When Will Your Company Go Mobile?

If you are a business owner today — no matter what size your business is — you need to start thinking about a mobile-first strategy if you have not already done so. In today’s world, businesses everywhere are looking for an edge, especially small businesses. Mobile can be that edge. It is no longer a question of if your business should adopt a mobile strategy, the question is when.

AT FIRST GLANCE – COST PROHIBITIVE

When small business owners start their research into app development, they might be discouraged when they find out what it is going to cost. The average mobile app can cost $270,000 to develop, according to a survey from Kinvey.

Those figures are sure to scare away most small business owners, and even some of the bigger ones. I have some unique insights into this process, having seen it from both sides.

SHARING MY SOLUTION

I have a retail background and in 2014, I was looking for a way to better connect with my customers. I tried many of the marketing tools available to me, including radio, magazines, flyers, email, social media and paid web. Some avenues had results and others did not, but with all the competition for the attention of my customers, it became increasingly difficult to stand out.

The goal of my marketing efforts was to get my message in front of my customers in the most effective way possible and to increase sales as a direct result of those efforts. A Google search for how to increase sales resulted in my “aha moment.”

BUILD LOYALTY TO INCREASE SALES

Businesses with loyalty programs generally have profits that are higher than businesses without one, and companies like Starbucks saw a 26% increase in profits after introducing a loyalty program. I began looking for ways to implement a loyalty program for my business and after a few days of research settled on a mobile loyalty app. In 2014, the mobile app landscape was not where it is today and what I was looking for did not exist, so I went out and built it.

ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE

As a retail owner who also founded an app development company, I know that a business owner today can design, build and publish their own custom mobile app for less than it would cost them to publish 10,000 flyers just once. The mobile app today is as essential to businesses as a website has been in the past. Over time, I believe it will become the most effective way to connect with and engage your customers.

So, I ask you….if not now, when?

Here is one business we’ve worked with to go mobile. Watch this video about Denim Industries:

This article was originally posted on Forbes.com. Ali Ispahany is a regular contributor for Forbes.

The Mobile Revolution

The Mobile Revolution – what is it? Take a look at the device that is sure to be close by, the one you make calls with, play games with, do your banking with, take your pictures with, order food with, and almost everything else you need as well. Yes, your smartphone!

There were 1.5 BILLION smartphones sold in 2017 and sales have been on an upward trajectory since 2007 when the iPhone was launched.

Today there are two dominant forces in the mobile space – Apple that produces its own hardware and operating systems(O/S) and Android (owned by Google that produces some hardware but licensed its O/S to hundreds of Hardware Manufacturers over thousands of devices.

Android is the dominant force in the smartphone market, having an astounding 75% market share worldwide. In the USA and Canada, the split is more even sided with Apple holding a slight edge 54% market share.

The Evolution of the Revolution

It seems like the revolution is about Apple vs Android – but it’s actually not.

That may have been the case a few years ago, but today the mobile revolution is about mobile applications or apps. Smartphones out-paced traditional desktop and laptops in internet access in 2014, and with the improvements of hardware that has increased every year since. So, it only makes sense that today’s mobile revolution is about how we use our devices and the apps we use on them.

So why is now a good time to get into the mobile space?

Look back 20 years, imagine investing in a mobile phone company back then, and where would you be today if you had? I’ll tell you where you would be – on the beach in an exotic land checking in on your portfolio.

THE BIG SHIFT

Success is about timing – having the right product at the right time.

The time spent on mobile will soon outpace the time spent watching TV. Yes, that’s right, it was not a typo, according to E-marketer, “by 2019 mobile will be the new leader in time spent, with 3 hours, 43 minutes of engagement vs. TV’s 3 hours, 42 minutes.” The incredible amount of time people spend on mobile devices has caused a shift in the marketing landscape.

Business owners, advertisers and marketers have taken notice. All the big brands have invested heavily into the mobile space. Companies like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks have spent small fortunes on their mobile apps, with Starbucks coming in at $1,000,000 for theirs.

The most valuable screen space in the world is that of your customer’s smartphone, and thus being able to provide a vehicle to business owners to get a piece of that landscape is priceless.

The time is right, but how can you capitalize on the gold rush of our generation? Not many businesses can afford to spend $1 million dollars.

