Design An App With a Unique Purpose

Categories: Mobile Optimized Web

A comprehensive mobile strategy is paramount for client retention and business growth in 2017. Most people now carry around internet access right in their pockets! People are increasingly using those devices to do anything they would have done on a desktop and much more. In fact, adults who own a smart phone, keep it within arms reach 90% of the time.

By designing a great mobile app, you can stay on the touch screen of those mobile devices at all times too. The engagement levels of mobile apps is huge, and so is the potential for companies to grow their fan base, and brand loyalty.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can achieve this:

Build around existing hardware:


There are many existing functionalities built into most smart phones which you could integrate into your app. Make your app usable and helpful. Consumers want something that can save time, quickly find information or something they’ve lost, save money, or entertain them when they are bored or waiting in line.

Nick Watt suggests a good app “plays to the strengths of mobile”. In his eyes, this consists of five things: Communications, Spontaneous, Geo-sensitive, Short periods of use and Focused activity.

For example, you could build an app that utilizes the flash light on your mobile, use the magnetic north and GPS features, use the phone to help find pipes behind walls and metal studs, and implement the real time / stop watch features.  Yes, it’s possible for the smart phone to do all of that!

Reward Customer Loyalty

starbucks app

Customer loyalty apps can really set your company apart, and help you go the extra mile with customer retention and satisfaction.

The Starbucks app is a great example of a successful customer loyalty app. The dashboard is customized, offering a more personalized experience. Users can also scan to pay, while collecting reward points. There is a gift section in the app that allows users to send gift cards and coupons to friends. Happy customers can spread the word using their mobile app – this is a win-win situation for all!

Interesting Apps to Help You Brainstorm

map my ride app
There are many fascinating and fun apps that have already been developed that may spark an idea you have for your business.

Cycling: My husband rides his bike to work, so one of his favorite apps is MAPMYRIDE. This app allows you to plan, track, analyze and share your ride with other cyclists. It’s a great motivator to ride harder and share your times and routes with others.

Voice Translator: There are voice translation apps that allow you to speak into your phone and immediately translate your phrase into any language you choose. This could be helpful on vacation when you need to ask for directions or order a meal and hit a language barrier.

Conversation Starter: There are conversation starter apps that give you clever ideas on how to start a conversation. You can choose stranger, friend, lover or acquaintance and then choose the type of conversation you’d like to have.

Plant and Flower: One app I think would be nifty is the Name That Flower app. With this app, you take a photo of a flower that you do not know the name of, and it will match it with a flower in the database. It then will provide you with the name, origin and edibility of that plant. Just keep your phone charged when you’re out in the wilderness and wondering if a certain plant is edible! Speaking of which, there is a battery optimizer app that will help you do just that!

Battery Optimizer: The battery optimizer app will help you keep your battery working longer by letting you know which program on your smart phone is draining the most battery, and giving recommendations on how to make the battery last longer.

The list of interesting apps with millions of users goes on. With so many apps already on the market it may feel overwhelming to come up with a great app for your customers. Just like having a great website, the investment into an app that solves even a small problem for clients can be worth the effort. The engagement level of apps is huge, and when companies tap into this to build their brand, the payback is worth it.

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Business Advertising Budgets and DIY Tips

If you own a small to medium sized business, you may wonder how much to spend on advertising. What return on investment can you expect from hiring professionals with years of experience in the game? You may also be considering what aspects of marketing may be worth pursuing “in-house”?

First of all, depending on which industry your business is in, companies should spend approximately 5% of total revenues on marketing to maintain their current position.

If you would like to grow your business, the marketing budget needs to increase, usually to at least 10% of revenues.

Highly competitive markets such as retail and consumer products will need to fork out many more dollars to keep and grow their market shares – more like 20-50%.

Using this general rule of thumb, you can calculate a reasonable marketing and advertising budget for your business that fits with your business plan and goals.

Advertising Budgets

This is the equation from

  • Total Revenue x 5% = Marketing budget required to maintain current awareness and visibility
  • Total Revenue x 10% = Marketing budget required to grow and gain market share

Implementing a solid online marketing strategy that includes components such as PPC advertising, search engine optimization, mobile apps and a responsive website, can yield massive market gains.

Take this testimonial from Oracast clients Shell Canada for example:

“The web application that Oracast built us has paid for itself hundreds of times over, and we continue to add features each year to improve our operations.”

Or this testimonial from Snowvalley:

“The build of our new website better reflects our company and is much more helpful to our customer base, as seen by the growth in the number of website viewers increasing by 20%!”

There is no doubt getting experts to work on your business for you can produce profitable results, but what if you have a very limited budget? What can realistically be done in-house?

We recommend that if you do have the time and in-house resources, some aspects of marketing can be achieved successfully. These include an email marketing campaign, social media marketing, such as regularly posting on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and regularly posting on your blog.

No one knows your business better than you do, and positioning yourself as an expert in the field via content marketing can go a long way. If you need to find or create graphics or video to go with the content marketing, we recommend tapping into the endless resources and advice online. A word of caution: do your research and get some basic skills down before going ahead on your own. Take a copywriting class. Learn how to handle graphics, file formats and file transfer protocols if you haven’t had a lot of experience with that already.

Creating a great website or mobile app, doing SEO well, running a PPC ad campaign all involve steep learning curves that usually require a whole team of diverse and skilled individuals that have years of experience to execute well. These aspects of marketing are better left to a well-rounded team.

Good luck! And if you do need a little help along the way, Oracast has the years of experience and diverse team you may just be looking for.

