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How To Get Your Staff On Board With Your New App

You’re app is live! How exciting! But how do you make sure it’s a success? A key factor in your app marketing is your staff’s buy-in. If the staff knows and understands the value of the app, they will be able to relay this information to the customer. The more excited and knowledgeable your employees are about this new piece of technology, the better your app will perform. So, it’s time to train your staff on your business’ new app.

Step #1: Overcome Skeptical Employees

Your new app will boost sales, increase productivity, and improve operations. Regardless of these strong benefits, getting every employee on board can still be a challenge. Employees might be skeptical to adopt any new technology, as they are happy with the status quo. According to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting, 63% managers said that the pace of technological change in their workplace is too slow, primarily due to a “lack of urgency and poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools.”

The solution to dealing with skeptical employees is allowing them to understand why the app is an improvement from what they had before. The job of a small business owner or manager is to help people cross that bridge, and get them comfortable with the new technology. If your employees see how it will make their jobs easier and better, they will embrace the change.

This is where you state your case, putting forth a compelling “vision for what the technology is and what it’s going to do.” You need to demonstrate that the app offers economic and rational benefits for the business. And even more important is to help them understand what’s in it for them.

For example:

  • Higher productivity: Your job will become more efficient, as you will spend less time taking phone orders.
  • Higher revenue: With more orders coming in, you will be making more tips.
  • Happier customers: With the new loyalty program, you will have more positive interactions with customers.
  • Direct feedback loop: Customers will be able to share what you did great and where you could improve.

As a small business owner, think of the ways in which you were persuaded to invest in a mobile app. What convinced you that this was the right decision? What benefits are you expecting to see from its implementation? Your employees are probably going to need the same amount of convincing you needed before you started the app project.

Step #2: Prepare Customized Staff Training

It is important to take into account individual differences like interest and familiarity with digital technology. Some of your employees won’t be able to live without their digital devices, while others might have difficulty using their smartphone. Your training efforts should reflect these differences. Think of your employees who struggle the most with adapting to technology.

There are many different training approaches you can use, but your app training will be most efficient if you take a hands-on approach. A face-to-face training is going to be the most impactful and useful method, as you can personally teach your staff the ins and outs of the new app and allow them to ask any questions they have. We suggest calling a meeting with the entire team and start with a presentation on the new app and its functions.

We have a Staff Training Template that you can fill out for your own business and use to train your staff on your new app. All the slides include examples, so make sure to edit the information so it pertains to your own business — check out the notes under each slide for tips.

Get the Staff Training Template

Download PDF template for FREE and start properly training your staff! – get the Powerpoint version by emailing Apps@TargetMediaMobile.com or by calling (216) 672-9292

Part of this training should also consist of setting specific and measurable goals. These training goals should outline what each employee will be able to accomplish with the new app. You can set a quota for new app downloads, for example. Maybe you want at least 20 downloads per week, and the staff needs to work together to reach this. Keep these goals in mind when training starts to ensure that each employee knows how to reach the objective.

However, simply standing in front of the group and showing them the new technology on a screen is not enough. After the training session, give them a chance to test it out. Have everyone download the app to their own phone and experiment with it. Besides understanding the app’s value, they should also be knowledgeable about how each feature works.

Step #3: Make It Fun

Once your business has fully implemented the mobile app, share the positive impact it is having with your staff. Have you seen a steady increase in loyal members? Have orders or reservations increased? Has your business received new positive reviews? Highlighting these quick wins ensure continued support for the app.

You can make these quick wins even more fun by rewarding employees who have effectively incorporated the app in their daily work duties. You can get creative with this! For example, you can organize a contest where the winner is the employee who got the most customers to download the app. Their prize could be a compensation, a special perk, a recognition, or anything else that would get them motivated. You could hang up a running tally of the employees’ scores in the break room to spark some fun and friendly competition. Experiment with gamification to create a buzz around the mobile app among your staff.

Step #4: Provide Feedback

Feedback is one of the most important parts of implementing new technology in a business. Open up the communication channels, so your staff feels comfortable sharing both the positives and negatives of the new app. Ask them how they think the loyalty program is working. Ask them how the mobile ordering workflow is treating them. Ask them how the app has improved their daily tasks. Take their feedback seriously, as your employees are the ones using the app every single day. For instance, if they mention that customers aren’t participating in the loyalty program because the rewards don’t get them excited, it’s time to switch it up. When there are issues, you will be able to tackle them before they spread to your customer base. In turn, you can also give your employees constructive feedback on how they are doing with the app.

Conclusion

The only way your new mobile app is going to exceed expectations is if your staff is 100% on board. They hold the power to make the app a huge success. It is your job as a small business owner to get them as excited about the new app as you are. Customers will pick up on this positivity and be more likely to give the app a try. Feel free to use our Staff Training Template to make training an efficient and motivating experience.

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Train Your Restaurant Staff on Mobile Technology [Checklist]

Today, 4 in 5 restaurant operators agree that restaurant technology increases sales makes their restaurant more productive and gives their restaurant a competitive edge. The fastest way to make this happen in restaurants is by training and educating staff on emerging mobile apps. Nurturing and embedding technology is proven to drive sales. Our economy is experiencing a cultural shift to digital and mobile, so it’s important to share with your staff how your business is keeping up with the times. In this blog post, you’ll learn how training staff on apps and mobile technology can be put into action.

When is the right time to train your staff?
Immediately, upon arrival! Your new employees should undergo an all-inclusive new-hire training program. If you are an independent business owner, you might have read “training program” and thought “we’re too small for THAT”. On the contrary; any business needs that training in place if their long-term goal is to grow the business.

How do you keep your staff informed?
Most restaurants have their own communication flow. An industry leader, ZingTrain, keeps their staff informed by using various channels — a letter in their paycheck, check-ins from the manager, printed updates in a central and consistent spot, and monthly seminars. They recognize different learning styles and encourage other businesses to communicate in three ways:  reading it, hearing it, and testing out. Technology and our businesses change constantly. It’s crucial to put a system in place to spread the word about the latest company news.

