When I get asked the same question a few times in a week, I figure I should post the question and answer to my blog.
Thank you to all who asked this week's question: "Should my business have an app?"
In short, my answer is: It depends.
What do you want your app to do for you?
An app that is its own product (think Angry Birds) has a purpose. An app for your business is probably not a product in and of itself. It will more likely be an extension of your business that will make it more efficient in some way to deliver your existing products or services.
This means it will be more beneficial to ask yourself a question different than "do I need an app". The better question is "what information do I want to display and/or collect through a mobile device?" The follow-up question to this is "am I already displaying and/or collecting the information I want through mobile devices?"
From my perspective, those are the basic questions you should ask.
Some additional questions you may want to consider:
- Do I have a budget to create an app?
- Can I truly create value for my clients through an app?
- Will my customers actually care enough to install and use my app?
- Will I be able to keep my app updated?
Your customers probably aren't clamoring for a new icon for their smartphone. Your app has to matter to them by creating value. Whether you can translate that value into increased goodwill or sales is another question entirely.
The old adage of "Just because you can doesn't mean you should" comes to mind. An app (like a website, a blog, your social media presence etc.) is not a one-time investment of time and energy. My suggestion is to use the tools you have to the best of your ability first before venturing off into new territory. Unless there's a strong business case to be made that says the app is more important than other fundamentals, you'll probably be better served by sticking to the (mostly underutilized) basics of online and mobile marketing.