Mobile usage is exploding across almost every demographic, and at the forefront of the mobile movement is the almighty app. As a business owner, you might be eager to jump on the app bandwagon. But hold on—a mobile app isn’t right for every business.
Should your business invest in a mobile app? It’s a question many business owners struggle with and one that deserves serious consideration.
To Build or Not to Build?
There are many ways a company can benefit from building a mobile app, such as:
1. A mobile app provides a unique selling proposition (USP). If you have five competitors and none of them have an app, then it might make sense to build one as a selling point.
2. It gives your business a “relevant” vibe. More often than not, the company that provides customers with apps will often be the company that’s most in touch with its customers’ needs (or at least that’s the common perception).
3. It adds interaction to your service. If interaction with customers is a big part of your business, an app might help. For example, if you provide customer support for your business, an app is a great way to encourage people to contact you and give feedback.
4. It helps you gain leads. If your business isn’t necessarily location-dependent, you might receive a boost in new potential customers. The App Store (Apple) and Google Play (Android) are massive platforms that have people searching for apps daily. If they’re searching for a business in your niche, and you offer a great app, it can attract new leads. For example, I have a client who launched an app for their informational site and, over the past couple years, has added over 50,000 new subscribers to their email list with hardly any effort.
All those are very good reasons to consider an app, but before you start planning, let's take a look at some powerful reasons why you might want to stay away from building an app.
1. You risk annoying your customers. If you’re going to build an app, make sure it’s at least better than the mobile version of your website. Push notifications, image capturing and location awareness are all features mobile apps handle well that mobile websites can’t accomplish. So many apps miss the mark because they don’t add any value to the user experience. Customers who download such apps feel tricked into getting something that’s equal to the company website, and now you’ve wasted their time, which is worse than just sending people to your website.
2. Your app (and subsequently your brand) gets a lot of negative feedback. Sometimes companies build apps just to say they have one. However, because they’re not fully invested in the idea, they’ll take shortcuts or hire inexperienced personnel to accomplish the task. While the app will make it into the app store, the negative reviews from disgruntled users will hurt more than it will help in the long run.
3. It can seriously drain your company’s resources. Apps can be expensive to build, but what many people don’t realize is that they can be really expensive to maintain. There are bugs you have to fix and updates you have to make to keep your app going strong—and keep the positive feedback streaming in.
The Big Three
Now that you're aware of the pros and cons of building an app, there are three questions you need to answer to make a truly informed decision:
- Do you have the resources to build it and maintain it?
- Would people actually use it?
- Does it actually increase the bottom line?
If you answer “yes” to all these questions, and understand the pros and cons, you can start planning your mobile app today. If your business can afford it, you’ll enjoy significant benefits that will boost your bottom line.
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