COVID-19 delivered a blow to many small businesses, and those that survived the pandemic often did so through a combination of flexibility, tech-savvy, and the support of their communities. In Armonk, NY, small businesses had another champion on their side: Neal Schwartz, the Armonk Chamber of Commerce President. Neal had the forethought to understand business owners — and their customers — would need more support from the Chamber than normal, and that the best way to ensure they got it was through a mobile app for associations.
In the early days of the pandemic, an app provided a quick, easy way to not only distribute information about COVID to business owners, but also became a way to inform customers in real-time about businesses’ changing hours, menus, offerings, and more.
To learn more about how the Armonk Chamber of Commerce used a mobile app to keep its community together — and plans to use it in the future — download the case study.
Apps for associations — now and in the future
Neal is not the only head of an association who realized apps would help keep the community together at a time when social distancing was imperative. But the truth is, apps have been a useful tool for associations for years. From the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to the Toronto chapter of NAIOP (the Commercial Real Estate Development Association) and the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators, associations and professional organizations have been finding creative ways to service members with mobile apps.
Long before the pandemic made associations and other businesses embrace mobile apps in droves, associations were struggling to find and attract younger members. With Millennials, Gen Z, and everyone coming up behind them, it’s imperative to meet them where they are — and they are on their smartphones.
The Business of Apps reports, “Gen Z spend an average 4 hours and 15 minutes per day on mobile with 95% of them owning a smartphone. 78% of them consider their mobile devices their most important device to go online compared to 74% of millennials.” So even if you’re tempted to think the pandemic is coming to an end, the truth is that mobile apps are now a must-have for any organization that wants to keep engaging with members on their terms.
How apps drive non-dues revenue for associations
Mobile apps can also be a source of new revenue that does not rely strictly on membership dues. Creating exclusive access to different in-app content can encourage users to upgrade memberships, pay for one-off content, or even appeal to non-members. Here are a few content ideas that generate revenue:
- Educational content — Whether it’s an ongoing class or a one-off lecture, people are willing to pay for premium content.
- Elite events — Apps make virtual events easy but can also help promote in-person events to specific VIP groups.
- Tiered access — A basic membership may give people access to common areas of an app, but app owners can easily create different tiers of content that are only available to members who upgrade their subscription levels.
The good news is that having an app is easier than ever. With low-code, no-code, and turnkey options to choose from, anyone can have an app. No matter how busy or tech-savvy you are, there is an easy, affordable app creation option that is right for your association.