GET A PIECE OF THE ACTION

Good news: There has been a technological shift that now allows ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Partnering with a DIY Mobile App Building Platform you can license the software needed to produce a Custom Mobile App with no Coding expertise and at a fraction the cost of a Custom Development.

This gives you the ability to provide this tool to local small business owners across the country, at the same time building a substantial residual income.

There are only a handful of companies in the world that have developed the technology that allows users to establish their own mobile app companies, and it is important to select the right company.

WHAT MAKES MASS MOBILE APPS STAND OUT?

Mass Mobile Apps makes this opportunity available with key advantages over our competition.

We provide rich feature sets that allow you to build Custom applications that include robust software systems. For example, features like

  • Loyalty Programs
  • Appointment Bookings
  • Social Chat
  • Employee Scheduling
  • In App/Online Food Ordering

Our advantage comes in the way these features work – most platforms will have some versions of a loyalty program like a digital stamp card, where users can collect stamps on each purchase culminating with a reward at the end, i.e. buy 9 cups of coffee and get your 10th free.

Our platform houses eight separate types of loyalty programs, allowing businesses to choose the tech that works for them, rather than making their business fit the tech.

Mass Mobile Apps loyalty programs:

  • Transactional Tiered Rewards
  • Scratch and Win
  • Referral Rewards
  • Coupons
  • Spin to Win
  • VIP Rewards
  • Action Points
  • Digital Stamp Card

The unique flexibility and customization capabilities were born from the experience of the founders. We both had real-world sales experience and skills that informed the platform’s design.  The primary goal was to provide the types of features that would provide real value to the business owners that purchase the apps. A sales first, rather than a coding first approach, if you will.

FROM THE OUTSET, OUR GOAL WAS NOT TO BUILD APPS BUT TO BUILD BUSINESSES

Our mission has always been to see our partners succeed, whether that’s the small business that buys an app, or our White Label Re-Seller Partners. To make that happen we not only provide not only the best app building platform but also industry leading sales training that will provide step by step instructions on developing your team and building your book of business.

The last few years has seen several hundred re-sellers and sales reps complete the detailed training, with more coming on board every day.

Now is the ideal time to join this unique marketplace set to explode in the coming years.

Learn more about the opportunity here.

The Cost of Mobile Apps for Small Businesses

Small businesses owners looking for a mobile app platform may be scared off implementing one by the perceived large capital costs involved.

I have some valuable insight on the topic from two perspectives, 1) I was a small business owner looking for a mobile app solution for my retail stores a few years ago, 2) Not finding a solution, I created my own platform that caters to small business owners.

My background is retail, I have owned and operated retail boutiques for the better part of 25 years, so I understand clearly the predicament small business owners face when looking to adopt a mobile app solution.

Let me start off by saying that for business owners today no mater how big or how small, it is imperative that they implement a mobile strategy.  Aside from the many intrinsic benefits that mobile apps provide, like push notifications, food ordering systems, integration of all digital assets, and loyalty programs, they also provide ancillary benefits, like helping rank your business higher on google searches.

The goal of every business owners marketing efforts is to get their message, (whether it is a sales promotion, new arrivals, special event, or general updates) seen by their own customers, and to know that their messages are being seen.  Look at the available marketing mediums that are available to businesses today:

  • Radio
  • TV
  • Print
  • Flyers
  • Paid Web
  • Email
  • Organic/Word of Mouth

The mobile app will over time become the best and most effective way to communicate with your customers, boost engagement and drive sales!  Technology today enables a business owner to design build and publish a mobile app, for less then it would cost them to build a website. The Mobile App will be for businesses today and moving forward, what the website was for businesses in the past.

The other unique perspective I have is that of the founder of a tech start up catering to the small business market.  We have built a platform from the perspective of a user and that perspective gives us the ability to understand the needs of our clients and how they will use our platform daily.

With the introduction of the IPhone, and the dominance of smart phones today as the primary method of accessing the internet for a majority of the population – it is imperative for businesses to adopt a mobile first marketing strategy moving forward.  Cost should no longer be an obstacle for small businesses in finding a mobile app platform.

Apple’s Update to Guideline 4.2.6 and what it means going forward.

Being a Mobile App Developer in 2018 and Beyond.

As you are likely now aware, Apple has amended its 4.2.6 guideline so that Mobile App Generating systems are able to publish apps and get them approved.  We at Mass Mobile Apps have had detailed conversations with our Apple Rep, and have a clear understanding of what its going to take to get an App approved.

