As a group of software junkies, we love a good mobile application. Whether we’re utilizing mobile applications to enhance our productivity, developing them for clients, or using them to order a pizza, we can’t get enough of them. According to studies, it turns out that we aren’t the only ones who feel this way.
App Annie predicts that the mobile app development industry will hit $6.3 trillion by 2021. SAY WHAT?
Many businesses are jumping on the mobile applications train including bars, restaurants, hairdressers, medical professionals: you name it.
According to eMarketer, mobile apps account for 50 percent of time spent on digital media for Americans over 18.
Mobile applications are currently making everyone’s lives far easier. Having one for your business is a no brainer. It makes it WAY easier for your customers to come into contact with your content, services, and goods.
In short, the question to ask yourself is not, “Will my business benefit from having a mobile app?” but rather, “Will it be practical to develop and maintain a mobile app?”
So, grab a cup o’ joe and let’s get to it.
Who Does Your App Help?
According to comScore, you are most likely to be reaching 18 to 35 year olds with your business app.
Of this range, millennials will be your biggest reach. 65% are excited about new mobile apps, 66% wish they could do more with the mobile apps they have, and 70% are constantly on the lookout for new mobile apps.
Is Your Audience Mobile-Oriented?
The same research from comScore found that even the 25 to 44-year-old range spends over 50% of their digital media use on apps, with 45 to 64-year old following closely behind.
Only those older than 65 prefer desktop usage over mobile apps.
What Is Your App’s Goal?
The goal of a well-designed app is to make your information and services readily available in the least amount of taps as possible. If you want your revenue to skyrocket lightning fast, you’ve gotta put consumers in touch with your services and products lightning fast, right?
Your app should:
- Assist current and future customers in new products or services, loyalty programs, special offers, or other perks for in-store or remote commerce
- Engage customers in real-time and develop strong relationships
- Easily remind consumers about services and products via push notifications
How Does A Mobile App Improve On The Media Presence You’ve Already Established?
Sometimes you don’t just want the ice cream, you want the cherry on top, too, right? Well, having a mobile app in addition to your media presence is more like upgrading from a single sundae to an entire ice cream truck.
A mobile app will provide heightened personalization in the following ways:
- Track and analyze user engagement
- Offer customer recommendations and users
- Identify location of users to provide real-time geography-specific content
What Are Your Customers’ Needs?
According to Clutch, a company that specifically researches all things B2B, your businesses’ mobile users are in search of the following:
- Opt-ins for fast, personalized experiences
- In-app purchasing
- Discount push notifications
- Product recommendations
- Loyalty rewards
- Location alerts
- Augmented reality
- Social media integration
To summarize, app-users are looking to spend. HELLO, MAJOR SALES OPPORTUNITY.
How Will You Build The App?
Step 1. Overall Strategy, Dependencies, Competitors
- Create an overall company strategy including key performance indicators and target goals for next five years
- Dependencies – Many executives only focus on the digital team strategy, instead you should also focus on the customer journey. A customer journey exercise is a fantastic way to do this. Customer journey exercise how-to:
- Narrow down your buyer persona.
- Define your buyer’s goals.
- Draw out buyer touchpoints.
- Define customer pain points.
- List roadblocks based on priority level, and fix them.
- Rinse, wash, repeat. Keep updated and consistently improved upon.
- Competitors – Document + analyze what your competitors are doing well, and what they’re not doing well. Define the market baseline to create an awesome app. A SWOT Analysis is a great tool at this step
Step 2. Mobile App Strategy
- Define elevator pitch idea + how it will benefit the mobile user
- Build mobile roadmap; a visual timeline for your software developer and team that includes milestones
- Plan resources + budget for implementation and maintenance: capital expenses (headcount) and operating expenses. A multi-year budget is the best way to go about this
- Define technology stack: You need to make sure your software developers and team know exactly what functionalities you are looking for
- Go with agile software development over waterfall software development: The first means business needs evolve over time, where the latter, waterfall software development, means any changes to the original design phase are cost-prohibitive
Step 3. Single Product/App Strategy
- Your product strategy should define clear use cases based on the customer journey. Outline every piece it will take to make the final product
- Define target audience: Think personas; there is no “one” user – Who and why?
- Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) + data points, there are many tools that do this –
- Reduction in cost to serve
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Market share
- Increased usage
- New users
- App rating
- Retention rate
- Lifetime value
- Session length
- Active users
- Decide between a hybrid or native application
Hybrid: Lower cost, one source to deploy across platforms (Android + iOS), faster (initial) speed to market
Native: More secure, higher performance levels, greatest user experience, allows offline mode, access to device-specific hardware/software, more visibility in app store
Decide: iOS or Android? The universal question that plagues us as we techie folk lay awake in bed at night, right?
- Users are more likely to spend money on apps and on in-app purchases
- Easier to work on for mobile app developers
- Takes less time for mobile app developers to create
- Dominant platform
- Majority of users in the world
- Easier app release policy
Decide whether to build in-house or use an external mobile app development company. It’s advisable to outsource the first version because each mobile app development company has the services to deliver the app expertly, on time, and within budget
Start drafting your marketing strategy BEFORE you build your app. Start early!
Connect with your current and prospective users in early stage of mobile app development to gather input
Draft your press kit before app is live, to engage press, provide stellar content, and increase buzz and excitement
Start a blog around your app and its key functionalities and link them on social channels
Step 4. Product Management Implementation Strategy
- Define Minimum Viable Product – Gather all of your desired features of functionalities and rank them based on “must”, “should”, and “nice” to have. Must=Highest priority, Should=Medium priority, Nice=Lowest priority
- Non-functional Requirements – Browser caching, minifying HTMLs, compressing files and images, eliminating render-blocking for above-the-fold content. PageSpeed Insights from Google is a great tool to use at this step
- Define Testing Strategy – Decide early on if your company will invest in testing automation tools or not, bugs are inevitable
- Define management tools – There will be many tools needed to manage your app. As your app usage grows, so will your roadmap. Research your options
- Production and post-production support – Finally the day has come! Your mobile app developers have successfully slammed their fingers into their keys to whip up some mobile app magic.
Questions to consider before launching:
- How will issues be logged, tracked, and solved?
- How will the app be tested after launching?
- Is there version control of the app?
- Do you have a roll-back plan?
In closing, whether or not mobile applications would benefit your business isn’t the biggest question, since having one has a tall, tall list of benefits.
The biggest question is if the benefits are worth the work that goes into the planning, execution, and maintenance.
We hope this was super duper informative for all of our favorite readers. If you feel like this was merely a springboard to learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ask questions, add something, or help us understand how we can better help you with all your mobile app development needs.
We aim to be the very best mobile app development company in your galaxy!