5 ways mobile apps can help grow your business

Not so long ago, only huge corporations and nationally-recognized brands were interested in building their own mobile apps. Nowadays, though, companies of all sizes are using their own mobile apps to keep their customers engaged on the go.

With mobile app revenue slated to hit $189 billion in the next decade, there’s never been a better time to get in on the app-tion (sorry, we had to). Below are just a few ways mobile apps can help your business prosper.

Drive sales and profits

A mobile app allows your customers to make purchases immediately and instantaneously, without any second thoughts. It almost goes without saying that this will increase your sales. The time it takes for a potential buyer to track down a desktop computer, get comfortable, and wait for your website to load is an eternity in marketing time—precious seconds in which another variable could interfere and stop the sale. The easier the purchasing process, the higher your bottom line.

Boost your brand awareness

How often are your customers thinking about your company? The traditional answer is: when they’re a) shopping for your products and services or b) actively standing in your store. A mobile app breaks tradition by giving you the opportunity to engage with your target market anywhere—while they’re at home, on the bus, at work, standing in line, or anywhere else. This creates consistent brand awareness that will ultimately drive your sales even more.

Even closed mobile apps help your brand. 

Mobile apps can help your brand even when they’re not in use. Every time a user unlocks, scrolls, and engages with their mobile device, they’ll see your brand name, logo, and colors displayed on the screen next to their other apps. When they eventually do need your products or services, your name will likely be the first to come to mind.

Improve customer service and brand trust

Without sounding creepy, an app means your business is always with your customer, always ready to help, and always the same. Humans are creatures of habit, and when your business is continuously present and available, we start to develop the most powerful marketing driver in existence—trust. A solid mobile presence lets you always present your customers with the same face—an interface designed specifically to provide them with the best browsing experience possible.

Get personal

Thanks to modern phones’ location awareness, businesses can draw a perimeter around a certain area—like a store, a snack aisle, or an entire city—and deliver push notifications to customers within it. The creative possibilities for this are almost endless. A coffee shop could encourage customers to come warm up on a cold day; a real estate company could let passersby know a house is on the market; or a sponsor could message a stadium full of fans with a personalized, hyper-targeted message.

Now’s the time to go mobile with Red Letter Marketing.

If you’re thinking about entering the mobile marketing game, but aren’t sure where to get started, we can help. After all, we’ve seen mobile apps help many clients further their business goals over the years. Here’s what our lead developer, Dan, had to say about mobile apps:

“Our clients use mobile technologies to engage their customers around the world and around the clock. We’ve seen our clients increase sales, customer satisfaction, and brand recognition by taking on mobile strategies.” –Dan Ray, lead Software Developer at Red Letter Marketing

Want to learn more? Just give us a call or drop by for a chat, and we can help you find the path to mobile success.

How People Use Smartphones for Online Shopping

More and more consumers are using smartphones for online shopping. Are you adapting to suit their needs?

With more than half of all internet traffic coming from a mobile device, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is primed for mobile viewing and mobile online shopping. The research below can be used to feed your mobile strategy, and even help you hone in on potential micro-moments that can be a tipping point to either purchase or exit.

online shopping

online shopping

The data is clear: if you plan on running a successful business website, it’s essential to optimize your user experience for mobile shopping. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on valuable leads and sales that are happening, increasingly, on the go.

Therefore, you’ll want to be sure to consider mobile optimization when you’re designing your website and optimizing it for search results. If your site is already well optimized for search engines, there are only a few additional things that you need to think about when optimizing for mobile devices, like:

Page speed

Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects.

Site design

“Above the fold” no longer has meaning in a world where we scroll endlessly. Make sure your website looks just as good on a phone as it does on a desktop.

Optimization

Remember that you’re working with less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device. To show off your best work in SERPS, be as concise as possible (without sacrificing the quality of the information) when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.

Conclusion

Finally, ask yourself these questions: does your mobile marketing deliver an optimal experience to your customers and prospects? Is it giving them what they are looking for? Is your content helpful, intuitive, and easy to browse on a smaller screen?

If you can tweak your marketing strategy so that you can answer all those questions in the affirmative, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a go-to resource for your customers. That will be bad news for your competitors, and great news for your bottom line.

Smartphones in Bathrooms: The Naked, (Icky) Truth

69% of Americans admit to using their smartphones in bathrooms.

“I can’t live without my phone!” Let’s face it, most of us are guilty of saying this. But maybe we’re taking it a bit too far. A recently conducted study revealed that majority of Americans are guilty of using their smartphones in bathrooms. Are you guilty of doing the same? Check out our infographic to learn more. 

smartphones-in-bathrooms

 

As the infographic above shows, the survey by cloud-based online service MiMedia found that 69% of smartphone users bring their phones into the restroom. Broken down even further, the study found that more than 59% of users browse social media websites, 32% participate in online shopping, and 8% check their dating profiles–all from the comfort of the toilet.

Possibly the biggest surprise of the study is that 42% of users said they go to the bathroom specifically to use their smartphones. Apparently, strict anti-phone protocols at work and other public spaces drive many smartphone users to seek a more private area to browse.

Smartphones in bathrooms: Is this a big deal?

The answer to that question depends on one’s level of germophobia. However, opinions aside, studies have shown that smartphones are extremely germ-ridden. Scientists at the University of Arizona found that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, and a 2011 study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that one out of every six smartphones contained, er, toilet matter.

Research has varied on just how many germs are crawling on the average cell phone, but another recent study by the European Academy of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases found more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies on the phones of high school students.

