Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How to Use Push Notifications to Your Advantage: Restaurant Edition

A few months ago, Appsme launched support for push notifications and so far, the feedback has been great! It's fun to see your messages, and it enables us to better understand all the creative ways in which business owners are taking advantage of this powerful feature on Appsme.

Mobile marketing company Urban Airship states that enabling push notifications triggers a 540% increase in daily app opens - this alone should convince you of just how powerful this feature is and why you should be using it. But we recognize that some of you app owners out there may need a bit of extra help - so here I'd like to tell you about some easy ways to engage your customers with push notifications, broken down by business sector. We'll start with restaurants, as it's one of the most popular type of app we see built on our platform.

The sun is unexpectedly shining, and you're eager to fill up the restaurant's patio with the after-work crowd, who have been stuck inside an office for the past 8 hours. You know how to get 'em in, so you send this push:

The sun is shining so it's HAPPY HOUR! Come enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails until sundown on our beautiful patio.

Let's say it's the opposite - a dreary, rainy Tuesday. Nearby foot traffic is minimal, and your restaurant only has a few bookings in the calendar for the evening. In an effort to incentivize last-minute diners to come in for a meal, you send this push:

Rainy Day Special! Pop in for a free starter or dessert with any meal!

Now what if your kitchen staff has accidentally over-ordered on pork belly this week, and you desperately don't want to waste any of it. What do you do? Create a temporary deal in the app and send this push:

Pork Belly Bonanza: 50% off all week! We know you're craving it already...

And there you go: 3 excellent use cases for how restaurants can engage customers and drive conversions with push notifications.

Don't have an app yet but want to tap into the power of push?

Make your app now

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Smartphones & The Business World

Bdaily, a popular business news platform, has just published an interesting article on the power and potential smartphones have to change the business world. This comes as no surprise to us - smartphones have already completely altered us as consumers. The business world transformation was inevitable!

The piece focuses on "smartphone enabled business opportunities", from text message marketing and push notifications to deals services like Groupon and loyalty schemes. Appsme was highlighted as an affordable app-building service that incorporates multiple marketing opportunities in one, including in-app offers, a digital loyalty scheme and push notifications.

The article also delves into some of the more cutting-edge technologies that will soon be the norm - drones as a delivery service, for example, and geo-targeted messaging. And we do mean soon, at least in terms of the latter - we're launching geo-targeting support in just a few weeks! Keep your eyes peeled....

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Why an App Can Complement Your Social Media Skills

Most businesses can probably see the attraction of social media and what it entails. Forward-thinking SMEs and one-man-bands are creating time and space to build a list of followers. The benefits might not be immediate, but with a little work Twitter, Facebook and Google+ may become an integral part of your business strategy.

The key words are ‘a little work’. For example, the outsider might question the wisdom of investing effort in Twitter or Facebook, for example - isn’t it all silly pictures and irrelevant links that ‘young people’ tap into? Well, no it isn’t –according to research from GlobalWeb Index the fastest growing age demographic for Twitter is 55-64 year olds, which has leapt by 79% since 2012. For Facebook it is 45-54 year olds (46%). Other impressive figures: 100 million people a day use Twitter, and there are 10 milllion Twitter users in the UK. 

You can bet that thousands or tens of thousands of those users will be relevant to your business, so let’s say you’ve found the time to build up a gathering of followers - wouldn’t it be great to reward them for their support? Mobile is the perfect platform; The latest Ofcom communications report says that 72% of UK adults now own a smartphone and 73% would be interested in interacting with loyalty programs with their mobile devices. And this is where an app can be so useful for both business and customer; targeted, engaging rewarding content and offers geared towards them.

One of those who saw the value of investing in an app was RS Direct Specialist Cars, based in Bristol. The company buys and sells quality sports and performance cars as well as tunes and modifies all modern cars. Company director Adrian Thompson had overseen a business which had built a good social media presence, including a substantial Facebook following with more than 40,000 likes. Adrian felt it important to give customers and fans an extra avenue into the business and decided a mobile app would be a great way of doing this. After talking to other developers Adrian settled on in February 2014 – after finding it through a friend on Facebook.

He was able to integrate the RS Direct app with the company’s popular Facebook page as well as their active Twitter account, a great way to get more exposure for work the company is already doing. Because of the nature of the business, a gallery feature of the latest fleet of vehicles was a crucial component of the app, alongside an info page and click-to-contact, so potential customers can get in touch instantly and easily. 

Adrian said: “Our app gives people another way to connect with the business beyond social media”, and the early statistics showed it has worked. In one month the app had one of the fastest growing audiences of any Appsme app, garnering over 700 downloads, as it was promoted regularly on Facebook and Twitter along with some of the high resolution app marketing graphics provided by The RS Direct team is also working on a new website launch which will complement the app.

RS Direct is a company that has blended the traditional practices of strong customer relations with a 21st through a mobile app. And it’s paid off!

