I was reading an article this morning about iPhone apps. This particular article, entitled “PayPal iPhone App Hits One Million Downloads”, was basically about the popularity of the PayPal app on the iPhone and how “One million downloads shows just how ready people are to live a cashless and card-free culture with their wallet living safely in the cloud.” I find that idea compelling as a consumer, but even more compelling as a business person.
But, just like the blog post on Pizza Hut embracing Twitter this is another story about using new technology to promote your business. Someone recently told me that there is a little iPhone app that allows the comic of the day from your favourite web comics to be viewed on your iPhone. Handy! Seems like pure fun too, doesn’t it. But if you get the comic regularly on your mobile device and don’t have to go searching for it or remember to go online each day to read it, then you are never behind. And that is a step that will build a loyal fan base, for those who do web comics. The free comics don’t make you money in and of themselves, but fans buy the printed collections, t-shirts, and memorabilia. They also attend conventions and pay to see their favourite artists. Providing an easier way for your fans to keep up with your work is a stroke of marketing brilliance.
So, with the popularity of iPhone, it may be in your company’s best interest to develop a little application for it to open another channel for your customers to connect with you. A book store could have a list of the latest releases or authors reading at their stores. Grocery stores can send ads, perhaps in an app that allows you to customize your top 20 items bought in a week. A freelance service business could even post tips related to their business interests. The list is endless and depends on the business you are running and what will interest your customers the most. Think of this as an opportunity to talk to them and entice them with the best of your products and services.
Rather than thinking about new technology as simple tools, remember that these apps can become personal touches. Over the past few decades, marketing was about reaching the most people at once: billboards, television commercials and print advertisements were all about mass marketing. With mobile device apps, avenues like Twitter and Facebook, blogging, and business websites, we have the ability to reach out in a much more personal way, which is a phenomenal opportunity to grow your business and develop brand loyalty among your customers.