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8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Brand

Social media has great potential for businesses looking to increase their reach, traffic and leads. But when it’s not used properly, it can actually damage your brand’s reputation.

1. Not properly vetting and supervising your social media managers
Your social media managers are the face of your company online. With social media now driving almost a third of all referral traffic, it’s absolutely critical that those responsible for driving these referrals are up to the task.

While mistakes can’t always be avoided, we’ve seen too many examples of inexperienced, untrained or poorly supervised employees getting free reign of the company’s social media accounts.

2. Not responding appropriately to negative feedback
Negative feedback is going to happen. You can choose to ignore it, fight back or take it in stride. How you respond says a lot about your brand.

Some brands operate under the assumption that they can simply delete negative comments without repercussions. Others believe that ignoring negative or inflammatory comments is the way to go.

Rather than avoiding, why not use these situations as opportunities to shine? Respond thoughtfully and promptly to negative comments, and use them as opportunities to showcase your commitment to customer service.

3. Buying likes or followers
Buying fans or followers is risky business. Some brands still believe that padding their numbers by paying for fictitious fans is a harmless endeavor. But did you know that buying Facebook fans can actually hurt your brand by decreasing your overall reach?

Fake fans will never interact or engage with your page, signaling to Facebook that your content isn’t interesting or valuable to your audience. This leads to an overall algorithmic decrease in your post reach and visibility. You could also find your account being closed, banned or deleted should Facebook find out about your schemes.

It’s far better to focus on attracting real, interested fans who will engage with your posts.

4. Being a one-trick pony
Posting the same types of content again and again can convey the impression that your brand is boring, uncreative or just not in tune with your audience. Instead of posting link after link or quote after quote, change things up by posting a wide variety of content.

When you get hung up on posting the same types of content again and again, your followers will become less engaged and are more apt to think you simply don’t care about posting engaging content.

5. Promoting your products … constantly
There’s a time and place for promoting your business or products, even on social media. However, too many brands are still using social media as a channel for pushing their marketing message.

Social selling is all about building relationships and trust that will ultimately lead to sales. Don’t abuse the platform by using it as billboard or commercial. The 80/20 principle is a good rule of thumb: post engaging, high-value content 80 percent of the time and promote your products no more than 20 percent of the time. Better yet, think about how you can move your social media fans and followers into your online marketing funnel — then you never have to directly promote on social media.

6. Being inconsistent in use and messaging
Do you have a schedule for when and how often you post? Do you have a consistent voice that you use across all your social media profiles? Do your profile and cover photos convey what are you brand is about? How do you respond to negative feedback or criticism?

The best way to be consistent in your social media marketing is to have a strategy in place. This will include, among other elements, guidance about how and when you’ll use social media:

Guidelines for how to respond to negative comments
A frequently asked questions document that various team members can refer to. This will help ensure consistency in messaging.

7. Offering canned responses
Having a social media plan in place will help you to respond to questions and comments in a consistent manner. But the “cut and paste” method of responding to comments — particularly to criticisms — can lead to some pretty significant backlash.

While having prepared responses in place for commonly asked questions can certainly save you some time, use them with caution. Keep in mind that criticisms, negative feedback and specific questions should generally be met with thoughtful, personalized responses.

8. Spreading yourself too thin
Just because a social networking site exists doesn’t mean you have to use it. Spreading yourself thin by committing to too many networks can mean you’re not using any of them effectively.

Instead of spreading your valuable time and resources between eight sites, consider choosing the top five, three or even two sites that are the best match for your target market. It’s better to fully commit to a regular posting schedule on a few networks than letting many lie dormant.

Final thoughts
Avoiding these mistakes all comes down to ensuring your team is properly trained, using your resources wisely and responding to your fans and followers in a professional manner. When it comes down to it, treating your social media followers the same way you’d treat in-store customers or clients will help you avoid the worst of these mistakes.

4 Types of Apps That Never Succeed

The truth hurts: most apps fail to become a sustainable business. Imagine what it would take for you to build an app that becomes one of those four to 10 apps that a customer uses on a weekly or monthly basis.