  • Every App will need to have its own Developer Account – While this may be a little inconvenient – it is far better than not being able to publish apps at all.  Please check out our Complete Guide to Setting up an Apple Developer Account 
  • Apple is still looking at diversity in design, and a good user experience – So being able to make beautiful apps with great functionality is just as important today, as it was when Apple first released their 4.2.6 guidelines.  We have taken great strides in providing our re-seller partners the most flexibility in design and app creation.
  • Core Functionality – Apple wants to make sure that apps have a good user experience, and that an app is more than just a bunch of website tabs. If you are building an app that has little to no functionality, you will have a hard time getting your apps approved.

Apple has always wanted to ensure that the user experience with its customers are second to none.  With the updated App Store, and now the continued ability for App Building services to be able to serve Small Business Owners, Apple is ensuring that it stays competitive in the rapidly evolving Mobile Landscape.

The team at Mass Mobile Apps, continues to look at providing a platform that is productive for both Re-Sellers and Merchants alike.  We are positioning our platform to be an industry leader and the Best Mobile Solution for providers and end users alike.

To find out more about Mass Mobile Apps please contact us at info@massmobileapps.com.

Why Small Business Apps are HOT!

Restaurant, Salon, Clothing Boutique or Shoe Store, every small business should have an app! It’s EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE, easy to manage and a must have in today’s Mobile First World!

Why do SMEs need mobile apps? That is no longer the question, rather How can a Small Business survive without one?

ALL Your customers use mobile apps

The three most important trends today? Mobile, mobile and mobile. People almost exclusively use their smartphone to purchase, pay, play, work, learn and communicate. Consumers have switched from desktop to mobile and from browsers to apps. So whether you’re a hotel, restaurant or boutique, your customer prefers mobile.

  • The average American already spends more than two hours a day on a mobile device and the majority prefers mobile apps over websites. 86% of mobile time goes to apps and only 14% to the browser.
  • In Sweden apps have become the preferred shopping channel of mobile buyers (41% app, 36% browser). Source Statista.com

More potential for customer loyalty

Mobile apps have more potential for SMEs when it comes to marketing and customer loyalty and, therefore, are a good way to increase revenue.

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How do apps increase loyalty and revenue?

The company’s logo or app icon is clearly visible on the smartphone screen so you are only one tap away from interaction and user engagement.

SMBs with mobile apps don’t wait for visitors to come to their website; they interact with their users. Does a website see it when an app user is in the neighborhood? Can a website send that user a Geo based push message with a special offer? Apps can. With an app you can send anyone in a specific area a message that you have a special sales afternoon. Or you could offer guests a free coffee if they stops by in your shop. See how to send geo based push messages

Apps also house  all of  the company’s digital assets like, social media, website, blog and website in one place, beautifully curated in the corporate style, without the competition of other Facebook posts or tweets. You’ll get maximum attention.

Any company, from hairdresser to Cafe to a Retail Boutique can have an in-app customer loyalty card with an attractive savings program. There is no need for separate cards or stamps. All app owners can craft a Loyalty Program within minutes. Your app is a great way to get your customers coming back more often and spending more when they do.  Studies have proven that it is easier and cheaper to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one.

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For companies, it is an extension of your brand, that will give you instant credibility with your clients.  With a Mass Mobile Apps app you get a professional presence in both app stores, a special app promotion video for your website and your app will help you rank higher on Google’s search engine.

 

E-commerce becomes M-commerce

M-Commerce will soon out pace E-Commerce, and it would be a wise decision to have your business ready sooner, rather than later.  Our Shopping cart, also lets you setup a complete M-Commerce tool directly in your app, or if you already have an existing e-com site, than it can be directly integrated into your app.

 

Why do people prefer apps?

Simply put a native mobile app is specifically designed for your mobile device.  Even the best responsive websites are hard to read and navigate on a smart phone.  A Mobile App is today and tomorrow, and Mobile Website is so yesterday.

 

5 Tips on Creating a Push Notifications

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Studies have proven that push notifications can be the ultimate user engagement tool. According to multiple sources, 98% of push notifications are read, as opposed to 15-25% for email-based campaigns.

Push notifications allow App Merchants to reach their customers outside of the in-store experience. If your messages are crafted correctly, it can create real value and promote an almost viral level of the sharing of your content.


2Frequency of your messages.

