You need a mobile app strategy before you hire a developer to build one.
Mobile apps are a great marketing tool. And since web surfers spend more time on apps than websites, a mobile app strategy it might make sense for one to be a part of your overall marketing plan. Mobile apps are not just for mega-brands, fast food restaurants, or social media platforms. Many mid-sized businesses are taking advantage of the mobile app trend, too. However, before you jump into the app game, think about what you want to accomplish by creating an app for your business and consider what the strategy for rollout should be. Then, contact our specialists to get your development phase started.
Do you need an app?
This is really the first step in the process. Decide if you really need an app. The alternative is to ensure your website - which is undoubtedly necessary - is mobile-friendly. Here are a few reasons why you might possibly need a mobile app.
- It’s a direct marketing channel
- You’re visible to your customers at all times
- Provide added benefit to your customers
- Build brand recognition
- Improve customer engagement
- Stand apart from the competition
Most importantly, you should ask yourself, “What purpose does a mobile app serve our business?” Mobile apps are popular, and it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, but you want to make sure that you don’t spin your wheels getting a mobile app off the ground if it’s not going to directly benefit your organization.
You’ve decided on creating an app. Now what?
One of the first things you want to decide is what platform you want to use. Approximately 70-80% of the app market is made for Android devices, but iOS is the choice of most developers. What does that mean for you? If iOS is more widely used by developers, it’s going to be easier and more cost-effective for you to find a developer that specializes in that platform.
Part of what should drive your platform decision is deciding who your target audience is. The customer persona defines every area of marketing a business, so it’s something that should definitely be considered with this venture as well. Once you’ve defined who your target audience is, you will be better informed about which platform to use.
What are the main features?
Again, the features you choose will likely be driven by your audience. If you are a clothing store and you are trying to inform customers of the newest products, that should be a feature set you build into your app. Try creating a wish list of tasks you want your app to accomplish. No app is going to be able to tackle everything you hope it will. But during the discovery phase of the project, your developer can help guide you about the best possible direction to take for your app. It might be that the app can accomplish your top three tasks with the flexibility to add new features down the road.
Additional tips as you plan.
During your planning/brainstorming for your app, you might want to take some of the following tips into account. They will help to direct your enthusiasm.
- Keep it simple. Narrow your focus into the main reason you wanted an app in the first place.
- Design for ease of use. Don’t make your user bounce through mountains of menus. Use the fewest swipes and taps as possible.
- Build-in analytics. Remember, your app is a marketing tool, and marketing is driven by data. Your app is a great way to collect new data.
- Consider integrating a chatbot. Chatbots are a great option to be able to connect with your users and to provide them with an easy way to get answers. Most customers see chatbots as an added benefit - not an annoyance.
- Create a rollout/download strategy. You don’t want to forget that once the app is built, your audience needs to download it in order for it to work for you. So, build a rollout or marketing plan to support it. If you have a retail storefront, make sure you have signage up to support the app. Print a notice on your receipt. Create a social media contest around the number of downloads you have.
There is an estimated 6.3 billion smartphone users globally, and each one of those smartphones has a number of apps installed on it. You don’t want to miss out on this targeted marketing opportunity. Just make sure you attack it with intelligence and not just because it’s a trend.