Over the last decade it has become clear that the internet is now an integral part of our lives. Who would still want to argue against that? For years it’s been making our day-to-day lives easier. We use it to source any information we could possibly need and to communicate with others and to trade goods.
Forward thinking businesses have learnt to use it for their own economic benefits but, like all technology, things keep pushing forward and the development of the internet has never come to a halt. If anything, it has shown us a new face and opened up a whole new world of possibilities by focusing more on its interactive character so being interactive means being social. The great success of social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and their tremendous user figures, support this view. Social Media is the new television where everything that is anything is being discussed by everybody who is anybody.
As communication technology reaches new frontiers, the virtual world has undoubtedly shifted from the internet as we know it. No longer accessed through just PCs and Laptops, it has quickly moved to a new territory of ‘smart’ phones and ‘mobile’ devices where ‘Apps’ clearly dominate the game.
Within the first six months of 2010, the size of the smart phone Application market was estimated at 2.2 billion US dollars. It is rumoured that one million smart phones will have been sold by 2013. With around 800,000 Apps available in Google’s Android market and 300,000 in the Apple market, they are clearly big business. But what makes Apps so great? The answer is simple: appropriately used, they give businesses a shift towards tomorrow’s economy!
How Apps Work for Business
iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids… you name them. They all bring convenience, accessibility and instant gratification to the user. Investing in Mobile App Development can open new doors and offer multiple opportunities for businesses if the App is chosen and used strategically. They provide support in fields such as branding, customer interaction and service, revenue streams, market research, data collection, tracking and analysis and. The technology is gathering pace and the question, therefore, is not whether a business should have an App but which one is best for the purpose.
Different Applications appeal to different types of users. Once a business knows what type of mobile device reaches its customer base, it can develop an effective App for it based on the needs of their clientele. For an App to succeed and achieve the objectives it is designed for, it will need to meet certain criteria. Does its use solve a problem? Does it appeal to a particular niche? And how does it benefit the business and its customers? While some Apps are competing for a wider audience, an App designed to make one particular market segment feel loved could go a long way if it encourages interaction with the user.
Clever marketing strategies ensure Apps get to the customer base more effectively. Nobody wants something out there that is not really ‘out there’. A first step is to carry out the right market research at the developmental stage. If it fully meets the criteria that make Apps successful, it is most likely to have a good start. However there are ways of making it work even harder.
Social Media Marketing is where it’s at when it comes to marketing new Apps and savvy businesses make sure their Applications have a high profile on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. By linking the App directly to the company’s mobile website, its effectiveness can be greatly enhanced. Apps can then be highlighted in email signatures and on all printed information like letterheads, flyers, and advertisements and even linked from business cards through use of a QR code. Viral marketing techniques such as games and web video can create an additional buzz around a business App and reach a wider audience.
Ensuring that a Mobile Application is out there is one thing but without the right nourishment it can soon fade away and be outperformed by others. Regular updates can help to avoid this. They not only enhance its capabilities and encourage more interaction and brand loyalty but also show the user that the App is still alive and kicking.
There is a whole new digital world to be explored by business with new openings all the time. At the very least, businesses need to keep their eyes open and observe for themselves how this world is changing. There are many lessons to be learnt just by recognising and adopting new technology. There are exciting times ahead for sure but, unfortunately, still without an App for seeing the future….yet.