App development for businesses and brands is on the rise. Many companies are waking up to its benefits and are now working to design and build their own.
When in the process of mobile app development, there are so many variables and so many things to think about that if you are not careful — or if you lack experience — you might just miss a trick or two.
To make sure you get the most out of your app, here are six questions you have to ask during design and development.
How Can Your App Add Value?
Apps provide an opportunity that no other form of media can.
Instantly accessible through anyone’s smartphone, they offer a real chance to give users a bit of added value. Options to consider are exclusive deals, offers codes, vouchers and unique methods for connectivity, such as a live chat service.
However, while made easier on an app, you can also implement these options on a website. There are, though, two ways to add value that you simply cannot do without an app. It includes push notifications and mobile loyalty programs.
Push notifications can be hugely beneficial for both you and the consumers. They allow you to send direct messages to users on their phones via the app. Similar to text alerts, the great thing about push notifications is that they won’t easily get buried and will almost always be seen by the user.
This gives you the opportunity to send users information about deals and new products. Your consumers can also receive added value by being kept aware of updates that may be of interest or useful to them.
Loyalty bonuses allow users to gain rewards via the app that can be exchanged for goods or services from your company. Loyalty bonuses are great for improving the consumer experience and doing so through an app means such rewards are easy to earn, track and spend.
What Platform Should You Build It On?
App development can be expensive and small businesses often don’t have the resources to build software for both iOS and Android at the same time. Unfortunately, both require different coding which means you can’t just upload the same app to both platforms.
So, which platform should you pick?
In previous years, the answer was almost exclusively iOS. The more popular brand of choice, Apple users were seen to be the market everyone wanted to reach.
Now, though, things are different. Phone producers like Google and Samsung have made a considerable dent in Apple’s market. With Android tablets selling just as well as Apple iPads, it has become ever-more difficult to decide which platform to focus your investment on.
The best way to find out if either the App Store or the Google Play Store will benefit your business more is to find out what phone your customers use. You can do this in one of two ways. You can either use your website analytics to find out what phone your website visitors are using or just ask them directly.
If you are able, developing on both platforms is obviously a huge bonus. According to Gartner, if you develop for iOS and Android, you’ll be covering over 99% of all smartphones.
How Will You Update Your New App?
An app is not just a one-off investment. Over time, you’ll perform maintenance and introduce updates; for example, if you launch a new service.
You need to make sure that your app development platform offers some kind of flexibility with regards to making changes and additions. The last thing you want to do is build a very self-contained app that is almost impossible to adapt to new business circumstances.
As part of your design process, ensure you have functionality built in that allows you to make changes and access code easily. The last thing you’ll want is to build an entirely new app in case you decide to change your business direction.
Is It Going To Be Free Or Paid?
It might seem like a no-brainer, right? Make your app free so people will download it.
Of course, this is the option most businesses will take — and it is the option most businesses should take — but it is not for everyone.
The question you have to ask is not just ‘Should it be free or paid?’. It should be ‘Is the app worth paying for?’.
A simple eCommerce or takeaway ordering app is not going to garner much appreciation if you must pay for it, but what if your business model is different?
Perhaps your business offers networking opportunities and, by downloading your app, users can get access to connectivity options. Sure, they might get the same options on the website, but that instant accessibility and ease of use may well be worth paying $0.99.
Analyze your business app. Gauge what users can get out of it and if it is worth putting a price tag on. Yes, you’ll receive fewer downloads, but they’ll be more engaged.
If you really don’t know if your app is worth paying for, try feedback surveys and focus groups.
How Will You Market This App?
“If you build it, they will come” is not a phrase you should link with business app development. Sure, loyal and regular customers will likely jump on board, but it is unlikely that everyone else is going to go searching for it.
When building an app, it’s important to start thinking about how you are going to market it. Once completed, you wouldn’t want to be left with an app with just a handful of downloads as you slowly work through the marketing process. You want to get your money’s worth and bring in downloads straight out of the gate.
Consider your marketing options prior to the app’s release. Run your campaign simulations before going live on app stores and marketplaces. Press, blogs, and ads are all great ways for you to promote your app as soon as it is released.
Is There Functionality To Track And Measure User Engagement?
Apps provide a powerful marketing tool that should never go underutilized.
By recording user input variables, you can gain valuable insight to your customers that is unattainable through other means. This includes data on how frequently the app is visited, what tools within the app are most popular, what time of day most users are online and where your users are geographically.
However, you can only record and measure these data if you set up the right codes to track them. When it comes to mobile app development, be sure to include methods of keeping tabs on user inputs.