Mobile Apps

Category: Mobile Apps Blog posts

The Rialto Mobile Marketing Blog

By Tim Fitzpatrick 21 Aug, 2017
How are you spending your marketing dollars to acquire new customers? Content marketing? PPC? SEO? There is no shortage of ways to acquire new customers.

What are you doing to engage those new customers once they start doing business with you? Many of you will say "very little" or "nothing". You can spend as much money as you want to acquire new customers, but if you neglect to engage those customers once they start doing business with you then you are leaving money on the table.

How can you engage your existing customers?   Use a mobile app.

A mobile app is not a great tool for every small business. Check out one of our past articles for a more in-depth look to help you determine if an app is right for your business: The Only Reason Your Small Business Shouldn't Create a Mobile App .

However, if an app is a good fit for your small business you will find it to be a fantastic tool for creating customer loyalty, customer engagement, and customer retention. Should you decide to create an app for your business, the first step to take is to make sure you work with a qualified mobile app provider.

A qualified app provider will be able to guide you through the app creation process, help you market your app and offer the ongoing support you need to ensure your app is successful.

Keep these 5 tips in mind as you go through the process. They will help ensure your app becomes the customer engagement tool you need and want it to be.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 13 Apr, 2017
Quick disclaimer: this article is primarily geared towards small to medium sized businesses and organizations who have or are thinking about using a mobile app as a marketing/communication tool for their business (Example: a salon owner, local restaurant or school).  It's not for an app entrepreneur who has created an app that is essentially their business (Example: the latest fitness tracking app or Snapchat).

Now that I've made that clear let's get started.  

You have a distinct advantage in marketing your app because you already have a built in customer base, community or audience.  Your mobile app will be used as a tool to communicate with, add value to and engage that audience.  You don't have to worry about creating an app and then finding an audience.  You've already got the audience, which is huge!

Don't waste time marketing your app to anyone besides your current customers/audience.  

The probability of someone who is not a current customer downloading your mobile app is slim to none.  There are a number of ways to effectively market your app.  I'm going to provide you with seven ideas to get your creative juices flowing.   

First, we need to list the common marketing channels you might use to promote your app.  Then we'll discuss some clever ways you can implement to promote your app in these channels.  The list below is by no means comprehensive, so add any additional channels you may be using in your business.

Common Marketing Channels to Promote Your App

  1. Social Media
    Any social media channels you are active on should be included as a place to promote your app and its benefits.

  2. Website
    Your website is the hub for all your marketing efforts.  Your mobile app should have strong placement that let's current and potential customers know why and how to download your app.

  3. Email Marketing
    Email is still a primary marketing channel for many businesses.  Take advantage of your current customer list and create targeted email messages about your mobile app.  I would highly recommend your email messages solely focus on your mobile app.  If you bury your mobile app launch into a weekly or monthly communication with a bunch of other information, it will most likely get skipped over.

  4. Content Marketing
    What type of content are you putting out?  Blog? Podcast? Videos?  Use any of your content marketing channels to announce and promote your app.

  5. Online Advertising
    If you are using online advertising this can be a great channel to promote your app.  Make sure you target your advertising to current customers.

  6. Offline (in person, direct mail, print advertising, etc.)
    There are all kinds of things you can do offline to promote your app.  Create a list of the different offline interactions your have with customers and make sure you promote your mobile app in everyone of them!

You will want to promote your app in all the marketing channels you currently use.  Marketing your app is not rocket science.  Creating a clear plan with a timeline and the actions that need to be completed will help ensure your mobile app is a success.

Below are 7 different ideas you can use to effectively market your app.  Feel free to tweak as appropriate for your business or organization.

  1. In App Sharing
    You want to make it easy for app users to share your app and spread the word.  In app sharing will allow users to do this easily.  The easier you can make it for someone to share your app, the higher likelihood it will happen.  Having in app sharing in your app is easy and something I would definitely recommend doing.

  2. Online Advertising Targeted Towards Current Customers
    I am by no means an advertising expert, but you can use things like Facebook Custom Audience to upload your current customer list and promote your new mobile app to that specific audience.  This is a highly targeted way to reach your current customers consistently over a period of time.  Create an eye catching ad with an incentive or offer for downloading your app.  By targeting existing customers you will reach the people most likely to download your app...super effective.

