Busting the App Myth

What comes to mind when you hear the word “app”? Do you think of a game? Something you can’t live without? Or simply a cool gadget on your phone?

Small business owners often shut down when they hear the word “app” being pitched. They, understandably, think there is no money or time to invest in an app ⎼ especially if they don’t even have any other online presence set up yet. Small businesses might see apps as just a gimmicky addition to their marketing portfolio.

But here’s the thing: an app might actually be the one thing that can help the business significantly grow. Why? Because an app is not just a mobile application; an app is a complete mobile marketing solution. If it is executed correctly, a small business will see a significant increase in revenue and customer engagement.

Ultimately, this tool won’t be an extra expense, it will save the business a lot of money. How? An app, or mobile solution, can rethink a small business’ social presence, local presence and mobile presence, as well as turn its best customers into marketers.

 

Busting The Myth

We have labeled it “ReThink”. More specifically, the Rethink Strategy redefines the way you think about customer experience, customer loyalty, customer advocacy and company ranking. This strategy will also allow small business owners to understand the benefits of a mobile solution.

 

Rethink Experience:



The first step of the Rethink Strategy is to analyze which experiences would be better facilitated through a mobile solution. In other words, how can the customer experience be improved at a particular business?
Traditionally, companies have emphasized “touchpoints”, referring to the critical moments when customers interact with a brand during their purchasing process. However, a shift is taking place as successful companies focus on the customer journey in its entirety. According to Harvard Business Review’s research, “organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction”.

A mobile solution allows any business to move away from mere touch points and start addressing this customer journey as a whole. For instance, a local restaurant might implement mobile food ordering. Customers now have the option to place an order with the tap of a button through an app. This translates into not having to wait in line, not having to make a phone call, and not needing to go through the hassle of paying at the establishment. As a result, the patrons are provided with a more pleasurable and convenient experience at the restaurant. So, instead of merely improving the “sales touchpoint” at the cash register, the small business is able to improve the entire encounter starting with the purchase process.

 

Rethink Loyalty:

An improved customer experience, then, builds loyalty. The better the experience at the establishment, the more likely people are to return. And the way a small business deals with loyalty can also be rethought with a mobile solution.

Every business, whether a mom-and-pop shop or a global company, relies on loyal customers for success. Loyal customers account for 20% of a company’s customers. While that might not seem impressive at first glance, that 20% drives 80% of a business’s total revenue and 72% of total visits to the establishment. This data clearly shows that it is more profitable for businesses to go after customer retention than customer acquisition – however, many do the exact opposite. In fact, it costs 500% more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones.

The best way to drive customer retention? A loyalty program. What’s more, 87% of shoppers say they want loyalty programs and 68% of millennials say they won’t be loyal to a brand if it doesn’t have a good loyalty program. Besides the high demand for it, loyalty programs can be extremely beneficial to the company’s bottom line. Loyalty programs increase overall revenue by 5-10%, with loyal members spending more money and buying more frequently than non-members. A mobile solution, then, allows a small business to focus on what is most important and beneficial to their growth.

For example, a salon can implement a mobile stamp card, rewarding customers with a free haircut when it’s complete. For the customer, this means no longer losing a physical punch card and carrying around 20 different rewards cards. Customers now feel that every purchase they make amounts to something bigger. This, again, contributes to a positive customer journey. As a result, rethinking (or implementing) the mobile loyalty strategy can increase repeat business.

Rethink Advocacy:



Now that a loyal following has been built, a small business should empower their customers to spread the word. Through an app, customers can easily be prompted to share their opinion on social media, produce online reviews or send a referral.

We all know that people love to talk about things they love (and hate). So if they are a loyal and happy customer, it is important to make it as easy as possible for them to share their thoughts with others. Think of traditional word-of-mouth, as a happy customers tells two people about their experience, and those two people each tell another two people. According to Entrepreneur, word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. A mobile solution can help in doing so – by rethinking experience (as was mentioned above). In addition, Nielsen states that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising – 10 times more effective to be exact. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing, then, is the most powerful form of advertising a small business can have, as each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones their way.

A gym might send out a push notification to its members, for example, asking them to rate the establishment. Members who frequently go to that gym will be encouraged to leave a positive review or share on social media. Now potential customers will come across these reviews when researching gyms online, making a strong case for the small business.

Rethink Reach:

This stronger online presence will lead to the final stage of the ReThink Strategy, namely Reach. More reviews allow you to rank higher on directory websites like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Zomato, making sure local businesses are found.

Reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so small business should make acquiring them a priority. Businesses who want to appear in Google’s local 3-pack need to have a high volume of good reviews. A better online ranking will increase exposure and bring in new customers who, in turn, can become advocates for the business.

Imagine you are in the mood for an acai bowl (we love those here in Corona), but you don’t know where to get one. You’ll most likely conduct an online search, perhaps by typing in “acai bowl in San Diego”. What will pop up are Google’s 3 local listings, showing the most popular places to get this snack. Below that will probably be the yelp list for “best acai bowls in Corona”. You will most likely eat an acai bowl at one of these places, not going beyond those search results. A mobile solution will help a small business rank for these desirable positions by acquiring an abundance of reviews.

Rethink Results:

This brings the Rethink Strategy full circle, with new customers coming through (online) word-of-mouth marketing and embarking on the ReThink journey themselves. Not only does each stage of the mobile model improve the experience, it ultimately grows the entire business:
• A 1-star increase on Yelp has been proven to translate to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
• A 5% increase in customer retention will increase profitability by 25%.
• Adopting a mobile solution can save a business an average cost of $5,000  annually.


Conclusion:

So, we definitely busted that myth! An app is not just an app. An app can be a mobile solution that redefines the entire customer journey and brings about significant growth. A mobile solution has real tangible results, often making them an integral part of the business.

The data suggests small businesses are building apps to increase sales (55%), improve customer experience (50%) and to become competitors in a specific market (50%). According to recent studies, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by 2017. The features that an app can have (e.g. mobile food ordering, reservations, loyalty programs) are more than add-ons, each of these are benefits of a complete mobile solution that can help a company save or make money. It’s time for local owners to welcome a mobile solution into their small business.

Your Turn: How has an app transformed your small businesses or the local businesses in your area? Share your experiences in the comments!

How will Mobile Commerce increase your Holiday Sales?

mobile-marketplace Let’s talk mobile commerce. With the holiday season, now is the time to ensure that your business is ready for the potential profits that mobile commerce has to offer. If you don’t think you need to be ready to target that mobile audience, then here’s a quick history lesson that might broaden your horizons. In 2015, 60% of consumers used their smartphones to make holiday purchases. Without a mobile-optimized website or mobile app, you could severely miss out on reaching these mobile gift givers. To start, you need to make it simple for shoppers on a mobile device to make a purchase, or they are going to purchase from a competitor that offers a flawless mobile experience. Alternatively, having that mobile experience yourself offers a substantial advantage over your competition if they have not yet adopted an intuitive mobile strategy.

Mobile apps now account for more than 90% of time spent on mobile phones. So, if your business does not have an app, then it is missing out on arguably the best way to reach consumers in the digital age. Engaging target markets is hyper critical during the holiday season. If you can keep your brand and its products on the minds of customers, then they are almost guaranteed to give you some of their holiday business.

Here are some tips and strategies on how mobile apps can help you to prepare your business for the upcoming busy holiday e-commerce season.

Implement a Loyalty Program

Mobile customer loyalty programs offer exclusive deals and early bird specials to customers. By leveraging existing customer data, through survey tools or a data analytics solution, you can begin effectively targeting customers with the rewards and products they are personally interested in. Keep in mind, 80% of consumers openly admit that they will switch brands if offered the right incentive and 73% of holiday purchases are influenced by coupons, so you need a mobile app this holiday season simply to ensure that you are keeping your existing customers.

Reward programs also encourage return shoppers because more “points” means more rewards. Thus, this strategy will payoff even after the holiday rush is over. After all, it is easier to keep a customer than to find a new one, so reward your existing customers with a really great loyalty program.

Use Push Notifications
With a mobile app, you can include push notifications that let your customers know when you are offering special pricing or having an exclusive sale. Last holiday season, almost 75% of mobile commerce shoppers used some type of mobile coupon to make a purchase. So push notifications with coupons drive sales.
Only a small percentage of customers will open an email message and click on a link (about 5%) but between 30-60% of consumers will respond to and open a push notification that is included with an app. Push notifications are also a great way to keep your brand fresh in people’s minds, even if they haven’t opened your app in awhile.

Improve the Customer Service Experience
Mobile apps introduce a new touch point for customers to access your services and products. With 68% of US adults owning and using a smartphone and data usage increasing by 525% since 2010, apps are an increasingly important touch point in the mobile commerce customer experience. Mobile apps combined with commerce allows a customer to be able to contact and interact with your brand at any time of the day or night, without having to fire up their computer and visit the website.

