2016 Is the Year Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

mobile phone using

Apps are no longer considered merely a “branding exercise” for small businesses. Business owners are becoming wise to the marketing power a well-designed, intuitive app can bring. From simplifying online purchases to providing easy-to-access information, the benefits are undeniable which is why small businesses must develop mobile apps to stay competitive.

Why Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

In previous years, the rising cost of custom app developers made apps an impossible expense for small businesses. The recent growth of software development kits that streamline the app development process and allow even non-coders to create a fully-functioning app have dramatically reduced the cost of creating an app.

The affordability and fast development times these kits allow has encouraged more businesses than ever to create their own apps.

As social media use continues to rise, consumers are becoming more open to engaging with brands on a day-to-day basis, even if they aren’t specifically loyal to or purchasers of that particular business. Business owners and marketers are capitalizing on consumers’ desires for interaction by producing entertaining mobile apps. While being fun to use, informational or inspirational, a common characteristic of these apps is that they feature a strong call-to-action to persuade the user to purchase a product or in some way benefit the company in question.

What Types of Small Businesses are Making Apps?

A 2015 analysis of 40,402 apps created with an app development platform found that while “expected” businesses such as restaurants and gyms were highly prevalent, others such as golf courses, hotels, politicians and plumbers were also on the rise.

But why are these industries building more apps? Well, as the ease of building apps increases, so does the amount of potential functionality. One-off investments in systems such as in-app payments or bookings can save businesses money in the long-term as they reduce the amount of time their staff needs to spend fulfilling orders, taking payments or completing bookings.

For businesses that meet potential clients at various locations, the ability to show data or portfolio pieces offline using an app can make the difference between closing the sale and losing the prospect to a competitor.

How are Small Businesses Benefiting from Mobile Apps?

A recent survey showed that 62 percent of the businesses asked already had apps or were in the process of building one. Of those, 20 percent used their apps purely for branding purposes, 30 percent have revenue generating apps and 50 percent use them for support and engagement.

We spend 174 minutes on mobile devices every day. Mobile sales are estimated to have reached $74 billion in 2015 — up 32 percent from 2014. Thirty percent of all online purchases by Millennials are done on mobile devices. This jumps to 33 percent for moms and 43 percent for U.S. Hispanics.

However, apps aren’t just for commerce businesses. Push notifications can be used by any niche to put your brand name directly in front of the smartphone owner. Apps can be used for any type of activity: booking systems, file uploads, vouchers, newsletters, digital magazines, support, providing information, logging exercise or nutrition, showing videos and so much more.

Even businesses that you wouldn’t have thought would benefit from an app are proving critics wrong by producing innovative and engaging apps. For example, an independent pet food supplier could have an app that encourages users to upload comical photographs of their pets for a chance to win a prize. A product for new mothers could build a community of local mums and arrange meet-ups. A realtor could create an app that compares local house prices now to five years ago. The possibilities really are endless. All it takes is a little imagination to devise a system that consumers will enjoy engaging with.

What Does the Future Hold?

The projections around app driven revenue are staggering. Non-game app downloads are estimated to grow 23 percent in the next five years, exceeding $182 billion in 2020. Smartphone adoption in emerging markets should see mobile app store downloads more than double between 2015 and 2020.

Current data about mobile purchasing across the different age groups gives a strong indication that in 5-10 years, everyone is going to be a mobile shopper. Sixty-nine percent of millennials buy products on their smartphones, compared to 53 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Boomers.

The increased market share and spending power this brings will make apps a necessity for B2C businesses in order to streamline a consumer’s journey from product browsing to payment.

The above statistics are also good news for digital agencies that offer mobile app development. As more businesses adopt apps, the demand for their services grows. The development of new ‘smart products’ such as virtual reality and wearable technology may compound this further as apps will need to be adapted to work on new online platforms.

Mobile Phone User Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

10 Must Reads for Improving Your Online Marketing

Latest online newsEDIT

Having a good website and clear online marketing strategy is very important in today’s business world. But there’s a lot that goes into building an online strategy. So we rounded up some of the best tips and related posts from members of our small business community. Read on for the full list in this week’s Small Business Trends community and information roundup.

