The digital landscape for businesses has changed rapidly over the last 20 years. Back then, it was seen as a luxury for a company to have a website – but now, no website would arouse suspicion – and lots of companies also have a social media presence.

But what about apps?

As it stands, apps can feel like they’re the preserve of bigger companies – but this doesn’t have to be true. In fact, having an app can be an incredible way for smaller businesses to make themselves stand out in the marketplace – especially when it comes to building awareness.

Here, we’ll look at how an app can boost customers’ awareness of your business – along with a handful of other benefits you might expect if you work with a software company to develop a dedicated app for your brand.

Put your company in front of more people

It varies a little from country to country – but as an average, people spend around 3-4 hours using their phones or mobile devices every day. Despite the fact they’re designed to handle calls, most of this time is spent on apps – and they’ve become the most popular way for a user to spend their time because they offer a level of certainty without any real thought – you know exactly what you’re going to get without the need for searches or navigating unknown websites.

Clearly, having an app on someone’s device means your service is likely to be used more – but the benefit doesn’t end there. 

The more your name is seen, the more a person is likely to consider you a trustworthy company – whether or not they’re actually using your app and building trust through interactions. What’s more, the more people use your app – the more popular it becomes in app stores too – in turn putting your company name in front of more and more people.

Offer new features

Apps give you a chance to think outside the box – giving your customer something they didn’t know they wanted. 

The truth is, an app doesn’t need to simply mirror what your website does or showcase your products – if you can think of something else that your customers are going to be looking for, you could provide that then market your services in a more covert fashion.

For instance. If you’re a restaurant owner – you might build an app that offers step-by-step recipes for customers to recreate some of your favorite dishes. Then again, perhaps you sell alloys wheels for cars – so why not create an app where a customer can upload a picture of their vehicle and generate images of their car with different wheels? The possibilities are endless – but each of these things creates an interesting function for your app – while you reap the other benefits of having your app and brand name on people’s devices.

Directly connect with your users

Many brands forget that an app offers a direct line of communication to peoples’ devices – and it’s one that few companies take full advantage of. 

Push notifications are the name given to the alerts that your phone flashes up. When you get a friend request on Facebook, it’s a push notification that flashes up. The thing is, while we’re often seeing push notifications for actions on social media – there’s no reason these alerts can’t be used to offer your customers the same things you might normally reserve for email shots or website special offers.

Push notifications are far more widely read and acted on by customers too – especially since touching one takes you directly to the app that’s sent it. In fact, brands report a 300% increase in leads and conversions when you compare a good push campaign compared to a successful email campaign.  

Give people a reason to come back

Loyalty cards are usually the reserve of coffee shops – but apps unlock this function for digital customers too. 

Loyalty schemes tap into a strange part of consumer psychology – it’s a desire to follow instructions combined with a drive towards problem-solving. As a result, when you tell someone to keep coming back so they can get their free coffee – you offer instruction and a reward – and people respond to it.

If you’ve used a platform like Wish or Alibaba, you’ll know that you’re offered discounts if you keep coming back to the platform day after day. Or, if you order Papa Johns, you’ll unlock free pizzas if you keep ordering. Your brand can do the same – by giving people an incentive – either to keep order, keep logging in, or continuing to interact.

Increase awareness

So, all of these things add up to awareness – after all, the most your customers see your app and engage with it, the more you establish your brand as a trustworthy organization in their brain. 

The strange thing is – it doesn’t actually have to be true. Not everyone has a great experience using Amazon or eBay – but they’re some of the biggest marketplaces in the world with unbeatable traction. 

The trick is to make sure your app branding matches your corporate branding elsewhere. In much the same way you’d expect your bank’s app to look the same as their headed paper and their point of sale marketing – customers need to put two-and-two together in the same way – adding up to your company. 

When you’ve got this in place, you can expect to see people connecting the dots and your brand awareness increase. Studies show that if a customer is exposed to your name and branding around 21 times, they’ll deem you as being more trustworthy and recognizable than a brand they haven’t been exposed to – even if they have no interaction to base this judgment on. 

Right or wrong, it’s psychology you’ll want to take advantage of – especially when you think about the reasons why customers are so fond of Amazon and eBay. It’s not because they’re necessarily the best or most reliable – it’s because they’re there. Our online habits are lazy – we’ll use the same stores again and again – simply because we don’t want the inconvenience of finding another. Establish trust with a customer – and you’ll reap the benefits for a long time.