart apps are an interesting illustration. Almost uniformly, they have not developed a following, and the comments are mainly negative — not because they’re vulgar and silly, but because they’re not very well executed and users don’t like them.