Do You Really Need an App?

You’re sitting in your office, staring at a blank Google Doc. For weeks, you and your team have been working to come up with the next big idea. You’ve been looking for the idea that’s going to blow the competition away. There has to be something.
Then, like a light being turned on in a dark room, you suddenly get the perfect idea. Your business needs an app! It’s the perfect idea. You don’t even need to think it through . . . right?
Before you go and start researching mobile developers to build your new app, you need to think this through. There are two questions you need to ask before you commit:

  • Do I need an app?
  • Can I afford an app?

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Do I need an app?

This is actually a complicated question. It can actually spawn into a multitude of more specific questions with a whole host of different answers.

To decide whether or not you need an app, here are a few things you have to ask.

  • Is an app the best way to reach my audience?
  • What can I accomplish with my app? How is it valuable?
  • Can I develop a mobile responsive website instead of an app?
  • What can an app help me accomplish that a website can’t?
  • What is the goal of building an app? Do I want to send content to customers or let them see product specs and sheets?
  • Do I have the infrastructure to support it?

Each one of these questions will help you better understand how important an app is for your business. Really, the only answer we can give you to this overarching question is “it depends.”

You have to figure out exactly how an app fits with your marketing needs.

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Can I afford an app?

There are three areas of time and resource investment that every app requires. These are . . .

  • Development
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance

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For some reason, people underestimate the cost of app development. This is a misinformed idea, and building an app can be extremely expensive. They can run upwards of $30,000 to $50,000. Those costs can double or triple for more complex apps.
Remember, these are only development costs.
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Now that your app is developed, it has to actually get to all your users. Simply making an app doesn’t actually mean that it is magically going to appear on your audience’s phones and tablets. It has to be available to them on their device’s app store, and they have to know to find it.
This can be complicated considering the number of devices, operating systems, and languages this has to be developed for and deployed on.
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You can’t just create an app and be done with the entire process. You have to actually maintain it. Depending on how the app is developed, it will require updates whenever something changes. That includes operating systems updated, new operating systems released, new device types and sizes, and even when new versions of web browsers are released.

For instance, Apple released six different versions of iOS 7 in 2014.

If you’re feeling a little deflated, cheer up. Apps are a great idea for many businesses, but there are some real considerations for their costs and benefits. The key is to make sure you are completely prepared to shoulder the burden and see the success you need.
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