Use it as a Marketing Tool
The mobile app can also be an invaluable marketing tool because it is easy to integrate it with social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. Customers can share your app with a single tap and communicate the experience that they have had or are enjoying with your company, which provides you with free and valuable promotion.  Additionally, a mobile app is a great environment to notify users about new products to boost mobile commerce sales.

Access More Customers
Today’s mobile-obsessed consumer is constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. We like to be the first to know about something and we get excited when we think we have discovered a new app that is particularly amazing. Thus, when you manage to offer a mobile app experience that is engaging, useful and fun for the customer, they are more likely to refer it to friends and family members.

Level the Playing Field
Developing a mobile app is becoming more affordable for smaller and mid-sized businesses. If you are a small business and you want to compete in your specific market, you have to adapt to changes and have a strong presence on mobile devices. The amount of time that consumers spend on mobile has increased by 21% over the last year, so as an SMB, you have to be ready for what your consumers expect this holiday season. Those expectations include the ability to shop from their mobile devices.
Simply put, mobile technology helps small business owners to run their business more efficiently. More businesses are starting to implement internal apps which help their operations to run a lot more smoothly.

Make Mobile Commerce Payments Easy
Mobile apps can be customized by the user so that they can input their payment information. This makes the entire process of making a purchase much, much easier. 85% of consumers admit that the prefer shopping on a mobile app than a website. Much of the reasoning behind this preference is in app payment methods. Instead of having to get out their credit card or other payment information each time they wish to make a purchase, a customer can simply open up the app that has the information pre-loaded by them and make a purchase with just a few taps.

Generate More Revenue
Again, 60% of consumers used their smartphone for holiday shopping last year. That number is expected to be higher this year. Also, about 70% of mobile searches result in the consumer taking action, often in the form of a final purchasing decision, which is higher than the traditional online shopper using a computer. In other words, there is a lot of transactions occurring in the mobile environment and developing a mobile app gives you the opportunity to get a piece of that mobile commerce. It is also worth mention that your business can earn more money by allowing agencies to run advertisements on your app.

Keeps Your Business Relevant
Today’s consumer spends a lot of time on their phone. If your business offers a mobile app, then you are automatically afforded the chance to get a piece of that customer’s daily mobile time. Moreover, your app can be a lot more engaging than a website and the creation of an app will allow your small business to evolve with your customers, who are increasingly becoming more heavily reliant on their mobile devices.

Conclusion
If you want your business to be competitive during the busy holiday season, it is time to consider a mobile app for mobile commerce. There are many different ways to incorporate these apps and make them work for your business. You owe it to yourself to find out more about mobile development and how it can help your business. When you start to investigate the possibilities, you can begin to level the playing field with your competition in the upcoming busy holiday market. The possibilities are endless and our app development team can work with you so your business can profit from mobile commerce this holiday season.

How Schools Can Leverage Mobile in the Classroom

In the past, we as teachers only needed to worry about students causing distractions for other students, but now we have to compete with the likes of the Kardashian’s, super-star athletes, famous YouTubers, funny animal videos and everyone else.

Students have more things to look at and engage with than ever before, which means it is harder and harder to hold their attention. While many of us may lie awake at night thinking of a cell phone free classroom, the reality is, that’s not going to happen.  There could be a bright side to mobile for educational institutions. We just need to look at apps through the right educational lens.

There’s No Beating Mobile

Again, mobile devices provide an unlimited number of distractions for students because they can engage with any other being on the planet who also has a mobile device, whether that is the student sitting two rows up, in another classroom, Aunt Sue, Beyonce, or even major brand names like Red Bull, Apple and others. When you also consider that over 80% of college-aged adults own a smartphone or other mobile device, then you get a clear picture of why we can’t beat mobile in the classroom. So as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

Detractors of going mobile inside the classroom are going to argue that if we empower students to use mobile devices inside the classroom, they are only going to be distracted more. But I would argue that part of the reason that our mobile devices are so distracting is not so much the content, but how it is being delivered. Sure, the latest Hollywood gossip may be more interesting than learning the Pythagorean theorem—in the eyes of students. But the major reason they are tied to their devices is simply because the medium is much more interesting; it is something they can physically touch, move and manipulate with their hands.

By integrating mobile into the classroom experience, we can create a learning environment that is truly aligned with the current Common Core standards. 42 states in the nationwide have adopted the Common Core approach to education.  “The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” As educators, we now have “college and career readiness” to add to our already heaping plate of things to worry about.  Why not use the tools mobile has to offer to make it easier?