The first rule of push notification marketing – don’t overdo it. Especially if you’re sending push notifications for advertising or promotional purposes: less is usually more. Ask yourself: “Would I be annoyed by the volume of messages I’ve been receiving from this app?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe, you may want to consider spacing them out.

3Schedule your push notifications.

How would you like to be woken up in the middle of the night by a vibrating cell phone, flashy lights and a push message saying you have a $5 discount on your next purchase if you invite a friend? Knowing your target market allows you to send messages during reasonable hours when engagement is usually at its highest. Anything between 10 AM and 6 PM is recommended. Send anything outside the recommended period, and you risk missing the user’s attention or annoying them.

4Encourage engagement whenever you can.

A relevant message is great, but it’s even better to create a discussion or an interaction within the app which leads to sharing and other benefits. Using your in-app social network, you can drive users towards engagement. For example, start a photo-based contest, such as “post a picture of X” – or reward users for the best response to a posted question.

5Offer exclusive discounts or deals.

Who isn’t looking for a good deal? Use push notifications to send out ‘What’s new’ and ‘Today only’ deals. You might also think about using push notifications to inform users about discounts on products you offer, and you can create exclusive app only offers, which shows the value in joining.

6Event reminders and announcements.

Is the big game today? What time does the DJ start at the club tonight? Will there be a change in store hours over the holidays? Friendly reminders in form of push notifications take only moments to set up, but might save your users minutes or hours of ‘search time’. Minimize possible frustration caused by last minute changes and increase brand loyalty by making sure your users have all the latest information at hand.

By optimizing your messages to increase app open and conversion rates you’re not just improving app retention, but you’re also setting yourself up to increase customer lifetime value.

And if you haven’t used push notifications in your app yet, we challenge you to get one out in the coming week. Push notifications are free to use within the Mass Mobile Apps platform and it takes 30 seconds to send them to every one of your customers.  Today an Mobile Loyalty App is a necessity for any business looking to grow or maintain its customer base, and the Push notification is the most effective way to reach that base.

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8 Reasons Why Loyalty Programs Are Imperative For Marketers

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by: Steve Olenski

Companies throughout the nation are now utilizing loyalty programs more often than ever before. These organizations understand the importance of retaining existing customers and choose to implement a system directed specifically at building customer loyalty.

What exactly is a loyalty program, then? While the specifics of each program may differ, the premise remains the same: a loyalty program is a marketing system instituted by a business that rewards purchasing behavior, thus increasing the customer’s urge to stay loyal to the company. A loyalty program may offer convenience, store credit, prizes, or any other benefit that would entice the loyalty of a customer.

Of course, like all other marketing efforts, a well-crafted loyalty program requires resources that may currently be allocated towards other endeavors. If you have not yet implemented a loyalty program in your marketing strategy, or are unsure about its efficacy, consider the following eight reasons why a loyalty program may be a worthwhile option for you.

1. It Has Been Proven to Boost Growth

Of course, each type of loyalty program may yield wildly different results, but as a marketer, you should never overlook the fact that loyalty programs have been tested time and time again, and have proven to be successful in numerous industries.

In fact, the “growth hacker” movement, a recent collection of marketing gurus and regular business owners whose sole aim is the growth of the company, began by using loyalty programs as their traditional model to expand a company. These individuals allocated all of their energy towards growing their business, and saw customer loyalty as one of the easiest ways to ensure this outcome.

2. Loyalty Programs Are Not As Expensive As You May Think

When some marketers think of loyalty programs, they begin to imagine a large portion of existing resources being funneled away into a program that may or may not see success.

In reality, however, pursuing new customers is the true cost burden; a February 2013 article in Forbes asserts that keeping an existing customer is 7 times less expensive than acquiring a new one. Thus, even the resources you utilize in a loyalty program will most likely pale in comparison to the expense of finding new buyers.

Furthermore, depending on the scope of your rewards program, the slight expenses you incur by instituting a loyalty rewards program may be overshadowed by the additional business generated as a result.

3. Boost Your Reputation

Loyalty programs serve a dual function: to incentivize new clients to stick around after purchasing your goods and services, and to ensure that existing loyal clients still feel as if they are valued by your operation.

Of course, by instituting a loyalty program, you not only improve customer appreciation of your business, but you also increase the chances that existing clients will share this joy with those close to them. The more a customer feels appreciated by a business, the more he or she is likely to support that company and recommend it to others. This, in turn, carries on in a word-of-mouth cyclical nature that continues to achieve growth for your business.

