How Can a Small Business Get Its Mobile App Noticed?
There are now more than half a million mobile applications in Apple’s App Store and another 400,000 or so in Google’s Android Market. Given that even professional mobile developers face enormous challenges simply getting noticed in the app avalanche, the chances that your small business app will enjoy even a fraction of the downloads generated by Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies are essentially slim to none.
Some entrepreneurs may argue that the impossibility of getting noticed in the App Store is a convincing argument against investing in a mobile app. But with consumers now spending more time interacting with mobile apps than ever before—more time even than they’re devoting to desktop and mobile web consumption, according to data published last year by mobile app analytics firm Flurry—that’s not a realistic option, either. Your business needs an app. And you need to figure out how to get it discovered.
It’s easier for retailers to get their applications noticed, compared to other SMBs. For example, Chomp (a startup dedicated to app discovery solutions) reported that app store query traffic for the term “shopping” increased 1,200 percent and “discounts” surged 3,000 percent on Black Friday 2011.
Even so, Chomp adds that more than 80 percent of all app store searches are made according to app function (e.g., “games” or “books”) instead of name, making it unlikely most consumers will ever see your app unless you urge them to download it. You can start by exploiting your existing marketing efforts to create customer interest—for example, linking to your App Store or Android Market seller’s page on your website, Facebook page, Twitter account or email newsletter.
Small businesses that have not yet built their own mobile apps may wish to investigate app creation solutions provider DIDMO, which in early February teamed with digital marketing platform Constant Contact to enable each firm’s clients to more efficiently tackle the mobile opportunity.
Constant Contact SMB customers may now leverage DIDMO’s web-based Magmito service to develop apps tailored for mobile operating systems including the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry—apps can highlight product promotions, weekly specials, and related announcements, complete with text, photos, video clips, maps, RSS feeds and click-to-call capabilities.
Once the app is ready for publication, businesses navigate to the Promote tab, click Email, select the Constant Contact option and log in to their accounts; from there, Constant Contact software automatically generates an email campaign featuring the app’s unique QR code, which businesses can further customize and send to their mailing lists within a matter of minutes. Constant Contact customers can also use Magmito’s existing distribution channels including SMS, social media, and app stores to promote their efforts to consumers.
Small businesses don’t have to sign up for Constant Contact to build mobile apps using Magmito. They don’t have to be ridiculously wealthy, either: DIDMO’s SMB pricing starts at $9.99 per month and includes up to 50 pages of content, access to ready-made templates, a built-in button graphic generator, content widgets and promotional assistance. If that doesn’t float your boat, perhaps one of DIDMO’s rivals is more to your liking. (Check out these options for Making Mobile Apps Without Breaking the Bank.) All can help you build the kind of mobile app you need to interact with today’s customers. How you market that app is up to you. Just know that it isn’t going to market itself.
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