If we can provide students with engaging apps that allow them to interact with educational content in ways that are more natural to them, we can easily help them reap the benefits that real life learning truly has to offer. If we are sincerely preparing them for the future, we need to do so with the tools they will use in the future—mobile apps.

How to Enhance the Classroom with Mobile

The mobile education market is expected to grow by at least 21% over the next five years. This means more educational apps and platforms that will act as teaching tools for teachers are being created. Aside from enhancing the learning experience for students, educational apps also present the opportunity to better manage administrative data, allow educators to handle grading and lesson planning, and help campuses become safer and more cohesive as a community.

Here are some of the ways mobile can be leveraged by an educator and or academic institution.

Pre-Recorded Lectures

What if you could record lectures and have them available via a mobile app for students? It would allow them the opportunity to go back and visit the day’s lecture on their ride home, before they go to sleep, or while they are crafting an essay. It also makes it easier for absent students to get caught up; they can watch or listen to what they missed right from their mobile device.

Even the best note-takers in the classroom aren’t going to catch every important point made in a lecture or during a classroom discussion, yet students are held accountable for any information delivered by the teacher.  A tool that gives them this access can help to foster personal accountability—a skill crucial in both higher education and in life.

A recent study declared that 38% of college professors claim that students entering higher education lack the ability to be active learners when they enter college. With a mobile app that can provide information presented in class, educators can give students the tools they need to actively seek material they missed in class—thus bridging the gap of college preparedness as defined by Common Core.

Push-Notifications for Communication

With all the distractions of the digital age, it is even easier for students to forget to complete their homework. Current research shows that 86% of students show some sort of improvement in math when they complete additional practice at night.  For this reason, little reminders about what to do can go a long way in helping students achieve growth in math.

In addition, 13% of all public schools students have some type of learning disability.  That means that according to the IDEA and Public law 504, these students are entitled to special services. Most accommodations outlined in FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) list reminders and additional time. That means that federal law requires teachers to remind students of their assignments. There’s really no better tool than a mobile app.  Not only does it possess the potential to easily reach both students and parents, it also leaves a concrete paper trail should any misunderstandings or miscommunications occur.

Teachers have found great success using apps like Remind101, which sends notifications directly to students’ phones or tablets, reminding them to finish their homework.

A mobile strategy reminds students who otherwise would have forgotten to do their homework, but it also makes the in-class experience more engaging, as more students have done the work and are able to better participate in discussions.

Furthermore, if you are looking to make headway in a school, parents are a crucial factor in that success. Studies show that schools with large amounts of parental support perform 64% higher than those without. In order to be supportive, parents need to be informed. Apps easily keep everyone in the loop.

Collaborative Classroom

One of the biggest uses of mobile devices is social networking. The world is more connected than ever before, so why shouldn’t your classroom? In fact, 70% of students claim they wish their education was as simple to follow as their social media feeds. So why not make it that way – #punnettsquare or #y=mx+b? The conversations don’t have to end once the bell rings.

Collaborative classrooms allow for students to pose questions or status updates regarding that day’s lecture, homework, or other assignments. Other students, or the instructor, can reply, engage and share their own ideas or thoughts. All of these updates and interactions can be used by the educator as real-time feedback to adjust the curriculum and improve the next day’s lesson plan.

Real-Time, Important Info

Outside the classroom, mobile can play a big role in sharing school-related news, events and other info. For example, a campus can show real-time locations of shuttle buses, changes to event schedules or sports games, even the day’s lunch menu. And let’s not forget weather delays. Sending information related to delays caused by the weather can easily simplify the lives of school officials while providing students and parents the necessary safety they deserve.

As sad as it is to say safety has reached the forefront when it comes to concerns for schools. In recent years, there have been 1.3 million reported incidents of school violence. These include: weapons possession, drug possession, and even hate crimes. If there were a dangerous situation on campus or at school, you could quickly alert every student via their mobile device and ensure they stayed away from the hazardous area.

Alternatively, students could report suspicious behavior, as soon as they saw it, rather than having to find a staff member to explain what they saw. 68% of students claim that they want to help curb the bullying problem. It makes sense to provide them with the tools to do so.

Interactive Lessons

As mentioned before, the beauty of mobile is in its ability to be touched and manipulated. Kinesthetic learners account for 50% of secondary students. This type of learning style can be easily accommodated using mobile applications.

We don’t always realize it, but even as we’re zooming in on a picture or fast forwarding through a YouTube video, we’re interacting with content. Mobile creates this pseudo-environment where things can be swiped, pinched, pulled, scrolled, stopped, moved and deleted.

