Getting into your visitors’ pockets isn’t any easy task.
With several wars heating and smartphone sales skyrocketing, sooner or later, prospect is bound to cross your thoughts: Is it time to produce an app?
The lure to be with your prospects everywhere each goes and being readily accessible with all the tap of any finger is undoubtedly hard to resist. And with over 350,000 iOS apps in Apple’s App Store and also over 200,0000 apps in Google’s Android Market, it’s clear a large number of companies have eagerly climbed aboard the app development bandwagon.
Thanks to some proliferation of DIY app templates, the barriers to entry within the app marketplace usually are not as steep when they once were.
But it’s not possible to simply judge the merits of producing an app because you would would another marketing tactic. Instead, you should think of your potential app like a product all alone.
You wouldn’t put time and expense into having a product with no reasonable number of confidence that the market exists for doing this. Same is true of an app. You can construct it. You can get it to the app store. But if it isn’t really something people want, your time and effort will be for naught.
Your app must meet these eight basic criteria, or else it is not worth the investment:
1. It has to be designed around business growth objectives.
To justify hidden investment, your app need to be aimed at promoting the development of your business, when it does so by designing it easier for your clients to buy of your stuff or keeping your brand the main topic on their awareness.
Sure, a lot of big names have formulated vanity apps which don’t serve a small business growth function, but that is not a luxury the typical company are able to afford. For example, Mercedes has an iPad game called SLS AMG HD that enables users to set their ability to drive to the test via a series of tunnel challenges.
Sure, it is just a slick-looking gimmick. But would it be actually doing something to improve the company’s main point here? Does anyone who is inclined to obtain a Mercedes absolutely need an iPad racing game to tip them on the edge?
An app by itself is not just a marketing campaign. If your goal is usually to boost the visibility within your brand, creating an app is definitely an indirect and dear means to reach your desired end.
Remember that you will be competing with tons of other apps for being discovered by smartphone users. Your chances of producing something so new, so different and so out-of-the box that it’s going to go viral and jump to your top on the download charts are slim to none.
What’s more, including the number of downloads your app gets isn’t a guarantee of ongoing exposure to your prospects. According with a recent study, possibly twenty-six percent of apps are opened just once after download.
With odds this way, should your sole purpose is elevating the visibility of one’s brand, there won’t be any shortage of other tactics – from SEO to pay-per-click advertising to social media-based PR campaigns – that could likely deliver an improved ROI.
2. Its utility has to be customer-driven.
No matter, your app development process must not be an exercise in ego-stroking. Forget what you consider is cool or cutting-edge and look at your app through your visitors’ eyes.
For your app to become successful, it should offer something people want, whether that’s inside form of utility, convenience, content or all from the above.
For essentially the most part, your clients use their mobile phones for one of two purposes: productivity or entertainment.
If you want to produce an app that entertains, be ready to bring the fundamental guns because you’re competing inside a space with all the heavy-hitters, from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to some slew of professional game developers.
The productivity space is very simple to enter, but conquering it is no easy feat. A useful productivity-oriented app must make it easy for your clients to accomplish the sorts of tasks they commonly perform while on-the-go.
If your app is content-driven, it needs to become encyclopedia-worthy to warrant an area on the reference shelf of your respective customer’s mobile device. It should be comprehensive and updated frequently, and its particular interface has to be ultra-searchable and scannable.
Whole Foods supplies a great content-based app. 9appUsers can search its extensive library of recipes by keyword, input ingredients they have got on-hand to obtain suggestions and produce shopping lists on-the-fly. Search results are even listed in dietary preference, including gluten-free or low-fat.
This kind of utility aligns squarely with Whole Foods’ target audience. Undoubtedly, their app would be the go-to resource for several health-conscious, time-strapped working parents who leave your place of work with no notion of what they’re intending to make for dinner once they get home.
3. It must provide an optimal balance of usefulness and simplicity.
Your app must not attempt being all things to all or any potential users, or it will probably be doomed to failure.
Likewise, what’s more, it shouldn’t be a mirror within your website’s features. If that’s your plan, you will end up better served by optimizing your existing site for mobile browsers.
Generally speaking, the harder features you are attempting to cram into an app, the less intuitive it will become to use.
And as hard as it could be to envision, app users are even less patient plus more fickle than Web surfers. If your app is hard to figure out or frustrating to work with, they’ll wipe via their phone with nary an extra thought. Therefore, it is vital that your app’s purpose is clearly defined which its functionality is streamlined.
The FedEx Mobile for iPhone app is an ideal example of this balance of utility and simplicity. FedEx is often a massive global corporation that comes with a broad range of services to your highly diverse usage.
Its app, however, is bound to four main functions: finding a quote, building a shipping label, tracking a package and getting a location – exactly the sort of time-sensitive features you would like at the ready if you are trying to have that all-important document outside in tonight’s shipment or awaiting a crucial delivery.
4. It should be mobility-oriented.
There a few tasks people love to do on their phones and many they do not.
Any task that needs too many steps and just isn’t urgent in the wild is not going to become something your web visitors would choose to do on their own phone instead of just waiting until they can be in front of their monitor again.
5. It must take advantage on the mobile device’s unique features.
Mobile devices have a quantity of built-in features that even many laptops don’t necessarily have, like GPS, the opportunity to deliver push notifications, a camera and camcorder. If you don’t prefer to tie the utility of your respective app to your of these functions, it’s challenging to justify building a dedicated mobile app in lieu of just giving you better current site to offer an optimal experience for mobile users.
Amazon’s Price Check can be a great instance of an app that may advantage with the phone’s camera function to allow for users to scan barcodes and price compare on-the-go.
GPS is often a little more tricky make use of wisely. A lot of branded apps – from Gap’s StyleMixer to USPS Mobile – use GPS allowing users to locate their closest brick-and-mortar location. As an auxiliary feature it’s actually a nice convenience for users who will be already plugged to the app, but this style of function will not be enough to justify a good an app by itself, as there are lots of other mapping and searching apps that could deliver the same information with broader utility.
Also, it is best to weigh the pros and cons of integrating push notifications carefully. If you can provide legitimate value to your prospects with timely alerts, that’s fine. But if you set it off into intrusiveness, you’re just asking for getting deleted.
6. It need to be applicable with a broad subscriber base.
The Chipotle Mobile Ordering app lets users place a fully customized order and pay from their phone before arriving with the store. For a national chain with countless time-starved customers that have little patience for standing in line, the app represents the right marriage of utility and marketing savvy.
But apps in this way require a certain scale to generate sense.
If you are a mom-and-pop bakery, you can theoretically develop an app that may let your web visitors design their very own cupcakes make their order from the comfort of their phone. While it would surely be considered a fun gimmick, doesn’t necessarily fulfill a wide-based need, plus the app’s capacity to generate additional revenue might never cancel out the cost to generate and maintain it.
7. It need to be well-designed and tried and tested before launch.
The app marketplace is not any place for experimentation. You have to have it right out with the gate.
If you’re going live prematurely by having an app that’s underdeveloped, lacking utility or plagued with bugs, your bad reviews will haunt you for a long period. What’s more, disenchanted users will not likely to present you with another shot in case you come out with something better later.
8. It must still evolve.
If you’re going to get into your app development game, you should be prepared being in it with the long-haul. Once you launch your app, your work is only just beginning.
App developers have raised the bar of user expectation for updates. You must monitor your feedback and respond with interface tweaks that provide a much better experience. You should also enhance and improve upon the functionality of the app regularly and it fresh with current data. If users see an app which includes gone stale within the shelf, they’re not going to get inclined to download it.