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Don’t Think Your Business App is too Small

By: SmallBizClub

 

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Small business owners toying with the idea of developing a mobile app to promote their companies might find themselves heartened by the immensity of the market but at the same time frightened away by the magnitude of the competition.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize how dependent most Americans have become on their smartphones. Just look around you in a crowded restaurant or airport departure lounge, and you’ll see that a large percentage of your fellow diners or airline passengers have their attention focused on the smartphones tightly clutched in their hands.

Smartphone Use Soars

Statista, one of the Internet’s leading clearinghouses for statistics, estimates that the number of smartphone users in the United States will reach 163.9 million by the end of 2014. That represents an increase of slightly more than 100 million from the 62.6 million American smartphone users in 2010. Although the rate of growth is expected to slow over the next four years, Statista predicts that 220 million Americans will be smartphone users by the end of 2018.

And each of America’s iPhone and Android smartphone users spends a little more than 30 hours a month on an average of 26.8 mobile apps. And these smartphone users have plenty of apps to choose from. Mobile apps available through the iPhone’s App Store topped 1 million at the end of 2013, and apps for Android-based smartphones are close behind.

Fire OS, Microsoft OS

Relative newcomers to the smartphone sweepstakes are phones that run Microsoft’s mobile operating system and the Amazon Fire, which runs Amazon’s Fire OS, said to be similar to and compatible with Android. Although the numbers for these new entrants into the smartphone market are relatively small, they undoubtedly will grow significantly in the years ahead.

All of which begs the question: How does a small business market a mobile app that can compete in a market so vast against hundreds of thousands of other apps, many of which undoubtedly represent larger companies in the same line of business?

Be Noteworthy

In “How to Market an App to Consumers,” writer Edward Lakatis examines a number of techniques that businesses can deploy to convince smartphone users to download their apps. At the very top of his list is the following recommendation: “Be noteworthy.” In other words, find a way to make your app stand out from the competition. Obviously this is easier said than done.

Mashable.com senior tech correspondent Samantha Murphy Kelly and the graphics team at Blu Caribu, a Spanish-based SEO service provider, joined forces to create a visually powerful presentation on steps app developers can take to stand out from the crowd.

Select a Unique Name

Early in the development stage, choose a unique but easy-to-remember name for your app. This should be relatively easy for business app developers who are most likely to use the company name or some variant thereof in the name of the mobile app. If your company name is similar in some respects to those of competitors, tweak the app’s name in a clever way so that it won’t be confused with those of rival companies.

Select and list the keywords or phrases you want to incorporate within your app so that search engines can readily locate it when smartphone owners use those words or phrases in their search queries. Before signing off on the name for your mobile app, carefully research the proposed name to make certain that it in no way infringes on the trademarks of other companies or organizations.

Check out the Competition

Carefully examine the mobile apps of companies that provide services that are identical or similar to those offered by your business. Whatever they are doing, find a way to do it better. Use your expertise in the business to identify features or services that you would want in a mobile app but have been overlooked by your competitors.

Create an eye-catching icon to serve as the online symbol for your mobile app, and take screen shots of the app’s pages. Carefully select images that instantly convey to viewers how the app works and all that it offers so that potential customers will feel compelled to download the app to their smartphones.

Get to the Point

In promotional copy for your mobile app, make every word count. Don’t frustrate or confuse them with long-winded explanations about the app’s virtues. Look for a way to simply and succinctly tell them how the app can make their lives easier.

Before the app ever launches, compile a list of the publications—online and print—that review new mobile apps. Just before the app’s debut, send promotional material about the app to all these publications, and follow up with a phone call to convince each publication’s editor to review the app and publish its verdict. If you’ve done your job well, the verdict should be a positive one.

Build into the app links to major social media platforms, so that new converts to your app can share their opinions about it with others at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

If your company’s budget can afford it, contract with one of the many app promotion agencies that can help spread the word about your new mobile app and what it has to offer. AppClover, AppPromo, ComboApp, and ProAppMarketing are just a few examples of the app promotion agencies that are out there.
 
Author: Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.

Published: August 18, 2014
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