Do You Need a Mobile App?

So a new report from Flurry claims that consumers are now spending more time using mobile apps than on the Internet (thanks, Mashable, for getting this some attention). Consumers are spending an average of 81 minutes daily using mobile apps vs. 74 minutes of web surfing.

So, this means you need to go right out and create your own mobile app, right?

Not exactly. We'll talk about this in a second.
android appphoto © 2010 clive darr | more info (via: Wylio)

The first thing you need to do (if you haven't already), is visit your web site while using your mobile phone, and the mobile phones of a few of your friends. What you see on your desktop isn't what you'll see on your Blackberry, Droid, iPhone, or tablet. Make sure people using any popular smartphone or tablet these days can use your site. 

Questions to ask:

1) Can they read your content or do they have to keep zooming in, zooming out, and scrolling back and forth?

2) Is your site fully functional via mobile? Can people order your products, access customer service, and easily navigate to your content?

3) Is there something most customers on a mobile would want to see first on your site, like maybe your phone number or directions? How can you make this easier for them to find?

So, now it's time to create your own app, right? Not exactly.

It can be expensive to get a developer to make you your very own app. So think about apps that are already out there that can be used to promote or access your business. Ask yourself:

1) Is your business available to people using social apps, like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?

2) If you're brick-and-mortar, are you sharable on check-in apps like FourSquare and SCVNGR?

3) If you run a restaurant, are you available on review sites like Urbanspoon, and reservation apps like OpenTable?

So NOW is it time for my own mobile app?

Sure. But really give some thought to a problem your mobile app will solve, and if there's an app already out there that can be used. After all, existing apps (like Urbanspoon, for example) already have a dedicated audience. If you make your own app, you're starting over.

Also, games are great and it's tempting to make your own game for people to play. But how does this help? Does it really get people to buy more of your product or is it just an opportunity for people to play at your expense?

That said, it can't hurt to talk with an app developer and see what kind of ideas they might have for you.

You might also consider holding an app development contest for your customers. See what they think you should be doing on your mobile.

All apped out? Let me know. I can help.

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