As a small-medium business owner, you’ve likely put much thought into mobile tech.  Your questions are probably getting more sophisticated, like  “Does my business need a mobile strategy?” That’s a much more involved question than merely asking whether your business needs a mobile app.

Some businesses are doing well with mobile despite not having an app.  Conversely, many businesses with apps of their own are slow in realizing a return on their investment.  It’s all the difference between simply investing and investing with a strategy – a metrics-driven strategy.

1. A mobile strategy without statistics is mere guesswork.

Numbers help answer a lot of questions in making investment decisions. Statistics can help answer our core question, “Does my business really need a mobile strategy?”

Consider the following points from Google’s Micromoments and other sources:

  • Over 70% of Americans and 65% of Europeans have a smartphone;
  • 87% of smartphone users never leave home without it;
  • 82% of smartphone users have used it to make or help decide on a purchase
  • 85% of smartphone usage is spent inside apps, not browsing online – 3 hours/day
  • According to Boston Consulting Group, revenues of the top 25% of SME’s most active in mobile are growing two to eight times faster than the least engaged
  • 92 of Interbrand’s 2015 Top 100 Global Brands Report have mobile apps on Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

If not owing to most people having a smartphone, your competition is likely to have you questioning further. They’ve already concluded that mobile apps help engage their customers like no other medium, even better than having your business number on their speed dial.

People use apps because they are convenient, easy to use and available anywhere and anytime. Apps can be fun, educational, make hard things easier, offer social engagement or financial benefit.

Most of all, a mobile strategy means being where your customers are spending their time – like on their mobile devices.

2. Mobile disrupts your market reach (in a good way)

All of the efforts associated with mobile apps comes down to one simple goal – getting people to want, download and regularly use your app. Reaching that goal is not easy without a very good understanding of your target market.

There are some small businesses out there that are very technically oriented and may not have a dedicated marketing team.  In consequence, quite a few apps don’t have a clearly defined target market.  In the event your business is short on marketing expertise, Marketing Mix can help you in this area.

The natural place to start with mobile apps involves building on “Why do people want to do business with you?” That follows with, “What would lead your customers to do more business with you?”

As you think over these two questions, remember that mobile is used globally.  The potential exists for anyone to be your customer – especially when your business provides services or digital products.  There’s also a reasonable potential for unique physical products, but shipping impacts cost and convenience.

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How a mobile app took a small business to the next level

BlownAway is a beauty business, providing stylists on-demand. Beauty salons are brick-n-mortar businesses that are hard to scale, not particularly convenient but frequently a matter of life or death for customers. For BlownAway, the mobile app completely changed the business dynamic, making it easier for customers to interact with the business. That both delights the customer and boosts the reach of the business.

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BlownAway iPhone app by Reinvently design and development team

3. Monetization in your Mobile App Strategy

The real point here is fully exploring your monetization options.  The simplest way is not necessarily going to be the most profitable way.  Do you know all of your monetization options?  If you have any doubts, please check out:  Bankable App Monetization Models: How to Earn with Your App.  Otherwise, you could be leaving money on the table.  But here, we have  unique example where rethinking one component of an app radically revised a major revenue model.

Advertising and Advertising Revenue are at the heart of monetization for many mobile apps, including Evan Spiegel’s SnapChat which generated $3 million from ad revenue in 2014. In 2015, SnapChat acquired Looksery, an app for real-time video augmentation using lenses. At first, SnapChat offered stylized lenses to its users selling “tens of thousands, daily” for $.99 each.

After two months, however, SnapChat took down their lens store to focus on what Looksery could do for their advertising, propelling their 2015 revenue to over $100 million.  They used “extra features” to transform common advertising into the most engaging advertising format available. Some top advertisers were paying up to $750,000 to advertise on SnapChat per day.  The financial performance of every company fluctuates over time according to its own strategy and that of its competition.

4. Apps are commodities and should be treated as such

Developing a mobile app is an investment. The cost of an app varies according to several factors, particularly on complexity. Even so, the cost of an app like Uber is within the range of many SME’s. While more involved, you can also approach mobile app development with the intention of getting extra funding.

ROI for mobile apps

Calculating ROI is also possible, as noted a strategy without statistics is only guesswork. With proper statistics, several elements of a mobile app can be calculated where they pertain to task automation, cost savings and long-term customer acquisition costs. Best of class industries keep metrics for almost everything they do. As noted previously, one government contractor realized savings in the first year of developing an app for their promotions program with a 600% ROI on five years.

This brings us to another, often silent point. Just as you go into business with a plan, it’s a good to have an exit plan, too. One exit option is to be acquired. Many entrepreneurs and most serial entrepreneurs start new businesses with the intention of flipping them.

5. Implementing Mobile Strategy is a team effort

I know you’d like that guy from Upwork to build a mobile app for your business in a week.

In some cases, it would be the wisest move.

That’s what serial entrepreneurs do which brings us to the last point. Selecting a development team for your mobile application is just as and in some ways more important than your strategy as it involves execution. This requires experience. It plays a big part in all business, just as it does for serial entrepreneurs and mobile app developers.

Developers with experience on 50 or more apps are more than four times likely to be successful than developers with 20 or fewer apps under their belt. But, we’ll get into how to select a development team in the near future.

Mark Dabbs

Expert contributor

Mark Dabbs is an expert contributor and consultant for Reinvently. His passion is helping businesses make better use of mobile technology.

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