While building a successful mobile startup is hard, there are these four types that will unfortunately never make it. Are you building one of them?

1. Apps that don’t solve a problem.
Every successful business ever built, let alone mobile apps, provides a solution to a problem that customers are willing to pay for. Some of the most successful businesses were built out of problems that the founders experienced and solved for themselves, and then went out and got product/market fit.

For example, Instacart was built out of a personal frustration that its founder experienced in buying groceries. The founder himself was the first customer of the app and then brought on his friends. The product/market fit was achieved when all of his friends and network continued to use the app regularly.

It’s not just about solving a problem, though. It is about whether your customers would be willing to pay to use your solution or shift from their existing solutions because you solved an intrinsic problem that no other app could do until now.

Apps that don’t solve a problem will never see the light of the day, let alone survive.

2. Apps with single founders.
You can find contradictory advice on this one, but I strongly believe in the power of two. If you pull out all the successful mobile app startups or businesses, you will find that there are hardly any that have a single founder.

This is not by chance, but by design. Single founders are often at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is extremely hard. You could try and build an app out of your knowledge, but you need support, often from a co-founder who has skills complementary to yours. If you’re an engineer, you need sales and marketing support or vice versa.

You also need someone with an interest in your product to brainstorm ideas and strategies with. You just cannot do that with friends and other people who have nothing at stake from the success or failure of your venture.

Paul Graham of Y Combinator considers “single founders” the number-one reason that kill startups.

“The low points in a startup are so low that few could bear them alone,” he says. “When you have multiple founders, esprit de corps binds them together in a way that seems to violate conservation laws. Each thinks ‘I can’t let my friends down.’ This is one of the most powerful forces in human nature, and it’s missing when there’s just one founder.”

3. Apps that are only incrementally better than competitors.
Did you face a problem while using a certain app and thought to yourself, “if only I could add this one feature, it would make the app a great success?”

People use certain apps out of habits, and the more they use them, the more they are part of an ecosystem. It’s not easy for them to get out of that and reestablish it on another one. Why should they then use your app just because it’s got an additional or two features? They would rather write to the current app developer with a request to add the features.

4. Apps that fail to communicate value proposition.
Assuming that you’ve built something that users want, there are many apps that just fail to convey their value to the user.

Can you, in just seven to 10 words, describe what your product is all about? If you cannot describe your app to your grandma, chances are, your customers will not get it. Not only do you need to communicate effectively, but also connect with your potential users at an emotional level, generating excitement and curiosity.

Work on crafting a compelling story about your app that can convey the value proposition in the simplest words to your user. Make sure you don’t fall into any of these types. Keep focused on the path to building a successful and sustainable business.

3 Strategies for Winning In the Hyper-Competitive Market for Apps

Before you invest valuable time and resources developing a mobile app, ask yourself if it something that people need? Because if they don’t need it, nobody is going to download and use it! Irrespective of the efforts you put in to market your app, an app that isn’t useful will fail.

The failure rate of mobile apps is abysmally high. There is no guarantee even a mobile app with everything going for it will deliver the returns you are looking for.

This is a problem of plenty. Mobile app users have more than 1.4 available apps to choose from on Google Play and Apple’s app store. Unless your app delivers exceptional value to its target audience, it’s going to fail.

But that’s not enough. Even the best made apps fail, if they are not propped up with an effective marketing plan. If you think a well-made app will succeed no matter what, you’ve got it wrong. Here are three tips for boosting its chances of success.

1. Shout the loudest.
If you want your voice to be heard over other voices, what do you do? Shout the loudest! Think about it from the perspective of mobile apps. Your app is competing with plenty of other apps to get the attention of the same target audience.

It is marketing that will help your app break through the clutter, and become more visible to your audience.

Say you’ve developed an expense manager for families. Your app must becomes visible to this particular demographic. Your target audience needs to know your app caters to their needs and is available for download.

