In this age of globalization, digital media plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may not be enough to gain customers and help companies connect with people. You may think otherwise, but in these progressive times, even small businesses must step up when it comes to digital marketing.
90% of small business owners and solopreneurs have never considered a Mobile App for their business, and when they do have been massively discouraged by the costs involved. However, over the last few years the growth of the Template App market has risen, providing SME’s and Solopreneurs the opportunity to not only look at Mobile Apps as an direct marketing alternative, but making them affordable as well.
Over the next couple of months, my intention is to provide informative and educational posts about mobile apps including the benefits and the pitfalls, before I show you strategies and client examples of how you could use a mobile app for your business.
That said, not every business would be suited to a mobile app, so these coming posts will be of value for you to make sure you don’t waste money getting one built.
So, lets start simple….
Let me introduce you to Mobile Apps.
The word ‘app’ is a shortened term for application or software application. A mobile ‘app’ is also software, but has been developed for use on smartphones or tablets, and is downloaded from the app stores, such as Apple and Google Play.
Examples of mobile apps include gaming apps, productivity apps, business or lifestyle apps, educational apps, and M-Commerce apps.
What are the different ways of getting an App built?
There are 3 routes to having a Mobile App: –
- Bespoke Apps
- Template Apps
- Progressive Web Apps
Bespoke and Template Apps are downloaded direct to the users phone from the Apps stores, these are known as ‘Native App’. Whereas Progressive Web Apps are only available and created through a web browser. Let’s take a brief look at each.
1. Bespoke Apps
This is where you employ an app provider company, or a team of professional developers and testers to create an App that is specific for your business needs.
However, this can be quite costly with an initail high cost to get your app developed and tested before it can be published. The costs therefore are project based, taking months before it’s tested and completed. Then you’ll be paying a high ongoing monthly subscription/maintanance cost on top. So you need to plan in these costs to see at what point you will get a return on your investment.
You could employ an independent App Developer, but relying on one person will also incur it’s own risks and is likley to take longer.
2. Template Apps
Template apps or cookie cutter apps are where software features of the App have already been written or pre-coded. All you have to do as the App owner is add your content and images to it. There are a number of app providers out there that offer template apps, and the biggest finacial benefit here is that the monthly subscriptions are low, making them much more affordable for small businesses and solopreneurs. Plus, the App’s features will always be kept up to date by the App provider with updates to their software included as part of your monthly subscription.
Example Template Features may include:
- Push notifications
- Geo-fencing (location)
- Appointment Booking
- Service Booking
- Food ordering
- Video and audio
- Social media
- Business listing
- Event Calender
- Event booking
- Shopping cart
Each provider will have a list of features they offer.
Most of these providers will offer a drag and drop approach for you to build your app, but the look and feel because it is a template, may start to resemble other apps.
3. Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s)
These are web-based applications only, which means people would need access to them via a web browser. Unlikc native bespoke and template apps, these are not downloaded to your smartphone or tablet from the App Stores and are very limited in the features they offer. I’ve also noticed that some companies are offering template PWA’s now as well, my suggestion would be to wait and see how this technology pans out.
Why Mobile Apps?
In small or big industries, because of the introduction of Template Apps, mobile apps is a trend and over the next few years will become a standard for many businesses.
Personally, I don’t see the value in a PWA, and I even wouldn’t replace your website with one until they have developed a way to create functionally that matches that of the Native Template and Bespoke apps. But, the benfits of a Bespoke or Template app is going to add value to your business and I will discuss those benefits in details over the coming weeks.
At the end of the day, assuming a Native app is the right marketing solution for your business, the choice will be yours to be part of this growing market or not.
Next Time: Are You Ready For A Mobile App?