You know that having a mobile-friendly business website is now more important than ever, but what about mobile apps? Do they still matter as much as they used to? It’s especially important to consider this question when thinking about the brand recognition and marketing of your business and it’s products and services. Let’s take a look at a few key factors to consider when deciding whether or not to invest in mobile app development and how it can be done in conjunction with a WordPress-powered website.
Should My Business Have a Mobile App?
Only you can answer that question, but here are a few benefits to consider.
Increased Visibility to Customers (and potential customers)
Your brand is your calling card and serves as a reminder that your products and services are available. Simply having your app listed in the iOS App Store and the Android Play Store gives you instant potential visibility to millions of people; a worthwhile marketing effort if there ever was one.
More Direct Marketing Channel
Having a mobile-ready website is a great first step in being able to reach your customers and coupled with an email newsletter subscription option, it may be all you need. However, this type of communication relies on your customers to specifically request more information by actually visiting your site and/or opting in to your email list.
When someone installs your mobile app, you then have the opportunity to “push” your content updates directly to them in the form of notification pop-ups. This takes the manual search and discovery phase out of the hands of your customers and into yours. You can notify them of new content, special “app user only” offers, and a multitude of other messages that come directly to them any time of day.
Fostering Loyalty and Engagement
Users who interact with your business via an app are much more likely to continue doing so if it offers quick and easy access to your main service features. If you’re a restaurant, you can offer one click reservations. If you’re a seller of physical goods, you can offer one click ordering (think the Amazon app). Or perhaps you offer a subscription content service. Accessing their members-only content can be as easy as clicking the login button.
Once you have people used to accessing your content or purchasing your products on their mobile devices, it’s unlikely they’ll have a need to visit your site through their browser again. If this is the case, you can continue engaging these people with “app only” discounts, upsells, or other features.
Separating Your Business from the Competition
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your competition doesn’t have a mobile app yet and you do, you’re ahead. Congratulations! Even if they do have a mobile app, it could be that they’re not taking full advantage of that marketing channel.
If you decide to provide your customers with a mobile app option, make sure that it actually has value and features beyond what your normal website provides. Give them a reason to use your app or to open it when they get a push notification from you via that app.
The Downside of Having a Mobile App for your Business
OK, perhaps now you’re thinking you should have a mobile app for your business, but how do you get one created? There are a couple ways. You either have it built for you or you build it yourself.
Do you spend tens of thousands to have a mobile development agency create one for you? Maybe. Maybe not. Whether or not your company can afford to have a mobile app developed at all is one reason people choose not to take advantage of all a mobile app can offer.
Build it Yourself
I’m listing this under the “Downside” heading but please keep reading below because there is an upside to potentially building your own mobile app (with a few technical prerequisites). Building your own app can be time consuming, frustrating, and difficult. I know, I’ve built four of them myself for a few of my web properties, although I’ll admit somewhat haphazardly and feature deficient.
The toughest part of building my own apps was putting all the technical pieces together. I spent hundreds of hours researching the best app building tools and in the end I had both iOS and Android apps created, but because I had spent so much time learning how to do it, I spent very little time on the stuff that really mattered, the content being served through my apps.
In short, it’s possible to build your own mobile apps but it really depends on the service or developers you hire that will determine how much of your precious time gets sucked down the learning curve drain.
But Wait! There is a Bright Side
Back when I was creating my mobile apps there were just two or three services available for the average person looking to build an app. I tried them all and there was only one that had a somewhat visual way of building that made sense to a non-programmer like me.
The good news is that there are many more app building services available today. The technology has certainly matured in the past 5 years. The even better news is that if your site is powered by WordPress, you have an even easier app building solution available to you in AppPresser.
Only you can decide if having a mobile app for your business is the right tool for your audience and if it makes sense financially. However, mobile device usage is steadily increasing each year so if not now, you may want to plan for mobile app development in next year’s marketing budget.
Does your business already have a mobile app? How does it perform for you? Please let us know in the comments and link to your mobile app so we can check it out.