Competition is fierce in the app arena, and the businesses we spoke to reminded us that success is determined by how you market and promote your app. You cant rely on being featured by Apple (though its awfully nice if you are). You must constantly promote your app on your website, on social accounts, and probably through advertising, too.
MyMovingReviews is one of the few companies we talked to that said it could quantify the apps value. Panayotov estimates that the companys app paid for itself within a year. He gushes about its success: Creating the mobile app was one of the best decisions we made. Because of the exposure, we were able to increase brand awareness and help our website get more popular over time. Having a mobile-app link on the homepage immediately makes you trusted in the visitors eye.
Another company, MyCorporation, which offers business incorporation and startup services, says it used internal resources to build an app, which has since garnered just 500 downloads. But those downloads, says social media manager Heather Taylor, have generated $50,000 in extra business. Was it worth the effort? Most definitely, she says. It doesnt always take millions of downloads to make significant money.
Apps dont always work out
Of course, an app isnt a sure thing. One small business we spoke to, Bella Reina Spa, had trouble from the start. CEO Nancy Reagan says, It was a very tedious process deciding who could build it. She finally hired a small company to do the work for $299 plus monthly upkeep charges of $29. We had tons of downloads and people used it for information, but in the end it was not as powerful as a mobile website. Eventually the app was scrapped.
I can't stress this enough: Doing your homework before building an app is crucial. Even the best-laid plans often go awry, as the saying goes, but it is important to pin down what you expect from your appor whether you even need onebefore committing your SMB's resources. Can you justify the extra expense of an app, or could a mobile website accomplish the same goals?
As a final note, remember that you dont have to share your app with the general public for it to be useful. The ROI of internal apps can be even harder to calculate, but their value can be immense if they save you time and headache. Generally such apps are more popular with larger businessesor at least those with larger clients.