There’s no denying that integrating a mobile into your marketing strategy in this day in age is crucial. Be it through mobile SEO, location based marketing, or apps mobile is huge and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, the obsession over creating a mobile app for your business is getting out of hand. As such the number of marketers and developers selling products or services to get businesses to create a mobile app are equally out of hand. But when it comes to the mobile craze, there are a handful of things businesses are overlooking.
Your App Doesn’t Fulfill a Need
In a study published earlier this year by Localytics it was discovered that 1 in 4 mobile apps once downloaded were never used again. There may be a number of reasons for this, usability, functionality, people who are just trying an app, but I would hypothesize that a larger culprit is the fact that the app probably didn’t fulfill a serious need for the user.
When clients talk to me about mobile apps the first thing I ask them is, “What will your app do to make your customer’s life easier or offer that you don’t already provide elsewhere.” In most cases they can’t come up with a single legitimate response. The reason for this is that most businesses want to deliver the same sort of content and user experience found on their website in app form. What they fail to realize is that if users can get the information off their site, or a mobile optimized version of their site there is no reason to even bother with an app. You are not offering anything unique to get them to download and use the app over traditional means. The only exception to this would be if the app made a task on a mobile device easier. For instance I have the Haunters Digest app installed on my phone because it gives me access to all of their content and allows me to stream their podcasts directly from the app as opposed to having to use a separate app to play their content. In this case they aren’t really giving me anything I can’t get elsewhere, but they are making a task on my mobile device easier.
Your Company Doesn’t Generate A lot of Repeat Business
The desire for a mobile app has come up a lot in my work with Plastic Surgery Studios because the idea of a doctor having their own app strokes the ego a bit, but what I have pointed out time and again is that plastic surgery patients don’t typically generate a lot of repeat business. You come in for a consult, you get a procedure done, and you’re probably set for life at that point. If you’re a company that doesn’t generate a lot of repeat business then there aren’t a lot of users who may use your app during the life of your business relationship and then never use it again.
You Don’t Have the Budget or Means to Continue to Grow
Mobile apps are demanding. Both the iPhone OS and Android OS continue to evolve and with it comes new phones and new updates that need to be taken into consideration when developing a mobile app. If you or the company developing your application can’t keep up with the changes then ultimately your app is useless. Unlike a website, which can often site stagnant for months on end, mobile apps are having to be tweaked and updated constantly and if your business can’t keep up then a mobile app probably isn’t for you.
It’s important to realize that just because the world is becoming more mobile, not everything has to be handled through mobile apps. Smart phone and tablet users are still navigating the internet through browsers and search engines, meaning you can still deliver your message to mobile users with a website that is properly optimized for mobile devices. As Chuck Martin outlined in a recent article on Inc.com, an app needs to either make life easier, make life cheaper, or make life fun in order to appeal to users and be successful.