Instead of studying a diagram of the human body in a textbook, what if you could give your students access to a digital body that they could interact with and learn in a way that is fun and not so archaic?

Data, Data, Data

As a result of engaging with students through mobile and digital platforms, you accumulate lots of data. It’s no secret that “growth” is education’s current flavor of the week. With the implementation of Common Core, most states’ education departments have added “value added” assessment as part of teacher evaluations.  Simply put, teachers now have to prove that students exhibit academic growth over the course of the school year.

A well designed app can offer a variety of student progress monitoring options. The data that comes as a result of such tracking is extremely beneficial to educators for several reasons.  Primarily, it can be used to gauge and modify instructions based on what students know–the primary goal in education. Your educational apps can double as a tool for showcasing data to the administrators who are conducting your evaluations. The data collected by your app can easily prove that your students have grown under your tutelage as required by the new “value added” teacher assessments.

Large corporations refer to this as “Big Data” and it has been allowing them to better refine their marketing strategies and business processes. The same can be true in the classroom. Teachers can use the data from their classroom’s mobile learning applications to make better lesson plans and  quickly identify students that are struggling and subject topics that are harder to grasp.

The Problems of Going Mobile for Educational Institutions

Integrating mobile across an educational institution is no easy task. As a greater number of devices and uses appear for mobile learning, it becomes harder and harder to incorporate them into the overarching mobile strategy. To efficiently and securely manage a campus-wide mobile platform, schools have to make sure that their network connectivity, data security and Internet speed are all working at maximum efficiency. Otherwise, their mobile apps and strategies will be slow and cumbersome.

There is also a considerable amount of support needed. Aside from a well-devised and clear policy on mobile and data usage, you also need to increase your technical support staff beyond what it already is. In other words, even if you have instructors that are ready to embrace mobile learning, successfully integrating it requires tech support to be readily available. If you don’t have enough support, it will be spread too thin across campus and the system will struggle to take off.

The biggest hurdle to mobile integration into the classrooms is device literacy. While most students may be able to glide through their smartphone with ease, not every educator is going to be as tech-savvy. This means that there becomes a lot more student-to-instructor teaching, rather than the opposite. Proper training is required to make sure educators are fluent in the use of mobile technology.

Lastly, most students is not all and even though it seems inconceivable to think of a teenager without a smartphone in their hand, there are students that don’t have access to this technology. Providing them with one is helpful, to a point, but they will be behind other students as far as device literacy.

Conclusion

Mobile device use is ubiquitous among high school and college students. They are using their smartphones and tablets everywhere, especially inside the classroom. Instead of looking at these devices as a distraction, they can be used by educators as a valuable tool. It creates the opportunity to easily reach out to students long after they’ve left the classroom and do so in an engaging and relevant way. It can also help create a safer campus community that is up-to-date on events, fundraisers and other scheduled happenings.

While mobile certainly looks like a promising future for educators, it doesn’t come without a host of possible issues. Educational institutions looking to implement a campus-wide mobile platform and learning environment need a considerable amount of infrastructure, especially in the technical support, network connectivity and data security areas, if they want to succeed at going mobile.

Brilliant School Apps increases Student Involvement, Parent Engagement and School Safety, plus it saves the Administration and Counseling Department so much time, as it puts your School into the Palm of your hand! Plus, it provides a CTE-type pathway for students with our Brilliant App Academy, it also helps you meet LCAP and ESSA goals as well!

If you would like a custom demo, please click here, give us some basic info, and we will contact you within 24hours and show you how your schools looks, in the palm of your hand: http://brilliantschoolapps.com/how-it-works.html

Generation Z Thinks & Buys Differently

gen-z Admit it. The world is changing all the time. And the businesses that want to keep up with the stride of time must be versatile. And for a business to be versatile, it’s crucial to see what the customer base used to be like, and what the customer base is like.

Today, a significant part of the customer base is Generation Z. Born between 1990s and early 2000s; they’re next to Generation Y in order. What’s different about Generation Z in comparison with other Generations (X and Y) is the way they interact with technology and modern markets. Here are 5 ways in which Generation Z is different from its predecessors:

mobile-shopping

They Use Technology To Buy

Between 1990 and 2010, a lot happened. Apple went from selling the Apple II to iPhone. Microsoft went from selling DOS to selling Windows 8. And during these times, the generation we call ‘Generation Z’ was being born or raised. These young people saw technology changing in their childhood. They didn’t see the times when communicating a message could take weeks. For them, it’s weird not to be able to find information about a product or brand on the internet. In short, the advanced state of technology and the rapidly changing world don’t freak them out. They’re so used to change that products which are overly consistent seem like bad choices to them. And this reflects in their buying behavior.

