While likely meaning well, a technology blogger for a Sandusky, Oh, newspaper has done a disservice to small business owners with her post http://www.sanduskyregister.com/blog/tech-know/4457651 on mobile apps.
Sam Chada, the Sandusky Library's associate director of technology, says in part, “creating apps for smartphone and tablets isn’t just for professionals anymore. Literally anyone with almost no technical capabilities can crank out a web or mobile app with ease.”
Ms. Chada, there is a difference between the ability to create one and the ability to succeeed with one.
More from Ms. Chada:
“There are a lot of advantages in building a mobile app. An app will enable you to easily share your information between mobile users while on the move. If you are an entrepreneur, small business owner, or website manager, you can now enter the mobile app space with a small budget and with minimal coding or programming knowledge.
“You can publish the app in two main app marketplaces: Google Play Market and iTunes App Store. If you’re hoping to distribute an Android version of your app through the Google Play Market, you will have to pay a one-time registration fee of $25. On the other hand, if you want to launch an iOS app through iTunes App Store you’re looking at a yearly fee of $99.”
There are more than 900,000 apps in Apple’s App Store alone. To be listed among the top 10 paid application, software reportedly must average around 4,000 downloads per day, while a top grossing app must earn $47,000 per day, a new study has revealed.
Do you know one small business that would qualify?
Also, it has been said that the average mobile user downloads approximately 60 apps, but regularly uses fewer than 10. A large number of apps are downloaded but are never opened more than once.
Apps are largely around discovery. A small business owner would need a substantial marketing effort to get it before prospects and even noticed by customers.
This is not to say that apps are a bad way for a small business to proceed. Some apps, like Foursquare and Stampt (a mobile loyalty product from my company, Mobivity), enable mobile users to find businesses around them – and for businesses to send local offers) Those two and others aren’t dependent on a business conceiving, creating, maintaining and marketing a one-off app.
Another option, or one that is often complementary, is for a small business to use text messaging to build a permission-based database and to send information and offers to those who seek them. There are ample success stories that prove that this method drives sales and loyalty.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.