  3. Offer Incentives For Downloading
    Sometimes people need a push to do something.  Offer an incentive to anyone who downloads your app.  Freebies, one time discounts or extra loyalty stamps are a few ways to do this.  Offering a strong incentive is your way of saying thanks and will go a long way in driving app downloads and letting customers know you appreciate their support.

  4. Ensure Permanent App Placement in Your Current Marketing Channels
    You've got your social media icons on your website, email signatures and email marketing right?  You need to do the exact same thing for your app.  Placing the app store icons on the homepage of your website, email signatures, email marketing, social media pages, etc. will be a consistent reminder to your audience.  Best of all, you only have to do this once and it's done!

  5. Create a Contest
    Your contest can come in one of two forms.  First, you might create a contest to promote downloads similar to offering an incentive in step 3 above.  For example, everyone who downloads the app will be entered to win a specific prize.

    Second, you might create a contest to encourage users to share/promote your app for you.  For example, you can choose a random winner each week who promotes your app via social media with a specific hashtag.

    If possible, I would recommend offering a motivating prize that brings people back to your business.  For example, a restaurant might offer a free dinner for 2.
  6. Promote Your App's Benefits Onsite or In-Store
    If your business or organization has consistent clients visiting your place of business you need to take advantage of this.  Promote your mobile app onsite with flyers, table tents, sales receipts and anything else you deem appropriate.  The key is to take advantage of having a captive audience in your place of business.  You want to make sure they know about the app and the benefits they will receive by downloading it.

  7. Get Customer Testimonials
    It's one thing for you to tell customers how great your app is, but it holds a lot more weight if they see the great things other customers are saying about your app.  Customer testimonials will provide social proof for your app and further encourage others to download it so they can start to realize the same benefits.  If you can get testimonials about the specific benefits customers are experiencing it will be much better than just a generic "this app is great" type statement.

I hope these ideas got you excited about the plethora of ways to promote your mobile app.  Promoting your mobile app doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.  The most important thing is to create a plan and consistently promote the benefits your customers or audience will see by using your mobile app.

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By Tim Fitzpatrick 01 Mar, 2017
There are so many fantastic reasons why your small business should create a mobile app.  The benefits are well documented and proven at this point.  

As a mobile app provider I could run through the specific list of benefits you would see.  In most cases, they will fall under one of these categories:

  1. You will increase revenue.
  2. You will enhance customer service.
  3. You will drive customer loyalty & retention.
These are great reasons to create an app, but when would I tell you NOT to create a mobile app?

When your business doesn't have repeat customers that come back on a frequent basis.

Let me explain.  I define a repeat customer as one who returns again and again to purchase your products or services. And I define a frequent basis as at least once every 3 months, preferrably much more.  The benefits of a mobile app will increase the more frequently your customers come back.

Downloading a mobile app is a very personal decision and the user is opening up their world when they choose to add an app to their phone.  The likelihood of a customer downloading an app for your business when they only purchase once a year or even longer is slim to none.  
By Tim Fitzpatrick 16 Feb, 2017
Since this is about Push Messaging 101 I'm going to start with a simple definition.  

Push Message or Push Notification:  is any notification from a mobile application that displays while that app is not actively in use.  They typically appear as pop-up dialogs, banners or small badges on the app's icon.

Now that we've got that out of the way, here is what I am going to discuss in this article:

  • Text Messaging vs. Push Messaging
  • Benefits of Push Messaging
  • Sending Push Messages
  • Opt In Information
  • How Do They Appear On a Phone?
  • Location Services
  • How to Make Push Messages Effective

By the time you're done reading this you should have a firm foundation of what push messages are and how to use them in your business.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 09 Feb, 2017
Many small businesses are beginning to discover that a mobile app can be an "all in one marketing improvement tool".  An app can make many of your marketing channels better by complimenting your existing marketing efforts, but let's focus on one of the biggest benefits an app can have in increasing your revenue...increased customer loyalty.

Here are a couple stats showing why customer loyalty needs to be a focus for your small business if it's not already.  
  • On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. (source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  • You have a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect, but a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer. (source: Marketing Metrics)
Since customer loyalty plays such a vital role in the success of small businesses, we've outlined 5 ways you can improve customer loyalty by creating your own app.  Enjoy...

