Today we're going to look at how two local brick-and-mortar businesses, an auto mechanic and an apparel and embroidery shop, use smartphone apps to connect with their customers and open a mobile marketing channel.
Use Offline Methods To Get On Customers' Mobile
How A Local Auto Mechanic Uses Their Mobile Marketing App
Customer List --> Direct Mail --> QR Code for App Download
An auto mechanic in our neighborhood sent a direct mail piece to his customer list that included a QR code to download his app.
What's On An Auto Mechanic App? It turns out there are a number of things that an app can do that benefit the customer and the auto shop.
Here are some of the services he offers through his app:
- App-only Specials ("push notifications")
- Loyalty program tracking
- Cheap gas finder
- MPG calculator
- Maintenance records access
Benefits of Mobile Marketing Apps for Small Business and Customers
You can see in the list above apps provide a lot of great ways connect with your customers in meaningful ways. How nice for them to get rewards for their loyalty and to be able to access their maintenance records.
Push Notifications - Send Coupons and Marketing Messages To Customers' Smart Phones
The repair shop can also send a "push notification" directly to the customer that will be seen on their mobile phone, for example they can alert their customers when it's time for their oil change or another service.
Push notifications can also be sent to all your customers to announce a special, offer a trackable coupon (find out who responds) or to announce special events like grand openings or in-store sales or celebrations.
Track Loyalty Program Rewards
The auto shop offers the fourth oil change free. On the app you can see how many you've redeemed. And the merchant can send a reminder anytime via Push Notification to remind customers of their loyalty progress.
Store Records for Customer Convenience
Do you keep your car records in a file folder? With the app on the smartphone, you can access your car records anytime from your "handy" (as the Germans call them)
Make And Check Appointments, Easily Find Business Contact Info, Share App with Spouse...
These are self-explanatory and really only represent a fraction of what can be done because every industry has its own opportunities.
Offline Marketing Requires Repeated Efforts, Apps Can Be Long Lasting
How Much Do Mobile Marketing Apps Cost?
These apps aren't cheap. $1000 and up to develop, depending on complexity, and then there's a fee of about $100 a month to track use and launch push notifications via a user-friendly dashboard.
Thinking of using an app? Give us a call at (424) 237-8155 to discuss ideas.
How Does A Local Promotional Clothing Company Use Mobile Marketing?
These sleeves are used to protect those credit cards that have a wireless chip (the ones that let you wave your card across the terminal instead of swiping).
What do you think about using the card protection sleeve for the QR code location? We'd probably just put the QR a business card or a sticker on the counter or cash register, but we don't have one of those wireless/swipeless credit cards, so what do we know?
What Does An Embroidery/Promotional Clothing Mobile Site Do?
- Concise list of pages for products (the product pages are more clearly laid out than on their normal site)
- Sign up for text message alerts - a type of Push Notification
- Location finder by zip or by GPS in phone
- Prominent 800 number placement
Their mobile site contains mostly descriptions of their services and contact information as opposed to offering actual functionality like the auto mechanic app does.
What's The Difference Between Using QR Code For Mobile Site Versus To Download App?
The fact that you can sign up to receive text messages through the EmbroiderMe mobile site at least gets customers on a contact list. That's a good thing.
However, once you scan the code and get the link to the site, there's nothing on your phone to remind customers they've ever been there (unless they review their browser history. On a mobile? We're lucky if we know how to clear the history let alone review it).
An App Stays On The Customer's Phone
The fact that an app stays on the customers phone until they delete it is a huge advantage over linking a QR code to a mobile site. Plus, a well-designed app with a smart push-marketing strategy - one that adds real value to the customer, and isn't annoying or overused - can bring repeat business for years.
Of course it's worth pointing out again that there are monthly fees with an app that there aren't with a just offering a mobile website. In the case of Embroidery me they're attempting to sign people up to receive text messages and avoid those monthly fees. As with most things, there are trade offs.
Hopefully these two examples will help other local business owners generate some ideas of their own to mix their traditional marketing efforts with mobile marketing.
Have you seen an interesting use of mobile marketing applications? Share it below. And if you have any questions, feel free to post them and we'll try to find the answer or perhaps another reader will chime in.
Questions on app use and costs? Give us a call at (424) 237-8155, 9 to 5 Pacific Time.