Can Someone Help Me Wrap My Head Around The App vs Mobile Wesite Question?

by pspro
19 replies
Hi Gang,

Like many of you, I've been hearing the talk about the need for offering apps to my offline clients - I saw the sales pitch for Russel Brunson's Local App Builder push in which he tells "me" that the three words that are going to have my clients throwing their money at me: "here's Your App!" --- huh?

I get what apps are, I understand that they would be useful for games and perhaps contests but for the average small business owner wanting to have another vehicle to carry their sales message?-- why would they want to pay for an app vs a mobile website - an app is only good if you can convince the business owners customers to download it no? Can someone help me wrap my dense brain around the question? What is the benefit of an app vs a mobile website for the average restaurant, bar, lawyer, dentist etc?

Thanks in advance
#app #head #mobile #question #wesite #wrap
  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Here is the basic argument I have.

    When you are searching local you often use the browser on your phone, right? So mobile websites make sense.

    Now pull out your phone and tell me how many company specific apps you have. Do you have many? Neither do I. And I can't see myself downloading an app unless I used it all the time. And for the average business how many of their customers would?

    We literally just had this app vs. mobile website(which we already have) argument at my last marketing meeting with the CEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gatsby
      All web systems that use a server side and or client side script are apps - especially when a database is involved. A mobile site and an app are the same - what is different is how you fire them off.

      One you can use a url, find it in search, pass a link around. The other is listed in a proprietary directory system that you have to apply and submit your app to.

      What these apps do precisely is irrelevant. Any code firing off on a device using the web, is a web app.

      The real problem is that your clients will never understand this, so everyone uses buzz words to try and shorten the conversation down - which is crazy in a world basing everything on IT systems.

      So, to shorten the discussion down a bit for your client. A web app is something that will cost you about $2000 minimum, but if it successfully passes into the android/iphone store it will be accessible by the hottest searches available today.

      For less than that, we can try and get you listed everywhere else, and just have a mobile version of your site.

      On that first one, you really need to understand what the audience needs and wants, and if you can find a solution that they can use as an APPLICATION to their life. If not, I would not be pitching it at all. Therefore, stick to mobile sites, until your clients says something else or you come up with a grand idea for an app.

      However, if you are willing to get your client an account with apple and google - you can take any mobile app and submit to those directories. Go type in chamber of commerce in an app store, I bet you find a bunch of them. All you are looking at really is a mobile site, linked from the app store. So even if you are talking mundane apps, placing the app icons on a site right now carries weight. The only issues I have had in the past are that apple likes to have the code operate a certain way, and they are getting on people for submitting "free" apps (but of course everyone still does). You can easily have a few free apps per account, but if you try to have several with one account it starts to look not inline with the concept.
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      • Profile picture of the author pspro
        "... you really need to understand what the audience needs and wants, and if you can find a solution that they can use as an APPLICATION to their life. If not, I would not be pitching it at all. Therefore, stick to mobile sites, until your clients says something else or you come up with a grand idea for an app."

        Thanks Gatsby, that's what I've been saying to clients that ask but seeing the promotion of this Russel Brunson app affiliation, I'm like "what am I missing here?"

        I'm looking at the websites of Local App Builder and Bizzness Apps and they show apps that look like simple mobile websites to me - okay maybe they have "turn by turn" GPS directions (big whoop) but other than that, what solution are these basic "apps" solving that would encourage a download?
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    • Profile picture of the author M42
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post


      Now pull out your phone and tell me how many company specific apps you have. Do you have many? Neither do I. And I can't see myself downloading an app unless I used it all the time. And for the average business how many of their customers would?
      That's a big mistake. You should never base your business decision on what YOU DO.

      My advice, split test it for a limited time. You may be surprised at the results.
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      • Profile picture of the author pspro
        Originally Posted by M42 View Post

        That's a big mistake. You should never base your business decision on what YOU DO.

        My advice, split test it for a limited time. You may be surprised at the results.
        I agree with you 100% M42, you never know how a market will behave without testing and as marketers we are the worst example of consumer behavior (we know too much) however, what would YOU personally test? An offer for an app vs a mobile site? What kind of successful samples would you show?

