In my last article, I revealed 5 reasons every local business should consider mobile apps. So once you’ve made the decision to develop a mobile marketing app for your business, you need to decide what features to include.
Mobile marketing apps can include just about anything a website can – but you wouldn’t want to go that route. A mobile app is not a mobile website. People use mobile apps for a different reason – to take action NOW, and get benefits NOW.
To provide value, your app should enable this. Here are 7 features every mobile marketing app should have.
1. ONE TOUCH CONTACTING
Don’t force your customers to type when you can make their lives easier. Give your customers the ability to contact you with one touch.
The app image to the left, for instance, features one touch calling, directions, email, and web browsing.
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ONE TOUCH CALLING is especially useful for customers. When it’s time to buy, they want to call and speak to someone directly. Why stand in their way?
Customers may also want to find your location on a map (and generate directions).
They also may prefer to email or text you. Mobile apps can make this easy.
2. QR CODE SCANNING
Every mobile marketing app should include a QR code scanner. QR codes are an extremely powerful way to offer customers value via targeted discounts.
Your store should feature QR code discounts prominently displayed throughout, offering discounts only available via your mobile app. And you display QR codes to facilitate downloading the app itself, not only in your store but in print advertising, web advertising, and your social sites.
3. ONE TOUCH SHARING
Your customers interact socially. If they like your app, they’ll want to let their friends know about it.
So you should not only integrate your Facebook and Twitter pages in your app – you should give customers the ability to share the app on THEIR Facebook and Twitter pages. Take a look at the image of the app to the right for inspiration.
Most of your customers text, text, and text again. So enable sharing via texting as well.
And don’t forget sharing by email – people still use email! Customers can provide a lot more information in an email than in a text.
4. GPS COUPONS
What are GPS coupons? They’re essentially discounts that are unlocked by repeated visits. A mobile app with GPS coupons uses the GPS feature of smartphones to determine when a customer visits a business, then gives them credit for doing so. After a preset number of visits is reached, the app unlocks a bonus.
For instance, a retail store could offer a 20 percent discount on all purchases. An eating establishment could give away a free appetizer or dessert. You get the idea.
Customers like GPS coupons because they reward them for being good customers.
5. PUSH MESSAGING
As I stated in my previous article, push messaging is the game changer in mobile marketing, because customers read the vast majority of text messages they receive.
When they first download your app, customers will be given an option to receive your messages. If they opt in, you are free to message them whenever you want.
Helpful hint: DON’T ABUSE THIS PRIVILEGE. Go back to the concept of providing customer value with your app.
How can you provide value via push messaging?
- Announce special deals only available to app users
- Provide real time limited offers – like a sale not previously announced that will only run that day
- Send ‘insider information’ that helps your customers make decisions
You don’t want to be a pest – you want to make customers feel they are part of your ‘inner circle.’
6. COOL TOOLS TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
What do I mean by this? A realtor, for instance, can provide a mortgage payment calculator (a native function in some platforms). A restaurant can provide a tip calculator. A membership-based service can provide a registration and login function.
Mobile marketing apps can also integrate web pages that already exist. This is a powerful way to integrate useful, dynamic content from your website – as long as your site is mobile-friendly.
But why stop there? There is plenty of mobile-friendly information on other sites that can provide your customers value, and increase the functionality of your app.
For instance, you can integrate a mobile-friendly weather page from any number of sources. The app example above provides a property search function from an existing mobile-friendly web page.
7. SHOPPING CART
Customers want to use your mobile app to buy stuff. You want them to as well. So include a shopping cart function that makes buying easy.
Include these seven features and customers will download and use your apps. Warren Buffet would call this a ‘sustainable competitive advantage.’ I call it a marketing revolution.
(If you want to see the app I used in my examples above in action, download it for your Droid phone or tablet at the Google store for free.)