Use SEO and other Internet marketing tactics to attract traffic to this site. The more people you attract, the more your chances of building a targeted email subscription list. Once you build this list, create and implement an email marketing campaign that centers on your app.

Email remains the digital marketing channel that delivers the best ROI. But, don’t limit yourself to emails. Develop a multi-pronged marketing strategy that promotes your app across different mediums. And keep at it. Don’t stop. Your app must be seen by a large percentage of its target audience.

2. Trigger viral response.
Use social media to spread the word and trigger conversations around your app. Your app should be seen and heard. This is only possible by leveraging the immense potential of social media to build meaningful relationship with target app users.

Create social media profiles for your app on Twitter, Facebook etc. Build a list of followers that largely consists of your target audience. Engage with your followers by sharing content talking about the benefits of your app and anything else that you believe will convince them to use your app. This sets the stage for your app to go viral.

If your followers like the content you are sharing, they’re going to share it with their followers on social media. This means your app’s mentions have the potential of going viral. This will definitely help the app steal a march over its competitors.

3. Boost app credibility.
With so many people talking about your app , you improve its chances of being downloaded and used. If your app is good, people are going to leave positive ratings and reviews on the app page on the app store, its landing pages and on app review sites. This will boost app credibility.

People want to use apps that others are talking about, using and positively reviewing. We’ve talked about social media in the earlier point. Consumers trust social media recommendations; if your app comes well recommended by its users, there is nothing like it.

Better visibility, wider circulation and trust are three things that will get your app over the finish line, ahead of its competitors; and for this you must take the help of mobile apps marketing.

Why Apps for Messaging Are Trending

Some publishers, game makers and e-commerce companies are using the apps as a new distribution and moneymaking platform. Developers have been expanding the uses of the apps, making new functions possible. And investors, seeing huge potential, have driven the apps to ever-higher valuations.

“The most popular apps that sustain themselves day after day, month after month, at the top of the leader board, are messengers,” said Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, a messaging app popular with young users. “That’s a reflection of what people do on their phones.”

He added, “Once they become full-blown ‘portals’ for mobile content and mobile commerce, we will really see how massive this opportunity is.”

The initial appeal of the apps is simple. They are faster to use than email, and they generally allow you to send text, links, video and photos to friends more cheaply than traditional texting services offered by wireless carriers like Verizon or AT&T.

The uses are multiplying, though. For example, people can discover other new smartphone apps and share them with their friends. On Snapchat, users can send money to one another inside the app. And Line, a messaging app popular in Japan, lets people pay for things at brick-and-mortar retail stores using Line Pay, the company’s payments service.
“Media and communication are converging,” said Jonah Peretti. “Some of what we’re all creating now will be a huge part of these messaging apps over the next one or two years.”

Now, 40 % of mobile subscribers in the United States use an instant messaging app on their phones at least once a month, according to data from comScore, a research firm. Globally, the use of mobile messaging apps grew 103 % during 2014, according to Flurry, a mobile analytics firm.

Some of the most popular options are Viber, which says it has more than 200 million monthly visitors; Line, Japan’s most popular messaging app, with 170 million users; and WhatsApp, the leading service, which has more than 700 million regular visitors.

For now, though, not all of the apps are generating big revenue. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, reported just $10.2 million in sales in 2013. The revenue came from the small fraction of users who paid $1 to use the app.

Still, the valuations of many messaging start-ups continue to rise. In February, Rakuten, the big Japanese online retailer, bought Viber for $900 million. The next month, the Chinese e-commerce behemoth the Alibaba Group led a $280 million investment in Tango, valuing the nearly six-year-old start-up at about $1 billion. Facebook paid $21.8 billion for WhatsApp in February.
Many entrepreneurs see WeChat, the hugely popular Chinese service run by the Internet giant Tencent, as the ideal model for building a business in messaging. Released four years ago, the app now claims nearly 500 million monthly active users — who not only send image-laden messages, but play games and book car rides and plane tickets.

The rapid growth in messaging apps, some say, has been a response to the more public nature of popular apps like Twitter and Facebook, where status updates and posts are visible to the many rather than the few.