Create a Welcoming Website

(Barefoot Basics)

What do your customers see when they go to your website? Do they see a site that is welcoming and professional, or one that is confusing and difficult to navigate? This post from Rochelle Stone explains the importance of creating a welcoming website and some things to consider in order to accomplish that goal.

Correct These Google Analytics Blind Spots

(Marketing Land)

If you have a website for your business, then you probably use a service like Google Analytics to measure its performance. But there are some website features that Google Analytics doesn’t help you with. This post from Brian Massey outlines some of those Google Analytics blind spots and offers solutions for correcting them.

Make Your Web Content Live Up to Its Promise

(Premier Content Source)

Writing great headlines and promoting content is very important to finding online success. But your actual content needs to live up to the hype. Here, Nicole Beckett shares some thoughts on creating great content. And the BizSugar community discusses the post further here.

Use These Tips for Your Holiday Facebook Strategy

(Competitive Edge)

When the holiday season rolls around, many businesses take the opportunity to spruce up their social media promotions. In fact, there are many different ways you can make your Facebook page more inviting for holiday customers. This post by Shantha Wetterhan shares three strategies for optimizing your holiday Facebook presence.

Measure Your Social Media ROI

(Stuart J Davidson)

When you use social media in your marketing efforts, it can be difficult to really tell what you are getting out of it. But this post from Stuart J. Davidson shares some methods for measuring social media ROI. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Avoid These Online Marketing Mistakes

(Belle Communications)

So you’re marketing your business online. That’s great. But there are plenty of roadblocks that can negatively impact your online marketing efforts. Here, Kate Finley shares 10 of the most common online marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Update Your Content Marketing Efforts

(Griot Digital)

Content marketing is a constantly evolving field. It’s not just the tools that change though. Businesses also need to update the methods they use for trying to reach customers. This post by Nadia James includes some thoughts on content marketing along with a helpful infographic.

Tell a Great Story

(Resonance Content)

It’s important to tell a story with your online and in-person marketing efforts. Part of that story is to explain who exactly you are. Here, Rachel Parker shares some methods for telling your story effectively. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Use These Internet Security Tips in the Workplace

(Internet Billboards)

Online security is becoming increasingly important, particularly for business matters. In this post, Agnes Marylinn shares some tips for improving internet security in the workplace.

Get Your Great Content Noticed With SEO

(XEN)

If you want to get your website or blog noticed, you need to have great content. But if no one ever sees that content in the first place, it still won’t do any good. This post by Kerry Butters shares some thoughts on balancing SEO and great content. And the BizSugar community shares some thoughts on SEO as well.

Latest online news photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

21 Home Office Must Haves

home office

Working from the comfort of your own home may sound like a dream. But if you don’t have all the right elements for your home office, it can have a detrimental effect on your productivity and even your health and happiness.

No two home offices are the same. But regardless of the size and layout of your space, there are some elements that can help make it a more productive space. Here are some of the most important elements.

Good Lighting

The light in your office is essential, not only for your ability to clearly see your work, but also for the entire mood and atmosphere. If possible, set up your office in a room that has a lot of windows so your workspace will be full of natural light. If that isn’t possible, ensure that your artificial lighting is sufficient and warm — not just a single fluorescent bulb in the corner.

Adjustable Desk

desk

Sitting at a desk all day long, even if it’s in your own home, can be draining and even detrimental to your health. But if you have a desk that adjusts to different heights, you can switch from sitting to standing whenever you’d like throughout the day. Adjustable desks are available at home and office supply stores, or you can even make your own.

Comfortable Chair

When you do choose to sit, it’s important to be comfortable. So choose a chair that offers ergonomic support and adjustable features.

Some Personalized Decorations

Your home office is your own personal space, so it should make you comfortable and happy. Fill it with artwork, desk toys, and even some creative or personalized office accessories to really make it your own.

