It seems like every business around the block has an app… except you.

Despite the ubiquity of smartphones, your caution is entirely warranted. After all, just because something is trendy doesn’t make it financially feasible, does it? Are mobile apps really all they’re cracked up to be…or does the ROI not make sense?

How Many People Are Using Mobile Anyway?

Smart phones are everywhere. Head to any city and you’ll see people on their smartphones — waiting for a bus, riding on the subway, even walking down the street playing Pokémon Go.

But you’re not thinking about the total number of users who might be using mobile apps. You’re just thinking about whether the market segment in your small business makes app development worth the cost.

Let’s start counting.

SmartInsights pointed out that the number of global users of mobile phones overtook desktop users as early as 2014, and the gap continues to widen. Now, in fact, the average adult uses over 51% of their Internet on their mobile — and that number, too, continues to grow.

What about your market segment? You might think your business is a desktop kind of business, but the simple truth is that Bob Dylan was right. The times they are a-changin’, and your business needs to keep up.

That’s true, at least, when you view the world of mobile apps from this top-down point of view. But let’s look at some ways you can weigh the risks and pitfalls of app development against its potential ROI in your particular niche.

The Case for Mobile Apps

According to Entrepreneur, “If you are a small business owner and your business does not have a mobile app, you need to get one.” Period.

Citing a Gallup survey that found the majority of Americans check their mobile phones at least every hour, Scott Shane writes that some ninety percent of this time is then spent using apps.

The case for mobile apps? If your company doesn’t have one, then you’re completely missing out on a huge — and ever-growing — segment of the population. Consider the following points in favor of mobile apps:

But let’s say you’re perfectly cool with the concept of mobile apps and simply don’t trust the potential for ROI. Are mobile apps really all they’re cracked up to be, or are they just a waste of resources?

The Case Against Mobile Apps for Some Small Businesses

Let’s put some numbers on this. Let’s say you spend $10,000 developing a mobile app — though prices certainly vary — and that you end up generating 1,000 users for that app. In this case, your cost per user acquisition was $10.

If only 5% of those mobile users become leads in your business, you’ve spent $200 per lead. Depending on your product or service, that may be a great number. It may be far below what you expect to spend.

The point here is: you should look at mobile apps as another avenue of marketing. Put numbers on it, and find out if the mobile app would really justify its investment.

MarketingTechBlog.com put together a comprehensive list of all the ways you can measure the ROI of developing a mobile app. And even though one of the primary goals of your app may be to generate leads, there are other ways to find returns for your investment, including:

Once you put numbers on the ROI, you’ll get a much clearer picture of what mobile apps can do for your business — but don’t forget to include all of the numbers.

Tools for Making a Mobile App Investment

If you’re not convinced a mobile app is best for your business, there’s nothing left for you to do. But if you’re interested in developing an app to get new customers, you’re likely curious about the next steps.

Here are a few recommendations for getting started:

Go Mobile

Once your app is created and hosted in popular app stores (a service offered by Appsme, for example), you should have no problem expanding your user base and turning a mobile app into a great investment. Like many investments, you often get out of it exactly what you put in.

Make it count, and your mobile app will reward you.

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