Do firms need a mobile app?

The question about whether or not accountants should have a mobile app is one that reveals a variety of responses.

The arguments against having a mobile app.

DEVELOPMENT COSTS

Mobile apps are still relatively new compared to other technology and as such the cost will be higher and will vary on who develops and designs the app and which features are included. There is strong argument that you may get better value for your spend elsewhere.

MANAGEMENT

Once an app is built. It needs to be updated. That includes news, new features and things that give users a reason to use your app often.

SHORT LIFE CYCLE

Mobile apps have a very short life cycle compared to other forms of technology and marketing tools. We all have apps on our mobile devices that never or rarely get used, and generally most users only go to a handful of apps regularly. Having an app, can simply be one more thing a client doesn’t use.

ITS PASSIVE

Having a mobile app, is a relatively passive marketing strategy. Firms seeking a single magic solution to get new clients or keeping or building existing ones are likely to be disappointed.

So what are the arguments for having a mobile app?

LEADERSHIP

By having an app, which is still a relatively new concept demonstrates to clients that you are a leader, open to ideas and willing to adopt new technology.

CONNECTING WITH CLIENTS

Mobile apps allow you to connect with clients on several levels. You can connect by sending notifications with the app itself, or more passive methods such as a regular news and mini apps such as tax tables and calculators.

CLIENT SPECIFIC

One of the downsides of social media and search engines is that it makes information easily available, and in many cases provides too much information. For many, that overload is so great that it renders it useless. A mobile app allows you to filter the right information to clients at the right time, giving it greater meaning and making it more helpful for clients.

ON GOING MARKETING

The average user spends around an hour a day on their mobile device. By having your firm’s displayed on what is arguably a client’s most used tool, you can stay in sight and on their mind.

Where to from here?

The decision to get a mobile app is one each firm needs to make on its merit and budget. In reality a firm will not whither and die because it hasn’t got an app. The same thing goes about a website, or an email marketing or social media strategy. But it probably won’t grow either.

We suggest that the best approach for any business, including accounting firms is to have the broadest range of marketing activities that the budget allows. Not all clients respond to the same message on the same marketing platform at the same time. What triggered a response from a client today from an email, may not trigger the same response next week using the same medium.

Mix your marketing strategy up – that includes using other options, like a website, blog, social media, email marketing, internet marketing, advertising, referral programs, newsletters, workshops, email signatures and the list goes on…. Ensure your firm uses several marketing options at the same time.

No one method of marketing should be used to the detriment of others. If you feel a mobile app is the way to go, and if the cost of having that mobile app limits the available budget for other marketing options, then it may not be the best choice. Sure, go for an app, but make sure there is enough leftover for other options.

Spend wisely and be constantly evaluating your marketing returns.

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