  1. Improved Customer Service
    Did you know news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience?  Your small business can't afford to have poor customer service and a mobile app will provide your customers the tools they need to get the service they expect.  A mobile app can make it easier for your customers to do business with you by including features like online scheduling and ordering.  Incorporating features like feedback forms and click to call for important numbers can make it simple for customers to reach out when they need support or have issues.  The easier you can make it for customers, the better customer service you will have and having an app can make things much easier on your customers.

  2. Pamper Your Existing Customers
    Let's face it, the likelihood of getting someone to download your app prior to doing business with you is pretty slim.  But, once they step foot in your door and choose to do business with you a mobile app is a tool you need to engage them and keep them coming back for more.  Use your app as a VIP customer tool giving them access to special offers and additional benefits that non app users don't have access to.

  3. Make Your Messaging Relevant
    Relevant messaging keeps customers engaged, which leads to loyal customers.  By creating your mobile app on the right app platform (ours...shameless plug here), you will have the ability to segment your customers based on their preferences and send messaging that is mose relevant to their liking.  For example, if I own a bar I can send a message to all my customers who want to know about the next band playing at the bar.  Those customers appreciate it because they asked to receive this type of information, but my other customers are not bothered with a message that is irrelevant to them.

  4. Offer Incentives
    This one is somewhat related to number 2 above.  Treat your mobile app users like gold by offering app only incentives.  Everyone likes to save money and  be treated like royalty.  Give them incentives that are just a bit better than anything else you offer.  As a bar owner I might waive my cover charge for app users.  If I own a salon I might give my app users a special for the month that nobody else has access to.  Offering strong incentives can encourage and remind customers to keep coming back to your business.

  5. Implement a Loyalty Program
    People want to be rewarded for being loyal, but no one wants to carry around an old fashioned punch card.  Using your mobile app to run your loyalty program allows customers to quickly access their reward progress at their finger tips.  Keep in mind, customers should be able to achieve loyalty rewards quickly and save points to get a larger reward.  The further a reward appears to be, the less motivating it is and you obviously want them motivated.  Their is a chain restaurant I frequent about once a month and everytime I stop by I wonder when the heck I am going to see my reward for being part of their loyalty program.  Getting a free meal once a year doesn't really motivate me.  Start a loyalty program that rewards customers often and you will see them continue to come back. 
Have you been thinking about creating your own app?  If so, there's no time like the present.  Reach out to an expert who can help you through the process and create an app that will be transformative for your business.

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By Tim Fitzpatrick 19 Jan, 2017
As a small business owner, marketing your business to the plethora of mobile users out there is critical.  Forget the stats for a minute and just take a look the next time you are in a public place.  How many people do you see who are on their phone or have it within arms length?  Mobile marketing is here to stay whether you embrace it or not.  

What are you doing to reach all those people who have their smartphone within reach 24 hours a day?  Here's a list of 7 super easy mobile marketing tips you should consider for your small business...ignore them at your own risk.

  1. You MUST Have a Mobile Friendly Website
    Depending on the stats you read, at least 50% of all search queries now come from a mobile device.  If a mobile user lands on your website and it's not mobile friendly they are moving on to your competitor.  If that's not bad enough,  Google  now ranks mobile friendly sites higher in mobile search rankings too.  Mobile friendly websites are no longer an option, they are a necessity.  Ensuring the most relevant information for mobile users is easily accessed on the mobile view of your site will go a long way to converting visitors to new customers.

  2. Look Into Creating Your Own App
    Creating your own mobile app makes your business more accessible, increases loyalty and drives repeat business.  It's much cheaper to bring back existing/past clients than it is to find new ones.  Making an app is significantly easier and more affordable than it used to be.  Mobile apps aren't right for every small business, so if you decide to look into an app make sure you get expert advice about how your business will benefit by adding a mobile app to your marketing mix.

  3. Social Media Marketing
    You probably don't think of social media as mobile marketing, but you should.  According to comScore nearly 80% of social media time is spent on a mobile device.  If the information you are posting and linking to on social media is not mobile friendly your marketing is suffering. Making sure your landing pages and content links lead to pages that are easily read on a mobile device will instantly make your social media marketing better.