Below you’ll find a training checklist you can use for your own restaurant or cafe. Fill it out with the right information pertaining to your business, and then use it when training new hires. We recommend that you actually teach each topic to staff members. A handout is simply not as effective, and will not serve your business as well.

CHECKLIST FOR STAFF TRAINING ON RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGY

  • Apps to Find our Restaurant: Google, Yelp, Facebook.
    • Staff should be invited to look up your restaurant so they learn more about your business, as well as understand how new customers find you.
  • Apps for Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
    • Good stats for your staff to know:
      • 49% of consumers learn about food and your restaurant through social networks. That means you can reach about half of the people on social media just by becoming active. If a customer wants to take a pic of your restaurant, or their meal, do NOT interrupt that. It’s money in your cash drawer!
      • 24% respond to conversations about food on social media. Engaging with your followers about your food photos helps build your brand and gain trust.
    • Staff should encourage customers to stay in touch through social media to receive specials and notifications about events.
  • Apps for Restaurant Reviews: Yelp, Zomato, Urbanspoon, OpenTable and TripAdvisor, Facebook.
    • Good stats for your staff to know:
      • For every 1/2 point rise on OpenTable, sales can rise by 5%.
      • A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5 – 9% increase in revenue.
    • Remind your staff that higher sales translate to higher tips. Monthly educational seminars focused on good service and terrific hospitality can drive positive reviews and improved volume. Role play is the single most effective shift for servers here at Cavalletta Solutions. For instance, certain members of the staff know the “script” and act it out in a table service setting.  We have found staff learned the language, the tone to use, and how best to invite a customer to spread the word on a review app. Training at one restaurant in Baltimore translated into a 2.2% growth in revenue year over year.
  • Apps for Discounts: Groupon, Yelp.
    • Inform your staff on how you feel about discounts, and teach them how to implement them (including register training). Here’s an example: “We are occasionally on Groupon. We will train you when we know we are running a special discount.”
    • Note: Discounts for restaurants need to be used sparingly. Record your results—too often an owner assumes a discount didn’t work. Record your data, look at the data, then reach an accurate conclusion.
  • Apps for Delivery: Uber Eats, Postmates, GrubHub, Eat24, EatStreet.
    • Train your staff on how each of these delivery systems work. More specifically, show them which machine is for which app, how they should enter information in the cash register, what happens when the driver arrives and who is allowed to turn off an app when the kitchen is in the weeds.
  • Apps for Payment:  Square, Paypal.
    • Teach your staff that you accept different methods for payments. If a phone call comes in asking about Square, they probably need to talk to a manager, as it may be related to catering or venue questions.
  • Apps for Loyalty: Five Stars, Flok, Stamp Me.
    • Loyalty is king, and your staff should be fully aware of this. Returning customers are crucial to your restaurant, so teach them how to bring up your loyalty program to customers. Loyalty is Cavalletta’s preferred method of gaining market share and is more effective than discounts.
  • Unique Branded App:
    • In today’s mobile-friendly climate, a branded app for your restaurant can encompass all of the above technologies. In other words, in-house apps link to and combine the features of many other apps. However, it can only be successful if your staff embraces it. If you decide to go for a fully-integrated app made specifically for your restaurant, or already have one, you need to train your staff on its features, functions, and benefits. Have them download the app on their own phone, and give them some time to interact with it themselves. By educating your staff on the app, they will be more engaged with the technology. Lack of training here will lead to a distrust, apathy and, ultimately, an app that fizzles away.

How can you keep your staff up-to-date on the ever-changing restaurant technology? With the above template, you can teach every staff member from the get go. Additionally, update them in daily lineups, monthly education seminars and through your communication flow – keep your staff updated on any new technology. With only a 5% growth projected in the restaurant industry for 2017, training your staff on technology can give you the advantage you need.

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How to Increase Mobile App Engagement With Push Notifications

The mobile industry is booming, and mobile apps are completely dominating this arena. Companies of all sizes are seeing the benefits of having a mobile app. According to recent data, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by 2017.

However, simply having an app is not enough to win over mobile users. Most people only use 6 to 10 apps each week. And when it comes to new downloads, only 3.3% of Android apps and 3.2% of iOS apps still had active users after 30 days.

So, how do you get people to download your app, and even more importantly, keep using it after initial installation? The ideal app is useful, engaging, even addictive, so that people see it as an indispensable part of their daily routine.

You should focus on these two metrics: mobile app engagement and mobile app retention. While both are subjective metrics, high engagement and retention make for a successful app. More specifically, engagement refers to how active users are on the app (e.g. how many user sessions per month). Retention, on the other hand, focuses on the percentage of app users who return to the app (e.g. how many users return within 3 months of the first session).

These two metrics combined determine an app’s “stickiness” – how engaged and loyal users are for a specific app. To make an app sticky, it needs to keep users engaged and ensure repeat usage. To do so requires development strategies that connect app functionality and experience with people’s intent and mobile behavior. Forbes states that “building and delivering great mobile experiences will be the beating heart of your customer engagement strategy for the next 10 years.”

Think of it this way, if version one of your mobile app was just a good looking exterior, the following versions will be an in depth system of engagement. The goal of your app is to help people take action in their immediate moments of need.

In those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance. According to Google, “micro-moments are the new battleground for brands”. They introduced the term micro-moments to discuss how we should reach customers on their phone and here are three essential strategies:

Increasing mobile app engagement begins with these micro-moments and, arguably, the most important one in this case is Be Useful. You need to be useful and meet users’ needs in critical moments. That means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it. As Google says, “With mobile we’re able to add a rich understanding of context to consumers’ underlying intent. That context provides critical insights into consumer behavior—and therefore powerful clues for how you can be most relevant and useful for people in their moments of need”.

But what happens if you are not useful? Without utility, consumers will not only move on, they actually might not ever come back. Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly).

So if quality, timing and relevance of a company’s message are important, how does this translate to your app communication?