        Hate to beat a dead horse but what am I missing? What would motivate a consumer to download the apps that are being shown the local examples on the app builder sites that I mentioned? They are just glorified mobile website!
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        • Profile picture of the author ERPLeadsWriter
          Originally Posted by pspro View Post

          What would motivate a consumer to download the apps that are being shown the local examples on the app builder sites that I mentioned? They are just glorified mobile website!
          If by consumer, you mean the mom shopping at Wal-Mart then I'm with you. I think an app is a little more advanced (too advanced) way to market yourself if that is the one and only thing an app does. From what I've read in this discussion, an app sounds like the equivalent to a freebie at a convention. The question is: what good is the freebie really?

          Before I go on, let me say that we are all average consumers in one way or another. And from that perspective, I personally cannot see why I should download your app unless it's either:

          A.) Something fun.
          B.) Something I can buy with.
          C.) Something I can use with your products.
          D.) Anything between A-C.

          If your app can't really fulfill any of those conditions, I'd rather just get a link to your mobile site than download something again.
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        • Profile picture of the author TyBrown
          Originally Posted by pspro View Post

          I agree with you 100% M42, you never know how a market will behave without testing and as marketers we are the worst example of consumer behavior (we know too much) however, what would YOU personally test? An offer for an app vs a mobile site? What kind of successful samples would you show?

          Hate to beat a dead horse but what am I missing? What would motivate a consumer to download the apps that are being shown the local examples on the app builder sites that I mentioned? They are just glorified mobile website!
          I'm going to be doing a test for an app for my business, just hired the developer today.

          I own a local dog training business and we're building the app for a few reasons:
          - Our current clientele. I've developed a pretty unique pricing and value model in the dog training world and we get residual income for a year on most of our clients. I've never seen another company do what we've done with that. In any case, I'd like to develop that residual beyond a year so we'll be offering the app to our current clientele to encourage them to purchase more products and services. We're also doing it so that they can pull up our calendar for training dates, pull up maps with training locations, pull up training notes, etc.

          - Prospective clients. We'll advertise the app on our website. We get a decent amount of traffic for a local dog training business. We've developed a big list of opt ins. Once the app is live I'll promote it to the list and then we'll advertise it on every page as well. Dog training carries a lot more emotion and heart than something like plumbing, roof repair, etc. so we're hoping that people that don't buy our training will download the app. We'll put tutorials on there, have a feed to our blog, etc. and basically have another way to stay in front of prospects. I think this will work for a dog training biz vs. some other local businesses because people are often browsing around anyways looking at goofy dog stuff online. If we can get a healthy amount of prospects to get the app I'm gambling that I can turn some of them into paying clients. Our average client is worth roughly $1500 so, for us, getting one client a year probably validates having the app.

          - Credibility and vanity. I'm not going to lie. Creating the app is a bit of a vanity play for me as well. I'll be able to say, 'Oh, just check out my app in the app store,' and stuff like that and I'll feel way cool. But I can guarantee you that we'll be the only dog training company in the state, and likely one of the only ones in the nation, that will have an app for our business. For many this will create an air of professional-ism and credibility.

          - Selling 'remnant space'. There are times that we get cancellations, etc. If we can do a push notification and sell that remnant space at a discounted rate then we can create some revenue. Monthly specials on dog training gear can be run through an app as well and other stuff like pushing our affiliate dog food, etc. can be run through an app.

          Can I accomplish all of that with a mobile website? Eh...yes and no but not quite. Credibility-wise you seem like more of a big-shot if you've got an app vs a mobile site. The education stuff and sales stuff, yes, you can do that on a mobile site just as well as you can on an app but then you've got to get the consumer to keep going back to the site. If you can give a big enough value to get the app on the phone in the first place I think you're better off having a more dialed in consumer.

          These are just my theories for now. We'll see soon enough once the app is done.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by M42 View Post

        That's a big mistake. You should never base your business decision on what YOU DO.

        My advice, split test it for a limited time. You may be surprised at the results.

        Why not use me and those I know around me as real world people. Is your phone different? Is anyones?

        As for split testing since you are so sure I would be surprised with the results why don't you give me info on the split tests you have ran where the results showed in favor of the app. I'd love to see them.

        This isn't about split testing really. This is common business sense. Poll people you know. How many apps do they have for businesses? Got a friend who shops at Target all the time? Do they use the Target App? Etc and etc

        The percentage that will use an App is much smaller than the percentage that will use the mobile site. This is simply the reailty of it and anyone telling you otherwise does not understand how people work.

