How long do you spend looking at your mobile phone? Is it above or below the UK average of 3 hours per day! 

When I look at my phone, I am reminded that I have a £2 Shell voucher to use for my next petrol purchase. I am also pleased to see that I have a fully stamped loyalty card to use at Café Nero and that I have £25 worth of Nectar Points to use on my next big Sainsbury’s shop. Three great examples of how large companies have harnessed the power of mobile apps to increase customer engagement through loyalty schemes and targeted marketing.

However, apps aren’t just for the big boys! Because every time I look at my smartphone, I am also reminded of Asgard Games, an independent high street business run by Vince. Its a tabletop and role play gaming shop that contains a craft beer bar and a wood fired pizza café. I can book a games table; I am two stamps away from a free coffee and I can see that this week’s guest beer is Tiny Rebel. Vince is one of a minority of small business owners that recognises that a bespoke branded mobile app can help him grow his business.

Currently only 15% of businesses have a mobile app! Small businesses believe they are unaffordable and don’t really know where to start. What features should be included for their business? How do they create an incentive to download? Why would somebody keep their app on a smartphone, that may already be packed with apps? These are all questions that a professional mobile app developer can help them answer. 

I am often asked about the type of businesses that can benefit from a mobile app. Most restaurants, takeaways, bars, hairdressers, beauty salons, barbers and therapists should take some time out to consider what a bespoke mobile app could do for them. A lot of these businesses plump for some of the better-known industry specific apps. For example, ‘Just Eat’ has been very successful with the takeaway sector, however business owners must stomach (excuse the pun) a large account setup fee, pay a generous commission fee per order and don’t even get to own their customer database.

With their own bespoke mobile app takeaway owners can increase profitability, create their own loyalty schemes and market to their own customers.

As a professional mobile app designer, I enjoy talking to the owners of these types of business. Mobile apps can be a powerful tool for them. However, if you own any other type of business then please don’t think that apps aren’t right for you. What I love about my job is taking the time to understand any business and establish if an app is right for them.

Here are 3 examples of mobile apps that I have recently created for other types of businesses and organisations. 

1. GB Open Karate Championship Series

In September 2019 they launched their mobile app as a one stop shop for the championship. It’s used for competitors, officials and coaches to register and pay for competitions, to publish results and league standings, to communicate competition rules and to create additional marketing value for the competition sponsors.  Push notifications are used to notify all app users of updates and as a communication tool on the day of the event. It has helped the organisers transform the way they run their championship – saving them time, money and creating an additional revenue stream for sponsorship and merchandising.

The GB Open Karate Championship runs 4 national competitions each year with around 2000 competitors for each event. To date the competition has been organised using Facebook to communicate news and results. Registrations have been submitted on email and payment through BACS. Printed and verbal communication were used on the day of the actual event.

2. Sutton Coldfield Business Connections

I first met Michelle when I was interested in joining her local business networking group. We spoke about her business and her networking group and I spoke a little about my mobile app development business. I offered to build a simple demo app for her business networking group as a demonstration of what my business did and as a way of saving Michelle time with the adminstration.

Michelle quickly saw the potential for the app and it has since gone from strength to strength. It does everything that we initially set out to do. It enables people to register for the network events and contains details about the events themselves, including location, key sponsors and timings. However it now also contains a business directory – enabling members to advertise their business, send notifications to other members of the business network and they can even add their own loyalty schemes. An additional revenue stream for Michelle that wouldn’t have been possible without a mobile app. 

As a further value add Michelle is currently in discussions with a number of organisations regarding a  sponsorship deal. As part of the agreement the sponsoring company will have their logo on the front screen of the mobile app and the ability to send unlimited push notifications to the app users. This would create yet another revenue stream to help Michelle expand her business network.

3. Mark Flaherty Astrology

Mark is a professional astrologer who earns money through his face to face astrological readings and his online courses. To date Mark hadn’t achieved his sales targets through his website and we spoke about using a mobile app to help him grow his business.

Mark and I have created an app to help him market his existing services and to create a new revenue stream. The Mark Flaherty Astrology App costs about £10 to download. Included within the app are two of his courses which are split into 30-minute video modules – very consumable through a smartphone on a train or bus journey to work. These two courses would cost around £80 if downloaded from the website and offers a great value incentive to download the app. 

The app also contains the capability to book video skype astrological readings and provides a link to Mark’s other full price courses. Push notifications can be used to keep the users engaged by communicating astrological events and for marketing his existing services. Mark and I are currently running a digital marketing campaign within the US – a lucrative market for astrology services.

Another example of how mobile apps can transform the way small businesses work.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a mobile app work for your business. Take time to work with a professional mobile app developer and see if it could help transform the way you work and your business results.

Trading as Eaziapps and Eazisites, Darrell Smith of Darrell Smith Technology Services Ltd creates mobile apps and websites for SMEs. For a business consultation and demo app build please contact him on darrell@eazi-apps.com or on 07764977140. Further information, examples and testimonials can be found on his website www.eazi-apps.com/darrell.

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