Over the last few years, the mobile app market has exploded. And for good reason. Having an app for your business or promotion is a strong marketing tool that drives traffic and builds revenue.
The Benefits to Business
Like any brand-building or marketing tactic, planning to build an app can sound like a lot of work. But as the digital age takes full effect, and according to Google, smartphones achieve 52% penetration in Australia, an app is something you can’t afford to overlook — particularly if you want to enter the world of mCommerce and sell online.
Well-constructed and strategically-planned apps help create stronger business relationships, build loyalty, reinforce your brand and increase visibility, accessibility and exposure across mobile devices. An app will connect you with ‘on the go’ consumers and generate brand recall and recognition that in turn creates repeat business.
The 4 Simple Steps
Building an effective and functional mobile app is not as daunting as it may first seem. While many people have some misconceptions about the complexity, the cost and the process, creating an app that appeals to your clients is just a matter of knowing what you want and following four straight-forward steps to achieve it.
So how does the app development process work?
The process can be broken into four main steps – idea, layout and planning, design, and going live.
1. The idea
Everyone has an idea lurking somewhere in the dusty corners of their mind, so this step is less about having an idea and more about working out if the idea has any viability.
As with all project processes, the first step is research. Log on to your app store or head on to Google and use the search function to determine if your idea has already been developed. Test apps that work on similar ideas to determine if you can bring anything new to this area, or if your idea can improve on what is already existing.
If you’re still eager to start building an app, it’s time to develop your idea. Like any good project, you need a plan in order to get started. You need to flesh out your idea, work out who would use your app and set aside budget for marketing it.
2. Map it
Similar to developing a web page, your next step will be to fully map out your app functionality. This is a big step and can be a lot of work — so be prepared to enlist the help of professionals or dedicate some serious hours.
Mapping out how your app will work literally means determining exactly what pages you need, what will be on them, how they will link together and in what order — it means knowing exactly what happens when you press button x on page y. When working with a professional, keep in mind the complexity of the app and how much needs to be mapped and tested will add to your development cost.
One of the most important aspects of app development, the design can mean the difference between success and failure. Like a website, the design of business apps not only makes them appealing or not, it can also influence how credible an app is, how easy it is to use and how your functionality will all be tied together. This step is incredibly important — and you get what you pay for, so don’t select the cheap option if you’re hoping for significant return on investment.
4. Launch it
While the app market has been dominated by iOS and you were once only required to build the app in xCode for Apple, it is now worth considering also creating an Android app. Android is growing at a rapid rate and ignoring its increasing importance in the app market may be to your detriment. If you’re going to build an app, you should make sure it’s available to everyone!
Once your app is developed, designed and tested, it’s time to launch. If you have worked with a developer or digital team, they will often take care of this step for you so you can concentrate on the important task of marketing your app. If you’re developing the app yourself, you will need to create an iTunes Connect account ($99 per year) and fill in all the account details. Once your account is set up you can also use it for any apps you may develop in the future. You can use iTunes Connect to monitor the success of your app from downloads to revenue. Specialist digital companies will also monitor progress for you and assist you in improving your results.
Once your app is in the store and waiting to be downloaded, you can build your ROI in various ways. In-app ads and paid extensions to the app content can get you started — of course if the app is built for mCommerce, it should generate its own revenue.
Post Launch & Awareness
It is also important to remember to market the app as you would any new product. If yours is a business app, ensure your integrated marketing strategy includes signposts to the app from other media such as your website or online videos.
If you are serious about taking your app idea to the next level, Platform Digital can help you in all aspects of the planning, idea creation, research and strategy, wireframe, design, development, launch and marketing phases. We can provide a straight forward guide to how to make an app.
If you need more information, insights, advice or a no obligation quotation for bringing your app idea to life, or alternatively, you’re considering a mobile optimised site please contact Platform Digital on (02) 9911 7788.