4. Increase Sales By Including Enticing Awards

Marketers and business owners enjoy loyalty programs because they have the ability to improve customer retention for a specific operation. Customers appreciate loyalty programs, however, because they often provide added incentives for making a purchase, with the rewards increasing linearly (or even exponentially) with more purchases, or depending on the size or scope of the item purchased.

Because of this, using a loyalty rewards program in your marketing strategy will help provide you with access to a bigger portion of your customers’ wallets.

This will only occur, though, if the rewards you offer are in tune with the wants and needs of the customers who frequent your business. It is important to point out that not all loyalty rewards programs are the same, and only one that is executed skillfully will have the desired effect.

Your rewards program could entice customers to purchase more at a given time, but only if the incentives you give out are worth it.

5.  It Provides Vital Market Research

According to Troy Ireland, CEO of the SEO agency Digital Current:

Understanding the purchasing behavior of a specific demographic is one of the most important sets of research data available to marketers. To develop a strategic plan to present your products in a way that produces the most optimal buying behavior, one needs to understand what the target audience avoids as much as what triggers them to spend their money.

By offering a loyalty rewards program, you are conducting a form of research that will provide you with similar information about your customers. Through trial and error, you will begin to see the sort of incentives that fuel the desire of your clients, and the rewards that don’t elicit the same results.

This allows you to hone in on specific rewards that are most appreciated. Using this information, you can also attach the most sought after rewards to specific products that you are most interested in sharing with your clients.

6. It Makes Customers Happy

Sure, the benefits you offer in your loyalty rewards program may not have any effect on the goods or services that you offer your customers each and every day. That being said, your initiative of providing additional rewards for your most loyal customers sets your business apart from other, non-participating companies.

By implementing a loyalty rewards program, you are sending a message to your current and future client base that you are interested in not only making money off of purchases, but also in a relationship with customers that is mutually beneficial. You sell goods and services, although you attach benefits solely for the benefit of the customer.

This act of goodwill will improve the overall outlook of your customers, which will ultimately have a positive impact on your business.

7. You Can Provide In-Store Or Digital Rewards (Or Both)

One of the most beneficial parts of loyalty rewards systems, for both the customers and the business owners, is that, depending on the tactics, the rewards can be applied to purchases made online, in person, or both. This provides you with the chance to offer a robust set of rewards for a broader array of clients.

If you have noticed that most of your sales are to those who shop on the Internet, enhance your online rewards system; conversely, if most of your business is conducted in person, an in-store program may be best suited for you.

Fortunately, according to Retail Expert Francesca Nicasio of VendHQ, “you have the option to take your pick, depending on the needs of your operation and the setup of your merchant processor.”

8. Once It Gets Started, It Stops Being Work

In reality, setting up a rewards system may take some real effort on your part. It requires initial research regarding the preferences of your customers, as well as the scheme that you would like to implement going forward.

That being said, once you have a rewards program set up, it effectively becomes a self-sustaining machine, due to its cyclical nature: the more a client purchases, the more rewards he or she receives, thus inspiring him or her to continue purchasing.

Continuously updating the rewards will keep your customers engaged, but the work it takes to perform this will be overshadowed by the growth your company experiences.

Why It Is Time For You To Set Up A Loyalty Program

It’s no secret anymore that loyalty programs are effective marketing tools. They increase growth, help retain customers, and improve your brand’s reputation. And if you haven’t yet weaved a loyalty program into your marketing strategy, you may be missing out on one of the best and easiest tools available for the success of your business.

5 Holiday Social Media Ideas That’ll Keep Your Registers Ringing

by Lisa Furgison
4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

As business owners, you don’t have elves to help you prepare for the holidays, but you do have social media.

Social media is a powerful marketing tool during the holidays. A survey shows 50 percent of customers use social media to find deals, and others use it to research gift ideas and learn about a specific company, according to Statista.

To help businesses use social media to increase brand awareness and give sales a boost, here are four holiday ideas you can use on your social channels this season:

1. Create an Offer on Facebook

Savvy shoppers are always on the hunt for a great deal.

Ninety-four percent of holiday consumers say discounts impact their purchase decisions, according to Invesp, so why not give customers what they want? Give them a deal they can’t refuse on a platform they’re already familiar with.