Plants

plant

Plants are another way to add some visual interest to your office space. But they can also have other benefits like air purification and creating separation between different parts of a room.

Good Computer

The computer you choose for your home office has the potential to make a huge impact on your productivity and success. So choose one that’s completely customized to your needs. If you tend to work from different parts of your office, a laptop might be best. If you stay put at your desk and work on multiple projects at once, a desktop with multiple monitors is likely a better choice. Make sure the model, hardware and software are what’s best suited to your individual working habits.

High-speed Internet

A good Internet connection keeps you just a click away from your online accounts, other team members and a whole host of other tools that can help you run your business from home. Whether you use a desktop, laptop or multiple devices, you’ll need to ensure that your Internet provider is fast and reliable enough to keep you on top of things.

Good Printer

printer

Depending on your business needs, a good printer, scanner, or all-in-one device can be a good investment. If you need or want to keep hard copies of documents, then an actual printer is likely a necessity. But if you tend to stick with digital copies and just occasionally need to send a copy of a tangible document, a simple scanner might be enough. You’ll need to examine your own needs to really decide which type is best for you.

Communications System

To best communicate with your team, clients or anyone else, a reliable communications system is a must. You might consider getting a separate phone line specifically for business calls. But online and VoIP services like Nextiva and Skype for Business can also be good options.

Surge Protectors

When you’ve invested a lot of money into electrical devices and equipment to run your business from home, the last thing you want is to see that equipment ruined. Surge protectors offer a really simple and easy solution to protect your devices from damaging electrical surges.

Exercise Equipment

exercise equipment

Getting some physical activity in throughout the day is essential to a healthy work-at-home lifestyle. Depending on your preferences, you might consider adding a treadmill, stationary bike or some free weights to your space. Some people even use stability balls in place of chairs to build core strength. Or, if you’re really into multitasking, there’s always the treadmill desk.

Calendar

Staying organized is just as important when you work from home as it is in a traditional office. Keep a calendar or planner in a prominent location in your office so you don’t lose track of important appointments or deadlines.

Filing System

You’ll also need a place to store and organize your important documents and files. A traditional filing cabinet usually does the trick. But if you’re more of a minimalist, you can opt for a smaller file folder and then just scan the rest of your documents to keep digital copies.

Safe

safe

For those items that are really important or sensitive, a safe may also be necessary. Find one that’s large enough for some important documents and any expensive equipment you might have that you want to keep safe either on a daily basis or just when you leave for lengthy periods.

Office Supply Cache

Don’t let yourself get sidetracked from important tasks just because you’re running low on printer ink or can’t find a pen. Constantly keep your office stocked full of all the supplies you use regularly so that you’ll never need to make an office supply run in the middle of the day.

Radio, Media Player

Music can be a great way to drown out any background noise that may be happening around your home and keep you focused on the task at hand. Choose a radio or streaming station with some instrumental music if you tend to get distracted by lyrics. And try to avoid stations with ads if at all possible.

Healthy Snacks

You’ll need fuel to power through any productive work day. Keep some healthy snacks in or near your office so that you won’t have to leave on a fast food run or settle for food that will have you feeling less-than-stellar later.

Coffee, Tea

coffee

Caffeine can also be a powerful productivity booster, in moderation of course. Keep a coffee pot or some tea in or around your office so you always have quick access whenever you need a coffee break.

Temperature Controls

You likely already have the ability to control the basic temperature of your home. But if your office is in an area, like a basement or top floor, that tends to be hotter or colder than the rest of your home, you’ll still need to stay comfortable. Try a space heater or fan if you find that the temperature is a bit off in one way or another.

Alarm Clock, Timer

Keeping a regular work schedule is essential to a productive work-from-home life. Use an alarm to wake up at the same time every day, just as you would when working at a regular office. You can even use an alarm or timer to signal the end of your work day or the end of a specific task you need to spend time on.

Door

One of the most important factors of a successful home office is its ability to be separated from the rest of your home. If you simply work from your bed or couch, the day can really get away from you and you’ll find yourself either getting distracted from work by non-work demands around you.

