Your current and future customers look at their phones an average of 17 times a day to check their social media accounts totalling an average of 90 minutes a day of time spent looking at their phone’s screen. The target audience for your small business wants information about your brand at any time, from any place. Has your brand adopted solutions that allow your target audience or customer base to reach your product or service from their mobile devices such as their smartphones or tablets?
When considering the adoption of a mobile solution for your small business, begin with a goal in mind. Don’t be lured into paying for the development and maintenance of a mobile application (app) that no one will download or use unless you have identified why your small business should have its own mobile application.
The first question to ask yourself when considering the development of a mobile application is, “Does having a mobile app fit into our broader business objectives?” If you can answer this question clearly and concisely, then maybe you should invest in a mobile app.
Are you trying to provide information about your product or services? Are you trying to build your company’s brand or reputation? Are you trying to sell your product or service using a mobile application? Will having a mobile app fit your customer’s mobile device behavior?
These questions are worth considering because a mobile application is not a catch-all solution to your business woes. Again, why do you want to build a mobile application, and what is the goal of having your own mobile application?
Mobile Applications (Apps)
Here is a crash course in the world of digital mobile devices.
Let’s begin with a brief run-down on mobile operating systems. There are two dominant mobile operating systems in America today. The dominant mobile operating system (running on the most mobile devices in the world) is Google’s Android operating system. Android is an open-source operating system that dominates the cellphone market with nearly 88 percent of all mobile users.
To download an application onto a mobile device running Android, a user browses applications on the Google Play Store.
Mobile devices designed by Apple, including iPhones and iPads, run iOS. When you hear someone talk about the “App Store,” they are probably referring to the mobile application marketplace available to all users of Apple mobile devices.
If you are considering creating a mobile application, you need to consider focusing your efforts on creating an app for the operating system most commonly used by your customers. Do you know which mobile operating system your clients are using? Most large companies will design and maintain their mobile applications in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. But your small business may need to build an app for only one operating system.
Besides investing in a mobile application for your small business, an alternative to a full-fledged mobile application is to have a website built to be responsive.
Responsive Web Design
A responsive website is a site that has web pages that are intentionally designed to be accessible no matter the size of the device accessing the web pages. Responsive means that your website’s layout responds to the size of the screen viewing your website. If you have ever viewed a website on a mobile device where the text was too small to read, that site was not responsive.
If you aren’t sure whether or not your business’s current website is responsive, Google provides a useful tool that will tell you. Checkout the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
Benefits of having a mobile-friendly website are that Google will rank you higher in Google search results, and your clients will appreciate being able to find the information they are seeking about your business when viewing your website from their mobile devices.
Using Social Media to build your Brand
If Americans spend 90 minutes on social media per day, could your small business benefit from brand-building campaigns using Facebook or another social media platform? In what way are you trying to connect with your customers? Social media should be used to build your brand, not push products upon people. Another alternative is using targeted ads on a social media platform.
Using Third-party Apps
Maybe your small business doesn’t need to create its own mobile app. With over 4 million mobile apps combined on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, there is quite possibly a mobile application already in existence that your small business could use to promote your goods or services. For example, if you are a realty company an app such as Truvia is perfect for showing listings to a national audience without having to reinvent the wheel and create your own app from scratch.
Most business decisions should be influenced by sound research and data. You do not want to waste money, time, and energy on a mobile application that does not directly benefit your business objectives.