The Generation Z prefers to use technology as its medium. Very few like to go out and loiter in the malls. If you want to sell to these people, you’d better come up with a cool app idea, build a super-cool app with a platform like Brilliant Mobile Apps , and then put your merchandise on it, or this generation wouldn’t even know of your existence. But there’s one thing that distinguishes them from the older online consumers. For the former, buying online and through apps is a very normal way of shopping. Unlike the older generations, they don’t have a million questions nagging them when they are swiping through the merchandise. For them, it’s just a normal way to shop. In other words, they approach the market through a different medium and a different mindset when using that medium.

make-it-easy-clouds

They Love Convenience:

The generation Z shows a marked inclination towards convenience, and it could be attributable to their parents’ upbringing. Most of the generation Z was born to parents falling in the generation X. It was a generation that did not appeal much to the marketers. They weren’t as many as the baby boomers or the part of the ‘boom let’. These were a small segment of the whole population, which made them an unattractive small pie in the huge American cake. Add to this, this generation was born at a time when the divorce rate was increasing. They are the ones who saw single-parent families getting common. In other words, not only were they left unattended by the marketers, but also by their own parents, which resulted in alterations of the traditional nuclear family structure, and this had its result: their kids, Generation X, didn’t always have an over-protective mother mollycoddling them all the time. Many of them grew up alone. And this, too, reflects in their buying pattern.

Generation Z is a stickler for convenience items. Unlike Generation X or Y, they don’t see convenience as luxury. For them, convenience is a necessity. This generation doesn’t believe that sweating makes you better. Quite the contrary. For them, “if you can do it without all the hard work, just do it”. There’s no point in doing things yourself when you can get others do it for less than you’d make by doing your own job for that amount of time. Put simply, this generation sees convenience as the flip-side of efficiency. And that’s why Generation Z has the largest proportions of consumers buying items for convenience.

They Are More Selective:

Don’t even think that this convenience-loving generation is going to buy whatever appears good. It’s a generation that saw recession in the very early phase of its life, and researches show that generations coming of age through financial straits are careful with money. They have a deep-rooted sense of financial insecurity, which they express in their buying patterns. Add to this, they were born to parents who were also products of similar straits. In other words, generation Z has frugality both in its genes and in its conditioning, and it is obvious in how they shop: they are the most discriminating consumers in the market. They show least tolerance for something unnecessary. For instance, they won’t pay more just because something has an extra feature. They will consider if the feature adds some real value to the product, if the value is worth the cost, if they can get it in some other way, and a dozen other questions. Even when buying gadgets or “luxury” items, they tend not to be impulsive consumers. They value convenience and gadgets, but they also value money. And when making a purchase, they make sure that every penny they spend buys them something of real value.

They Love for Escapism:

Generation X is notorious for its escapist tendencies, and generation Z seems to have inherited it from them. This generation values things that have the ability to take them out of the mundane surroundings of real life. From more unrealistic movie plots to more close-to-reality video games, this pattern is obvious. This generation shows willingness to transcend the natural limitations of time and space and experiment with the surreal, and all this is visible in their spending behavior. They may never buy a second-best sci-fi novel or movie, but they will happily pay top dollar to get the best one.

They Are More Informed:

This comes with their discriminating nature but takes a slightly different dimension. Generation Z likes to trust the words of one another within it, and that’s why it’s the most reviews-obsessed generation in the US. Go to any website or social networking site and you’ll notice this: most reviewers are from this generation, and they are also the ones most concerned about them. This is a generation that just loves researching before buying. These kids would Google the item and all its alternatives, read tons of reviews, chew it over for a day or two and would only then buy the item. They just won’t fall for the slick promotions that Generation Y or Z consumers seem to be an easy prey for.

 

24 Brilliant Ways to Promote your Mobile App

There are plenty of app entrepreneurs who have made it big in the app world without spending a penny on promoting their app. Some of them have made use of press publicity and some generated a lot of buzz on social media.  Some manually recruited customers, and others had tremendous customer referrals. There are many ways out there to promote your app for free.

