From hiring a landscaper to hailing a taxi cab, mobile apps are in demand from customers who expect to be able to do everything their smartphones. Apps are a direct marketing tool that allow you to get your products and services in front of an increasing number of potential customers.
While it may sound intimidating, it’s actually easier—and less expensive—than ever to build a mobile app for your small business. There are four main options for small business owners interested in building a mobile app.
- Hire a firm to design and build a custom app for your company. If your company needs a specific function or design in your app, you can have a custom app developed. This is the costliest option, but gives you the most control.
- Purchase a “white label” app. White label apps from services like BuildFire use an existing framework that is customized with your logo, products and services. You can choose how you want your app to perform and the services you want it to provide users. This option will give you the look and feel of a custom-built app, typically for less money. However, customization options may be limited.
- Build your own app using an online template. Several major web hosting sites includingWix, GoDaddy and WordPress offer integrated mobile app templates. This is an affordable option and perfect for those who require only basic app functions.
- Join an app platform designed for your industry. From the restaurant industry’sOpenTable to retailers’ StampMe customer loyalty app, many industries have the benefit of established mobile platforms where businesses can connect with customers. While this provides fewer options than creating your own app, an app platform can provide your company with a wider reach among your target customers. This is a good option for businesses with a tight digital marketing budget.