“It’s a much more intimate experience,” said Marissa Campise, a partner at SoftBank Capital, the venture arm of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank. “Messaging apps are smaller and less visible than the public networks and far more engaged and trusted. It often feels like a more controlled, real-time replacement for email,” she said.

Messaging users tend on average to pick up their phones several times an hour, Talmon Marco. That makes messaging apps an ideal place to introduce other offerings like games, virtual stickers or even physical goods.

Asia has been a particularly fertile breeding ground for expanding the uses of the apps. In 2013, for example, WeChat joined Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone giant, to offer a limited quantity of the company’s newest phone for purchase on the chat app. Users could reserve and then buy the new smartphone entirely inside the WeChat app using Tenpay, the payments service owned by Tencent. Xiaomi said it sold 150,000 phones in less than 10 minutes.

The WeChat app is also one of the biggest hubs for Chinese consumers to find new mobile games. Last quarter, Tencent’s mobile games revenue alone was 2.6 billion renminbi, or about $420 million.

“They’re aggregating people’s attention and linking it to other forms of commerce,” said Mitch Lasky.Ted Livingston has argued that younger users are coming of age in a world where their portal to the Internet has been the smartphone, and they are more willing to try new forms of commerce and discovery.

“We view this as being a race to be the WeChat of the West,” Mr. Livingston, whose app is predominantly popular with young North American audiences, said in November. “For us, it’s a once-in-humanity great opportunity.”

How Chat Apps Are Becoming As Important As Social Media

A number of top pundits are predicting that messaging apps will become ‘the new social media’ in 2015, and here’s some evidence to support that theory from Line, the chat app from Japan with over 500 million registered users and 170 million monthly actives.

Instagram comes out top in terms of sheer likes — despite a far smaller fan base. While the Instagram post makes mention that the song is available on McCartney’s website there is no URL so just a small fraction of those ‘likers’ may have actually taken action and listened to the song.

Facebook almost certainly got more attention — with traffic to Soundcloud, iTunes and its own video player — but the problem with posting updates to the social network is that Facebook’s own algorithm dictates just how many of McCartney’s fans will have seen it. There’s no way that it got served to all 6.2 million fans’ timelines unless McCartney’s team bought Facebook ad space.

The Power Of The Push Notification

Line does things differently, and McCartney’s post went out to his fans in two ways — via a public post and private chats.

The figures referred to above are from the post that McCartney’s account made to its Timeline, which — as the name suggests — is a Facebook-like chronological feed of public posts available within a dedicated menu inside the Line app. There, users see all updates from their Line friends and ‘official’ (corporate) accounts — like McCartney’s — which they have chosen to follow.

Line’s Timeline is governed entirely by each user without an algorithm, they only see items from people they follow and they can also block out accounts they wish to ignore. There is no way a brand can pay to plant their messages there, such as they can do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But, most importantly, McCartney’s account also sent private chat messages to each of its 10 million-plus followers on Line. There is no metric to quantify the engagement of that action, but the fact that most of those fans will have gotten a push notification with the message and link to Soundcloud gives you an idea that it might well have been hugely effective.

Indeed, on Line, the Timeline post is just a bonus. Line said in 2013 that one-third of its registered users open their Timeline each month, and gauging the total reach of an official account on Line is impossible.

Writing for The Next Web back in 2013, I pointed out that chat apps like Line are a genuine threat to Twitter when it comes to advertising cash, and the Japanese company’s December acquisition of Microsoft’s MixRadio service has the potential to supercharge its appeal to artists and musicians worldwide once its proposed music streaming service goes live worldwide.

But Line isn’t the only chat app that is rivaling social networks. WeChat is becoming the de factor mobile internet in China — it is a must for any brands seeking to reach consumers there — while the same can be said of Kakao Talk in Korea, which is installed on over 90 percent of the country’s smartphones and also offers accounts for brands.

The appeal of chat apps for brands and advertisers won’t just be an Asian phenomenon in 2015, however.

