Mobile apps don’t often get as much play as other marketing platforms because, well, there’s the technical know-how required to build one as well as the cost. But after talking to Jay B, founder of Texas Humor, and Casey from Shopgate about how they worked to create the app for Texas Humor, it may be time for entrepreneurs to start looking at apps differently.
Why Texas Humor Opted to Go the Route of a Mobile App
The story behind Texas Humor is an interesting one, so, if you have time, I’d urge you to listen to the podcast. Jay B talks about how he was able to capitalize on Twitter’s rising star in 2011 as well as how their unique take on Texas satire put their Twitter page on the roadmap to nearly overnight success (i.e. 100,000 followers).
As the popularity of their Twitter feed grew, Jay B knew there was more that could be done. It was then he decided to venture into selling branded clothing with the help of RiverCity Sportswear. Again, the clothing line was an instant success and Texas Humor’s online retail business forced Jay B to seek out greater opportunities to grow the brand. “The cheapest, easiest way to get more orders placed is to go to existing customers,” Jay B said. He knew that this existing base of fans was really the most critical part of Texas Humor’s growth, so he began to consider the best ways to keep them engaged on an ongoing basis.
“The cheapest, easiest way to get more orders placed is to go to existing customers.”
Email was one of the first channels they turned to, but, as Jay B explained, “There are a lot of headwinds to getting that sale to take place [through email].”
“There are a lot of headwinds to getting that sale to take place [through email].”
It was on one fateful night that Jay B received a notification from one of his favorite apps. It was a message from Chubbies and all it said was “Hey girl…”; a sly attempt at mimicking late night booty calls that too many of us are familiar with nowadays. But the playful attempt at marketing worked and got Jay B’s attention. “It’s subtle. It’s easy. You’re not pissing people off. That’s when I decided I really wanted to get an app,” Jay B said.
“It’s subtle. It’s easy. You’re not pissing people off. That’s when I decided I really wanted to get an app.”
But Is a Mobile App Right for Every Business?
The first deterrent to getting a mobile app was, of course, cost. He could either pay a developer a lot of money to build a custom app from scratch or he could find a DIY program that did little more than wrap his site in an app format.
Jay B knew an app was not something to go into lightly and that it had to be done right, so he was excited to hear from a representative at Shopgate who offered a better solution.
Casey from Shopgate also joined our podcast to talk about the real strengths of this mobile app platform: “It’s the most comprehensive platform that democratizes the ability to build a custom app,” she explained.
"It’s the most comprehensive platform that democratizes the ability to build a custom app.” - Casey Gannon, Shopgate
And that’s what made this appealing to Jay B. He knew they were going to dump a lot of resources into the design and messaging, so the last thing he wanted to do was commit to a platform that would hinder that process… or cost more than it was worth.
As for what we can learn from Jay B’s experience with Shopgate? Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Mobile apps are ideal for businesses that rely heavily on the business of return customers.
- According to Casey, “if email works for you, it’s a great indicator that an app will work too”, as it appeals to the same type of customer.
- Apps need to offer more convenient options like saved payment information, quicker loading times, etc.
- It also needs to add more value. If they can get the same experience and offers on the site, then why would a customer even need to download and add it to their phone?
- You need a strong incentive to draw people initially into an app—like access to new products before those who shop on the web.
- Mobile app users “are your most loyal consumers. These are the ones you need to treat special,” said Jay B. “I think you have to respect that and you have to reward that.”
"[Mobile app users] are your most loyal consumers. These are the ones you need to treat special. I think you have to respect that and you have to reward that.”
Perhaps the most important lesson to take away from Jay B and Casey is this: Apps should never be used as a “set it and forget it”. As Jay B explained, “The thing I’ve found with our followers is that if the app doesn’t offer anything new on an ongoing basis, they just end up deleting it. It’s really got to be an organic thing that gives people a reason for it to exist on their phone.”
“The thing I’ve found with our followers is that if the app doesn’t offer anything new on an ongoing basis, they just end up deleting it. It’s really got to be an organic thing that gives people a reason for it to exist on their phone.”