Smartphone showing how a small business with a mobile app benefited

How has a mobile app benefited Hank’s small business?

Have you been wondering why even small businesses have mobile apps? To start with the statistics: Up until 2012, Desktop (browsing) still dominated the users market, but mobile usage (browsing) has taken the number one spot ever since. Statistics say that the average person (probably between the ages of 13 and 48) spends at least two hours a day on their cellphones. This statistic doesn’t surprise me; it shouldn’t surprise you either, as you will agree that some of us are guilty of this (well the millennials are defenitely guilty) … Though most of this time is spent on gaming apps, big business’s apps, e.g. FNB, Takealot, Gmail, etc. have become more popular, because they make a user’s life easier.

Let’s use Hank as an example…

When Hank was considering getting an app for his business, he considered his clients and their lifestyle. He had a look at himself, and how the people around him use apps everyday on a smartphone or tablet. He discovered that people would use a cellphone to obtain information on the Chrome app (browser), do most of their online banking with the FNB app, and, if looking for a place nearby to have lunch, or to go for a drink with a friend, use Google Maps or Facebook on to find a place. People constantly have their mobile devices by their sides, always available.

What would having an app mean for Hank’s business that already has an online presence? Why should a small business spend the extra money on a customised app if their website is mobile friendly and they have an up-to-date Facebook page? To put it all into Hank’s scenario for you:

Hank Peterson, a personal trainer, got his own app a couple of months ago for his personal trainer business and this is how his own customised app benefitted his small business by benefitting his customers:

Most of Hank’s clientele are people that try to fit exercising in around their work schedule and their children. Though most of his clients have been referred to him, his online presence has attracted clients as well. Hank found that with his business’s app he converted more people into clients than by just having a facebook page, because of the benefits the app provides for the clients.

Hank’s app users can access all his business’s information, like the process he goes through with new clients, his work experience/history, his skills and how he started the business. Hank attracts new clients and keeps his current clients interested in his business with the app, because he educates them on their diet and on other exercises they could be doing by posting the articles on his app. Hank doesn’t have to spend so much time answering questions from new and old clients, because all the information a client needs to know about him and his business is on the app. This information is available to all his app users anywhere and when it is convenient for them to access it. He doesn’t have to worry about clients receiving his newsletter, because they can access it on the app anytime.

Hank spends less time on advertising on social media, because his clients have been doing it for him from within his app. The social media feature in Hank’s app encourages his clients to share their photos and experience with his business on social media, giving Hank exposure to their friends and followers. This has created more awareness of Hank’s business, and his clients love sharing their progress with friends and family.

He encouraged potential clients, after being introduced to his business on social media, to download his app. He offered them a coupon within the app for a free session after downloading the app. Many of them have converted into clients, because Hank engages with his app users, giving them tips, and reacts faster to their enquiries. Hank also improved his services, because of the feedback he has received from his app users (from clients and potential clients) by engaging with them within the app.

Sometimes Hank’s clients lie in bed at night or sit in a meeting when they realise they haven’t moved their booking or they need to make their next couple of appointments to see him. Knowing that Hank is already in bed or busy with another client and cannot answer the phone, they move the booking themselves within the app. Hank doesn’t have to worry about his clients forgetting their appointments, because when they book a session within his app, the booking system adds the date and time to their phone’s calendar as a reminder.

To encourage his clients, Hank runs a promotion that if they do six sessions with him, the next session will be free. He uses the loyalty feature within the app to keep track of every client’s sessions by giving them loyalty points after they attend a session. This makes it easier for his clients to keep track of how many sessions they still need to get a free one, as well as their progress. Clients are motivated to keep using the app and to get other people to use it.

His app users do not miss a promotion, because he notifies them with push notifications. For those of you who don’t know what push notifications are: they are notifications that are sent through an app on a smartphone. When sent out to users, they appear as a notification on the smartphone’s notifications section so that users can see them immediately. By sending targeted push notifications, Hank doesn’t send the notification to users it doesn’t apply to. Hank also uses the push notification feature to send other important information to clients.

How do these benefits justify the cost of a business app for Hank? In the long run it has lightened his marketing expenses and given him more time to train people, rather than worrying about the marketing. He has attracted new, loyal clients with the convenience the app features provide for them. This has given him an advantage in his market. Even though he is generating more money in one month, (because of all the exposure his clients has given him with the app), he knows that his current clients will keep coming back, giving him a recurring monthly income. Now he doesn’t have to spend time finding new clients every month.

With Hank’s app costing him a little more than a designer’s website price and with his business’s branding, his style and the features he needed, it took three weeks to get the app in the app stores for Android and iOS. How could this be possible? Apps use to take months to develop, which initially made them expensive, but nowadays a customised app can be developed within three weeks, depending on the features required, of course.

Apps are not necessarily a “new” thing, but to most people they still are. Because of the uncertainty on how they work and how they can benefit a business, many people don’t consider getting one for their business. I hope I have shed some light for you on the benefits an app could have.

But where would one start finding out more about an app for a business? And what features would be beneficial for your type of business? These questions can all be answered when contacting a company (like us 😉 ) that specialises in app design and development. These companies normally have demos available to show a business what possibilities there are.