Kik, an app that claims to have 80 percent of American’s youth on its service, recently let brands on to its platform, Snapchat is planning an Asia-style platform (and it just raised a truck load of cash). Even also-run Tango linked up with Spotify and offers a timeline-feature, while Rakuten-owned Viber introduced a platform for high-profile users in November.

And Facebook?

Facebook Messenger is a notable absentee from this list, but perhaps not for long. David Marcus — the former PayPal CEO who heads up Facebook’s messaging business — told Wired that he wants to “reinvent messaging between people and businesses.”

That will almost certainly mean a system just like Line’s, which allows companies to pay for an account which users can subscribe to for updates. A premium tier on Line grants companies support for two-way conversations, thus turning them into customer sales representatives, and Facebook may adopt that too.

As for WhatsApp, the chat app Facebook bought for $19 billion, it offers an SMS replacement service rather than a platform and its founders seem to have no plan to change that.

Asia’s messaging apps have been around longer, and thus most have more mature business models that generate income by connecting brands with consumers, in addition to other non-marketing revenue streams such as games and stickers.

If 2014 was the year that the West wised up to the potential of messaging apps, then 2015 is the year that they’ll get smart and make money from them.

How Even an App with Very Few Downloads Can Build a Successful Business

Developers need to look beyond downloads to build their app businesses.

On the outside this sounds like a great idea. A lot of successful app developers have been saying this for a really long time.

So what do they really mean by this?

How do you build a business without worrying about downloads?

95% of the app developers currently make money using one of the following strategies:

Monetizing with Ads – this is the most preferred medium of monetizing an app for app entrepreneurs. An app developer integrates an Ad Network SDK in the app and then the app entrepreneur is paid based on the number of views the ads receive.

Monetizing with In-App Purchases – In-App purchases have very quickly turned into a preferred medium to monetize the apps. A lot of app developers release a free app and limit the functionality, slow down progress or show annoying ads in their free app. If a user wants to get rid of these constraints or annoyances, the user can make a payment inside the app. A well-implemented in-app purchase actually works pretty well and can generate a decent amount of revenue to the app entrepreneur.

Monetizing with Paid Apps – This strategy is losing its appeal as more and more apps move towards in-app purchases as their preferred strategy to monetize apps.

All the three strategies mentioned above work decently well and in fact many app developers have made millions based on the in-app purchase monetization strategy.

But the problem with all the above strategies is that each one of the above strategy has a very specific requirement to be successful.

Succeeding with Current App Monetization Models

Ads – For an app entrepreneur to make serious money with ads, the app needs to have been downloaded at least 100,000 times. Also just getting downloads is not good enough. Most apps lose a majority of their users very quickly. They have low retention and engagement metrics. Since your revenues from ads depend on the number of sessions, if your app loses users or has low engagement then you are not going to make any money from your app. For example, I was recently helping a game studio market their apps. Although we were able to increase the number of downloads through ASO, Facebook ads and other medium, the retention rate of the games was really poor. The app was getting close to 3,000 downloads per day but it was losing 95% of the users by day 2.

In-App Purchases – This type of monetization is the most profitable but at the same time also the most difficult to get right. Even large companies are known to spend huge amounts of money A/B testing their in-app purchase workflows to try to increase the number of people making in-app purchases. This strategy also relies on specific types of individuals to make money. The real money through in-app purchases is made when a game is able to acquire users who are referred to as “Whales”. These are the people who spend large amounts of money to purchase virtual currency to rapidly progress through an app or a game. The truth is that most app entrepreneurs are just not sophisticated enough to identify the “whales” and nurture them to make big money.

Paid Apps – There is not much point discussing this strategy, as it is widely known that the whole app store is moving towards the freemium model where app entrepreneurs are looking for alternate ways to make money, rather than making money by charging people for downloading the apps.

Enter the Invisible Way To Make Money From Apps
That’s why has some company decided that this had to change and as a result started working with a few other entrepreneurs to create a business model which allowed app entrepreneurs with even low number of downloads to make good money.