An effective strategy to be useful, as well as engaging, with your app is through push notifications:

  • Frequency: To send or not to send? The answer to this question lies in your understanding of the app audience and their expectations. A great way to find out more about your users is by implementing a “preference center” within your app, allowing users to select the subject matter they want to get push notifications about and when. You want users to be receptive to your message, therefore knowing your audience is key in leveraging push notifications to foster engagement.
  • Timing: Consider not only the frequency of your push notifications, but also the time of day. It is important to send out messages when your users are active and already on their phones. For example, lunch time and early evening are common times people are on their phones. Determine the ideal send times by using A/B testing. Once you have discovered when the most users are in front of your app, segment the audience based on their attributes to improve response rates. Brands using segmentation have response rates 4-7 times higher than those who do not.
  • Content: The smartphone is a personal marketing medium, and your app users are expecting tailored and important messages to come their way. Language that conveys urgency (i.e. time-sensitive deals) and relevancy (i.e. sending it to the relevant segment) will drive users back to your app. Push notifications have the potential of annoying recipients, so to counter this, your content needs to be honest, helpful, funny, memorable, clear, empathetic and trendy. As push notifications have design limitations and follow a standardized text format, your words need to motivate user action.
  • Deep Linking: Deep linking guides your audience to exactly where you want them to go within your app. It provides the user with a more seamless experience while reducing barriers to completing a desired action. For example, if you send a push notification about pre-sale tickets to a concert, you can deep-link to a purchase page in your app. The key here is to figure out the path you want your app users to take, and then help to send them in the right direction.

By identifying these ideal mobile moments to send messages to customers, your app will excel at Being Useful. By mastering the art of push notifications, your app will significantly increase mobile engagement no matter what type of app you have, or how you define engagement.

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Resell Mobile Apps with Facebook Marketing

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Social media marketing and mobile app development are hot topics on the mind of every marketer. These topics should be on the minds of every business owner, too. If you have recently begun re-selling mobile apps, there is a good chance you may be a marketer yourself and thus far from needing any convincing that advertising this new facet of your business on Facebook is a main priority. However, you may be unfamiliar with the idea of marketing white label apps via Facebook, especially when it comes to managing ad spending and maximizing returns.

Facebook is a particularly advantageous channel for mobile apps. When it comes to advertising apps, more businesses use this social media channel than any other. And for good reason. Not only does Facebook allow brands to connect with consumers all over the world, its platform allows for potential clients to engage directly with the apps and content you have created. There is also a good chance that your competitors are already present and attracting clients through this channel.

Creating successful marketing campaigns on Facebook is a great way to boost yourself in the eyes of consumers,as a leader in affordable, functioning, and innovative mobile apps. To help guide you through reselling mobile apps via Facebook marketing (and maybe give you a few creative ideas of your own), here are a few key steps that will help make your campaigns (and your business) more prosperous.

Understanding Your Audience or Niche

 

Before you launch any social media campaigns on Facebook, you have to know who your audience is. A lot of white label app marketers will target a specific type of business, whether it is bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms or another type of small business. It’s imperative that you understand the demographics of your audience.

The goal is to optimize your Facebook marketing costs by targeting only the consumers that would benefit from having you as provider of their mobile app solution. This ensures that you work with businesses that match your unique skill sets and expertise. Thus, you produce better quality apps and build a stronger brand and reputation in the industry.

The better you are at targeting your audience, whoever it may be, the less money you will waste putting your name in front of people who have no interest in your business.

Producing a Clear Message that Highlights Your USP

 

Now that you have your audience picked out, the next step is to work on creating the message that will attract members of that audience. Facebook is a unique channel in that users spend only a few moments, sometimes just a second, looking at any one post or message. This means you have a very, very limited window of opportunity to not only grab their attention, but also to demonstrate the value of your mobile apps and (hopefully) get them to act. To achieve this, your marketing messages have to be clear, concise and demonstrate your Unique Selling Point (USP).

Your USP is exactly what it sounds like; it is the one aspect of your mobile app offerings, or your company, that cannot be replicated by competitors. Perhaps, it is your unmatched focus and expertise within the industry you have chosen to focus on. It may be your out-of-the-box creative team. There may be more than one aspect, but the key is to keep the clarity of your message intact. Often, this means focusing on one USP and adopting it in your marketing messages, images and videos.

Launching Your Facebook Campaign

The goal of every Facebook campaign is the same. While getting lots of reach and engagement is good, ultimately you want conversions. You want members of your target audience to click through your advertisements or content, find your website and purchase a white label mobile app from you.

Your campaign brings everything together; it is targeted at the right audience, it has a simple message that highlights your USP and it does this in a creative and appealing way. The best Facebook marketing campaigns are the ones that deliver on what they promise. So, avoid trying to draw people in with untrue headlines or other clickbait tactics.

If you are unsure where to start with your campaign, Facebook’s Help Center has a lot of information that can help you launch your first marketing efforts on this channel. Facebook also offers their Power Editor feature, which provides an intuitive dashboard to create, manage and track new, existing and future campaigns. It can be a powerful tool, whether you are a first time Facebook marketer or an experienced veteran.

Remember, when you are making content for your campaign, the creative is much more important than the copy. When it comes to Facebook, people want to see, not read. Having a compelling image or video, with little copy, is the best route. A lot of Facebook marketing gurus swear by the 20% rule, which dictates that only 20% of the creative should involve copy.

Evaluate Success

One of Facebook’s strongest qualities as a marketing channel is that it is highly measurable. Everything your company posts on Facebook has trackable metrics, which can allow you to better understand the tactics that work and those that do not. These metrics, however, can get confusing to differentiate and it can be especially hard to understand which ones are furthering your current business objectives.

Click Through Rate (CTR) – Click Through Rate is the percentage of people that saw your ad or content and actually clicked through to find your website.

Conversion Rate (CVR) – Conversion rate represents the percentage of those that clicked through to the website and actually contacted you about an app, joined your e-mail newsletter, or took some other action that resulted in you capturing their contact information.

 

Cost Per Action (CPA) – How much did you pay in Facebook advertising and targeting to get a single person to your website where they contacted you about an app, joined your email list, or gave you their contact information in some other way? CPA is akin to cost per lead in other marketing channels.

If you are interested in generating new clients, your goal is to stimulate a high CVR, while maintaining a low CPA. Alternatively, if you were just looking to boost your brand awareness on social media, having a very high CTR is a good benchmark metric to follow.

If you are not getting the metric levels you anticipated or want to reach, chances are your Facebook marketing efforts need some tweaking. Perhaps the creative doesn’t resonate with your target audiences, or the message isn’t impactful enough. Whatever the case may be, you will know when you fix it and start seeing your metrics tend in the right direction.

Other Facebook Marketing Tactics

While the primary focus of this guide has been getting the most out of Facebook ads, there are a number of other ways to leverage social media, especially Facebook, to further business objectives.

 

Educate Users – Not everyone is entirely comfortable with mobile yet, especially small businesses. Sure, we use mobile all the time, but when it comes to adopting a mobile strategy within an organization, a lot of business owners are weary. While they have heard and understand mobile’s many benefits, they are unsure what exactly to expect from “going mobile.” They may still feel that a mobile solution is out of their budget. By posting educational materials (even just links to mobile-related articles), you not only stand out as a company that is routinely staying ahead of the curve on mobile trends, but you can also help inform some of these weary business owners and raise their comfort levels regarding mobile development.

Client Endorsements / Testimonials – One of the key features of Facebook that makes it such a tremendous success is the social aspect. Each one of your clients present on Facebook likely has hundreds of friends that have never heard about your organization. While it may be uncomfortable to ask a client to endorse you on social media, you would be surprised how willing most people are, especially if you agree to discount their app or provide them with another service. Asking for an endorsement not only expands your reach, but it allows that customer to feel that their voice is very valuable to you.

Share Update News – Reselling mobile apps means you are trying to get people to buy a product that is constantly changing. As mobile trends develop and customers look for new features, your reseller program will update their platform to accommodate these changes. As the updates roll out, informing your audience of new features (or old issues that are now fixed) keeps them in the know and has the potential to generate new business. Maybe a potential client looked at your offerings a few months ago, but you lacked a certain feature that they were looking for. Now that you have shared the news that you now include that feature, that person may come back.

Conclusion

Choosing to resell mobile apps is a great way to propel your business into the mobile age. With this guide, you can begin promoting your business through Facebook and become a leader in mobile app development in the eyes of your target audiences. You are equipped with the knowledge to successfully run a Facebook marketing campaign that keeps costs low, but returns high. You also have a number of ways to support your advertisements and marketing messages with other content, such as informational articles, client endorsements and more.

In a lot of ways, reselling mobile apps through Facebook marketing blends together two key, but different disciplines: science and art. Hopefully, what you have managed to take away from this guide has provided you with the know-how to handle the data-rich, science side to Facebook Marketing. The artistry, on the other hand, is up to you and your creative team to develop, critique and re-imagine.

In the end, you will be generating more business, at fewer costs, than if you went into Facebook Marketing blindly. Not only does this give you a potential leg up on the competition, but it also allows you to focus on what is truly important; making unique, creative, white label apps for your clients and and growing your business.

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Geofencing As A Marketing Strategy – Learn From 8 Businesses Who Are Profiting From Geofencing

Have you gotten into your car after work when an instant traffic report for your commute home suddenly pops up on your phone?  If this is not a phenomenon you’ve experienced yet, look for useful insights like these and many others to start showing up on your mobile device out of the blue.

It’s called geofencing, and studies show that this locally optimized approach to reaching customers boasts double the click through rate of normal mobile advertising. If you are a small business owner, you need to get on board with this marketing marvel right away.  It’s an easy and affordable solution to engage your customers and grow your bottom line.

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(Screenshot credit: Search Engine Land)

Why You Should Adopt a Geofencing Marketing Approach

First of all, with any new and emerging technology, you need to see the evidence to support the hype. Data drives decisions, and in this case, the numbers speak volumes.

  • 60% of consumers look for local information on their mobile devices.
  • 40% of consumers look for information while on the go.
  • 70% of consumers are willing to share their location with you for something in return.
  • Secondary Action Rates–meaning people visit a store or take some other additional action after seeing an ad–are more than 2x as likely to occur with location-based marketing.
  • Home and trade services rank among the industries that receive the highest secondary action rates.

How Can This Location Data Help Me?

How can you use this exciting and versatile technology in your business? There are many ways you can use geofencing to help increase customer interactions, employee productivity, accountability, and profits, as well as keep your property and assets safe.

The first step is to develop a mobile app that supports this technology.  From there, the possibilities are endless.  Just look at what ground-breaking steps are being made within businesses who have begun to use geofencing.

North Face Uses Geofencing to Boost Sales with Creative Alerts

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North Face is one of the big guns when it comes to outdoor apparel. One of the reasons the brand is so successful is because it’s not afraid to experiment with new technology.

The company recently experimented with geofencing as a means to lure customers to their stores by using push notifications about the weather. Their weather-based geofenced alerts have been quite successful. The company boasts a 79% increase in store visits from customers who receive the alerts, and 65% of those customers make purchases.

There’s a lot you can learn from the marketing team over at the North Face—even if your business is on a much smaller scale.  First of all, studies suggest that when a user isn’t surfing the web on his or her phone, he or she is likely to spend 86% of smartphone time using apps.

Pay attention to how the big guys are playing the mobile game—there’s a lot to learn, and in a digital world, your small business can compete.  More importantly, don’t ignore a powerful resource because you don’t understand it—learn what’s new, and learn how to apply it to your business.

BMW Uses Geofencing to Offer Quality Customer Service

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BMW has also employed geofencing into their mobile business plan—in a rather different manner than most. Where most companies are using geofencing as a tool for garnering consumer attention with flashy promotions, BMW’s use is a little more pragmatic.

BMW incorporates geofencing in their BMW Trackstar and BMW Trackstar Advance services. After the activation of this service, your car’s position is pinpointed every 20 seconds. If the car is moved without the use of its keys, and the car moves out of a designated geofence, it will notify BMW who will then reach out to the car’s owner.

Again, as a small business owner, you can learn a lot from BMW with regard to the customer service potentials of a geofence. You may not have the theft of an expensive car to worry about in your business, but you do have customers who need product protection, communication, and reliability.  With about 90% of customers expecting some sort of self-service customer support, investing in the right solution will place your brand in your customers’ good graces.

Walgreens Uses Geofencing as a Means of Customer Retention

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Attracting customers is one thing but retaining them is another story entirely. Studies suggest that 83% of millennials connect with brands that appeal to their digital needs, and of that 83%, 62% become brand loyal customers.

Walgreens is using mobile marketing as a way to build trust and eventually promote brand loyalty in its customers through geofencing. Whenever a customer pulls into a fenced location a notification allows the user to open the app without having to look for it. After that, customers can scroll through their account details or view promotional offers.

Clearly the data shows that loyalty programs are a must for today’s consumers.  Your business can mirror Walgreen’s direction when you add a geofence to your mobile app.

This specific approach to mobile marketing gives the user an experience of exactly “what they want when they want it” which is a hard feat to achieve in marketing. Service without interruption promotes customer loyalty.

Uber Uses Geofencing for Proactivity

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Following the lead of tech-giants around the world, Uber has also delved into using geofences. Uber uses geofences at Los Angeles International airport so that when users arrive at the airport they are notified about the number of cars available to meet their needs. This allows geofences to serve as a means of providing proactive customer services.

If you are in the travel niche, you can learn a lot from Uber’s proactive approach to catering to potential consumers.  But, even if you are not in the travel businesses, thinking about ways to let your customers know you have what they need when they need it most is a great way to use the geofencing capabilities of your business’ mobile app.

It’s important to note that 82% of businesses see quality information as the most important component of a customer’s experience. That means that your competitors are looking for ways to provide clients with the information they need.  You need to stay competitive, and a lesson from Uber’s proactive geofences can certainly put you ahead of your competitors.

Honeywell’s Geofencing Approach to Going Green

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Honeywell’s Lyric is a smart thermostat that uses geofencing to detect the presence of people in the room. It turns the heat on and off depending upon the presence of people in an area so that power can be saved.

People want to make the world a better place.  There’s no better way to bring your brand into the limelight than aligning it with a noble cause that does just that—especially since 95% of students say they are less likely to ignore ads or promotions that show a brand’s relationship with a good cause.

If you can set up a geofence to bolster your cause, your business is certain to reap the marketing benefits—and so will your cause.

American Eagle’s Geofencing Marketing Endeavors

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American Eagle set its sights on foot traffic to boost sales at its outlet stores. The clothing giant sent customers who entered geofenced outlet mall parking lot notifications and promotions. The incentives led customers into the door of American Eagle vs. its competitors. The result was a threefold increase in purchases.

As a business owner, you can learn from American Eagle’s success in sending push notifications. If you own a brick in mortar store, an incentive when people are in the vicinity is certain to remind them of something they need or want–let them know you have it when they are close. If American Eagle’s  efforts show you anything, it is that paired with the right location, technology can minimize marketing legwork while maximizing customers’ responses—thus making marketing campaigns that much more effective.

Simply put, use the data to track your users’ behaviors.  Then, build the right type of geofenced marketing campaign, and let your app do the work for you. The data shows it works.

Taco Bell Reaches the Right Crowd with Its Geofence

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Taco Bell’s app is a crucial tool in their geofencing marketing plan. Its mobile ordering feature entices users to download it.  With the app in place, hungry customers can order from their phones and then simply go pick up their food—no wait.

After consumers have downloaded the app, the restaurant utilizes geofencing as a way of targeting people under 30 years old with push notifications whenever they are in the vicinity of a Taco Bell.  A quick reminder that they can order food from their phone and pick it up two miles down the road was a great way to appeal to the “Want it Now” generation.

Taco Bell recognized its consumer base, used the right tools to communicate with it, and showed an  increase in their annual sales of 6%.

Marketing to the right crowd is business 101.  With the right tools, your small business can send notifications to your customers without breaking the bank.  All you need is a mobile app with geofencing capabilities.

History Channel

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In order to keep up with the times, the History Channel has also begun to utilize geofencing in its Foursquare Campaign.  This ground breaking idea gives history buffs something they yearn for—historical facts.  In order to connect with its viewers, the History Channel setup geofences, so when any user checks into a particular historical location on Foursquare – say the White House of the Eiffel Tower –  he or she gets historical facts about the place.  The campaign generated a surprising 400 million check-ins.

Again the brainiacs at the History Channel can teach you a lot more than history.  As a business owner, you can copy their thinking and use geofences to provide strong competition to similar nearby businesses and attract their consumer base. You can setup your fences so that users going towards your competitors are notified about your businesses promotions so that you can lure customers away from the competition.

Conclusions

It is safe to say that geofencing is powerful and affordable way to reach consumers.  As an SMB, your growing business can easily learn to keep up with the big brand competition. Simply paying attention to how their marketing gurus are adopting geofencing into their mobile marketing plans can give you great insights to what your business is capable of achieving.

Any affordable option is worth exploring, and when you build an app equipped with geofencing capabilities, you are setting yourself up to stay current and competitive.  Learn How to Make Geofencing Work for Your Small Business with TargetMedia Mobile Apps.

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Your Competitors Are Going Mobile – Here’s Why You Should Too

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As more and more consumers rely on their mobile devices for personal and business use, the need for a mobile app is rapidly growing. 2015 was dubbed
“The Year of the Mobile Web,” so small businesses without a mobile presence have already fallen far behind.

There’s typically only one reason these businesses hold out: money.

The Cost of a Mobile App

In January 2015, Clutch conducted a survey of a number of leading mobile app developers to determine the average overall cost of building an iPhone/Android app, including the factors or variables that affect cost the most. The findings put the average cost of mobile app development between $37,913 and $171,450. For a small business, even the lower end of this price range is a hefty one to swallow, especially without an immediate return on investment.

Luckily, the average price has fallen drastically. While the numbers may be a bit out of date, the data can still help us identify the features carrying the highest cost when developing a mobile app: the infrastructure, features, and design. On the less expensive end is the planning, deployment, and even testing that goes into the mobile app’s release.

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Why Mobile Development Is More Accessible Now

Technology often changes so fast that as soon as data like the above is released, newer technology has made development more accessible, thus lowering costs. As mobile development has become more popular and important in today’s business world, the number of app builders on the market also grown. More providers means more competitive pricing; there are more options to choose from, and some of these options are remarkably cheap compared to the prices we were seeing just a year or more ago.

Also on the rise is app development software. Some of these software or app development services are designed for a small business to make their own mobile app at a very low price. As long as a business owner is willing to take the time and effort required, these hyper user-friendly tools can drastically reduce overhead.

The evolution of mobile is almost identical to the changes we’ve witnessed in web development through its infancy and beyond. In the early stages of the Internet, having a website became an undisputed necessity for businesses, but development was costly. There was only a small number of developers and designers available. Now, there are a number of inexpensive services that allow anyone to make their own functioning website with relative ease.

The Future of Small Businesses and Mobile Development

With a mobile app becoming a much more reasonable investment for a small business to swallow, the future looks very positive. Recent data reports that roughly a quarter of small businesses already have a mobile app and another 27% of them have plans to enter the mobile world in the next year or so. As prices go down and accessibility goes up, these numbers are likely to increase rapidly.

Part of the shift from uncertainty to conviction is simple education. Small businesses ambivalent about adopting mobile may have been quoted for an app a year or more ago and still believe it’s out of their price range. Others fail to see how a mobile app will impact their business or how it’s relevant to their industry.

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What Mobile Development Can be Used For

At the core of all business apps, there’s one of a number of key drivers:

  • Accessibility & Visibility — As mobile search volume continues to grow, adopting a mobile platform is more and more important for accessibility and visibility. If consumers can’t find you or interact with your brand in the mobile environment, they may defect to a mobile competitor. Alternatively, attracting new customers without a mobile app could become harder and harder; your business is less discoverable and you lack a key tool to keep you up-to-date and competitive in your industry.
  • Internal Processes & Productivity  While we often think of apps as a new platform for our customers to engage with, mobile development also improves internal processes and productivity. Many companies utilize desktop software to facilitate certain day-to-day business processes. A mobile-centric version of this software could further enhance these processes. After all, mobile is, well, mobile, which means you can perform these processes on the go instead of sitting down to fire up your desktop.
  • Customer Experience — Without mobile, a customer’s relationship with your brand or company is interrupted the moment they walk out the door. By providing a mobile app experience, that relationship does not have to end. Your brand is more accessible, appears more personable, and can stimulate more communication. Improving the customer experience ultimately increases brand loyalty and reduces churn.

All of these factors and others have direct relationships to profits. The more visible you are, the more discoverable you are to new and existing customers. Internal mobile apps boost productivity and, perhaps more than ever, time is money. Lastly, a mobile app is key to enhancing the customer experience, which is becoming more and more important to audiences. It is no longer about offering the best product and quality, you also need to provide the best experience and mobile is one of the most important facets of that.

Conclusion

The mobile world took off like a rocket. In a few short years, it moved from a trend and a business luxury to an accessible and vital dimension of the modern business. In the past, small businesses couldn’t afford to invest in this rapidly growing, mobile world. But as mobile has grown, so has the number of app developers and services available, reducing the costs of mobile adoption.

Even though only about a quarter of small businesses have entered the mobile app world, more expect to join soon. Those who remain unconvinced may be swayed as prices go down and accessibility goes up. And for the rest, a little bit of education on how mobile can impact their success could set them over the edge.

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Push Notification Basics Every Business Needs to Know

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While apps continue to dominate the mobile market, many business owners looking to build one are thrown for a loop by endless trends and terminology. There’s a lot to learn, but if you have to settle on one thing, make it the push notification. More complex and robust than the text message, push represents the modern wave of communication that puts more power in the business owner’s hands, and it’s arguably the best ROI feature of all.

Like texts, push notifications deliver straight to users’ phones when they’ve installed an app. Unlike texts, they have a wide range of customization options that can increase user engagement. So as a business owner, you’re probably asking yourself a few questions:

  • What are the main benefits?
  • How do they work?
  • What best practices should I follow?
  • We’ve got you.

Why do people use push notifications?

The power of the push depends on your perspective. To users, the push notification represents instant access to information with little to no energy on their part. Want to know if someone scored on your Fantasy Football team? Worried about traffic? Looking for the latest deals? Push notifications deliver key info without costing users time or money.

For businesses, push notifications offer a wealth of benefits:

  • Share deals and promotions instantly
  • Improve customer communication without impacting your schedule
  • Automate internal processes
  • Up visibility just by establishing a mobile presence

How do I send them?

Your app developer will typically provide an interface for crafting and sending push notifications. A well-developed interface provides a slew of marketing benefits, including user segmentation and engagement stats. You can target the right person with the right messaging rather than bombard everyone with the same tired, generalized campaigns. Users are more likely to appreciate what you push when they recognize personalization.

How do my customers opt in?

iOS and Android handle push notification opt-ins differently. iOS users are prompted to enable push notifications when they launch an app for the first time, while Android users are opted in automatically (and disabling them takes a little elbow grease). There are benefits to both approaches. The reaction rate—or number of users who actually interact with push notifications—is obviously higher for Android users, who don’t have a choice in the matter. But they’re also more likely to feel spammed without consent, leading some of the industry’s biggest tech journalists to join the app annoyance discussion.

