The advent of smartphones has opened a whole new world for entrepreneurs and consumers. Nowadays, mobility is king as more business tools have been created to leverage the mobile sphere. The influx of mobile phones has also pushed the evolution of business models, as more enterprises have taken advantage of using this to disseminate information and offer services to customers. With all of these changes in the app industry, there is another pressing question: Should you invest in a mobile app for your business?
Mobile apps have been effective in tapping a larger market, especially those who are always on the go. Apps keep these people engaged with your brand and your services can be just a click away. However, are you ready to invest a large amount of money for a mobile app? An app that can end up being neglected and ignored, lost among other big apps in the app store? While mobile apps have shown great potential to strengthen marketing, you still need to consider other factors and look at both sides of the coin—do you need an app or will it make you incur additional costs?
Here is a list of factors and points you can consider before investing on mobile apps:
- Do you need an app or a mobile website? Identify your goals. Will a basic website app be able to achieve your business goals, or will a mobile website help you achieve these goals instead? When creating a mobile app, you need to modify your layout to be compatible with mobile devices. It's important to find out which mobile device is mostly used by your audience.
- Do you have enough budget to fund a mobile app? You will need to outsource your mobile app project and ensure that you are working with a credible mobile app design company that will create your app. You can also hire a freelance web designer who can handle the mobile app aspect. This means that you have to consider your budget and how it might affect your other investments. Your budget for this project needs to cover the hourly rate of a developer, the cost of server space, app store publishing, and marketing initiatives. If you think you are ready to plunge into a mobile app investment, then bring out your big guns and get ready for probably one of the most significant business decisions you will make.
- Does your business really need an app? You need to be clear first what your business is all about. If your business will thrive on interaction and customer engagement, then it is just right that you invest in a mobile app. However, if your business offers services on-ground, like a local restaurant or shop, then it may be better to just invest in other marketing efforts. A simple website that contains basic business information, such as the list of services or products that you offer, store hours, and your contact details will be enough to disseminate information. If your business needs a more engaging platform that will involve geo-tracking and map overlays, then it would be a smart decision to invest in a mobile app. Once your objectives are clear, it will be easier to identify which investments will give you the highest returns and which ones will be the best to use.
- Identify your target audience. While the hype of smartphones might add pressure on your venture to invest in mobile apps, you should first research if your market uses smartphones and actually invests in downloading apps. There are available market studies that show that only about 50 percent of U.S consumers download and use apps. If this is the case, rethink about your plan. Would you really need to spend a huge amount of your budget for this percentage of the market?
- Are you ready to maintain your mobile app? Once you have created your mobile app, you cannot just leave it and let it be, you still need to update it on a regular basis and modify it when necessary. Your mobile app needs to stay relevant to your market, thus, it will be a continuous investment of time and money. This platform can be really demanding and it will be require frequent upgrades and updates.
- What are your options? Now that you have determined the needs and the demands of your market, it will be easier to lay your options and choose which one will give you the best results. If creating a mobile app is not within your budget, you can invest in enhancing your website and use it as one of the best assets of your business.
- Look at your profits. You need to know and be sure if your net profit will exceed your costs by a reasonable margin. In case you plan to hire professional developers to create your app, you first need to take an estimate of the cost and then compare the prices. Know that the cost of developing a basic app would come to about $3000 to $5000. This basic cost structure is bound to rise with more additions to the app design, app marketing process, and so on.
- Consider cross-platform formatting. Once you have developed your basic app, you also need to think of cross-platform formatting, so that it can be compatible with the various other mobile devices that your target audience prefers and uses. You should also take into account that cross-platform process will definitely cost you extra money, time, and effort. This is just one of the many enhancements that you can eventually make with your mobile app.