This growing evolution in accessibility is due in part to the introduction of the Internet and rise of the mobile phone two decades ago, but can really be attributed to the marriage of the two over the last few years.
In Australia alone, Google reports that smartphone penetration has reached 52% — that’s half the population able to access your business wherever they are, whenever they want. Research goes on to say that 58% of these people are on the internet on their phone every single day of the week and 91% are online at least once a week. These numbers will only continue to grow as reach meets demand, which is driven by increasing awareness.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the combination of smart phone penetration and Internet access is a business communication opportunity potentially beyond any other seen before. And yet, despite how obvious this opportunity is, many businesses are still failing to capitalise on it.
As the race for more mobile optimised websites, higher ranking search results, mCommerce and integrated social media continues, one thing is certain — in 2013, if a mobile business app isn’t part of your strategy, the race is all but lost.
Mobile apps are a vital means of connecting with your customers, and according to our digital experts, are also an important step in building brand reputation and awareness. Before committing to development however, assess your communication strategy and determine if apps are suitable for your business, or a mobile optomised website will be more beneficial. In many cases, both are have evolved from simply being ‘a great or nice idea’ to an absolute essential.
At Platform Digital, we believe there are seven essentials for making an effective mobile business app:
1. Make it unique yet useful
While not all businesses have jumped on the app bandwagon yet, many programmers have, and the market has been flooded. Despite this, a good app that is useful, simple and serves a purpose is always something that a customer seeks out. Ensure your app is unique to your business, carefully designed with good use of imagery and able to be accessed from any device without glitches.
2. Cover all bases
While iPhone initially took the market by storm, Android-based smartphones have quickly started to rival their success. At approximately 20% of market share and a growth rate faster than iOS, Android is too valuable to ignore. Ensure your strategy includes building an app for both platforms. If your company is global — or looking to a global market — it may also be worth considering separate apps for each country. Specialised content and imagery can help people from different places relate and trust easier and can help to build your brand credibility in that region.
3. Don’t miss the boat
Apps are taking over the market right now. Don’t miss out. To ensure you are timely in the delivery of your mobile apps, start simple. Build an app that includes the essential information and functionality your customers require and add to its value through later updates.
4. Get specific
Getting an app right isn’t something that should be left to luck — especially given the number of your customers who may see it. To get started, define exactly what your app will do and how — have a plan for how it should function, what are the essentials for design and how you may improve it. If mCommerce is included, ensure you have a suitable online sales strategy and it’s objectives fit in with your potential app design. Don’t take a chance on producing something that could damage your brand. Consult a professional agency to not only assist in the plan, but to bring it to fruition.
5. Make sure it works!
For some reason, many businesses understand the value in user testing their website but tend to overlook it when developing apps. Testing is essential and can mean the difference between a site that is an asset to your business and your overall marketing strategy, or a site that is to the detriment of your brand.
At Platform, we ensure usability testing is applied to every digital development. Though our team comprises industry experts with decades of business experience, there’s one thing we know — we can’t guess what customers are thinking. We hold consumer focus groups as part of all human experience strategies so we can use feedback to ensure apps are relevant, useful and brand assets.
Your app needs to evolve as technology does. Avoid poor ratings and feedback by keeping it up-to-date with the latest developments.
7. Tell customers about it
A user-friendly, highly functional and attractive app is wasted if no one knows about it. An important element of your app development budget needs to be marketing. Strategically market your app so your customers are aware of its availability and understand its usefulness.
For more information about building the perfect mobile business app, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.