Facebook allows brands to create Offers, which are basically coupons for your customers. You can create a coupon that’s redeemable in your store, so customers can present the coupon on their phone at the register, or enter a coupon code during checkout online.

The Offer is shared with your Facebook fans, but once a customer redeems it, it’s mentioned in the customer’s News feed, so it exposes even more people to your deal.

Customers can even save the deal for later, and will receive notifications from Facebook when the deal is about to expire.

Here’s an example of an Offer from Camping and Fishing Outlet:

4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

The cost of a Facebook Offer depends on how many people you want it to reach. You’ll see budget options when you create the offer. Here are the instructions to create an Offer on Facebook, and here’s a list of frequently asked questions about Facebook Offers.

2. Host a holiday contest

Seven out of ten brands are using “gamification techniques,” which is the use of giveaways, games and contests to attract and retain customers, according to HubSpot.

Why are more businesses turning to contests and games? For starters, consumers love them, with 68 percent of adults older than 18 participating in online games.

Plus, it’s fairly simple to host a contest these days on social media.

Local businesses could encourage customers to take pictures of the holiday lights in their community. From decked-out homes to businesses lit up with a Santa’s Workshop display, customers can snap artsy photos and submit them on your Facebook page for a chance to enter an in-store gift card.

Or, have customers submit a short 100-word essay about how your product or service enhances their holiday. Select the best answer, announce the winner on Facebook and give the customer a rare coupon for 50% off one item.

If you don’t have the manpower to create and monitor a contest on social media, there are apps that can help. Try WooBox or Wishpond. (Note: Both WooBox and Wishpond charge a monthly fee for their services, but WooBox does have a few options available for free.)

3. Shoot and share a holiday video tip

Consider shooting a video that gives your customers a holiday tip, which just so happens to promote one of your products.

Videos are highly shareable, and Facebook fans seem to consume them at a high rate. Eight billion videos are viewed through Facebook each day, according to Social Media Today.

Need some video ideas? If you sell coffee and tea, create a video that shows customers how to brew your freshly ground beans for a large group. If you sell cosmetics, shoot a video that offers holiday makeup tips for people going to their company get-together. If you offer heating repair services, create a video that offers heat-related safety tips for the holidays, like how far to keep a tree from a fireplace.

Pit Barrel Cooker Co. shot and shared a video explaining how to cook the perfect holiday turkey. Here’s a look at the video from the company’s Facebook page, which received 254,000+ views:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPitBarrelCookerCo%2Fvideos%2F1123242144427543%2F&show_text=0&width=560

4. Create and share a holiday eCard

Small businesses often go the extra mile to create personal relationships with customers. During the holidays, it’s nice to reach out to your customers and thank them for their patronage.

You can send traditional holiday cards in the mail, or you can take a few minutes to create an ecard that you can share on your social channels.

You can use do-it-yourself websites to create animated cards that are highly shareable. If you want to create a traditional digital card, try a site like Punchbowl. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try a site like JibJab. This site allows you to upload pictures of yourself and your employees, and puts your faces on dancing elves or a singing Santa dancing to Gangnam Style.

5. Use Your Mobile App for In App Only Promotions

Tis the Season for Giving, so use your Mobile App to promote App Only offers. This will increase customer engagement and drive more app downloads, as you make your App feel more like an Exclusive Club, where only members receive the perks!

Additionally why not update your Mobile Apps look to reflect the season.  With the Mass Mobile Apps platform, you can easily update the look & feel of your app which will can keep your message across all channels uniform.

How will you use social media to market your business or product during the holiday season? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Not all Loyalty Apps are Created Equal!

As a small business owner of a denim and sportswear store, I was looking for ways to increase my bottom line, and alternative ways to connect with my customers.  With the social media explosion, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails, promoting my business became a full time job.  That was great in the mid 2000’s, but as more and more people and businesses jumped on the bandwagon, I noticed these mediums becoming less effective. As a result after much research, I decided to implement a loyalty program, but discovered that all of the existing Loyalty platforms lacked the qualities and features I felt were relevant to me and most importantly to my customers.

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The existing Loyalty platforms, were not marketing my business but promoting theirs but against my better judgment I gave it a shot, and joined a popular program.  I quickly discovered that this was not specific to me nor did it promote my “Brand”.  It was cookie cutter at best!  Why did I have to fit my business model into their environment and promote their app and brand?  I also questioned why my business was added to a list of similar merchants, some of which were my competitors.

