The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, although devastating, has been a major catalyst for transformation, sparking explosive growth in areas such as online education, food delivery and remote work. The key to many of these trends is the ubiquity of mobile devices and the growing availability of affordable mobile technologies for organizations to reach their constituents. Whether activating new communication channels or hosting virtual events, organizations of all sizes are leveraging the power of mobile applications to connect their members.
Many businesses historically perceived mobile technology as an optional (and costly) add-on in a crowd of digital tools. This is no longer the case. Building a mobile solution has graduated to the status of “indispensable,” particularly for member-based organizations that cannot rely on in-person activities or the decreasing popularity of member portals to drive member engagement & retention. More than a simple necessity, the seismic shift toward mobile also confers a number of critical benefits – to the point that organizations can’t afford not to adopt mobile technology.
Exponentially More Effective Communication
Prior to the proliferation of mobile apps, many associations utilized email as their primary avenue for distributing information and updates. Unfortunately, as email volumes have increased over the years, the effectiveness of them has declined substantially with an open rate of just 22 percent. This figure pales in comparison to conversion rates for mobile applications.
Thanks to the ubiquity of modern smartphones, organizations can now use a variety of innovative distribution channels like discussion boards and embedded newsfeeds, for reaching their users quickly, no matter where they are. Push notifications, for example, produce an engagement rate of 40 percent within just one hour of receipt and can generate as much as 5 times the engagement of email campaigns.
Consolidating Scattered Software Systems
As a result of the pandemic, many groups have experienced major impacts to their budgets, driving them to evaluate where cuts can be made. This is where mobile association apps can offer a compelling solution. By consolidating redundant technologies into a single, multi-purpose stack, organizations can simultaneously improve user experiences and eliminate costs.
Traditionally, businesses and associations have managed operations through a collection of fragmented, siloed systems. With a mobile app, however, organizations can easily unify and integrate these operations. For example, MobileUp, a mobile app platform, merges the following services into a single application:
- Member payment portals
- Contact directories
- Event calendars
- Organization resources
- Surveys and polls
- Digital membership cards
- Updates and push notifications
- Discussion boards
By uniting all of these services, businesses and associations can more efficiently manage expenses related to development, operations, and distribution. As a result, mobile apps can provide organizations with a cost-effective, all-in-one tech solution— without ever having to sacrifice their marketing power or their relevance in members’ lives.
Maintaining Relevance in a Millennial/Gen-Z World
As demographics change, so must our priorities. Especially now, when the millennial generation makes up more than 50 percent of the workforce. In fact, by 2025 it’s predicted that Millennials will make up nearly 75 percent of the global workforce. The majority of Millennials in North America are digital natives, coming of age & joining the workforce in the era of smartphones, app stores, and ceaseless technological innovation.
Being present on a Millennial’s mobile device helps you build a strong, consistent relationship, ensuring they regularly engage with your content, events and their fellow members. We’ve watched this principle manifest in the mammoth successes that were Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook – all of which harness the phenomenal and addictive power of a mobile app to win the attention of their millennial audience.
Organizations that want to forge a strong relationship with (or between) members without a dedicated mobile app are at a significant disadvantage. All of these factors point to one obvious conclusion: if you want to reach millennials, mobile is your best option.
Owning a Private Digital Space for Members
As an association leader hoping to provide a good member mobile experience, you may wonder why a simple social media group wouldn’t suffice. Many associations have opted for the ease and immediacy of social media groups, but there are steep costs and trade-offs that undermine their expediency.
The Problem with Social Media Groups
Social media groups allow for content sharing, discussion threads and can be monitored by group administrators. But they provide a diluted product that robs associations of many key powers and benefits that a member mobile experience should provide. Absent are the payment portals, sponsor directories, member deals and notifications that a dedicated mobile app offers.
Algorithm Issues & Privacy Concerns
Despite their seeming convenience, social media groups effectively hijack an association’s ability to reach their members. Associations hand over one of their most powerful member access lanes to a middleman. This obstructs the flow of communication between member and association. Facebook, for example, makes its money from ad dollars. Giving organizations a free direct channel to members and prospects is not in their best interest. They’ve been known to demote content from business pages, preventing it from appearing in your members’ newsfeeds.
A proprietary mobile app, by contrast, gives you the freedom to control what appears in your members’ newsfeeds. This way, they won’t be bombarded with ads, and a third party won’t profit off the ability to target your unique member base. With an app, you safeguard that privilege for your paying sponsors.
There is also the concern of privacy with social media groups. Not having your member mobile network on a closed, proprietary network puts their discussions, photos and other information at risk. On Facebook, all of your members’ discussion threads, likes and communally shared content will be monitored by the platform. Ultimately, social media groups can be likened to “rented” space; it’s far better to outright own the space you want to cultivate your community on.
Make Your Transition to Mobile Easy
The reality is that any business or association that resists the shift to mobile will be phased out, while others will transform themselves, leveraging the power of this platform to reinvent how their communities come together.
With that said, realigning your organization’s strategy (especially in the wake of a global pandemic) can be a stressful and encumbering endeavor. Without the right knowledge, resources and approach, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the demands of modern app development. That’s why relying on a solution like MobileUp is worth it.
With MobileUp, you’ll have the opportunity to work with industry professionals with years of mobile app experience, some who have been building apps since the first app stores opened. Each step of the process will be customized to your needs, ensuring the long-term success of the app you build for your organization.