By now, you understand the importance of digital marketing when it comes to growing a business. Now, more specifically, we’re seeing the importance of mobile marketing.
We’ve been seeing mobile marketing trends evolve over the years. And over the past five years, the usage of mobile-focused marketing has skyrocketed. Of the digital marketing spend worldwide, 60% of it was spent on mobile.
Mobile marketing has changed the way businesses promote their products and services. Now more than ever, businesses have new opportunities for engaging customers and generating sales. With the help of geolocation services and push notifications, marketers can send timely, location-based offers or reminders, which can significantly influence purchasing decisions and improve overall mobile marketing campaign effectiveness.
This may have many small business owners wondering if they should be developing their own apps. At first thought, it seems like an easy decision. After all, there seem to be endless benefits to having an app for a small business. However, things are not that cut and dry. Having a mobile app for your business comes with some unexpected challenges.
In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of having a mobile app for your business to help you decide if it’s the right move for you. First, let’s take a look at some of the advantages.
Advantages of Having a Mobile App
As we mentioned previously. There are many advantages to having a mobile app. Some businesses will benefit more from them than others. However, just about all businesses will benefit from the development of an app. Here are just a few of the advantages.
- Visibility– When your app is downloaded onto a user’s mobile device, it’s constantly in front of them. This keeps your business top of mind.
- Enhanced Customer Engagement-Mobile apps can provide a more personalized and engaging experience for customers. With push notifications and in-app messaging, businesses can send targeted messages and promotions to customers. This increases engagement and encourages repeat business.
- Improved Data Collection-Mobile apps can provide valuable data insights for businesses.
- Increased Sales Opportunity-With an app, you can increase your chances of getting more sales as mobile marketing has proved to be an effective marketing tool.
Disadvantages of Having a Mobile App
Now that we’ve seen some of the benefits, here are a few of the drawbacks. Depending on the type of app that is developed, some of these drawbacks can be minimized. However, others cannot be avoided.
- Development Costs-Developing a mobile app can be expensive, particularly for small businesses. Costs can include hiring a development team, updates, and app store fees. These costs must be weighed against the potential benefits of having a mobile app.
- Compatibility and Device Limitations-Mobile apps can be limited by compatibility and device constraints. Meaning, you might develop an app for Android users but your customers use an iPhone
- App Store Approval Process-Apps need approval from the app store providers. This can take a while and there is no guarantee that your app will be approved.
- Getting Users-Just having an app does not mean users will run and download it. You’ll need to find a way to promote the app so that people will want to use it.
- Maintenance– If there is something wrong with your app, you’ll need someone to call to fix the issues.
What is your Goal?
The first question to ask yourself is what you want to achieve with your app. What is your overall goal with your business? What short-term and long-term goals are you pursuing? How close and how far are you from those goals?
Once you’ve answered those questions, ask yourself how an app for your business will help. The answer may not be as clear-cut as you like.
With more and more mobile marketing options available for businesses, you may be thinking ahead. Perhaps you feel like your business needs an app because your competitors are seeing success with their apps. Naturally, you may think that in order to compete, you need to do what they are doing.
While that may not be a bad idea, make sure that whatever moves you make are aligned with your goals. Revisit the goals you have for your business and see how developing a mobile app will help you reach them.
Do Your Customers Need it?
Another very important question to ask is if your customers will even use your app. Having an app may feel like a step in the right direction. However, if your customers don’t need an app in order to do business with you, you may not need an app at all.
What makes it more difficult for your customers to do business with you? And, how will your app help? These are important things to look at since developing an app that isn’t going to help your customers is an unnecessary expense.
Do you Have the Money to Build One?
Simple app development can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 according to some estimates. That begs the question: do you have the money to build one?
One expense to think about is the design cost. Although it may seem similar to the development cost, the design cost is slightly different. Having a nicely designed app ensures that you are offering a user-friendly and attractive interface. This is crucial for the success of your app.
Depending on the stage your business is in, an app may not be something that makes sense right now. However, if you find that investing in mobile marketing as a strategy to increase sales is worth it, then you analyze to see if building an app is the right move.
How Are You Going to Market It?
Creating an app is only the first step. The rest is getting people’s attention. The Google Play Store and the Apple App Store have a combined total of over 5.6 million apps available. Standing out in the crowded marketplace may be challenging. Be prepared to allocate resources to app store optimization, digital marketing campaigns, and public relations efforts to drive awareness, downloads, and user engagement.
Who Is Going to Manage and Update It?
Another important question to ask yourself is “Who is going to be responsible for managing the business’s app?” App store marketplaces have strict guidelines regarding app functionality, design, content, and user data handling. You want to make sure that you have a way to stay on top of all of that.
Consider your app’s scalability. Take a look at how easily it can be adapted to accommodate future needs. Planning for the long term can save time and resources down the road.
Here are some other things you need to consider about the ongoing maintenance of your app:
- Bug fixes: Fix bugs and performance as well as monitor user feedback and crash reports.
- Updates for compatibility: Updating operating systems to ensure that your app remains compatible with iOS and Android systems.
- Security updates: Regularly update your app’s security measures to protect against new vulnerabilities, hacks, and data breaches.
- Feature enhancements: Regularly add new features, enhancements, or improvements to meet user expectations and stay competitive in the market.
- Performance optimization: Regularly review and optimize the app’s code to improve its overall performance, including load times, response times, and battery consumption.
- Dependency updates: Update third-party libraries, plugins, and APIs used in your app to ensure compatibility.
Deciding whether to develop a mobile app for your business is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. By answering these five questions, you’ll be better equipped to determine if a mobile app aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish with your business. Undoubtedly, an app is beneficial for many businesses. However, it’s crucial to ensure your app offers a unique value proposition.