This is a note to you, yes, you the small business owner who together with your peers form 99.9% of the businesses in US representing 44% of the US economy. The one in 10 who just cannot let go of that one dream, the one who builds businesses, teams, loyal customers and entire communities. You are not going to blast into space in your own rocket any time soon but you sure love working with and for those who support your dream.
Surviving as a Small Business
Let us level set first. Surviving, let alone growing as a small business is not easy. Customers change the way they find products and services. Giant corporations make it very easy for them to order just about anything and get it delivered the same day. The same giant corporation undercut leverage scale to eat your margin. Last but not least, your business is vulnerable to dramatic events, from fires and hurricanes to pandemics. You do however have one very important thing you can deliver to your customers that will bring them in and keep them close: An Unique Customer Experience.
Customers are people, not machines so they will emotionally attach to your story, to your brand, to your community. They will accept more friction just to get your product and they will support and stick by you in hard times. Then there is another good thing going for you: according to Gallup, 67% of US adults have more confidence in a small business compared to 21% who trust a large corporation. You must harness this differentiator, you must build and cultivate your customer community, appeal to their humanity and make them continue to see and appreciate the extra value you provide. How many people buy products from a store, local or not, because they simply want to support it, because the products come with extra attention or knowledge, because they simply identify with the other customers visiting that store?
How do you build customer engagement as an SMB?
The next question then is: As an SMB owner, how can you acquire these customers and how can you keep them engaged, how can you build a community that will keep them close?
For a while now you heard your friends and your marketing consultant say you need a webpage which is the equivalent of a little storefront on Internet land. Despite the fact that 95% of purchases are expected to be made through eCommerce by 2040, about 35% of you think your business is too small for a website and only 54% of you actually put a webpage together. Building a website has become easier over time but you still have to commit to maintaining it.
Next came the Social Media wave and your friends and advisors said you MUST be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. Yes, that is another way to speak to potential and existing users and while the technical knowledge ramp-up to getting set up is smaller than that related to building and managing your webpage (after all you are a user of these social networks) you will face similar commitment requirements: you need to tend to your followers and you need to learn how to better use the tools of those platforms.
While these two traditional recommendations are fine, to me they are akin to trying to put together and run a chess club at a football game. You get drowned in the noise and the action happening somewhere else. The smart approach is to go where your customers are or bring them inside the oasis that is your community. You need to be able to communicate directly with them, whisper to them rather than having to invest in the biggest megaphone around in order to stand out even a little bit in the noisy background.
Where are your customers?
So where are the customers these days? Well, they spend 75% of their Internet time on mobile devices. Mobile apps deliver 3x more conversions than regular or even mobile responsive websites. More importantly, in my opinion, a mobile app allows you to whisper to each customer, to have a more engaged user community, allows you to have more insightful data about your community, it allows you to enhance your key differentiator: exceptional customer experience.
The takeaway is that all statistics, all data point in one direction: You, the SMB owner must go mobile or face a very stark reality. The one thing we learned about the COVID pandemic is that it is a trend accelerator. Whatever was working poorly will reach its demise faster while whatever works well will grow faster. This was plainly obvious when it came to small businesses or nonprofits who were able to stay in touch with their customers during lockdowns vs those who couldn’t.
I am sure you are thinking: Who has money or time for a mobile app when I didn’t even go for a webpage?
Your customers are on mobile, are you?
With mobile apps becoming the new web pages, we are getting to the point where you have options to create your own app just as easily and inexpensively as a webpage. If you are an eCommerce business, a nonprofit, or a YouTube content creator, you can try our platform and create your own app in 10–15 minutes for the price of two coffees a month.
Leapfrog to mobile apps and get your business the foundation it needs to survive in today’s World. A mobile app is no longer a nice to have, it is a must-have and luckily it is easy to have it too.
Ready to join?
Currently, our platform is in closed beta, and we are allowing selected businesses to join and use our platform. If you are interested to grow your business with a mobile app, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.