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According to a recent study by Gartner, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times and will generate revenue of more than $77 billion by 2017. The paradigm shift from desktops to laptops is shifting once more to smartphones, tablets and even personal wearable devices. The question for business owners is no longer “Why should we bother building an app?” It is now “How are we going to build our app?”
Unless your business model and main product line is to solely craft apps for others, don’t expect to profit from the apps alone. According to Abigail Tracy of Inc. Magazine, mobile app usage provides businesses with users’ demographic data, location, personal preferences and habits – all premium information that is perfect for engaging customers with targeted marketing and advertising. That valuable data can be used by your marketing department to better understand who and what your customer finds valuable from your company.
Before you decide to commit to develop an app for your business, it’s important to first determine what your budget is for creating one. According to Michael LaVista, CEO and founder of Web application development firm Caxy, “Unless the product uses a phone feature — such as the accelerometer, GPS, contacts or push notifications — then you don’t necessarily need a mobile phone app.” He also adds that the initial investment might be better used to optimize your website on mobile devices through responsive design. If you have a full-fledged business website, this strategy might save you the hassle of applying to iTunes or the Android app store; not to mention the total dollars spent on hiring a mobile developer.
If you decide to continue creating an app for your business, it’s important to realize the reality that planning and marketing plays a much larger role than design and functionality. It’s advisable to create as much buzz as possible prior to launching your app. The combination of blogs, social media posts and outreach to current and past customers about your app will have a better impact than launching it cold. It’s also important to continually measure and analyze your app’s backend analytics to learn more about which devices provide the most downloads and other technical points that can help you learn more about your customers.
The real value of developing an app is the ability to gather as much data from users as possible. It’s a great marketing tool that is applicable to any size business, whether product or service oriented. Consider it an added feature that allows your customers to further engage with your business. Keep in mind however, that building a successful app takes time, planning and attention to backend analytics.
Need help deciding whether or not your business should build an app as part of your marketing communication strategy? Message us on Skype and we will conduct an assessment on your website and business. We’re also experts in creating websites with responsive design which optimizes viewing for any smartphone or tablet.
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