Are you leaving money on the table?
Let me ask it another way: do you have a mobile app? No? Then you’re most likely missing out on some serious revenue opportunities. Let me explain.
Maybe you think your brand doesn’t need an app. Or maybe you just don’t see how it could use one. But no matter how old school or traditional your product or service is, you can still find ways to leverage it on mobile. Just take a look at these 12 Mobile Apps that Breathed New Life into Unlikely Products if you need some inspiration.
Yes, a mobile app could transform your business operations – or even your industry. But how about just making some extra money? Would that be too much to ask?
Not at all.
In fact, there are numerous ways in which mobile apps can impact your bottom-line. And you certainly don’t have to be a software company or sell commercial software in order to profit from a mobile app. I’ve written before about topics like How a Custom App Can Make Your Product Better and 5 Ways a Custom Mobile App Can Extend Your Product’s Shelf Life. These articles show how to make money indirectly by improving and expanding your product’s reach or set of features.
But today I want to talk about some more direct ways to make money with a mobile app. Ones that don’t involve new functionality and new audiences. Ways that just, well, make you money. Here are a few ideas that might excite you and get those app ideas flowing.
Setting Up Your Mobile Shop
One of the most popular features of today’s mobile applications is a branded online store. This can be just a small part of your mobile app or the whole purpose of it. With your own store, you can make sure the browsing is simple, the products are displayed the way you want them, and you have total control over the purchase experience. You can sell your own products directly without losing margin to online retailers. You can also make money by selling complementary products, supplies, and related services – even if you don’t provide them yourself, you can sell them through affiliate or distributor arrangements.
Improve Your Closing Rate
Mobile marketing through apps can offer you new ways to reach and follow up with customers. Push notifications are far more likely to be read than emails. You can track user activity to gather important data. Or follow up on abandoned carts with reminders and new offers. The fact that you’re reaching out to customers on their mobile devices – where they live, so to speak – makes them more inclined to interact with you than most other marketing methods. And since they’ve already agreed to install your app in the first place, you’re working with highly targeted, highly relevant lists. With all the tools a mobile app can offer, you’ll no doubt find many ways to fine-tune your marketing – improving your clickthroughs, conversions, and closing rates.
Advertising Within Your App
Not planning to sell anything in your app? You can still earn incremental revenues from it through advertising. Now before you run away shrieking, “No way, not in my app!” you should really consider the many different forms of ads that are possible. Sure, there are the full-screen in-your-face popovers – which, although hated by many, are appropriate in certain situations. But there are also subtle banners, text links, and image ads that can be applied. You should note that, just like on a website, you’re in complete control of what you choose to advertise. You can limit your ads by boosting only relevant cross-sales, partners, and sponsors. Or test a variety of offers to see what generates the most interest and makes you the most money.
Sometimes you can take a popular part of your business and spin it off as its own standalone product. That’s what the New York Times did with its crossword puzzles. Obviously, you don’t have to care about the news to enjoy a good crossword. The Times realized that the market for their puzzles was broader than their news subscribers. So they created the New York Times Crossword Puzzle app. Now they can make money from crossword enthusiasts who don’t care about their news and editorials.
Offering Premium Features
Many companies follow the free-to-use model for their apps, which gets more people to download and use them. Then they enable “in-app purchasing” to allow users to upgrade and gain access to premium features not available in the free use versions. Games are notorious for this, with companies like Zynga raking in revenues from in-game purchases, as seen in this 2016 SurveyMonkey Intelligence Report. Even productivity apps can work this strategy. Apps such as MeetMe, which offers free limited use — but to access their more advanced features you need to buy credits.
Making Your App a Money-Maker
You can create an app with the sole purpose being to make money in one of these ways, of course. That’s what commercial software companies do.
But if you’re looking to augment or enhance an existing product or service, don’t turn a blind eye to these opportunities. Any one of these strategies could pay for the cost of building your app! Whether you’re building an app yourself or hiring a developer like Ascendle to do it for you, choose the right money-making strategies not only to improve your brand, but also to add new streams of revenue to your bottom-line.