It’s astounding! The “app” craze is now in full effect and has reached fever pitch.
Ask any small business owner who has been approached by a application development firm and they’ll tell you that they are thinking apps, but unbeknownst to them, they are not being told the full story. A disclosure which would give them the ability to see and fully understand the total picture.
Considering the hyper numbers that are being tossed about concerning mobile app usage and downloads, it’s easy to see how a small business owner can quickly become enamoured with the idea that the implementation of a mobile application is indeed a fast track to greater reach, branding and profits.
The concept of throngs of users dying to download their app and the prospect of soaring profits that dances in their heads have been carefully placed in their minds by application developers, whose eyes are clearly are on profits, ahead of client benefits.
When we speak of applications, their use and implementation, there are a few things a business should (MUST) consider.
Unless you have your own “in-house” team, expect to pay around $26,000. That’s for a simple app with turn around of 4-8 weeks to create. And that’s just the a cost for a single platform like Android.
And if you plan on not leaving out iOS users, Windows Phone users and Blackberry users, expect to shell out even more.
It should be painfully obvious that few small businesses can afford an expenditure of this magnitude . Especially when there is no guarantee that the campaign will generate even a break even ROI. And if you think your app will be the media darling that gets downloaded by thousands, think again.
Next up, on going maintenance cost.
Yes you’re going to have to maintain your app and the cost of doing so is not cheap.
Consider the industry standard for software maintenance averages 15 to 20 percent of development costs and it will become very evident that you’re facing some very hard numbers.
As in the above example, if your app cost $26,000 (again, a very low estimate) to build, expect to pay about $5200.00 per year, per platform to maintain. If you’re still excited about acquiring an app for your business at this point, you may not be a big business but you’re certainly a very rich one.
App vs. Mobile Site: An Irrelevant (and silly) Comparison
We hear it consistently and constantly. In the forums and on the posts of countless sites dedicated to helping small businesses grow into big ones, “Should we have an app or a mobile site?”
We haven’t touched on the subject of mobile site development costs, redesign or recoding current sites to perform properly across multiple devices but there should really be no debate. In fact, if you were to base that decision on cost alone, mobile site implementation becomes a forgone conclusion.
Barring that element of the process, what you really need is an offer. A standing offer designed for one purpose and one purpose only which is to get customers off the couch and into your establishment, money in hand and ready to spend.
And while that effort can more realistically be achieved with an online platform that works well across multiple devices, be it your own website or a service based solution, offering current and potential new customers something they need (because of your well crafted standing offer) and want, a well designed mobile optimized website or offer delivery service would fit the bill nicely, to say nothing of significantly lower cost.
If the truth be told, there are many types of businesses that do not need or require an a full blown website, mobile optimized site let alone an app. And while your business may fall into this category, there is no question that the first order of business should be to develop your offer with the emphasis on delivery platform coming in a very close second.
There are many platforms that can assist small local businesses in presenting that all important and unique offer for little or no cost. A few that come to mind are 8Coupons, RetailMeNot and SaveLocalNow to name just a few.
All the above mentioned services offer businesses a easy to use platform upon which to create and deliver a strong offer to their respective audiences but and in spite of some of their names which profess “local reach”, they lack what is most desperately needed by small businesses, true local flavor.
There’s just no getting around human nature – People love to get great deals and save money and it doesn’t matter if they come by those great deals through a website, mobile site, app or even a local newspaper. People just want deals and love it when they find them.
When we look at the trends, we clearly see that more and more people are searching for businesses that “offer” what they’re looking for and finding by way of mobile devices.
That said, it stands to reason that for your business to grow, putting your offer where people are looking every day just makes good (smart marketing) sense.
It has already been mentioned that there are plenty of services that offer an inexpensive services that allow you to go where your customers are instead of obsessing over the best way get your marketing message out.
When you combine the time tested and proven method of discount coupons with the marvel of modern technology that is today’s smartphone, you have an unbeatable , cost effective “one-two- puch that can take your small local business to total local market domination.
Want to reach your local market with time tested drawing power of coupons combined with mobile technology?..