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Appsme Featured in How to Make Your Business Boom Article

Great news, Appsme fans and mobile app lovers! Appsme has recently been featured in Business 2 Community's latest article 'Five Tips to Make Your Business Boom That You Can’t Afford to Ignore'.

It's a great piece on what areas to focus on in business development if you want to "outshine the opposition", zoning in on five main points. In addition to maintaining an offline presence, creating a strong email marketing list & social media presence, as well as maintaining a good website, the article emphasizes the importance of mobile apps for customer engagement. Business 2 Community highlights Appsme's platform as a competitively priced, easy option for publishing and maintaining a mobile app for business owners.

We're pleased as punch to be showcased alongside other powerful services that are changing the landscape of customer engagement like Hootsuite and MailChimp.

Want to make your business boom with a mobile app in the App Store and Google Play?

Make your app now

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Why Should You Go Mobile Today?

It's no secret that mobile is huge. 

Correction: It's no secret that mobile is HUGE. We're bringing our phones everywhere, we're doing things on our phones that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, and we're more connected to our phones than ever before. It's certainly the case for our team of mobile geeks here, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the case for the majority out there reading this post.

With that being said, if you're a business owner and you've yet to tap into the mindblowing potential of the mobile market, here are 10 powerful mobile stats you need to read to convince you to go mobile today:

1. There are 7 billion people on earth. There are 7.3 billion mobile phones. (source)

2. The average mobile phone in 2014 is more powerful than the computers that launched two astronauts to the moon back in 1969. (source)

3. 40% of our time on the internet is spent on a mobile device. (source)

4. Of the total time spent on mobile, 80% is spent in mobile apps. (source)

5.  More than one hundred billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play. (source)

6. Over 60% of businesses have already created or are creating a business app for consumers. (source)

7. 60% of consumers search for local businesses on their smartphone. (source)

8. What's more, 70% of all mobile searches result in action within just 1 hour. (source)

9. 61% of consumers have a better opinion of brands that offer a mobile-friendly experience. (source)

10. Mobile coupons have a redemption rate of 10x that of tradional coupons. Ten times. (source

Soon - some might say already - not having a mobile-optimized site or app will be the same as not having a website for your business in 2014. (Which, let's face it, would be crazy.)

Go mobile today with a partner you can rely on. Using the Appsme app builder, you can build an awesome mobile app for your business in just a few minutes. No coding, no stress - just a quick and easy way for you to offer your customers the mobile experience they deserve. (And expect.)

Make your app now

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Take Your App to the Next Level

We here at Appsme know a lot about apps. Hundreds of apps are built on our self-service platform every day, and we look at every single one of them. As a company we have had apps in the top 10 of their category on every major app store, including the Apple App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World, Windows Phone Marketplace, Mozilla Marketplace and the Samsung Apps Store. So it's fair to say we have a pretty good idea of what makes a top quality app!

So, how can you make an app that really works for your business?

 1) Incentivize downloads with rewards.

Think of the Loyalty scheme as a digital version of those crumpled up stamp cards you keep in your wallet (you know, so you can get your 6th coffee free), only way better! Offering a loyalty scheme via the app means no paper is wasted, no cards get lost and your customers will always have it with them.

82% of small business owners said that customer loyalty was their main source of business growth, and there is literally no better way to generate repeat business than with a loyalty scheme. Reward your best customers for maximum impact.  

2) Encourage app usage. 

Offering exclusive Deals only available to app users encourages downloads, usage and engagement with your business. Plus, you can run up to 20 deals simultaneously, so if you're feeling generous...

And for those on the App Store Plan, sending a push notification out to all your customers every time you add a new deal will take your engagement up a notch!

3) If you've got it, flaunt it. 

We offer a lot of features to choose from when building an app - in our opinion, the more the merrier! Getting all your content in one place - whether it's Videos from a YouTube channel, your latest Facebook & Twitter content, or a Gallery of photos (of your products, your staff, your food, your skills, your shop, etc.) - is a great way of establishing a company presence. What's even more important is that this place is in the most convenient spot ever... right on your customers' phones.

4) Spend the extra time on your design.

You don't need to be a designer to make your app stand out! If you've got a strong, dominant logo as your profile picture, perhaps you need a subtle or solid-colored background to really draw attention to it. Likewise, if you've got a killer background photo for your app, try removing the profile picture entirely so it really pops! Of course, the designer theme option is a great one, especially if the theme is in line with your company branding. Don't forget: a few minutes on Photoshop (or even Microsoft Paint!) can go a long way! And if you're really stuck, just drop us an email and we'll be happy to help.

As always, changes can be made to any Appsme app at any time simply by logging into your account (on a Mac or PC) and clicking 'Update App'. Always be sure to go through all three steps to ensure your changes are saved.

And that's how you make it APPen.  

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