We call this model the Invisible Business Model for Apps.

This business model basically makes it possible for app entrepreneurs with even low download counts to make some good money. The app entrepreneurs also do not need to worry about the ad networks, user engagement, retention and a whole lot of other issues plaguing other apps.

This business model is truely a game changer.

Why Are Great Apps Shying Away From Push Messages?

Why Are Great Apps Shying Away From Push Messages?

We’ve been trained to smell spam from a mile away. We’ve been subjected to it for so long that we’ve developed a sixth sense that can detect it long before it even arrives in our inbox.

But email and push messages are fundamentally different. All it takes is for someone to get a hold of your email address, and they can send you as many emails as they want.

With push messages however, business can only send them to people who actually have their app installed on their phone. This means they’re already interested in your app and their spam sense is no longer heightened.

So why do some people still consider push messaging a form of spam? Because a few rotten apps have spoiled the barrel. There are thousands of app marketers who respect the valuable real estate on their users’ phones. But a select few have abused this privilege, constantly sending impersonal, uninteresting messages about how much they miss them. They’re doing it all wrong. We’ve found time and time again, that when app marketers spend time developing a strong push messaging strategy, it works.

“We’re just going to scare our users away.”

Does this image come to mind when you imagine users receiving your push notifications? Well then, you have quite the imagination! Here’s the real story: If you’re not sending push messages to your users, you’re missing out a huge opportunity to draw their attention and re-engage them. In fact, we’ve found that abandonment rate actually drops from 21% to 11% when users have push enabled.

But if you’re just sending blanket messages, you could be squandering this opportunity. Segmenting is a way to group your users by specific profile or behavioral data. For example, you may want to highlight a certain Alex Rodriguez steroids story to only those users who have viewed the baseball category in the past. Rather than try to craft a generic message that caters to your entire audience, this allows you to hone in on the messaging that you know will resonate with different personas.

“Only big brands can get away with sending push messages.”

It can be daunting knowing that your messages are potentially going against the likes of Tinder, Pinterest and Facebook. And true, you may have to work harder to prove your value, but you have just as much right to be on your users’ screens as they do. Don’t sell yourself short! They downloaded your app for a reason. If you can identify what they find so valuable, you can capitalize on this by sending them push messages you know they’ll respond to. Remember, your users have the chance to opt out of push messages for specific apps. If you’re doing it better than the big guys, then guess what? You’ll stay on their screen. They won’t.

“We would try it, but we have no clue what to write.”

Not everyone was born to be a copywriter. And if you’ve never done it before, it can be a bit overwhelming coming up with your first push message. Which stories do your customers care about? What types of sales would grab their attention? Both are valid questions. But you have to start somewhere. While it’s impossible to read your users’ minds, there are techniques to better understand what resonates with them. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. A/B test

Also known as split-testing, this allows you to run one single marketing campaign with two alternate messages. Once you determine the winning copy, you can then use that as the control to test even more messages against. Think of it like a science experiment for push messages. How does this help you write your copy? It gives you a place to start. If something doesn’t work, you can change it and then have a benchmark to measure all future campaigns against.

2. Keep your messages clear and concise

It can be pretty tempting to be as detailed as possible with your push messages. Afterall, you don’t want to leave out the one nugget of info that triggers your users to click. But in fact, we’ve found that shorter is better. If your message is between 11 and 20 words, you’re on the right track. But if you keep it to 10 words or fewer, you can more than double your click-through-rate compared to long messages with more than 20 words long.

3. Use templates

Templates are one of the easiest ways to get those gears going when you can’t seem to think of anything. If you find yourself in this boat, try using one of our 8 push notification formulas to get that mojo flowing.

“No one has push messages enabled anymore.”

There’s been an ugly rumor going around lately – that no one enables push messages on their phones anymore. As much as SMS companies would love you to believe this, it’s simply not true. We’ve actually found that more people have them enabled than don’t! We sampled over 400 million devices and saw that 52% of users have push enabled. That’s a big chunk of your user base that you could be missing out on if you’re not using push.

