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Do I Need an App?

Advances in technology are making information on products and services accessible from almost anywhere. So, of course, business owners are lining up to modernize their websites and make use of these high-tech tools. Lately, the chatter is all about mobile apps; but, not every cool thing out there is a perfect fit for your business.

The proliferation of apps and those heralding them would have you believe that they were a “must have” for everyone. So, the people we talk to often want to know if they actually need an app in order to stay competitive. We always answer that question with a question or two about what the app will add to the users’ experience.

  • What will your app do? Or, what data do I want to display, transform and/or collect through a mobile device?
    Your app must have a useful purpose and a market. It shouldn’t just be a replica of your website in miniature. Apps should be a more efficient means to deliver existing goods and services.
  • Is that functionality available on any other app on the market, or on your own website?
    If your app does nothing more than your website already does, then it may be better to just lead them to your website, as long as it’s mobile-friendly. If another app already exists, yours has to be better if you want to prove its worth.
  • Is your website already mobile-friendly?
    You don’t necessarily need a regular website, a mobile website and an app. A good responsive website will adjust for the device it is being viewed on, and potentially eliminate the need for other versions of the same thing. You don’t want to multiply your time and cost if you don’t have to.
  • Would someone use your app for a limited time, or will it be used on a regular basis?
    A person has a limit to how many apps they want on their mobile device. Ask yourself if your app is important enough to make the cut. The criteria may be whether or not it will be used just for now, or if it is something that would be used regularly. An app that counts calories for me is something I might pull up often. But, an app that lets me set up my annual physical wouldn’t be worth the time it would take to download.
  • Does this app have the potential to grow or strengthen your business?
    In marketing, our goal is always to get a return on the investment. Apps take time, money and maintenance. The benefit should outweigh the cost in a measurable way.

After answering these basic questions, it is relatively simple to determine if an app would be valuable for your customers. If you decide that an app would be a great addition to your technology tool kit, be sure to do it well and with purpose. Like blogs and Facebook pages, apps can move a business either forward or backward depending on their quality and relevancy to your audience. In everything you do, aim to be impressive!