Monday we examined collaboration between non-mobile businesses and mobile developers particularly on advertising. Most business owners are likely aware of GPS-based advertising – the ability to target customers who are physically near your store to pop-in. And, many business owners may have considered whether a mobile app for their business would be useful and profitable. We’ll explore both of these in greater depth, but there are both easier and more complex ways to realize advantages in connecting with your local mobile app developers.
Let’s start on the easy side – Training. You may not need and may not be able to afford a customized app for your business. Small business owners and “do it yourself” often go together, but it can pay to bring someone in who is intimately familiar with the mobile market, mobile apps and mobile advertising. Mobile app developers could help your business better integrate the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare or any of countless others into your daily business routine. A few of the practical considerations:
You may be able to do all of this to include training your employees yourself, suffice that someone who designs and develops apps may have some special tools, tricks and recommendations for your business. Plus exposing them to your business has a good chance of getting them to think of methods and means of making mobile more useful for you.
On the more complex and somewhat abstract side there is the incubating of community development projects and events. This involves taking a lead networking role in bringing several businesses together to achieve what each could not individually. This can go in a couple of directions. The easiest and simplest is developing a local initiative to promote more mobile integration through existing apps and services, as mentioned above and applying to a broader training program.
It’s one thing for one or two businesses to be active across different social and mobile channels. It’s something very different when a dozen or dozens of businesses concentrated in a few city blocks actively engage customers. It’s even better when there’s some coordination involved. Ideas include:
This can facilitate new levels of community interaction, new cross promotional opportunities, lead to regularly hosted events – all in conjunction with free advertising from your local newspapers, television and radio stations. These events are usually good for all participants. If you have a flair for bringing people together and organizing events, stepping up as a “community organizer” can be very good for your business.
Most small business owners probably don’t have several thousand dollars to invest in customized apps for their business. A dozen small businesses contributing to finance a local community oriented mobile app can achieve much greater effect not only through their numbers, but with the added possibility of getting additional financial help from local governments, corporations and community sponsors.