“People don’t even pay attention to push messages.”

You’ve been there before. Waiting on an important phone call from your new crush or potential new job offer. You feel a slight vibration in your left pocket. “Is this it? Is this the one?!” you ask yourself. You pull out the phone with butterflies in your stomach, eyes wide, only to see that it’s a push notification from your Hipster Music app with the phrase, “Hipster? But I barely even know her!” As confusion, rage and disappointment simultaneously set in, you begin to question the very existence of modern technology, knowing that anything, even the infamous phantom vibrate, would’ve been better than that push notification.

It’s apps like Hipster Music that have left a sour taste in people’s mouths. But the reality is this: It’s not that people don’t pay attention to push messages, it’s that people don’t pay attention to bad push messages. Which means that if you do it right, your users will listen and possibly even act. In fact, we’ve found that app launches increase by 88% for users who have push enabled on their phones. And on average, it results in a retention rate that’s 3 times higher.

Engagement: From Download to Conversion

Maybe you’ve found yourself voicing one or all of these objections in the past. But now you know the facts. Push messaging is a unique opportunity to engage (and re-engage) your users from download to conversion. Equipped with the right tools, you can establish powerful conversations with your users that they’ll be sure to remember.

Why Your Business Needs Its Own Mobile App

We would like to talk about mobile apps in combination with business, and why you should consider building a mobile app for your own company.

If you think that mobile apps are solely for big name brands, you are wrong. More and more small and midsize businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website.

In fact, these days you’ll notice that many small businesses you interact with in your everyday life have their own dedicated mobile app. These companies are ahead of the game when it comes to taking their marketing to the next level.

In case you are still not sure why anyone would want to build their own mobile platform, here are the top seven benefits of going down this path sooner rather than later.

1. Be Visible to Customers at All Times

Statistics show that the average people spends more than two hours a day on his or her mobile device. While probably only a handful of applications make up the bulk of this total usage, it doesn’t change the fact that each user has to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the apps they’re looking for.

2. Create a Direct Marketing Channel

Apps serve many functions: they can provide general info, prices, booking forms, search features, user accounts, messengers, news feeds, and so on.

One of the biggest benefits of mobile app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers – including special sales and promotions. Through push notifications you’re getting even closer to a direct interaction, and can easily remind customers about your products and services whenever it makes sense.

3. Provide Value to Customers

Instead of sticking to the old point-collection card, make it possible for your customers to collect their rewards via your mobile app. The result? More downloads and more return customers.

4. Build Brand and Recognition

A mobile app for your business can greatly contribute to your brand awareness.

Brand. A mobile app is like a blank billboard sign. You can do what you want with it; you can make it stylish, hip, functional, shocking, or informative. But what you really want to do is create an app that has features your customers will love, while at the same time is well branded and beautifully designed.

Recognition. The more often you can get customers involved with your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service.

5. Improve Customer Engagement

No matter whether you are selling flowers or spa services, your customers need a way to reach you. Having a messaging feature within your app can really make a difference in the way you communicate with your customers. Think about it: built its entire business model around this principle. Instead of calling a restaurant for a table, you can book it with less than five clicks on their platform. Now think about it: How many customers would prefer to communicate with you via text than via phone?

6. Stand Out From the Competition

These days mobile apps at the small business level are still rare, and this is where you can take a big leap ahead of your competitors. Be the first in your neighborhood to offer a mobile app to your customers. They’ll be astonished by your forward-thinking approach!

7. Cultivate Customer Loyalty

The most important reason why you should consider building your own mobile app is customer loyalty. With all the noise out, there we slowly lose our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us all. It’s time to go back to making a true and sincere connection with your customers, and making them a loyal lover of your product and/or service. I am not saying a mobile app is going to save your business, but it can be a way of staying closer to your customers, and being just a “fingertip” away at all times.

Is the web dying, killed off by mobile apps?