If you absolutely can’t have a door or some kind of physical barrier separating you from the rest of your home, try staging the space so it’s clearly designated as your office. And only spend time working from that one space, rather than migrating to your couch or kitchen table. But if you’ve already included all the elements above, who would want to work anywhere else?

Home Office Photo via Shutterstock, Other Images: Wikipedia

More in: Popular Articles

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

5 Secret Truths of Social Media Marketing You Must Know

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media

Each minute, 350,000 tweets are sent out. With the stiff competition out there, you require equally potent strategies to ensure that your business is seen, heard and your product or service bought. But social media isn’t cheap. It requires a sizable investment of time and talent in content creation, marketing and analysis. So how do you double your social media marketing results without doubling your costs?

Increase efficiency and utilize valuable resources that you haven’t considered.

Tips for Marketing on Social Media

Why Happy Customers are Great for Social Media

Word of mouth marketing. There’s no contest on how effective it is. In fact, as per one of marketing insights firm Nielson’s studies, 92 percent of the consumer population regards recommendations from friends and family over every other type of advertising. Vocal, happy customers create the belief that your business provides quality products and services in potential customers.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences. Post it, tweet it and update their status. There are a number of ways you could do this.

1. Offer a discount for check-ins and follows, if you own a retail outlet. You could also get creative and build a selfie corner in your shop.

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Offer Discounts

2. Set up accounts on review sites in your niche or industry. For instance, if you’re an app based company, you could have a G2Crowd or GetApp account.

3. Request customers give you Facebook reviews and LinkedIn recommendations (if you’re a solo player).

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Request Reviews and Recommendations

You could also request for recommendations if you have employees connected to your LinkedIn profile.

Why Your Employees are Your Biggest Social Media Assets

561 percent. That’s the estimate of how much further your brand message travels when shared by employees as compared to official company accounts as researched by the MSL group.

According to IBM, the leads generated via employee advocacy are also 7 times more likely to convert than leads generated otherwise.

Your employees also benefit from advocacy — with added exposure and opportunities to represent their brand and to develop authority on social media.

Step 1: Begin by simply selecting an enthusiastic employee representative to mediate and oversee your program.

Step 2: Choose an employee advocacy platform to manage and track your program. DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform provides a gamified leader board for engagement and engagement analytics to measure your success.

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Employee Advocacy

Brand Amper has an interesting app to collect your employees’ experiences with your company for social media sharing.

Step 3: Run a pilot program. Share content with a few employees and explore which content types draw most engagement.

Step 4: Expand the program and introduce incentives to motivate your employees to share. Recognition is also an excellent motivator. Identify your best ambassador and let them know you appreciate their efforts.

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Employee Incentives

Why You Don’t Have to Exclusively Create All Your Content

The best content is crowd sourced, or rather fan sourced.

1. It cuts down time and effort that content creation demands and clears some part of your schedule.
2. It gets your current and potential clients involved and invested (great for generating more shares and improving reach).
3. It provides you with diverse creative options for engaging content formats.
4. It inherently builds up your social fan base.

5 Innovative Ways to Initiate Creation of Fan Content

1. Run a photograph based social media campaign around your product/service.

2. Create a contest for fan stories involving your product/service.

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - User Generated Content

3. Initiate discussions with each blog post you create.

4. Kick-start a discussion about a trending topic and ask your followers for their opinions.
5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Ask for Opinions

5. Implement a good old selfie contest with a unique hashtag associated with your brand.

When your fans create the content, they’ll be more enthusiastic to share it.

Why Your Story Matters More than Descriptions of Your Services

As human beings we’re drawn to stories. We tell them for a living when we connect with people around us, and we emotionally bond with sources of the stories, in this case, the brand.

Stories break the barriers between consumers and the brand and make the brand more human and something people can emotionally connect with. Stories are also great for:

1. Brand recall (People forget ads but remember compelling stories)

2. Brand identity (Coke is just a sugar-water formula, but the brand is so much more because it has been developed to be that)

3. USP (Your brand feel and experience could be a strong Unique Selling Proposition) — the app Storify hasinteresting ways of turning content into story formats for your viewers to enjoy.

