By JT Ripton

As a small business owner, you constantly strive to do everything in your power to see your business flourish. So, you’ve been thinking to yourself, “Is it a good idea for my small business to have its own mobile app?” As it turns out, a mobile app is worth the effort for a number of compelling reasons, and chances are that a mobile app will strengthen your small business.

1. Increase the Exposure of Your Small Business
It’s projected that there will be 5.6 billion smartphone subscribers by 2019, with 800 million people owning tablets and PCs. What does that mean for your small business? With a mobile app, you could feasibly reach this ever-growing number of smart phone and tablet users, increasing the exposure of your business.

And mobile apps have several advantages over the standard business website. For example, you can use a mobile app to broadcast special offers and coupons to your customers in real-time, rather than just waiting for a customer to stumble upon your business and special offers by accident.

2. Give Your Customer A Unique Experience
A mobile app can be an incredibly versatile tool for your small business, as it gives your customers a different experience than visiting a brick-and-mortar location or surfing a website. Through an app, you can answer consumers’ questions in real-time, entice customers with a video game, or offer a card-free rewards program.

Additionally, as customers continue to learn the ins and outs of shopping securely on their mobile devices, your business’s mobile app can offer a safer alternative than browsing on a website. While there are a countless number of people who freely shop online, there always hangs the shadow of the threat of identity theft. Putting the effort into building a mobile app may serve to nullify some of those concerns, as an app downloaded from a trusted source (like the Android Market or the Apple App store) might be more appealing to customers than just your business’s website.

In addition, the app may also work as a tool to keep the awareness of your brand at the forefront of your customer’s thoughts – all your potential customer has to do is take a cursory scan of their smartphone or tablet’s apps, and just like that, your business’s products and or services will be fresh on their mind.

3. Collect Feedback About Customer Behavior
Rather than using surveys to aggregate customer based data, use your business’s mobile app to do a similar job. Because of the diverse capabilities a mobile app has to offer, there are many facets of data about customer behavior that you can collect – for example, does your targeted demographic actually gravitate to your product or service like you expected? Does a built-in game in your app draw in a certain group of customers that you didn’t anticipate?

Using a mobile app to help you obtain such data can potentially give you an even stronger grasp on your customer base, which will likely increase your small business’s influence and profit margin.

4. Boost Your Small Business’s Exclusivity
While a mobile app has the potential to bring in revenue directly, the mere exclusivity of possessing your own app is also quite advantageous. Exclusivity helps brand businesses into the brains of consumers — think BMW cars, or Apple iPhones. And not every small business owner can proudly say that they have a mobile app, so your own mobile app will put you far ahead of the competition. This exclusivity can help attract more customers to your small business — after all, a business with an entertaining app and website is more enticing than a business with just a website.

A mobile app can give a powerful boost to a small business if used efficiently. So let the question be answered: yes, a mobile app is a great idea for your small business. So think about integrating a mobile app into your small business, as it will almost certainly be worth it.

JT Ripton is a freelance writer out of Tampa, who focuses on topics relating to business and technology. Follow him at @JTRipton.