With Mobile now overtaking Desktop in consumer popularity, providing a seamless and engaging user experience for your audience is now more important than ever. And that’s where Mobile Apps come in. You may have noticed the increasing number of Mobile Apps for quite some time, and have finally decided to create your own for your Small Business.
And rightfully so too! The right Mobile App can exponentially help your Business succeed: it can improve your sales, create greater customer engagement and loyalty, improve your customer service and raise brand awareness. All of these will play a huge roll in giving you a truly competitive advantage Online.
As someone not trained as a professional Developer however, the prospect of creating such an App can be dauting and intimidating. You may have so many ideas in mind but you’re not sure how to put them into reality, or else you’re completely stumped on where to begin.
Don’t worry, this is a common reaction, which is why we’re here to help. We’ve created this helpful guide to transform the idea of your Mobile App into reality, allowing you to generate greater ROI, create more return customers and better Business productivity.
1. Set Your Goals Straight
Before anything else, you must clearly define the purpose and goals of your Business App. When starting out you’ll want your App to do two main things:
- Give your customers an improved experience, and
- Create an improvement to your Business
Firstly, look at your target audience and think about the features and functions that they would find beneficial. If they see your App in the App Store and can’t immediately identify the benefit for them, they’ll likely scroll straight past you. So think about what kind of experience you can offer them which is better to that of your competitors.
Next, you need to think about what you want to get out of the App for your Business. This could be an increase in ROI, greater customer engagement, more repeat buyers or improving customer service. Whatever it is, you need to think about the ways in which your App can best achieve this outcome for you.
Once you have clearly defined your goals, this will aid in the natural progression of your App creation.
2. Carry Out Market Research
Knowing marketing trends and what your competitors are doing is an absolutely vital stage in creating a successful Small Business App. Given that you probably haven’t created an App before, exploring what’s already out there will give you a good idea of the standard you need to be aiming for.
Firstly, acquaint yourself with the App success stories within your industry, as this will help you gauge some of the features and components that have made them successful. Also make sure you check out those Apps which haven’t performed so well, so you know where not to go wrong. Download some of these Apps and try them out for yourself!
It also pays to read reviews of your competitors’ Apps and analyse the things that people like or dislike about these. You can then use all this information to avoid making their same mistakes, or fill in any missing pieces that you may never have thought of for your own App.
3. Decide Upon Your Desired Mobile App Feature and Functions
After you’ve clearly defined your goals, it’s time to get creative. That is, beginning to define all the functions, features and designs that you want your App to feature. Try to think outside the box and come up with elements that will add true value to your users’ experience.
Some of these features may include:
- Ecommerce Integrations
- Booking Feature
- Image Galleries
- Push Notifications
- Interactive Calendars
- Social Sharing
Write down any features you can think of which would add value to your App, improve the experience of your users and, ultimately, assist with your Business’s goals.
This is also the stage at which you should decide whether you want your App to be free to download, or whether users will be required to pay for it. While a paid App will obviously result in a higher average revenue per download and can build a more loyal customer base, people are less likely to purchase an App if they can’t try it out first. So consider your Business, your Target Market and what you want to achieve before making a decision.
4. Choosing your Platform
With iOS and Android being such dominant players, these really should be your main two considerations when choosing the best platform for your App. But how do you know which will yield the best results for you?
Statistics show that during the last years, Google Play remains a leader in annual downloads, reaching 63 billion downloads in 2016. However, the picture changes if we look at annual revenue. Here Apple remains the leader with 34 billion dollars in 2016, while Google Play received just 17 billion dollars by comparison.
According to the experts, Apple will still remain the leader for quite some time, so bear this in mind when making your decision.
5. Create the User Interface
Now it’s time to create the UI design of your Mobile App. This step is vital because it’s where you are going to see the screen flow and user experience which, in turn, can help you determine any possible frustrations or issues that may arise for your users when they are engaging with your App.
There are various DIY App builders that can help you with creating your Mobile App, but it’s highly recommended that you consult with a professional Developer if you want to have guaranteed results. While there are expensive App Developers out there, there are some which can offer you a cost-effective price that’s appropriate for a Small Business Owner.
6. Choosing your Developer
Depending on the scope of your Mobile App and your Business goals, you’ll probably require a range of coders, programmers, designers and developers to help bring your vision to life.
While this may sound daunting (and expensive!), we promise it doesn’t have to be. There will be many Web Development companies that offer the full range of services for Mobile App Development who will be able to walk you through the process, from concept, to design, to launch.
It’s important to do your research to find out which might be best for your Business. Call a few different companies and ask what price point they can do for you, ask to see some of their prior work and read reviews Online to help gauge the reliability of each Developer.
7. Conduct Quality Assurance and Test Your App
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of launching your App before testing it. If you do, and something goes wrong, this could spell disaster for your brand’s reputation.
Once your App has gone through the development stage, it’s imperative that you test it. Again, and again…and again. And rather than simply using the App yourself, enlist the assistance of external users, who will be able to experience your App and give feedback from a completely objective standpoint. This could either be prior customers, paid testers or various trusted family members or friends, who will be able to give you their critique and feedback.
Once you’ve collated this feedback, you can then go back to the drawing board, making the necessary changes and updates required to ensure that your App is working perfectly!
8. Promote it
Your App is now ready and raring to go, so now is the time to share it with the world. With so many millions of Apps out there already, this is a crucial part of making sure your App gets noticed amongst the crowd!
Firstly, you’ll need to submit your App to your preferred App Stores. After this there are a few ways you can draw people’s attention to your product, including:
- Emailing Your Customers
This is a fast and effective way to ensure that people who are already loyal to your Business will know about your App. And chances are, if they purchase from you regularly and see great value in your App, they’ll download it.
- Update your Website
By making it known on your Homepage that you have an App, and by supplying your Site visitors with the link to the App Store, you’ll be giving people a quick and easy way to access your product.
Furthermore, you can publish a blog post about your newly launched App, which can give readers a more in-depth understanding of how your App will add value to their lives.
- Promote via Social Media
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or all of the above, posting an update on your Social Accounts will instantly draw attention to your new App. You can gain even more traction by creating a short video, or putting some money behind the post and creating a paid Facebook or Instagram ad to really ramp up your marketing efforts.
While creating your own Mobile App for your Small Business may seem daunting, using this handy guide and the assistance of a professional Developer will ensure that you create a product your users will truly value. With some research, creativity and goal-setting, you can create an App that will not only benefit your users, but also your Business well into the future.