Here are 24 of Brilliant Ways to promote your app:

  1. Post it to your website. Hopefully you have a mobile-friendly website, and if you do, put a graphic of your app icon, with a link behind it, so your fans can click to download when they visit your website, either on their desktop, but to honest, it will most likely be on their phone!
  2. If you don’t have a website, create a simple landing page, a one page website that showcases all your app’s features. 
  3. Take advantage of voicemail. Include a creative mention of your app in your phone’s voicemail recording, you’d be surprised that people are actually listening!
  4. There is valuable real estate at the bottom of your emails, your signature. Provide a catchy one-liner about your app along with the link to download it in your email signature.
  5. If your app isn’t published yet, you can build a teaser website a month or two before you launch to collect email addresses of people who would like to know when the app launches.
  6. Share your content.  Use your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles to promote the app several times in a week.
  7. Cross Promote: Contact power-partners, those who market to your demographic but don’t compete with you. Ask them to promote your app to their list.
  8. Cross Promote 2: Reach out to admins of related Facebook pages. Look for pages with 100k+ likes and reach out to their admins. Make sure these pages have something to do with the focus of your app. Then give them a compelling reason to mention it.
  9. Pitch to your app review websites. Sites like 148apps, AppStoreApps and AppAdvice can generate a lot of buzz for your app if they mention it.
  10. Create a video that promotes your company and your app. Make it creative, funny, thought-provoking or personal. Tell the story, but in a way people can identify with. Here’s a great one as example from the Dollar Shave Club.
  11. Run a contest. For example, you can encourage people to tweet and share content on their social networks promoting your app. A random person every week can win a shout-out either in your app, or on your social media.
  12. Send out a press release to your local paper, as well as industry publications. Entrepreneur Neil Patel says: “Press is the best way to kick start your startup, and the best way to get it is to manually reach out to journalists.”
  13. Call industry publications and ask if they need content, as they are Always looking for content.
  14. if don’t already have one, Start a blog. Attach it to your website. Write interesting content about your app every week or so that will draw people to your website to download your app. Buffer app does this really effectively.
  15. Contact bloggers who would care about your app. Identify bloggers who write on niches that relate to your app. For instance, a children’s app can be pitched to bloggers write write for mothers. A financial app can be pitched to bloggers who write about financial or retirement issues.
  16. Start a podcast. Draw content from the niche your app caters to most. Interview other thought leaders in your niche. Publish it on iTunes or your own website. 
  17. Always be collecting emails. Your app has the ability to have a pop-up “Join our List” when they first download your app, so gather potential customer emails through your app, but also Facebook, Twitter or your website. An email list of people who have opted in is a powerful marketing tool, and you can share other cool features of your app in a monthly or quarterly email blast.
  18. Integrate social within the app. Add your social media links, and use the “Share with Friends” feature which allows users to send a link using Text, Facebook, Twitter or email, with a quick link to their app store.
  19. Create a six-second HOW-TO series. Make the most of Vine with videos potential customers will find useful. The hashtag #howto is one of the top trending tags on Vine.
  20. Post images of your app on Pinterest. Use blog images, info-graphics and visual content from your app to create content on your Pinterest board.  You can even use happy customer photos or hold contests, by using your App Cam, loyal customers can send you pictures, and your shoutout can be a prize!
  21. If you don’t have one, create a Facebook group.  Form a group for people with common interests related to your app’s niche so they can meet and socialize regularly. If your app caters to hikers, for example, create a hiking group.
  22. Get speaking opportunities. Research events that touch on the topic your app addresses and make an appearance. Start small and get recognized as an authority in the space. Then make a special offer to your audiences and have them download the app as part of the package.
  23. Make good use of App Store Optimization. App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app (such as an iPhone, iPad, Android app) in an app store (such as iTunes for iOS, Google Play for Android). The Next Web gives good advice.
  24. Be obsessive about resolving negative reviews. A happy customer is a brand ambassador for your app. If someone is negative, reach out right away and resolve their issue, and be vocal about how you did that. Others will see that you handle conflict well and will be confident that you take good care of both happy and not-so-happy people. There are sometimes “trolls” which can be using reviews to spam you with their message, so write a simple email to Apple and Google, and get those removed.

Let us know if you have any more Brilliant Ideas, ones that might have worked well for your app or that you’ve heard about others! 🙂

Brilliant App Academy Coming Soon

BAA LogoBrought to you by Another Brilliant Idea, Inc. and our Brilliant Mobile Solutions, we are offering you and your organization a chance to be a part of something that will spark a passion for technology in our local students, both high-school and college-age youth. We would also be interested in helping Veterans or other interested adults who are needing to restart their career.

