Updated: May 12, 2021
Large and, even now, small cities are seeking out mobile app development for their local community. As barriers to entry continue to be solved, over the next 1-3 years we will see an explosion of small communities offering a custom mobile app for their visitors and residents. And very truly I tell you, the communities that invest in mobile apps will achieve far greater economic and community growth than those that do not. This is true for a handful of reasons:
Owned space for communication: Social media continues to become noisier and nosier. Organic reach is down and social media companies are all to happy to force both local government and local business to pay for boosted posts, even to reach the audience that already follows their page. Community apps are the perfect solution to breaking through the noise with an owned space for communication. And unlike websites, mobile apps allow accessibility features like geo-targeting and push notifications that can directly reach the home screen of every citizen simultaneously, dramatically improving the consistency and clarity of important communications.
Cohesive and branded experience: Communities are a brand that includes local government, the school system, local businesses, and community groups, but the overall experience is typically fragmented. Communities have their own unique DNA that is consistent for the vast majority of residents, but often times that DNA isn’t intentionally cultivated so it slips into a space that’s idle and difficult to articulate. Community mobile apps are a collaborative experience that pulls the community DNA into one branded platform where residents and visitors can find information on local events, local businesses, local destinations, and important community information.
Increase economic performance: Because of the fantastic invention of the internet, every community on the planet competes with the global economy. Even the small local shoe shop has to compete with Amazon and other retail giants that don’t invest in your community. These large retailers are trying to reach the exact same customers, usually with cheaper deals and more buying power. This becomes even more dreadful when you realize that small businesses spend their hard earned advertising dollars on small social media campaigns only to be out bid, or out lasted, by the retargeting campaigns of Amazon, and others. The idea of a mobile app means a closed-economy from outside influencers. Small businesses can advertise to the local residents and visitors without worrying about customers being retargeted by a retail giant. This keeps more money local and helps small business compete where it counts. It also enables small business to leverage the same geo-targeting and push notification technology that puts their brand directly on their customer’s phone screen.
Strengthen community partnerships: Community partnerships are the bedrock for innovative and growing cities. Mobile apps are dynamic and enable experiential connections that bring value to your small businesses, community members, and visitors in a way that websites and social media are simply limited. It’s this kind of dynamic collaboration that gives a community a shining star to rally behind. Mobile community apps are a new foundation for connected and innovative communities working to build unshakable community partnerships. When the sea rises, every boat rises. Mobile apps are far more affordable and easier to manage than even 5 years ago, but many people are simply not aware of the possibilities. Communities that catch a vision for the possibilities a mobile app can offer will be handsomely rewarded for their forward-thinking and progressive investment.