Does Your Business Need an App?

According to a 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center, a record-breaking 64 percent of Americans now own smartphones, which is nearly twice the number of smartphone owners just four years ago (in 2011 the amount was 35 percent). Clearly, consumers are using their smartphones more and more. That's why so many businesses are incorporating mobile campaigns into their marketing efforts. Traditional marketing methods, such as direct mailing custom postcards or encouraging word-of-mouth advertising, are still valuable tools for generating new leads, but digital and mobile marketing are now essential for effectively engaging with customers, both current and potential.

While you're likely already building your brand online through your website, blog and social media, your business may also benefit from its own mobile app. If you aren't sure whether you really need an app, consider these questions to help you decide:

What Would Your App Do?
First, think about what you envision the app doing in a big-picture way. Are you looking to create a mobile storefront where your customers can access your products easily? Will it simply be an off-shoot of your blog where customers can access news and trends articles? There are plenty of uses for apps, so it's likely you can develop something cool that your customers will enjoy using. However, consider whether your idea may be better as a mobile version of your website. This will require less money and can likely be done without the help of iOS and Android developers.

Do You Need Help Engaging With Customers?
Apps are very valuable marketing tools for businesses because they provide them with a direct marketing channel to customers who are already committed to continuing a relationship with your company. Because apps must be downloaded, you can engage with, send offers to and get feedback from people who are already customers. Not only that, but apps also have the potential for providing you with some amazing analytics. You'll be able to understand better who your customer base is and how they feel about your products.

Will It Help You Stand Out?
Another reason many companies decide to design mobile apps is that they're a great way to distinguish themselves from competitors. If your competitors aren't already on the mobile market, it's a good idea to get on top of it as soon as possible. If they are, look at their apps to see what kinds of features they offer. See how you can separate yourself, and make your app unique to your business. 

Do You Think You'll Need an App at Some Point?
Startups sometimes put off creating apps because they think that it's best to let their company develop more before branching out to mobile. While that's not necessarily a bad idea, you could also be missing out on years of gaining new app customers and analytics. You shouldn't just create the first app design you think of, but it may benefit you to get an app off the ground earlier rather than later. You'll be able to start building mobile engagement, and can continue updating your mobile offerings as your business grows. 

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