As more and more apps become multibillion-dollar businesses. it’s tempting to see them as replacing the web, or taking over from it. This helps explain the periodic outbreak of articles about how “the web is dying”. But the truth is that, as is often the case when someone says a certain kind of behavior is dying, it’s a lot more complicated than such headlines suggest.

Everything about apps feels like a win for users — they are faster and easier to use than what came before. But underneath all that convenience is something sinister: the end of the very openness that allowed Internet companies to grow into some of the most powerful or important companies of the 21st century.”

The web pie is growing
There were a number of problems with the Wired story, however — including the fact that the chart it used contrasted the growth of video traffic with the decline of “web” traffic, even though most of that video traffic was coming from websites and web-based services. But the phenomenon it was describing was definitely a real thing, and in fact has only accelerated with the growth of apps which don’t even have traditional websites.

The Mims piece makes a common mistake by implying that the size of the web pie is finite — in other words, that mobile apps are stealing market share or user attention from the open web or the traditional browser, and therefore the web is dying. But the size of the web pie is arguably still growing rapidly, which suggests that apps are stealing attention from other things, including various kinds of offline activity.

Also, a number of people have pointed out that a huge proportion of the time spent with mobile apps is devoted either to games or to various forms of instant messaging. Since neither of those things has ever relied that much on the web , they aren’t really a conclusive sign that the web is being killed off by apps.

The more interesting juxtaposition raised by Flurry’s numbers is not apps versus web, but games and social versus everything else. YouTube and other entertainment apps form a solid percentage of what is left (8%), but the remainder is a mishmash of utilities, productivity, the aforementioned news, and, of course the web.

But one of the biggest flaws with the “web is dying” argument is that it assumes that apps themselves don’t drive more traffic to the open web — which they clearly do. Social-networking apps which consume a huge proportion of the mobile app time of many users, are at least in part about sharing links to content, and while many of these apps open links in their own in-app browsers, that still counts as web traffic.

Warren Buffett Teach You How to Turn $40 Into $10 Million

Warren Buffett has a simple solution that could help people turn $40 into $10 million. Warren Buffett spoke about one of favorite companies, Coca-Cola, and how to be patient reinvestment, someone who bought just $40 worth of the company’s stock when it went public in 1919 would now have more than $5 million.

The power of patience

I know that $40 in 1919 is very different from $40 today. However, even after factoring for inflation, it turns out to be $540 in today’s money. Put differently, would you rather have an Xbox One, or almost $11 million?

But the thing is, it isn’t even as though an investment in Coca-Cola was a no-brainer at that point, or in the near century since then. And there have been countless other things over the past 100 years that would cause someone to question whether their money should be in stocks, much less one of a consumer-goods company like Coca-Cola.

The dangers of timing

Yet as Buffett has noted continually, it’s terribly dangerous to attempt to time the market:

“With a wonderful business, you can figure out what will happen; you can’t figure out when it will happen. You don’t want to focus on when, you want to focus on what. If you’re right about what, you don’t have to worry about when”

So often investors are told they must attempt to time the market, and begin investing when the market is on the rise, and sell when the market is falling.

This type of technical analysis of watching stock movements and buying based on how the prices fluctuate over 200-day moving averages or other seemingly arbitrary fluctuations often receives a lot of media attention, but it has been proved to simply be no better than random chance.

Investing for the long term

Individuals need to see that investing is not like placing a wager on the 49ers to cover the spread against the Cowboys, but instead it’s buying a tangible piece of a business.

It is absolutely important to understand the relative price you are paying for that business, but what isn’t important is attempting to understand whether you’re buying in at the “right time,” as that is so often just an arbitrary imagination.

In Buffett’s own words, “if you’re right about the business, you’ll make a lot of money,” so don’t bother about attempting to buy stocks based on how their stock charts have looked over the past 200 days. Instead always remember that “it’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price.”

Fortunes, like Buffett’s, were made by early investors when internet technology changed our lives forever. Now there’s a new technological revolution that threatens to make intellectual property obsolete — and shake up the entire global economy. Investors once again have the opportunity to get rich by getting in early, and you can be one of them.