        So why would a small business want to spend more on an app to get less value than a mobile website? For large businesses of course having the app as well makes sense. And if you are targeting large businesses you should have the ability to pitch apps as well as web development. But the vast majority of people on this site are targeting smaller businesses.

        Remember a lot of times the answer is common sense. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. You will never sell someone something they don't want to buy. So you will need to always be able to show how what you sell with solve their problems and needs. If you can do that honestly with an app go for it. But don't buy into the hype and feed it to your clients. A client is worth a lot more long term if they trust you.

        Think about it this way if you hype up a mobile app for $2k and it gets downloaded less then 100 times what will they think?

        When they ask their kids, grandkids, and younger workers what they think about the app and they all point out they don't know why someone would download it what will they think?

        In closing I believe you should use yourself and those you know as a kind of focus group. Ask them about the apps on their phone. Tell them what you want to pitch. Ask them if they would download and use the app if blank local place they go to all the time had it. If the numbers make sense pursue it. But I've done this exercise myself and they don't.
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        • Profile picture of the author MobiDev
          It depends on your end goals. Both variants have their pros and cons, described here Native App vs. Mobile Web App: A Quick Comparison
          If you need a mobile-friendly copy of your website, you may develop a mobile website version. But if you wish it to include some additional features, you should choose the native app. Here are some good native apps for HORECA sector (restaurants, hotels etc.)
          https://itunes.apple.com/app/id485133676?mt=8, https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-s...512913298?mt=8 , https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/amaz...491297003?mt=8 , https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yumit/id361117405?mt=8
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          • Profile picture of the author Fidel Salazar
            Hi:
            I purchased an app generator one year ago. And it is directed to just marketing apps.

            An app can do certain actions a website can't: Give you location by gps and fast call option are a good example. But most important is how you can use the app to give value to the business owner. In our case this tool would add to the marketing arsenal offering to them.

            When a biz final customer installs an app in his/her mobile he/she gives the biz owner a direct communication media, through notifications, that biz owner should use with discretion. The customer would receive invitations to special offers, events and be able to reply and start a viral movement in favor of the business. A nice option I like is that business can reward returning customers offering coupons activated by the phone who can be automatically detected in any store of the business. There are other options all directed to marketing that an offline marketer can implement in favor of his client.

            I understand the apps cann't be used by any street store out there. If you pass by and get a soda in a store you'll see once in your life probably an app won't serve much. But, what if you're an italian cook fan and always go to "that" restaurant. Would you mind if the waiter suggests you to install the app? You will know the next pizza festival and have a some wine for free at your third time getting to the restaurant (in any location if they are a chain).

            I've seen some objections about the price of an app of several k$s and the difficulty of coding it. The apps I can generate can be final priced to the final business owner at $497 and are extremely use to "code". In fact they are simple steps to fill in. You can see my site selling these apps at: Get your mobile application created today!*|*Get Your App TODAY!

            I'm coming frequently to this forum because I want to serioulsy learn offline marketing and have a complete business. As you know mobile apps is just a part of the services you can offer to a business and are in disadvantage if it's the only thing you have to offer.

            If someone here needs an app like the ones you can see in the site I can give you a free demo you can show your client in his own android or in web.
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            www.latinmarketer.com

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            • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
              Originally Posted by Fidel Salazar View Post

              Hi:
              An app can do certain actions a website can't: Give you location by gps and fast call option are a good example.
              Just FYI and for the record that is totally incorrect - a mobile web site can do BOTH of these things!
              Signature
              Sorry, I am too busy helping people to think of a cool signature!
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  • Profile picture of the author invisionstudios
    The major difference between a mobile-optimized website and an "app" is the programming language they are created in.

    A website, written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), CSS and possibly javascript can be formatted for small format screens (like smartphones) and sold as a mobile friendly website. You can add some javascript code to that site that asks the user if they want to "install" the app, which really just puts a shortcut on their home screen. It's really just a website running in their phone's browser. That's also called a "web app."

    A "native app" OTOH, is written in the native programming language for the operating system on which it is deployed. Android apps are written in Java, iOS apps are written in Objective-C. It is compiled into a stand alone package and offered in the marketplace for that language.

