So, before you rush headlong into developing your own mobile app, here are a few critical points to consider, to be sure you’ll get the outcomes you desire.
Think about your business goals first.
If you had to sum up all of your marketing efforts, online and offline, into one key sentence, what are you trying to achieve?
What’s the single biggest consumer activity your current messages are aimed at?
What is serving you best from the time and money you’re already investing in marketing?
Where are the gaps and opportunities you’re not taking full advantage of?
Once you’ve identified the answers above, you can better reflect on how a mobile app development can further support and drive the things you already do well, and enhance the performance of ALL your marketing efforts combined.
A poorly designed app will drain funds and resources away from existing marketing budgets, and reduce your impact on the market over time, leaving your business vulnerable to stagnation and competition.
A truly great mobile app will perfectly deliver your key messages, and provide users with a unique experience and a deeper relationship with your business that can be measured in more visits, more sales and more referrals to new audiences that you otherwise couldn’t reach. Powerful stuff…
Research: What can the best of the App Stores tell you?
The Apple and Android app stores are increasingly busy places but, in truth, app downloads are dominated by the best placed 5% of the apps listed there.
Before you commit to your own mobile app development, you can “cheat” your way to an advantage by looking carefully at the features and functions of apps that are consistently successful, and see the ratings and feedback from people who have actually installed those apps on their devices.
Using iTunes as an example, for each category of app (say, Business, Health & Fitness or Lifestyle) Apple publishes a list of the Top 200 paid, free and highest grossing apps on a virtual “real-time” basis.
So lets’s go ahead and monitor those categories that naturally align to your own business activities.
Spend a few minutes on consecutive days to look through these lists, and the high performers will become obvious to you. Then delve into the user reviews to see what people like and dislike about their experience. This is free intelligence that can help you decide on the features to include in your final design, functions that will have the biggest impact on users AND support your business goals.
Tip: Notice that many of the best performing mobile apps perform a small number of actions brilliantly, and have an intuitive “feel” that allows new users to quickly grasp how things work… less is definitely more!
Sense Check: What can you learn from your exisitng customers?
Once you’ve narrowed down the range of features you want to include in your mobile app, you’ll need to develop a realistic view of how your intended users will engage with these functions on their mobile devices.
Existing customers can be a goldmine of relevant information, and unpopular or poorly understood features can be eliminated at this stage, further streamlining your final design, and moving its appeal more directly to your target audiences needs.
Try to include customers who are semi tech savvy – they do have a smartphone or tablet, but are not overly impressed with technical detail that could mask their responses and lead you to false assumptions.
Clearly, this is also an opportunity to start building your new superfans, members of your community who already “get” what you do and will activley help you promote your mobile app and increase google play app ratings to new consumers currently outside of your reach.
Make sure you get down to the specifics…
- What is the story of your user?
- How can your mobile app add value to their exisitng relationship with you?
- What do they say about your services and offering right now?
- How woud they most like to share their opinions? (text, images, ratings etc.)
- What could you include that would make them use the app more often?
- Which types of “exclusive” content would they most value?
- How often would they like to hear from you?