The latest mobile technology has made it possible for virtually every company and every type of company to create an app.
An app (or application) is a piece of code that you create that is completely separate from your website. That means that you have to create something entirely new and manage the app completely separate from your website. So, why would a company want to go to all of that trouble?
The truth is that creating a mobile application isn’t much trouble at all. But before creating one, consider whether you should.
Here are some reasons why a company may want its own mobile app.
- Convenient for users. Once users download the app, all they have to do is click it, and they’re ready to go. Although some companies may think having to download the app is a disadvantage, people are beginning to make using apps commonplace. The whole idea behind applications is convenience for users, and they know that.
- Customization. Because an app is a native piece of code, you can customize it in any way you see fit for your company. That means that you have complete control over how relevant and helpful your app is to your customers and clients. If there was ever something about your company that you hoped could be easier, an app just might be the answer.
- A longer reach. Apps may help you reach a new audience. More and more people are beginning to shy away from desktops and traditional websites, and are using apps and their mobile phones as their connection to the web.
- Easy integration. Apps can be created to sync up with information that users may have in their phones. For example, if your customer wanted to get a content update from your website, an app can allow them to sync this up with their mobile calendar.
- Extra cash. Many companies choose to create a free app as a way to help customers make purchasing decisions easier, but some have been successful selling the actual app itself. Either way, it usually can’t hurt to create an app.
- PR use. Apps are a huge trending topic in the media. Lists of some of the latest apps do well because there is such a demand for that type of content, so you can use your app as a PR tool and help get your brand into that discussion.
- Competition. Many of your competitors will start creating apps, so you don’t want to fall behind. At this point you might be one of the first in your industry or in your area, but having your own app is a great way to stand out and grab an audience for the type of work that you do.
One of the most important things to realize about a mobile app is that it is not a mobile website. A mobile website is simply using your website and customizing it for the mobile screen and the mobile user; it is not a native piece of code.
Creating a mobile website should probably be your first plan of action, and an app second.
When Creating an App Might Not Be Right for Your Company
With pros come a few cons. In general, there are two things that deters companies from creating an app.
First, you can only run your app on one platform, which means that you have to develop multiple apps if you want it to be available for different operating systems (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, etc.).
Second, users have to download and find the app from an app store. You can advertise your app on your website, but they can’t get it right then and there. It’s something to consider.
Have you ever created a mobile app for your company? Did you find it successful, or would your time have been better spent elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.