    I agree with one of the earlier posts, there's absolutely NO REASON for a typical mom and pop small biz to create their own native app. Nobody will want to download it in a local market. A mobile-friendly website that allows the user to save the icon to their home screen is a different matter.

    HTH.
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  • Profile picture of the author jammy28
    I am also confused with same....Even apps are simple... they only take the user to mobile website. And I wonder someone search app store for their local places |||
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  • Profile picture of the author jherewini
    My take on the topic can be found here http://www.mobiletraffic2.com/web-apps-review/ basically the question you have to consider is when your personally looking for a business from your mobile phone where do you go to the App Store or the search engine?

    Did you know that 65% of apps are never downloaded or found in an App Store, I share that with you because most business owners are looking for more customers & more money. A mobile website is used for lead generation and a mobile app is used to build brand awareness and loyalty.

    I offer my customers a marketing plan rather than an app or website this way I am not being positioned in my customers eyes as a designer only. They are happy to pay the ongoing fees for the full package
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    [URL="https://jaysonherewini.com/"] Host a post for me and win a chance at $2500 USD

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  • Profile picture of the author Everyonemobi
    All to often people think it's a VS. thing... we provide a mobile builder and find that companies that have App's "Get Mobile" and are easy to approach on mobile website setup. The approach is... OK, you have an app for loyalty... now let's use mobile web to open your door to more loyal mobile customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author MKaren
    Originally Posted by pspro View Post

    Hi Gang,

    Like many of you, I've been hearing the talk about the need for offering apps to my offline clients - I saw the sales pitch for Russel Brunson's Local App Builder push in which he tells "me" that the three words that are going to have my clients throwing their money at me: "here's Your App!" --- huh?

    I get what apps are, I understand that they would be useful for games and perhaps contests but for the average small business owner wanting to have another vehicle to carry their sales message?-- why would they want to pay for an app vs a mobile website - an app is only good if you can convince the business owners customers to download it no? Can someone help me wrap my dense brain around the question? What is the benefit of an app vs a mobile website for the average restaurant, bar, lawyer, dentist etc?

    Thanks in advance
    mobile app can be use by service industry as a vehicle to make things easy for them ,it serve the purpose of generating the leads and scheduling meetings on mobile devices.Mobile app market would be large websites like listing websites, like lawyers, real estate listing website, eCommerce websites and such

    For mobile website its advantage is that mobile website are searchable search able than mobile application.

    (just a small insight)

    hope it helps, looking forward for others insight as well
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    "An Entrepreneur has a Curiosity of a Child,Fearless like a Warrior,Mindset of a Scientist,Endurance of an Athlete, Heart of a Saint and Attitude of a Winner"
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonthewebmaster
    Banned
    This is pretty easy question actually I just think you are thinking about it the wrong way.

    For example if I told you that 50% of the world uses MACS and 50% uses PC's but that you could put your software on both of them, which would you choose?

    Obviously you would want your software to be on both, you would not just pick one or the other.

    Same with apps.

    Over half of internet traffic is mobile nowadays. This means a lot of people dont even own computers but mobile devices only.

    The goal is not to pick which is better, App or Website... but to make sure your website/software WORKS and IS AVAILABLE on ANY DEVICE.

    It's all about putting your software on ANY and ALL hardwares you can to increase your user base.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    while I do have the app for our most popular major grocery store (to get coupons and deals) I avoid all other small biz apps like the plague - for awhile I had some from local restaurants, a salon etc...then I said enough is enough

    Make sure their website is "responsive" - and nice and easy to use on a smartphone - MHO that is enough .
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  • Profile picture of the author trip3980
    apps should complement a business if they are used to market said named business. Its no different then giving out free usb key chain to your potential costumers. For example bank of america has an app by which people can log in to their bank account and do their business IE problem solution. If you can solve a problem a consumer can use for free then you have a costumer that is more likely to find out more about your business possibly word of mouth. Viral marketing is the best form of marketing out their. But I wish their was a true method to getting everything out their viral. One day the culture goes one way the next they do a complete flip on you. Currently selling apps for money is not as viable as it used to be because the mobile app market is killing app developers regarding payment for their apps. in fact currently app developers are protesting android and iPhone as far as developing apps. So you may see a decline in quality apps in the near future. I'd like to see how android and iPhone addresses the issue but the only thing I would rely on apps for in this day and age is information gathering and indirect marketing.
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