The major progressions made in mobile technology over the past decade have pushed us well and truly into the smartphone era. There’s been a massive surge in the global demand for smartphones in recent years and there are now an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world.  

Whereas once consumers would use different devices to achieve different purposes, they now use their mobiles to carry out the vast majority of their daily activities, whether that’s playing games, making purchases, or streaming content. According to research from Google, 91% of smartphone users will reach for their phone while doing a task and 82% of them will use their phone to carry out research before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.  

Furthermore, over 50% of all eCommerce transactions now happen on a mobile device, while a substantial 85% of consumers prefer to use a mobile app over a mobile website.  

As popular as smartphone usage has already become, we are only at the beginning of the mobile age, so it makes sense for businesses to embrace the power that this medium offers by creating branded apps. With such a large proportion of consumers preferring the app experience to mobile sites, the latter have well and truly had their day as far as being a business development tool goes.   

If your business is new to the mobile app realm, here are three ways in which a dedicated application can level-up your digital marketing efforts.  

Expanding and Engaging your Audience 

Creating an app for your business will enable you to connect and communicate with a much wider audience than if you were to restrict your company to just the online space or mobile web space. The “always-on” nature of apps means that customers can engage with your business no matter where in the world they’re located or what time of day it happens to be.  

The potential of mobile apps in the realm of audience engagement is something iGaming providers like PokerStars have been utilizing since the middle of the last decade. By releasing an Android version of its poker gaming platform with supporting content like TV shows and player interviews, the brand has been able to tap into a whole new demographic of gamers and keep them engaged with relevant content that reinforced brand interaction even when they’re not playing games.  

Increasing Customer Loyalty 

Quite simply, no matter what industry your business operates in, a bespoke app will give your customers or clients an experience that they just can’t get with the mobile sites offered by your competitors. This is absolutely crucial when it comes to generating and maintaining long-term customer loyalty.  

An app is one of the easiest ways to build the customer value that’s at the heart of long term brand loyalty, and the flexibility of apps means there are many ways to go about achieving this. Offering rewards and points for app usage is a tried and tested way to keep customers engaged, but there are more unique examples that truly harness the power of mobile apps.  

Global beauty company L’Oreal, for example, launched its Makeup Genius app in 2014, which utilizes advanced facial mapping technology to enable customers to “try on” products in real-time. Using the inbuilt camera on a smartphone, the app scans a customer’s face and allows them to virtually apply makeup that has been specifically chosen for them by beauty experts. Not only is this is an effective way for the company to keep customers informed, but it also reinforces the relationship between a customer’s need and the solution (L’Oreal products).  

Offering a Direct Marketing Channel 

Perhaps most useful of all, creating an app for your business gives you a direct marketing channel to your target audience. Utilizing tools like push notifications and the data that you can mine from an app, you’ll be able to establish a direct line of communication that is tailored exactly to your customer’s specific needs and requirements. And you can be as creative as you like when it comes to the messages you’re sending.  

Brands like Amazon, Buzzfeed, Delectable and Swarm are known for the unique, engaging push notifications that they send out to mobile consumers. Amazon, for example, tailors its dispatch and delivery notifications to the items that users have purchased, while Buzzfeed isn’t afraid to mix up text and emojis in its newsfeed notifications to reinforce its “laid-back brand voice”.  

Push notifications are one of the most efficient ways for brands to keep consumers up to date, informing them of new services and products, as well as special offers and promotions. While it can be tricky initially to get the balance right when it comes to how often push notifications should be sent, the results they can generate are more than worth the effort you’ll first put in.