Mobile marketing is the fastest growing marketing arena and local business App marketing is considered to be one of the most effective and affordable methods of getting your brand in front of your local community.

Why Do I Need an App?

There has been a massive increase in the number of people that are accessing information from their mobile devices and while websites are important to ensure an online presence, they are often considered just a showcase of information, while the interactive features of an App ensure that your customers remain engaged. In addition, the investment of an App not only gives you an interactive tool to use to engage your customers, but is, in itself, a marketing machine, creating content for your blog and social media sites, controlling your loyalty programs, rewarding your customers in real time and connecting with them through free push notifications.

The push notification feature alone is worth the investment of building or having an App built for you. Push notifications are permission based advertising to all customers who have downloaded your App and wish to hear about discount, promotions and new products. They can be sent out instantly and have over 90% open and read rate.

How Much Do They Cost?

Due to the massive growth in the market, you no longer have to pay thousands for a fully functional customized App, but keeping costs to a minimum requires understanding the various methods of having your App built as well as the various platforms on which they can be built.

Self-Build Applications: Building your own App can be achieved in two ways. You can build it from scratch if you have the technical skills and the time to do so. You can also build an App on a pre-designed platform which is similar to building a website and requires some technical experience. Both of these options require an investment of time and it is important to investigate any additional costs such as developers accounts for the App stores etc.

Pre-Build Apps with Additional Self-Build Features: Apps are built to a range of pre-built levels and are submitted to the App stores. Once the App is live, the control panel is handed over so that additional features can be added and complete control of the App is in the hands of the business owner. This is ideal for those who don´t have the time to learn App building, want to ensure that their App is accepted in the stores, but want to be in control of their own App and don´t wish to pay for a service contract.

Fully Customized: These Apps are built for you, customized to your needs and often run for you. They are ideal for business owners who don´t have the time to learn about App building, but understand the advantages of mobile marketing. This is by far the most expensive option.

The two leading platforms or operating systems are Apple and Android. In order to market to the largest number of people, you will want to ensure that your App is built on both of these platforms which can dramatically increase your costs.

Customized Apps can easily cost you a thousand dollars per platform or more depending on the number of features you wish to include, your service contract and your monthly hosting fee. Having your App pre-built to a particular level and submitted to the App stores should cost you no more than five to six hundred dollars for both platforms. The cost of submitting your App to the App stores is often included in this price and there is no need for a developers account which makes this a very cost effective option for many.

Building your own App on a pre-designed platform can cost you just a couple of hundred dollars for both platforms, but will require an investment of time and energy.

As with websites, you will also need to pay for App hosting, which ranges in price from just eight to ten dollars for a single platform to around seventy dollars for all the platforms. When looking at hosting you should enquire about limitations. Some App hosting companies offer limited push notifications or charge more for higher download numbers. You may also have a limit on the number of graphics or features that you can include.

Mobile Marketing – Local Business App Marketing

Once you have your App up and running, it´s time to market it and get it out there. There are some excellent built in features to make this easier and knowing how to harness your GPS or QR codes to create a viral buzz will ensure that your App is passed from one happy customer to another. Other great marketing features include emailing photos or having a fan wall. Understanding how they work to create additional content for your social media sites and blog and creating interactive reward programs will ensure that you are the talk of the town. These features are what make mobile marketing so effective for local businesses and why App marketing is becoming the fastest growing marketing arena.

Author: Jeanne Michelle Smith