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This is when the Mass Mobile Apps Concept was born.  Out of a need to keep my customers engaged and loyal, and to drive traffic and increase Sales.  Mass Mobile Apps designs customized Loyalty Apps specific to any business promoting their brand and connecting customers in a meaningful way.

Why conform to someone else’s concept of a loyalty program, when you can develop your own!

4 Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use

4 Joyful Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use
Holiday shoppers are ready to dash through the aisles this season, spending an average of $935.58 on holiday gifts, food and decor. Retail sales are in good shape for the end of the year, with a predicted 3.6 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Are you ready to cash in on the holiday shopping craze? If so, you need to create a few holiday marketing campaigns to attract customers to your store. But, creating marketing campaigns takes time, and who has extra time during the holidays? You’re busy scheduling additional staff, ordering extra inventory and prepping your store.

To take the hassle out of the holidays, we’ve put together a list of four holiday marketing ideas that every business can and should use during the holidays.

1. Ask customers to submit holiday designs
Take a cue from Starbucks and get your customers involved in the design process. Starbucks asked its customers to draw holiday designs on their coffee cups, and submit pictures via Instagram. Starbucks selected a handful of winning designs and mass-produced the artwork on holiday cups this season. Here’s a winning design created by a nurse in Chicago:

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The campaign sparked 1200 submissions from 13 different countries, and engaged fans all over the world as the designs filled social media channels.

Your company can do something similar. For instance, you can ask customers to turn your everyday logo into a festive one. Have participants submit the photos online and select the best one. Then use the winning design on your website throughout the holidays.

You can promote the contest on your website, social channels and in store. Send out email and text about the contest too. You might consider giving the winner an additional prize, like a $100 in-store gift card, to sweeten the deal.

2. Create a ’12 Days of Christmas’ giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to introduce customers to a new product. Plus, everyone loves a freebie, especially during the holidays.

Use the inspiration of the beloved 12 Days of Christmas song to give away 12 items leading up to Christmas. HBO, for example, offered 12 episodes of its hottest shows for free during the holiday season.

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If you offer a service, consider giving customers 12 days free, or an upgrade for 12 days.

If you want to give away 12 products, one on each day, you could ask customers to participate in a trivia game on social game media. The first person to get the answer right wins the prize of the day.

Or, the 20th shopper that comes into your store gets the day’s giveaway; or the first customer that makes a donation at the register to a charity that your store supports wins the prize.

Be sure to advertise the giveaways on social media, email and text message. Let customers know what the prize is each day, and how they can win.

3. Provide gift inspiration via Email, Social or Mobile
The average person expects to receive 13 gifts for Christmas, according to Statista. That’s a lot of gifts to buy.

And how many times have you wandered aimlessly through the aisles looking for the perfect gift for Aunt Susie, only to come up empty handed? It happens to everyone. Why not suggest some of your products or services as the perfect gift?

If you have collected email addresses from your customers, create and email a gift guide that highlights a handful of cool gift ideas. You can break the guides into categories like “Gifts for Mom” or “Stocking Stuffers Under $10.” Or, maximize Pinterest and create special gift guide boards like the examples below. Share links on your social media channels in your emails, and your Mobile App.

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Here’s an example on Instagram:

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If you have access to cell phone numbers, consider texting customers a specific gift idea. Provide the idea, and an incentive to get customers to come to your store. Try a text like this, “Can’t find a gift for your mom? Get an extra 10% off [name of your product].”

4. Provide a last minute holiday deal
Holiday shoppers procrastinate. It’s a fact. Last year, as of December 15, the average shopper had only completed 53.5% of their shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

Give your customers an incentive to shop at your store for their last minute holiday needs. Consider sending a promotion that offers a 15% store wide discount or a specific deal on a popular product.

If you operate an online store or ship products to your customers, remind customers about last minute shipping deadlines too.

Here’s a great holiday promotion from Birchbox that combines a holiday deal, which includes extra rewards points, with a shipping reminder. Consider trying a similar promotion. Send it to your customers via text, email or both.

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There you have it, four ideas that your business can use to get registers ringing during the holidays. Which ideas will you use? Or, do you have tried-and-true holiday marketing ideas of your own? If so, share your holiday marketing plans with us in the comment section below.