Welcome to the Fairytale Land of App Nirvana
Imagine for a moment that you invest in the creation of a mobile app for your business and your customers love it. They love it so much that most of them install the app. Suddenly they can order your products or services, check and pay invoices, and get customer service—all at the touch of a fingertip. And because you made that brilliant decision to invest in that killer mobile app, your business is now growing exponentially. Your entire world is blue sky, glitter and unicorns, and you did it all for a few thousand dollars. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that scenario is very unlikely to play out; hence my 4 reasons why your business doesn’t need a mobile app.
What I’m Not talking About
First of all, I love apps and use and recommend apps for our clients all the time. Apps that automate business functions and improve productivity are good investments. Apps that enhance customer service and increase sales are also good investments. But these are not the apps that the app salesman is talking about when he tells you can have a fantastic app for only a few thousand dollars. The apps I’m asking you to avoid are the types of apps you create (or someone else creates for you) using a platform such as https://www.biznessapps.com, the ones that promise that you can set up your very own app in minutes so that you can offer your customers coupons and specials. Given the competition for app space, and the reluctance of consumers to download and use apps that offer dubious value, you’re most likely better off spending your time doing something else. So let’s get into the four reasons your business doesn’t need an app.
1. They’re Really Just Not That Into You
Before you let an app salesperson get you all ginned up, consider that that your customers may not really care that much about you. Sorry to break the bad news! Your customers, even your favorite ones, are very unlikely to install your app, and even if they do, they are unlikely to use it and will eventually delete it. Savvy app users will only install an app and use it if it provides an extreme value proposition. Competition for app space on mobile phones is fierce, and unless you’re offering a way to get home fast and cheap and avoid getting a DUI (think Uber), it’s probably not going to get installed.
2. You Already Have a Mobile App—It’s Called Your Website
One of the most popular apps is the one that virtually everyone has already—it’s called a web browser. Since a browser is already on most mobile devices, complete strangers to your business can check you out without having to install an app. Obviously, your website needs to be mobile-ready to work well on mobile devices. Providing a great web experience on mobile and tablet devices pays off big time, and it will also improve your position in Search. So if your website is not mobile-ready, you need to address this shortcoming NOW!
3. The Odds Are Never in Your Favor
Sorry for the Hunger Games play on words—I couldn’t resist! The harsh reality is that less than 0.01 percent of consumer-oriented mobile apps will be considered a financial success according to Gartner Group (see the link here). Even the most optimistic among us knows that these are pretty steep odds, and unless you are creating the next Snapchat or some other app that is truly disruptive, you need to realize that developing a mobile app is probably a waste of your money and time. So instead of investing in an app, pick a local charity and donate the money; you will help someone in need and actually do some good.
4. Focus on First Things First
Your business’ digital footprint stretches well beyond your website and includes your social media properties, local directory listings, online reviews, inbound link profile and so on. How about making sure these ancillary properties are optimized and up-to-date? Performing well in search is dependent on hundreds of factors, each of which needs to be addressed. And, as I said, you need to optimize your site’s experience for mobile users, and spend time analyzing mobile traffic so you can make improvements.
As I write this (May 2016), I believe we are midway on the right side of the period of inflated expectations in the mobile app hype cycle (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle) and entering the trough of disillusionment. It will be interesting to watch yet another hype cycle unfold and the mobile app business mature.
Rick Hogan, CEO & Co-Founder – Bleevit Interactive
Rick possesses over 20 years of digital marketing experience and started Bleevit Interactive with the primary mission of helping local businesses succeed online. When he is not working he can often be found hiking Great Falls, Virginia with his Labradoodle Lily, or sailing the Chesapeake Bay.
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