Does Your Business Really Need to Get On The iPhone and Android App Bandwagon?

Smart phones now account for 27% of the mobile phone market led by nearly 50 million iPhone or Android purchases in the last quarter of 2010. Those seemingly smart consumers want to be able to communicate, buy and enjoy, whatever they want, whenever they want. As a result, more than 400,000 mobile applications or apps have been developed in the last three years.

Does your business need a mobile app?

The most used apps are for games, news, sports and weather, social networking and music. But there are a number of successful business apps too.

The Domino’s Pizza app generated more than $2 million by making it easy to order and offering the chance to win prizes.

Nike Training Club targeted women with a full-body training app featuring workouts and drills.

Amazon’s app compares prices from local retailers for over a million products sold on Amazon.com.

These and other success stories show how apps can help companies:

1. Brand-Many “first to app” companies have famous brands like Nike and Domino’s. Apple pretty much created the app space. There’s a cutting edge or coolness factor associated with having an app.

2. Satisfy-Consumers want convenience. Apps make their lives easier with valuable, timely information, increasing customer satisfaction.

3. Connect-Think in terms of the Nike Fitness app. The user has an ongoing, positive connection and the company achieves marketing touches in a non-marketing manner.

4. T.O.-No, not the football player/reality show guy. Track & Optimize. When customers use your app, you have information to track. Plus, apps help with Search Engine Marketing in that your company name is online one more time.

Before you jump on the app bandwagon, consider your options. Today’s smart phones support both regular websites and mobile versions. You might achieve your goals in a more cost effective way by creating a mobile version of your website. If you decide to move forward, here’s your app checklist:

• Identify the target market for the app and why they would use it.

• Provide fresh, updated content that adds value.

• Build an app for each mobile phone platform.

• Make sure the app isn’t just a mobile website. Otherwise, why make the investment?

• Provide a compelling reason to use the app and get the word out through multiple mediums like email, text and twitter.

Your business may or may not need a mobile app today. But you definitely need to enhance your mobile presence in the future.