Not too long ago, many Valley businesses became enamored with having their own apps. On behalf of a client, I met with a company that makes these apps. The heart of their sales pitch made sense–everyone has smartphones these days and uses them constantly. They charged a minimum of $2000 up front and a monthly fee after that, for as long as the app existed. They showed me one they had developed for a local restaurant. It was very beautiful, slick, it loaded quickly, and then… nothing.
There was no content beyond the restaurant’s menu. There was an empty event calendar and an empty review section (looking at the app today, this is still the case). The other “features” (tap to call, social media integration, maps, etc) could all be done on a website. This restaurant rarely updated their Facebook page or website; how on Earth would they keep up with an app? Considering the cost and logistics, it was madness.
You probably don’t need an app for your business. Even if your potential app was better than the example above, it will probably collect dust in the App Store with the 80% of apps that rarely if ever get downloaded.
What you do need is a mobile-friendly, responsive website. This means your website automatically adjusts itself to look and work best on any device–computer, tablet, or smartphone. All of the sites we’ve built are responsive, and in each case, analytics show us the vast majority of visitors are coming from mobile.
If you took the $2000 fee you were going to invest in the app, you could easily afford a responsive website and several months of social media management. For that amount, you could also reach tens of thousands of customers via paid Facebook ads. Either option is a much better investment.