How to Tell Your Brand Story Right

1. Your story must be unique, memorable and what people can relate to.
2. Your brand needn’t necessarily be the hero of the story. Ideally, that’s what your audience should be. And your brand should be the resource that helps them reach their goals.
3. Think of your brand story as an experience that you’re selling to your audience.

Here’s a great example of a successful brand story:

5 Secret Truths of Marketing on Social Media - Tell a Successful Brand Story

When marketing on social media, remember what truly matters: people. Not your brand message and not your promotions, the true owners of social media are the crowd. Orient your social media activity towards them and involve them in it, and you’ll make real headway.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

China must Be seen As thought, no longer competition: Raghuram Rajan

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan hopes India could reach where China is in the next 10 to 15 years.

Bengaluru: Reserve bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday said China should be visibleas an “ideain place ofopposition” and hoped that India may want to reach where its neighboringunited states is in the subsequent 10 to fifteen years.

“I suppose we have to see China as suggestion, as opposed to as a competition…as suggestion weshould see what a rustic can do in three decades if it is focused and has very strong faith on what itdesires to do,” he stated for the duration of an Assocham enterprise and alternate interactive meet right here.

The RBI chief became responding to a query on while India would capture up with China.

“I regularly see people attempt to positioned down China, of route China has its problemsbut in 3many years it has reached seven and half thousand dollars in step with capita earnings that is well worth accomplishing approximately,” he said.

stating that he would be the closing one to say “we need to observe what they accompanied“, the RBI Governor stated, “We can not, due to the fact they already followed it. they may be already there and thatroute is not loose. there’s any individual occupying that route.”

we are able to absolutely take idea from the fact that it is possible. considering that we are at a stagein which they had been in past due 1990’s or early 2000’s, we will wish that during next 10 to fifteenyears we might be there in which they may be.”

“I do not speculate on whether we will trap up and when, but definitely we are able to,” he brought.
tale first published on: June 22, 2016 22:forty four (IST)

Tags: Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor, financial increase, GDP growth data, China slowdown, Chinarestoration

large B: Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir must paintings For every other 100 Years

Amitabh Bachchan

“SHAH RUKH, SALMAN AND AAMIR ARE DOING incredible work. i’m hoping THEY continue AS they’re. THEY have to maintain (paintings) FOR any other a hundred YEARS. they may be INSPIRING a lot ofhumans. they’re A exceptional source OF concept, joy. I desire THEM all of the quality,” statedAMITABH BACHCHAN
Actor Amitabh Bachchan stated that the 3 Khans of Bollywood – Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir, are doingextraordinary work and that they need to keep working for every other a hundred years.

they may be doing super paintings. i hope they continue as they’re. They have to retain (work) forsome other a hundred years,” stated Mr Bachchan.

they may be inspiring a lot of people. they’re a tremendous supply of idea, joy. I desire them all theexcellent,” he delivered.(also examine: The Khans Are Turning 50: Katrina Says ardour keeps Them Going)

Mr Bachchan, who turned 73 on October eleven, stated that he wants to keep working as long asfeasible.

let me pass the way i’m going. I don’t know what’s going to happen within the destiny. i’d need tokeep running so long as i’m able to do,” he said.

The actor is pretty enthusiastic about his new television display Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi.

it is an interesting, quality display. There are people who do good paintings, assist others, deliver a smile on the face of others. I feel that I also can do it via my medium,” he stated.

Mr Bachchan additionally stated that the cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s live performance is a political be counted.

it’s far a political matter and i’m not in politics. So it isn’t right on my component to say an awful lot. Thegovernment ought to give you guidelines and one will comply with that,” he introduced.

Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai became cancelled following threats from the political party Shiv Sena.

regarding the FTII difficulty, Mr Bachchan stated: “i’m no longer privy to the difficulty. It isn’t right to say anything on it.”

the students of the movie and television Institute of India had been protesting for over one hundred twenty days against the appointment of television actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman.