Mobile is Not the Future (it’s the Present)


You may have heard that mobile is the future, but it’s not. It’s the present. If you think mobile is the future, you’re living in the past.

If you’re reading this, you’re ahead of the game. You realize that mobile is important, and you’re figuring out how an app could fit into your customer engagement strategy. That’s great!

Let’s drill down a bit and clarify what we mean by “mobile.”

When we talk about mobile, that refers to both mobile web and mobile apps. Here’s how people are using mobile today:

  1. More people use the internet on mobile than on desktop.
  2. Mobile app usage surpassed website usage a while ago. In fact, almost 80% of our device time is spent in apps.

Here’s a chart showing how app time has been increasing every year:

Mobile time is mostly spent in apps. Source

In summary:

We are on our mobile devices a ton, and most of that time is spent in apps.

Mobile rules, desktop drools! 🙂

But you know this already. You have an awesome mobile website because you know how important it is to your audience.

What about an app? How does an app fit in with your audience and your marketing strategy? How can a mobile app increase the ways you can connect with and serve your customers?

Mobile apps give you features you can’t get from your website. For example, push notifications and fast access to your content. We’ll get more into that next week, but first, it’s important for you to understand if your business is a good candidate for an app.

Posts in This Series

We all want a piece of that 80% of device time that our audience spends in apps. We want our brand on their home screen, and our push notifications vibrating in their pockets. We want to be able to get a closer connection to our customers. We understand that the closer we can get to shaking hands, the stronger the connection we are making.

The truth is that not everyone can have a piece of the “device time” pie.

Some businesses are not suited for an app.

If you are a boutique clothing shop who sells exclusively in-store, you don’t need an app. A static site advertising a service like plumbing or law, with no interactivity or dynamic content is not a good candidate for an app.

If your app is basically an ad for your services, “I’m the best lawyer in West Texas, call me,” it’s not going to help your business. Your customers won’t download it, and if they do, they won’t use it. Why would they? It’s useless! They can find your phone number on your website.

A low utility app like that won’t be accepted into the app store anyways. Apple does not allow apps that are simple site clones because they know how useless they are.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have an app, but you can’t just phone it in (excuse the pun). You have to get creative and make an app that’s useful. It needs to have a reason to exist not only for you, but in the minds of your customers.

Who SHOULD make an app?


On the other hand, you may be one of the many businesses that can see incredible results from creating an app.

High engagement sites like an eCommerce store, or online community can reach their audience in a new way that is far superior to their website.

Specifically I’m talking about stores that sell physical products online, membership sites, e-learning, social or civic groups, events, online magazines, religious organizations, schools, non-profits, BuddyPress communities, and the like.

These type of businesses can sell more, engage more, build trust faster, and gain an edge over their competitors with a mobile app. By reducing the friction that their customers have in getting their content and products, they can increase engagement and customer satisfaction.

Some Examples

Using the lawyer example above, a lawyer could make an app that communicates updates about their case via private messaging. The app could help clients upload documents securely, and share articles regularly about their field.

A digital agency could provide an app to upload and sort their client media. It could let their client have a direct line to project management and updates from their phone while keeping your team in a centralized environment instead of scattered around and distracted.

A digital training company could provide an app so that their customers can download content directly to their device. This avoids wait times that many people have with their internet connections so they can get to your awesome training content right away.

Here’s a couple of specific examples from AppPresser customers.

Amorati.me

Amorati.me is an app for men to learn how to be more confident in dating and life. It uses our LearnDash integration AppLMS for app users to view content like articles and videos, and track course progress. The app also adds an “iMessage” style private message component using AppCommunity and BuddyPress.

Notable AppPresser features:

  • AppCommunity private messaging
  • AppLMS (LearnDash)
  • Protected content with login and registration
  • Push notifications

ConnectedPE

ConnectedPE helps physical educators all over the world learn and collaborate. They can login and access lessons about physical education, chat with other educators, track course progress, and more.

The app includes:

  • 150+ hours of on demand professional learning videos
  • Certificates & Learning Transcripts
  • Members only monthly webinars
  • Downloadable Exclusive Resources
  • 300+ PE Games & Activities
  • The Rubric Database
  • Fitness Tests Database

Notable AppPresser features used:

  • Membership: login, registration, protected content
  • AppCommunity: BuddyPress groups, activity, members, profiles
  • AppLMS: LearnDash courses, topics, and quizzes
  • In app purchases for recurring monthly memberships

Many businesses can benefit from a mobile app by engaging their audience in a new way. Not only do you get your brand in the app stores and on their home screens, you also deliver your content faster and increase engagement.

Now that we’ve talked about what businesses can benefit from an app, we can dig deeper.

Next week we’ll talk about the three main problems that are best served by providing your customers with an app directly on their device.

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Scott Bolinger