Should My Business Have a Mobile App?
A mobile app is a software program designed to work on a mobile device, such as a tablet or a smart phone. Some apps give you access to the data on a website. For example, the Facebook app lets you easily interact with Facebook on your smart phone with access to the same Facebook data, but in a different format. Other mobile apps can be stand alone programs that function separately from the internet, such as the camera on your phone.
Research shows that more people have mobile devices and are using them to access the internet and get information through mobile web browsers and/or mobile apps. So does your business need a mobile app - here are a few things to consider.
1. Who is your audience?
Consider your audience and the type of mobile devices they use - iPhone, Android or Blackberry? If they are people on the go, consider what type of company information they will want access to, and how they would like to get it.
2. What is your goal?
Many mobile apps are used for marketing purposes, but that may not be the best way to use your resources. Consider what you want to provide your customers and how will it benefit them. Successful apps are usually the ones that people use everyday, like the Facebook app, to accomplish repeated tasks not done by the regular functions of a mobile device.
3. What about budget and resources?
There are many ways to develop apps - from using custom app providers to companies that provide templates and toolkits. Consider how much you can spend on a mobile app and what you hope to get for your investment. When mobile devices get updated your app may need updating as well. So research how much that may cost. If your app involves social media determine who in your company will be in charge of monitoring it.
4. How will you market your app?
Even if you have the most useful mobile app in the world, people won't use it unless they know about it. Keep in mind that it can take over a month to have your app listed in the Apple and/or Android App Stores. Simply putting your app in them, among the millions of other apps, won't be enough to help people find it. Develop a plan to let your customers know about your app and what it does.