What is an app? App is a shortened, slang form of the word "application". It refers to a computer program which allows you to easily perform useful tasks on smart phones, computers or other digital devices. Basically any program that is not the operating system is an App.
So, can apps be an effective method of marketing a product? Well, yes they can, if you have sufficient knowledge of how to make use of them. Most good computer programmers can develop an app, but before approaching a developer, it is useful to consider what you want out of the app. As with any marketing you do, you have to consider what you want to achieve.
So what do you want to achieve with your app?
Firstly, you need to have an idea for your app which relates to your business, or an aspect of your business that you wish to sell. For example, eBay has created an app for their online auction house so that people can buy easily from their phones and get alerts when the items they are “watching” are about to close. Facebook has an app that allows people to check their facebook feed and activity from their mobiles. Optus has an app that allows its customers to check their accounts and the list goes on. Unless your product is an app, you want to create an app that relates to your product, and will draw customers back to your site.
So it is important to consider what you want out of the app. With the above example, eBay may want to reach their customers when they are away from their computers, facebook may want people to be able to engage with the site twenty four hours a day and Optus may want people to be able to pay their bills more easily. Don’t think you must have an app or apps just because everyone else does. They require a lot of effort and time to develop, so consider whether you need one and want you wish to achieve with it before going further. The question you should be asking is, “is there a need for this app and how will it market my product and lead to potential sales?”
Apps that work best are ones that get used repeatedly, are innovative and not simply one of many versions of something else that already exists.
For example: some people check the weather report daily. A new app that allows people to quickly and easily find up-to-date weather details would be very successful, if it were the only weather app available to millions of people. The problem is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of good, accurate and effective weather apps. Developing another weather app is simply catering to a need that is already filled.
Think about needs that are not filled, but which would be used frequently by lots of people in your industry. Consider the likelihood of being able to develop an effective app, and securing a strong, large, loyal number of users, before someone else develops something similar.