  4. Mobile Directories
    When was the last time you looked at a phone book?  A what?  Yeah...they have gone the way of the dinosaur.  People are now finding your business online through directories like Yelp, Google+Local and Yellow Pages.  Make sure you are listed on the top directories and that your directory listings are accurate (address, phone, email, website, etc).   CLICK HERE for a great list of the top directories you should consider.

  5. Reward Mobile Customers
    Mobile users are very active.  Encourage customers to check in via sites like Foursquare and reward them for doing so.  How about asking customers to post a quick Facebook update about their visit to your business and give them a coupon to redeem on their next visit?  You have the opportunity to get really creative here and put together mobile rewards that get people talking about and sharing your business online. 

  6. Optimize Your Email Marketing
    According to Litmus , 56% of email opens are on a mobile device.  Why is that important? If your email marketing messages are not mobile friendly they aren't being read...they're being deleted.  Using a mobile friendly email marketing template will instantly improve your open and read rates.  This is one of the easiest tasks to accomplish on this list.  All the popular email marketing platforms (Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, AWeber, etc.) now have mobile friendly templates.  Check your email marketing template on a mobile device and fix them now if necessary.

  7. Keep It Simple
    Mobile users are short on time and patience.  If your content cannot be easily consumed and your calls to action aren't quick to spot you will lose mobile users quickly.  Every marketing piece you create should be geared toward mobile first and it needs to be simple.  Consider how your content and calls to action will be seen on a mobile device and optimize them for mobile viewing.

  8. Integrate Mobile with Your Entire Marketing Strategy
    I know, I said it would be 7 tips but I wanted to give you a little something extra...Mobile marketing is a very complimentary marketing channel.  What I mean by this is it will make your other marketing channels even better.  Think of mobile as a marketing improvement tool that you consider when implementing any campaign in another marketing channel.  
Many small business owners are confused by mobile and don't really understand it.  I hope these tips helped you, but if you need some additional guidance don't hesitate in reaching out to me.  I'd be happy to spend a few minutes providing you with some tips and tricks related to the specific mobile marketing needs of your business.

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By Tim Fitzpatrick 12 Jan, 2017

These days it seems like you can’t go more than a week without hearing something having to do with mobile apps.  There is no doubt about it, mobile apps are here to stay and they are changing our lives.  

The  statistics   show over and over again that consumers prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.  Savy brands are learning that mobile apps can be a huge benefit to their business.  Look no further than this  article   by  Judy Mottl  about how Dunkin’ Donuts and Pita Pit are using their mobile apps.

With mobile apps being so prevalent and beneficial for businesses, why aren’t more small businesses looking into how to create an app?  The answer is simple... lack of understanding .

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” - Jim Morrison

Many small business owners simply don’t understand the true power of mobile apps and how they can use them to increase their business.  It’s human nature, when we don’t understand something we typically avoid it.  I get it...there are so many shiny objects bombarding small business owners on a daily basis it can be difficult to focus.  As an entrepreneur I run into the same challenges every day, but opening the door to something new can unleash a whole world of potential.

I’ll be the first to admit, a mobile app is not right for every business and a mobile app is not something you can just build and the users will come automatically.  You have to market the benefits of your mobile app to customers and be committed to having your app be the center of your customer engagement strategy.  Having a clear, concise marketing plan for promoting your mobile app to your customer base will be critical to your success...without it your mobile app will inevitably fail.

If you don’t have the time or desire to learn how to create an app for your small business that’s OK.  Enlist the help of an  expert   to guide you through the process of creating your own app.  The days of having to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a mobile app no longer exist.  They are affordable for small businesses and an expert can easily guide you through the process to make sure you are successful.

What are some of the many benefits of a mobile app?

  1. Increase social media activity
  2. Improve customer loyalty & engagement (it’s much cheaper to drive repeat business than to find new customers)
  3. Improve your online reviews
  4. Grow your email subscribers
Think of your mobile app as a marketing improvement tool.  It will supercharge and support your current marketing efforts.

You’ve been hearing the buzz about mobile apps for years now.  Isn’t it time to open the door and figure out how your small business can benefit from the mobile app boom?  If not now, then when?

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Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.   Click the image below to get it now.

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