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How a Mobile App Can Make Money

When talking to small and medium businesses, we’ve often come across the perception that having a mobile app developed is expensive, and will offer little or no return on the investment.

In this short article, we explain several ways in which an app for your business can actually be used as a tool to achieve any of the following:

  • Generate extra revenue

  • Increase sales for your business

  • Reduce your marketing expenditure

We hope that by reading this article you can see that there are a number of potential profit centres that can be created from developing a mobile app. If you’d like to discuss your own ideas with us, please feel free to get in touch.

Making a paid-for app

You’ve probably seen that most apps are free or cost around £0.99 to download. However, if you have a niche business that provides specialised content, there is no reason why you cannot charge more for your app.

For example, an app called iVIP Black “Metrology iPhone application” is currently selling for $999.99!

Another example is the DDS GP Yes app that is “designed for dental professionals to improve their presentation of dental conditions and treatment to patients.” This app sells for £349.

These examples show that you can turn specialised content into an app that can sell for a premium – and allow you to make a return on your investment to develop the app.

Selling products via your app

Apps have made it incredibly easy for users to purchase items immediately. With iPhone and iPad apps, Apple’s iTunes store takes care of all the credit card processing and associated security.  For the user, all they need to do is to enter their password, and have their purchase delivered to them right then and there. This brings extra customer satisfaction as the content is delivered to them instantly – there is no need for them to wait.

Examples of products that you could sell via your app could be:

1. Instructional videos

For example, if you have a fitness or exercise business, you could include a short workout video costing £1.99 that could be downloaded through your app. You could produce a new video every week on a different topic that would be automatically made available for purchase via the app. This would turn your app into a separate profit centre for your business which can bring an additional stream of revenue to you every week.

If you have some unique content that people would find beneficial, then making it available via an app is definitely something to consider.

2. eBooks and eGuides

Your app can be used to provide paid-for downloads of books or guides that you’ve produced. For example, we’ve produced an app for a property training company. The app allows users to download legal agreements and useful property investment how-to guides through the app for £2.99 per guide.

Other examples could be providing audio downloads, such as a guided meditation, or interview with an expert on a specialist topic.

To help you think about what products you could sell via an app, it would be useful to answer the following questions:

  1. What knowledge/skills does my business have that other people could benefit from? List them all.
  2. Could you turn any of the above into a video, audio or a document?

So in essence, could your business sell any of its products via an app? If not, could your business develop products that could be sold through an app?

Reduced Marketing Costs

Development of an app itself can lead to more sales and a stronger brand presence, and lead to a reduction in your spending on your current marketing efforts, thus saving you some hard-earned cash!

Imagine you own a bar or restaurant. You produce a free app for your bar, and encourage customers to download and install it, offering everyone who downloads it a free drink, as the more people who download your app the more money you will ultimately save (you’ll see why shortly!).

Let’s say 350 people download the app. You now have the ability to send messages direct to the phones of 350 of your customers. You have built yourself a list of 350 of your customers – who you can now interact with directly.

For Apple devices, you can send notifications (which appear like text messages, see the picture below) direct to their device!

For example, you could send them a message:  “Special offer for Valentine’s Day” or “Happy Hour this Friday”. The potency of using the notification service is that you are pushing your marketing message direct to your customer. Contrast this with the traditional “pull” method. Printing flyers, advertising in newspapers – very expensive. And how many of your target audience will even see these messages?

With traditional print advertising, are you able to judge your conversion rate?

If something pops up on your phone’s screen, you can’t throw your phone away! You’re getting up close and personal with your messages to your customers, which is very powerful indeed.

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