Apple’s approach is a little more calculated; iOS users say yes or no from the start, putting them in control of whatever follows. When an iOS user gets alerts, they’re generally conscious of the fact that they agreed to them at some point. In any case, the most important factor to consider is the value of the message you’re sending.

What makes a push notification valuable?

Regardless of how users opt in, it’s key that they’re rewarded with messages that are worth their time. A push notification is an extremely beneficial tool—a direct line to your customers’ primary communication tool. As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  If you get too “pushy,” you may get booted from the list. On the other hand, if you’re underutilizing push notifications, both you and your customers are losing out on value.

So what is “value”? Your push notifications should encourage user action that benefits them and informs you. While they redeem offers or learn something new, you reap the ROI rewards and analyze engagement data to iterate on your marketing strategy. It removes the guesswork, giving you direct insight into what’s working and what’s falling short so you can continue to modify and monetize.

How do push notifications appear?

Both operating systems have banner notifications that pop up at the top of the screen when the device is in use, as well as a notification center that users can access by swiping downward. iOS users enjoy a bit more control—they can customize individual app notifications, from sounds and vibrations to notification type (banner, alert, badge app icon). Some users enable sound alerts while others keep it silent, opting for vibrations or nothing at all. Overall, it makes for a highly personalized experience.

What are location services?

Both Android and iOS prompt users to enable location services. When a user opts in, the device periodically sends location info to the app. This is a fantastic feature for both businesses and users because it facilitates targeted, relevant messaging. Taco Bell has mastered marketing via location services with its “Happier Hour” campaign. The app sends deals and coupons to users when they’re nearby a location. Similarly, Groupon notifies you when you’re close to a business you’ve purchased a coupon from, increasing redemption rates.

Location services ultimately help you give your customers the special treatment they want, popping up on their screens at the moment they’re most likely to engage. It’s a simple way to say, “Hey, I know you’re in the area, and we have a great deal for you.”

How can I effectively use push notifications?

Determining how often and what to push takes some thought. First and foremost, make sure you’re considering the value a message holds to the end user. Don’t overdo it and spam the heck out of their devices, but don’t underdo it and waste your money on an app that’s not meeting its full potential. If you know your customers personally, you already have enough insight to avoid the most common mistakes. Bottom line, analyze the trends, and then use them to your advantage.

Here are a few tips on mastering the art of the perfect push:

  1. Watch the Clock Your users probably don’t need to hear about happy hour specials at 6 AM, unless they’re feeling extra thirsty. It’s crucial to time your push notifications right. Aiming for afternoons, evenings, and weekends are always your best bet. I’m more likely to click a push notification about $1 tacos on my lunch hour than when I’m waking up.
  2.  Location, Location, Location In that same vein, targeted messages make all the difference when it comes to user engagement. Whether your business stretches country-wide or has just one location, radius & geofenced push notifications help you reach the users that are most likely to respond and avoid spamming the ones who aren’t.
  3.  Short & Sweet There’s nothing like a good old character count to bring out the artful brevity. Think of push notifications like headlines—they should give the story in a glance. With great click-through options like linked tabs and templated messages, you can drive users to an expanded message, but you should never assume they’ll make it that far. Count on your conciseness to drive it home.

Check out these videos about our GEO-FENCING capabilities

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8 Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Website

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If your small business’s website isn’t gaining traffic, actively engaging customers, or targeting the right personas, it might be time for a redesign. This is particularly true if your site’s been online for more than a year and isn’t updated frequently. It’s important to stay relevant—nothing screams “behind the times” like an outdated front-end website—but redesigns can be time-intensive and costly, even if you know exactly what you’re doing.

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before you launch into a website redesign.

1. When was the last time I updated my website?

This is a huge indicator of the time you’ll need to devote to a redesign. If your website hasn’t been updated in over a year, chances are you’ll be spending some serious time on content alone. The more outdated your website, the less you’ll show up in search results; that means reduced traffic, reduced exposure, reduced revenue. On the other hand, if you’re pretty diligent about content updates, you’re looking at a shorter timeline devoted to design and optimization.

2. What’s wrong with my current website?

Old layouts, images, content, resources—any outdated elements—immediately age your website in the eyes of the visitor. A bad hyperlink or a broken image can turn a hot lead sour in seconds, and outdated business info means confusion for customers and trouble for you. Make a list of all the problems with your site, then start drafting up solutions.

3. How much do I hope to accomplish?

Are you looking to revamp or re-brand? State what you’d like to achieve and be liberal with your estimates. If you have a clear strategy in mind from the get-go, you’ll gain far more from the work you put in. A simple content revamp may take hours or days, while a full rebrand could take weeks or months.

4. What do I like about other websites?

Compare your site to those of your competitors. Do they have a more modern design? A wider array of features? Simpler contact forms? You can even visit the most popular websites of different industries and see what they’re doing well. What can you take and adapt from these sites to suit your brand and vision?

5. What is my overall business goal?

Are you looking to convert leads faster? Increase traffic or purchases? Draw visitors to your physical store? It’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve all of those without seeking out some extra help, so identify your biggest priority and do everything you can to execute on that. There are plenty of free online resources that can help you improve your site’s SEO, which is where any entrepreneur should start.

6. Have my offerings changed?

We’ve covered this a little, but it warrants repeating. If your product or service has changed at all, you must address that on your website. This is an obvious consideration for e-commerce sites, but brick & mortars often underestimate their customers’ expectations. Web visitors want their online experience to translate into their in-store experience—and if products or services are misrepresented online, you’re setting yourself up to lose business.

7. Can I analyze my website’s success?

Most web builders offer built-in analytics or integrations. This data isn’t just important to online retailers—it can help small businesses pinpoint what content is drawing traffic and where visitors are falling off most. Those insights are pivotal to not just your redesign, but your business as a whole. Visitor demographics paint a real picture of the online community that you can’t see clearly offline. Examine your data and make sure it lends to every decision you make.

8. Is my site mobile-friendly?

People expect websites to perform just as well on their smartphones as they do on their desktops. Sites that aren’t mobile-optimized are asking for extinction these days—they handle poorly, load slowly, and look awful on most screens. Developing a clean, user-forward, mobile-friendly site should be your chief priority if you’re setting out to redesign anyway.

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Local Business Apps: How to Get an Edge on Your Competitors

Having a mobile application for your business, regardless of its size, can give you a leg up on your competitors. But it’s not enough to have an app. You need a good application that differentiates your business from those of your competitors and that adds to the customer experience in ways that similar companies do not.

Mobile applications are no longer the providence of the large, mega-corporations, as small businesses require a online and mobile presence to remain competitive. A January 2016 article on Entrepreneur rightly made the point that, “Simply put, smartphone apps have become too important a marketing tool for small business owners to do without.”

Even if you’re not aiming for the global marketplace, you need to consider that according to various sources, in developed countries, smartphone penetration is over 60 percent. Global penetration is up to 34 percent as well, with projections between now and 2018 expecting this to rise even further,

Now, put this penetration statistic together with the information that the average user checks their phone 85 times per day and it becomes easy to see why having a small or large business mobile application is essential for your long term viability and competitiveness.

Of course, your competition is probably looking at the same or similar information and preparing for their entrance into the mobile application arena – or they’ve already taken the plunge. Therefore having a mobile application strategy is going to be crucial for you going forward.

Have an Application Strategy

Before actually developing an application, your company or business needs an application strategy. Just putting together an application is not enough. You and your business needs to know how this application will work with your company or business and how it fits into the your business model. It isn’t enough to just have the app, you have to be able to use the app to shape your customer’s experience with your business.

While there are a number of different methods to creating a mobile application strategy for your business, Forbes points out seven important objectives or strategies that you should consider for implementation in your company’s mobile application strategy.

Importantly, your mobile application strategy will dictate the direction in which you develop your application. Thus, your mobile application strategy becomes your outline for the actual creation of your mobile application.

Seamless Integration

While this might seem obvious, often time, seamless integration is an afterthought. A key component of any strategy – and especially true with any business strategy that involves far-reaching implications – is that your strategy functions as a seamless integration, with not only your overall business strategy, but with the physical components of your business.

A customer who uses your application to place an order must be assured that the order will be received and processed promptly, while, at the same time, any backend activities must not be visual to the customer. In other words, your mobile application must do what it claims to do.

This means your mobile application must work with your current software, be updated as you update your other software and ensure timely updates to your mobile application, including applying bug fixes to the application itself.

For a small business owner, this can appear at first to be troublesome or that it might increase the overhead to an unsustainable degree. But this is why it’s essential to have a mobile application strategy – to help prevent you and your business from being overwhelmed with the prospect of developing and working with your mobile application.

Make Social Media Part of Your Application Experience

As part of your application development, a key element for adding to the customer experience is integrating your app to work with social media. Letting customers share what they looked at, considered, purchased and more on social media is a great way to expand your audience and promote your products or services.

Essentially, having social media as part of your application experience gives you the opportunity to be seen and heard straight from the customer themselves. Even for companies involved with B2B sales, social media is an important consideration, with over 62 percent of B2B companies reporting effectiveness on their social media outlets.

Developing the Experience

All of the above is fine, well and great, but how does it help to give you the edge? A comprehensive mobile application strategy that takes your business’s goals, objectives and integrates them into an mobile application gives you an advantage when it comes to competing for new customers (and retaining the same).

Basically, it’s about creating value between you and your customers or clients. Technology savvy customers gravitate towards those mobile applications that appear to add value to their shopping experience and interactions with your business. By the same token, a bad mobile application will generate a bad mobile experience and thus you have to get it right the first time.

This Whitepaper from UTest, a professional testing network company, outlines specifically the consequences of bad mobile application development. In summary, by investing the time in developing your mobile application’s foundation, you’ll correspondingly improve your customer experience. And as this matures, it adds more value to both your business and the customer, giving your business the edge over your competition.

Further, by giving your customers the option of sharing their experience over social media, your mobile presence will continue to grow and improve – again, adding more perceived value to both the business and consumer.

In or Out Application Development

An important question that always arises when considering application development is in house or outsourced application development. There are pitfalls for each, and there are advantages to each, but it really depends on a range of factors concerning your business.

In house development is really only effective for larger companies, where there are resources for a long term development cycle and ongoing maintenance. That said, even some larger companies will split development across both in house and outsourced components.

Outsourcing mobile application development or, in the case of a small, local businesses, just outsourcing the actual programming element, offers significant advantages, not least of which being cost. Entrepreneur offers several articles on outsourcing for application development, including tips for outsourcing said development in order to reap the most benefit.

For small business, the best idea is typically to develop your mobile application strategy and then work with an application developer to generate your application. In a practical sense, you put the ideas for your application together, and they handle the actual coding that brings it to life.

As long as you have a mobile application strategy in place, all it takes is the development and maintenance to get you on the road to providing value to both you and your customers.

Giving Your Company the Edge

You might still come around to asking the question of “How does this give me an edge over the competition?” The answer is that, by putting all the fundamentals in place – such as a strategy for mobile application and development, along with a social media component – and developing your application using cost-effective services like Proforma Mobile Apps, you’re generating a customer experience that gives your followers and prospective buyers value and purpose.

Mobile applications are more than just marketing tools, and their use extends well beyond marketing hype. Those applications that add or create value for the customer help drive positive sentiment towards your business, and this translates directly into a higher return or ROI.

Even something as simple as alerting your customers to new sales promotions via social media can have a significant impact on your business’s bottom line. For a local-only business, the value created by mobile applications could be critical to ensuring profitability over the long haul – not just by giving you the edge over the competition, but by increasing your exposure to consumers, both old and new.

Having an application is a sign that your company or business is up on the latest trends, and it gives consumers a means of interacting with your company or business on their time (thus adding perceived value for them). In turn this translates directly into better sales, better consumer perception and an overall better customer experience.

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