If you want to connect with your customers, we all know you need a strong online presence. Customer engagement is a challenge and getting your brand on mobile can either be done with a branded app or a responsive website.
Internet access is available pretty much anywhere via mobile devices. The number of people using their smartphones and tablets in preference to a desktop computer to search, consume information and transact online has surged.
To stay relevant, your organisation must be mobile-friendly. Partly so your customers can find you with their mobile device and hopefully want to stick around when they do. So, when it comes to customer engagement is a responsive website or branded app the way to go? Let’s take a closer look.
Responsive Website vs Branded App
A responsively designed website gives your visitors a good user experience, regardless of their device. Whether they’re on a tablet or smartphone, they’ll be presented with your website to access the pages and functions the same way as they would on their desktop computer. Sometimes its not a great experience.
With Google’s latest reports that mobile search queries have now overtaken desktop queries, a responsive website is an absolute must in today’s online marketplace.
A Branded app takes the mobile user’s experience up a notch. The best apps do more than simply repackage your website’s content. Presenting content in a way that is specifically matched to how your customers use their mobile devices is what branded app delivers. This can mean tweaks to the navigation, functionality, notifications and more importantly content and how your customers find, consume and engage with your brand.
This makes a branded app a perfect platform for engaging customers. A branded app is actionable and accessible in both small, spontaneous bursts or longer, targeted sessions.
A branded app simply provides a more efficient, effective and engaging experience than a responsive website. It gives your mobile users plenty of reasons to be a fan, rather than just a passing spectator.
An Effective Mobile Strategy
Responsive websites are an important first step in any mobile strategy. It’s your mobile site that will likely be how your customers find you in the first place. Your mobile site is often the first impression users will have of your organisation, so it’s critical that it looks the part. If it isn’t visually appealing and doesn’t work efficiently on their device, your users will probably jump off right there and then.
So, you have a responsive site, and your users can access your content – is this enough to win them over? Often, it’s not. It’s this next stage, where you engage your customers, that branded apps really excel.
Taking it to the Next Level
True customer engagement comes through a more immersed experience. A Branded app interacts with your devices mobile operating system. It takes advantage of the default device features to provide a richer experience. Branded app are also more fluent and work faster than a mobile site, and unlike mobile sites will provide content for offline consumption. This means users are not reliant on an internet connection and can access your app whenever they have their mobile device.
A branded app is an ideal platform for content marketing. By embracing push notifications it allows you to target and measure consumption of the content. It provides you the ability to directly engage with a customer, without having your message buried in the crowd of social media posts or lost in the flood of email.
Mobile apps offer enhanced security features too, allowing you to publish to a selected audience in a secure environment with the ability to encrypt if necessary.
Publishing an app for your business is also about branding. Instead of users coming and going via your website, your company logo will always be on their home screen. This is a valuable, and very visual reminder that you exist and are ready to help them anytime. When it comes time to buy, it puts your brand front of mind and gives you every opportunity to be their preferred choice.
There are many examples of brands that have increased their accessibility and relevance since publishing their content apps, such as Qantas and Swarovski. When Domino’s Pizza went mobile in 2009, their app enabled new functions including order tracking, which added real value for their customers and boosted sales beyond their competitors expectations. As mobile use continues to grow, if your organisation is not actively targeting mobile users, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your market share.
Bottom Line on Branded Apps vs Responsive Websites
A responsive website is essential to give your mobile users a good first impression of your business, but it’s only the first step. It’s the engaging content as well as actionable and accessible user features, that will really win them over.
It’s not a question of simply whether to choose a responsive website or a branded app – a truly effective mobile strategy has both. Your mobile site to attract customers, and a branded app to retain and engage them. They complement each other perfectly.
Over to You
Are you considering publishing a branded app and don’t know where to start then download our branded app platform comparison?
Or have you recently launched an app and have some tips to share? We’d love to hear about your experiences!