It’s impossible to deny that smartphones have become more important than computers for many people. In Thailand for example, there are almost 50% more phones than there are people. As more and more people go mobile, it’s important for your company to go mobile too. At this stage of the game, your customers aren’t hoping that you’ll have a mobile strategy--they’re expecting it.
While this can be scary if you don’t currently have a robust mobile strategy, the mobile revolution should be viewed as a momentous opportunity for your company, not a threat. Traditional marketing tactics like TV ads, billboards, or direct mail are inefficient, don’t provide measurable results and are becoming increasingly irrelevant. A shift to digital solves these problems for your company, by offering marketing solutions that are measurable, have a high return on investment and are repeatable at scale.
These are the 4 questions your club needs to ask to get started.
1. Passive or Active?
Properly utilizing the power of mobile requires looking at it as an engagement platform. For example, billboards and TV ads are passive marketing tactics, because users passively look at them and then move on. You could use mobile as a passive platform too by heavily investing in mobile banner or pop up ads. However keep in mind that research shows that mobile ads are ineffective.70% of all mobile users want to block ads. One study found that 60% of mobile ad clicks were user accidents. An investigation found that up to 34% of ad impressions that were attributed to live users were in fact fraudulent.
While you can use mobile as a passive marketing channel, it’s clear that doing so will only annoy your potential customers and possibly even lose your company money due to inflated reports of success and clicks. Instead you need to strategize around mobile as an active platform driven by user engagement. The best way to do this is for your business to create it’s own mobile app. That’s because consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones using apps. However, on average most users spend 80% of their in-app time in only 5 apps. So to truly benefit from mobile you need to create an app that enters your customer’s daily app rotation.
2. What mobile features are important?
To get your customers using your app you need to develop value added features that should develop into a daily part of your users’ lives. This sounds difficult because it is difficult. Your app will be a complex endeavor, as smartphone users now expect far more advanced features and usability than just a mobile version of your website crammed into an app. However, it’s also important to not lose focus on the essentials as your app plans grow in size and scope.
In the fitness industry, features such as class scheduling, fitness wearable integrations and mobile check-ins are must-have features for gym members. Behind-the-scenes features such as billing systems integrations or customer relationship management software are features that gym members almost never see, but are huge draws for gym management.
For your business, research who your users are and what features are important to them. Are your users all the same or do you need to take different groups of people into consideration? It’s easy to incorrectly assume that your really-cool-feature-idea is going to be a big hit, when instead your customers want something completely different. Focus on releasing an app that fulfills their basic needs first and focus on creative but potentially risky features later.
3. How can I make this a reality?
Once you have determined what features your app requires, you have to figure out how you are going to turn your ideas and blueprints into a downloadable piece of software on the App Store. There are basically two options: build it yourself (by creating a new department in-house) or by hiring a professional third party app company to build it for you.
While it’s possible to build an app yourself there are many significant downsides. Your time to market will be measured in years instead of months. It will likely cost over a million dollars just for initial development costs. And unless you are a programming company, your app will likely be buggier and less robust than a professionally developed one.
4. What will my app look like four years from now?
How will your app work on the iPhone 8? How can you integrate with the newly announced Google Home interactive speaker? As new digital technologies rapidly hit the market it’s easy for your company to fall behind and out of the loop. Keeping your app updated and compatible with the latest innovations requires daily focus, effort and expertise. This is another great reason to partner with a company that specializes in building mobile platforms, regardless of your industry. You need a partner who can focus on your app full time, as it is a full time job.
What if your business involves heavy governmental regulations that change month to month, or even day to day? You want to focus on your main business, not updating code. It’s easy to sink many thousands of dollars into building your app yourself only to find that your company can’t handle the requisite constant code updates, resulting in an app that your customers are unhappy and frustrated with.
What features are your members looking for? See some examples in the Mobile Marketing Manifesto: