Are Mobile Apps Really Necessary if I Have a Mobile Website?

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Whether you have a standalone mobile website or a responsive website, sooner or later the time is going to come where you start to look into mobile apps.  A mobile app – also called a native app – is different from your mobile site in many different ways.  While mobile sites do allow your customers and leads to find you on their mobile devices, a mobile app allows them to connect and interact with you (read: sales) when they’re on the go, something they typically might be able to do only from a desktop.

What Drives Businesses to Develop Native Mobile Apps

The main driving force behind a mobile app is that it serves as another instrument of connection and interaction between you and your customers.  Just like your ads reach out to your audience, just like your website serves as a “homebase” for your brand, a mobile app too serves its purpose in the marketing field.

For that reason, mobile apps are considered a nicety outside of a mobile website.  In other words, you don’t really need one if you have a mobile website, but you should.  In fact, if you don’t have a mobile app, you aren’t living up to your business’s full potential simply because with a mobile app, you not only reach your core audience from different points of entry, but also open up a new demographic – that of the consumer who only uses mobile apps.

Mobile apps serve to engage the consumer, meaning that you not only get them in the first time, you keep them coming back time and time again.  As you are aware, it costs more to acquire a new customer, so repeat buyers are a market that mobile apps certainly help you tap into, thus lowering your costs of acquisition in the long run.

What Do I Build First – A Mobile App or a Mobile Website?

For many companies getting into the mobile marketing foray, building both a mobile app and a mobile website at the same time might not be economically or technologically possible.  That’s fine – you don’t always have to build both at once.  So, how do you know which to build first?

  • How do you reach out to your audience and where are they currently hanging out?  If you’re the type of business that relies heavily on emails and blogs, a mobile website might be the way to go, even if you’re a non-tech company that is using technology to deliver your product or service.  If you rely more heavily on social media and interaction with your customers, a mobile app might be your best bet at first.
  • What would impact your business more positively right now, a mobile app or a mobile website?  Is your business based around on-the-go communications or tools?  If so, a mobile app might be best for your fans to connect with you since they can pull it up at the touch of a button, rather than having to get on a browser and go to the mobile website.

Still, even if you are developing your mobile app at a separate time from your mobile website, the second build should never be ignored.  Always design your mobile app with your mobile website in mind and vice-versa.  While you do want different functionalities on both (otherwise what’s the point of someone having both), you do want the core standards to remain accessible so that a person without access to the internet can still use your app or a person without storage room for an app can still use your site without losing all that much range of function.


Mobile App FAQs

Q:  How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

A:  The standard answer applies here: depends on what type of mobile app you’re building and the functionalities.   A survey of 96 mobile app developers had the average cost of development sitting at $6,453.  Other surveys show small apps range between $3,000 to $8,000 and complex or large-brand apps can run between $50,000 to $150,000.  Yet another source put the cost of developing an iPad mobile app at $12,000 to $150,000 and up.


Q:  Should I build an Apple or Android app?

A:  Ideally, you’d build both but if budgetary concerns arise, you have a number of factors to consider such as Apple being more popular in the USA but Android taking the trophy in the larger Asian market.  The best answer will be found by understanding your demographic and which device they are using.

My friends would say that I'm creative, smart, driven, and a hard worker...and I would have to agree. I've developed technology solutions for many businesses over the last 20 years. I take pride in being a change agent and problem solver with a passion for technology and people; grasping the big picture, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing solutions while partnering closely with business leaders.

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