I could go on and on, driving your mind wild with a plethora statistics about how app-crazy people are. But I don’t have to; this article from Flurry Insights tells us that in 2013 alone, there were over 1 TRILLION app sessions.
So as you can tell, the mobile app market shows no signs of slowing down. It might get you thinking about whether or not your business needs an app too. But before you rush off to hire an agency or a team of highly trained and expensive designers and developers, ask yourself these questions first:
Does my business even need an app?
What unique value will the app offer my audience? If your app can provide something to your audience that no other app in the store can, or if there’s no other way you can provide this same value in another way, then an app could be beneficial to your marketing strategy.
Can the app’s unique value be delivered through other means? Say you own a small chain of breakfast cafes. You want to retain your best customers who come in on a regular basis, so you’re thinking of ways to reward them for their loyalty. Well, if they’re Foursquare users and your business is listed there, then you can create a special for that niche. No need to reinvent the wheel by creating a whole new app in this case.
Do I have the resources to launch and promote the app to my existing customers attract even more relevant users? In an extremely cluttered app-verse, if you don’t market your app when it’s launched, it’s going to be hard for it to get downloaded let alone be noticed. You’ll need to invest in time in promoting to your existing audience, be it email, social media etc. and possible advertising to other, relevant potential users.
Do I have the resources to maintain the app? Every facet of your strategy has its share of tweaks and optimizations to adapt to an ever-changing landscape and audience. App maintenance is no exception, especially taking into consideration upgrades for changes in device operating systems, the occasional bug, and other upgrades to keep the experience running smoothly. This cannot be overlooked; users will not hesitate to delete buggy apps. Worse yet, if they write a negative review in the app store, it won’t help your brand’s image.
How will I determine the ROI of my app? How will success be measured? The number of users? The traffic the app delivers to your website? Can you track the awareness, or better yet, the revenue your app has brought to your business? If you aren’t sure about the answer to this question, then you should re-think creating an app.
Bottom line: don’t create an app for having an app’s sake, especially if you aren’t sure if it will bring value to your business. Do you agree with this? What are some other questions you would ask yourself before creating an app? And if you have an app, why did you create one? Let us know in the comments!
Andrea Misir is a Staff Writer and Social Media Strategist at Venerate Media Group. When she’s not busy writing about the wonders of social media and marketing and making social media and marketing wonders happen for her clients, she enjoys yoga, going to the gym, and sipping on an occasional Old Fashioned Mad Men style. She is based in NYC and has worked with a variety of big and small brands, including Sprint, J&J, Showtime, and more.