Mobile Apps Can Help Build Your Brand

Categories: Mobile Optimized Web

With the ever-increasing shift to mobile, most businesses simply cannot afford to not offer a mobile app. It is too important of a marketing tool to ignore. Having a web presence alone is missing out on a large a part of the market. In fact, mobile apps are now often expected by clients. This is because mobile apps offer a unique experience to users different from any other marketing channel, and a streamlined, simplified experience is what consumers are looking for. Studies have found that people rate brands higher after interacting with the brands mobile app, and are nearly 50% more likely to buy from that brand.

What many business owners don’t realize is what a large impact a mobile app can have. A good mobile experience builds loyal customers and increases sales.

A 2016 study by found:

“When mobile expectations are not met, an overwhelming 93 percent of those surveyed take immediate action, with 33 percent never purchasing from the brand again. Alternatively, when a good mobile experience is achieved, 76 percent report that it has an influence on their loyalty to a brand.”

It’s important that consumers have a positive user experience with your mobile app and that it is helping, and not hindering your brands reputation.

Here are several ways to ensure your app is meeting customer expectations, and helping build your brand in a positive way:

1. Manage reviews

If a user has a negative experience with your mobile app, they are likely to leave a review or comment in app stores. This may have a large negative impact on future downloads and conversion rates. It’s been found that at least 77% of people read a review before downloading a free or paid app.

Do not let negative reviews go unmanaged by your business. Google your business and read reviews left by customers regularly. If there is a complaint, reply with an apology and a solution.

2. Ask for reviews from happy customers

While it can sometimes be difficult to control all negative reviews, you can increase your rating by always asking satisfied customers to leave a review. One glance at your star rating can dramatically impact number of downloads.

3. Listen to customer feedback

If customers are leaving negative reviews, it might be time to take into consideration any repetitive complaints. Better yet, survey all your customers to find out what they like / don’t like and what they expect. Be sure to implement as much feedback as possible into the latest version of your app to meet and exceed customer expectations.

According to “Six in ten consumers do not feel that their mobile experience expectations are completely met. Three top areas of concern include user experience where only 24 percent are completely satisfied, only 23 percent feel that there is continuity between the mobile and web experiences, and just 21 percent think they are getting adequate customer service.

The research reveals that brands need to be able to build trust more quickly with consumers, where they are reassured about security, convenience and speed, and by helping consumers understand the importance of secure logins, strong passwords, and features like auto-logout, etc. ”

4. Think ahead

Always keep your mobile app a part of your branding discussions and marketing plan. Your brand is influenced by the experience of your mobile users.

Continuity across all of your marketing channels, both online and offline is one of the most important aspects of successful branding. Managing your brands reputation is not always easy, but with the right tools and marketing plan, it is more than possible to create a well-loved brand.

Responsive Website vs. Mobile App?

Businesses are realizing they need to be where their customers are, and these days that’s on mobile!

Having a mobile presence can take several forms. It’s important to remember a mobile app is different from a mobile friendly website or a web app. Building a mobile friendly (or responsive) website is only one part of a well developed mobile strategy.

So what is a responsive website vs. a mobile app? Both very important tools with different purposes. Websites are aimed at engaging new visitors searching for information online and mobile apps take user experience to the next level.
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PPC Advertising: The Basics

Would you like to bring more traffic to your website? Wondering if you’re missing out on sales that are going to your competitors instead? One way to drive traffic to your website online is through Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC). PPC advertising is a great way to get visitors to your website quickly, but in order to receive a high return on investment, your campaign needs to be managed well.

In this article we will highlight the high level ins-and-outs of PPC advertising and reveal a few tricks to determine if PPC is right for your business.

What is PPC Advertising

In a nut shell, you pay Google / Bing each time a searcher clicks your ad and they will be directed to your website or a specific landing page.

The paid ads are sold in auction. There are several factors that come into play for ranking high in the paid ad category. Your bid for each click, and your website’s quality score.

You will see in the diagram below which search results are paid, and which ones are organic.



Organic search results are free, however, it can be very competitive and challenging to rank on the first few pages of Google in the organic search, and it can take months. Ideally you would like to rank in the organic rankings as well as PPC by making sure your site is well optimized, however there are some real benefits to PPC advertising that organic results can’t get you such as instant and very targeted traffic.

Is It Right For You?

One quick and simple way to get an idea of the PPC landscape in your industry is to type in a few keywords relating to your business into Google. For example, if you sell dog clothes, type in dog clothes and pay attention to the ads that come up. If your competitors are advertising, that is a great indication it could be profitable for you as well.

Also, with pay per click advertising, you can run short sales campaigns, and then run the numbers. Your longer term goal would be to bid on keywords that will yield you a return on your investment and this will allow you to determine how cost effective this type of advertising is for your business.

Other Benefits

  • PPC ads can be a great way to generate a buzz for your business by running a blitz campaign. It quickly generates leads.
  • If you have an online store, sending targeted customers to your website can be very profitable.
  • If you have a niche business, you can often find cheap keywords which can result in the most cost effective form of advertising.
  • If your business has seasonal sales, you can run PPC ads during those busy seasons to attract more sales
  • PPC advertising will bring you instant brand visibility.

PPC advertising is really a numbers game at the end of the day and there are many tricks to ensure that your campaign is performing well. Knowing how to manage your campaigns is the difference between success and failure and it can be a steep learning curve.

Oracast is proud to be a certified Google partner. Our team is trained in managing PPC ad campaigns and we’re here to help!