The good news, however, is that the vast majority of these germs are harmless. Human skin is naturally covered in microbes that don’t usually have any negative health consequences, and that natural bacteria, plus the oils on your hands, get passed on to your phone every time you check a text or send an email.

Bathroom germs, however, are not harmless. When toilets flush, they spread germs everywhere, which is how phones end up with fecal bacteria like E. coli.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to avoid these germs. Firstly, avoid taking your phone to the bathroom with you. If you can’t resist the urge to scroll, we suggest touching your phone up with a disinfecting wipe every once in a while.

Mobile App Marketing: Is Your Business App-Savvy?

Apps aren’t just for games and social media any more. Mobile app marketing unlocks a whole new world to drive brand engagement.

The infographic below shows that smartphone use should really be called “app-phone” use. Even though the most popular apps are listed here, there are endless opportunities for companies to engage customers with helpful apps. Learn more about mobile app marketing below.

infographic-01

 

Companies are finding all kinds of ways to use mobile app marketing, from customer service and sales, to providing fast access to the team out in the field.

For instance, we recently developed an app that revolutionizes how medical practitioner certifications are maintained.

As apps move away from being standalone platforms and are integrated into comprehensive mobile strategies, many companies are re-thinking the reasons they started their mobile development journey in the first place. Mobile’s tremendous impact has been recognized, and we have begun to evaluate it as an essential part of the business, but we must also reassess how we market our apps. The organizations with the most successful apps are the ones that are willing to put serious resources into marketing their apps in order to get that mobile app into the hands of their customers.

What is crystal clear is that customers prefer to shop and interact with brands in a mobile environment rather than other channels. So, if your mobile strategy is not strong, your customers will seek a more intuitive mobile shopping experience with one of your competitors.

Thus, we have to move beyond the mentality of having app for the sake of having one and instead push for further understanding of the impact that they can have on driving brand awareness, increasing revenue and even generating traffic in stores.

We’re getting more and more requests from B2B businesses for app advice. How about your company–are you app savvy?

Four Keys to Eye-Popping App Design

With Great Resolution Comes Great Responsibility

Today’s technology gives us access to devices with extremely high resolution and amazing display capabilities – but not all devices (and all users) are created equally. And as with any comic book superhero, this great power can be used for good or for not-so-good. In other words, with great resolution comes great responsibility. To avoid going to the dark side, do not get caught in these high-res pitfalls.

Avoid the Squeeze Play

When designing for high-res displays there may be a desire to push the limits of size and spacing of interactive elements, squeezing more and more functionality into a single screen. Fingers are not as precise as mouse-based cursor inputs, so don’t get carried away here or your users may struggle. Users may attempt to tap on what they think is a touch control, but if they miss a too-tiny touch zone they may think that it is not actually a control after all. End result: user exits stage left frustrated and confused. When considering the appropriate size of touch zones for interactive elements (and spacing between elements) think about who will be using the app. For example, if you are designing an app for young children, their finger size is much smaller; however, their manual dexterity and fine motor skills may not be fully developed, therefore requiring a larger target zone for tapping.

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

Small font size and extremely fine detail may be possible on high resolution displays but may interfere with ease of use. Just because your device can graphically support a clear rendering of a 4-point font does not mean you should take advantage of that capability. The size of text, level of graphic detail, and related color choices should fit the unique needs of your app audience. Again, it’s really important here to consider who will be using your apps. If you are designing a dating app for seniors, the visual acuity and color perception of your users is going to be much different than an app targeting high school baseball players.

Aim to add fine graphic details and extra text only when it buys its way in to the app by adding value. Does the extra detail aid in the users’ understanding of an icon, make navigation clearer, or reduce scan time? If so, congrats! You’ve made the team!

Prevent Brain Freeze

We all know about brain freeze, right? Eating too much ice cream way too fast – brain freeze!  Well, brain freeze can also occur when you’re hit with too much information too quickly. With high-res displays, avoid the urge to overwhelm the user with too much information all at once just because it is easier to fit more content on to a single screen. The thinking may go something like this: More Info on One Screen = Fewer Screens = Better Experience. However, going this route may actually have the opposite effect, making the user’s experience less efficient and less enjoyable by bogging down the user on a content-heavy screen that they simply may not tolerate. Again, the end result is user exiting stage left to find the next app on the list.

Establish early in the design process the specific tasks that will be accomplished in the app, as well as the associated information required for the user to successfully accomplish these tasks. 

As you are designing the app, walk through mockups screen-by-screen to ensure you are providing the right level of information at the right time for your users. Allow them to effectively complete the desired tasks without overwhelming them. Whenever possible, simplify the experience to guide the user in a clear, intuitive manner that makes them want to keep exploring. An extra screen or two may be okay if you are simplifying each interaction and reducing the cognitive burden of the user throughout the experience.

Honey, I Shrunk the Icons

When developing your app you want to establish a good sense of the range of devices on which it will likely be used, and prepare your design accordingly. Make sure that your app display does not get lost in translation when being rendered on a lower resolution device – not everyone is on a Retina display yet. Device canvases vary greatly between high and low resolutions and between mobile phone and tablet platforms. Make sure you are able to appropriately scale your design for the full range of devices you expect to be used, so that you do not alienate any segments of your market.

If you want your app to stand out in the vast wilderness of the app store, take an extra second to consider both the available display capabilities and your users’ unique capabilities and limitations. There are a lot of choices available in the app store so please design responsibly when going high res!

Thinking about a new mobile app for your business? We can help. Learn more about our mobile app development team or contact us with any questions you may have about the app design and development process.