It is our intention to teach our participants how to use an online software solution to build their very own Mobile Application; but not only build it, but to learn about technology in a way that inspires a love for the possibilities that exist online. We will use tools and resources available to them to design app graphics, to create a sales presentation, to build a mobile website, to speak in front of their peers, to create a team and compete for the best Academy App amongst their classmates, and walk away with something really cool in their hands…their very own mobile app!

Students will be encouraged, inspired and motivated to continue their studies in higher education, to start a local business or just receive the skills and the hope that they can make something Brilliant, help their families, possibly pay for college and/or just believe in their own abilities!

In the summer of 2016, the Brilliant App Academy is offering: Introduction to Mobile App Production 1.0. It will be a 2-3 week course and will take place in the Brilliant Computer Lab at the Bourns Technology Center, in Riverside, California.

We are looking for companies or organizations that are innovative and want to be associated with a program that builds up our local youth, giving them the tools, training and encouragement that they need to reach their goals in life. Besides being recognized in the community for your support of this innovative program, on traditional and digital media, our students will be forever grateful for the opportunity that you gave them to be part of this program; and would like to give you a big THANK YOU in person during the final Award Ceremony, which you are invited to. The sponsorship levels are listed below, and we plan on promoting this at the STEP Conference on Oct. 6-7, and at Riversides Long Night of Innovation on Oct. 8th via a live Brilliant App Academy mobile website.

Please contact Mary Barnett directly at 951-545-4288 with your interest level by October 1st, 2015; and we will get started singing your praises via Social, Digital and Mobile Media! Thank you for your interest!

Push Notification Tips in a Noisy World

 

As an industry colleague, Stephanie Trunzo, wrote in Mobile Marketer today, we are increasingly mired in noise instead of signal as our world becomes more context-rich and personalized.

As marketers seek opportunities to engage their customers, it is tempting to send push notifications for promotions, wish list price changes, retargeting pushes based on shopper preferences, or notifications when the customer is in close proximity to the store.

However, it is important to consider the customer’s experience before you hit send on a notification.

The world is overly saturated with branded content, so much so that messaging can easily get lost.
 
While notifications are a tempting engagement solution, we have to be careful to create content that adds value, and not noise.

Finding the balance

Notifications and badges have become the norm, but using them effectively takes a delicate balance.

Too many messages and the customer will simply shut off your notifications. Other users may not take the time to change their preferences, but instead ignore your content.

So what do we do?

How do we ensure a solid and responsible notification strategy that brings value in signal, not desensitization in noise?

Start by segmenting the notification categories and audience so that each message is relevant and useful to the person receiving it.

Categorizing messages
 
First, determine the message’s purpose.
 
Notifications are best used as tools to reaffirm that something is happening as expected, to alert that something unexpected is taking place and to push a process forward to the next actionable next step.
 
Then categorize the audience as individual 1:1, a segment 1:some, or a market 1:many.

Some examples:

1. Reaffirm
a. 1:1 – “Thanks for signing up!” “Your payment has been processed.” “Your package has shipped.” “You are unsubscribed.”
b. 1:some – “Your backordered item has arrived.”

2. Alert

a. 1:1 – “Your membership will expire in two days.” “Your credit card was declined.” “Order has been delayed due to weather.”
b. 1:some – “Special discount on the brand of baby food you purchased.” “Today only 30% off all drinks at the State St. location.”
c. 1:many – “Online registration is now open.” “Holiday sale ends Friday.” “Early Bird registration is open.”

3. Push forward

a. 1:1 – “Items in your shopping cart are waiting.” “Your order is ready for pickup.” “Form is ready for your signature.”
 

NOT EVERY NOTIFICATION is appropriate for every customer. It is key that marketers determine the best audience for each message to avoid adding to the noise.

When making these decisions, think about the user journey and the next steps that the user will take when you deliver the notification. Ensure that the message is clear and the requested action is as simple as possible. Once a push notification is sent, you should track its value. Determine if users are viewing it and taking action or if it is just falling flat. You should be immediately aware if a notification results in low engagement so that you can restructure your strategy.

While it is tempting to blast your audience with notifications every chance you get, being selective with when and to whom you send these messages will create more value for your brand.

 
 
Stephanie Trunzo is chief operations officer of PointSource, Raleigh, NC. Reach her at strunzo@pointsource.com. 

You’ve got an App for that…now what?

You’ve invested time and money to build your dream app, now what? You need to get people to download it, use it, then share that with the world! You want it to go “viral”, right? Promoting an app is similar to marketing your business, you need to implement a variety of strategies that all work together to make it happen.

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