You don't have to be part of the smartphone industry to realize that the digital revolution is here to stay. Look around anywhere you go and you'll see people engaged with their smartphones — checking social media, using apps and communicating with friends. In fact, Statista has projected that there will be 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide by the end of 2020.
As companies recognize the potential in software development, there have been huge investments and rapid advancements in the field. Businesses have started developing their own proprietary apps to grow revenue and reach their target audiences. If you are thinking about launching an app for your business, you should create a comprehensive strategic plan before you start developing it. Check the following 10 considerations that will ensure you have a well-thought-out plan in place before you launch your proprietary app.
Perform Market Research
As with any program, your first step is to do your homework by performing as much research as possible about the space you’re planning to enter, who the competitors are and how you can differentiate your app from the others. Know the current market offering – apps that are popular, those launched in your domain, apps that didn’t work and beyond. When you have an idea of the market, study your possible competitors – what’s their unique selling point and strategy, and what are the customers saying about their products? Next, you’ll perform a SWOT analysis. Observe and use your knowledge and expertise to develop an app fills a gap that exists in the market. This will help you launch a solution that perfectly solves the problem – a product that stands out and makes a difference.
Define Your Target Audience
For any app to be successful, it’s essential to know who your target audience is. You need to understand who would want to use your app, why they’d choose yours over others, and what specific purpose your app serves. Once you know your audience and their needs, you can market the app among them. So focus on your audience first, and then on the app’s design and functionalities.
Choose the Right Platform
Picking the right platform and technology are key factors in the app development process. You need to make certain technical decisions like whether to pursue Android or iOS, the user interface (UI) of your app, whether it’s a native, hybrid, or web app, and more. Do your research on which of these apply most to your target audience so you can be confident about your choices, as this will impact the app’s scope of flexibility and security.
Design for Both UI and UX
Content is significant here, because you don’t ever want to confuse the user. Keep the elements that are necessary and that serve the purpose, then remove the rest. Remember that the more user-friendly app interface you have, the higher volume of downloads you’ll get. If the UI doesn’t appeal to the user, and the user doesn’t have a good experience using your app, it could end up being failure. Both UI and user experience (UX) will be among the determining factors in your app’s success.
Evaluate Your App Monetization Model
Every app plays a specific role in a business model, so you should make some determinations about yours. There are multiple app monetization models like freemium apps, paid apps, in-app purchases, in-app ads, subscriptions and sponsorships. It’s absolutely imperative for you to understand each of these models, align it with your business goals, and then go ahead with your app development.
When developing mobile apps, security is crucial. People save a lot of personal and valuable information on their mobile phones. Your app should be backed by a high level of security and must also be hack-proof. Security must be a high priority for any app developer, and you should take this very seriously.
Review Offline Functionality
Due to connectivity issues at times, people may tend to prefer the offline mode for mobile apps. There are apps that support offline features that enable users to browse with the help of background downloading. An app with offline functionality is almost always a win, so consider adding that as part of your strategy.
Check for App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization will help boost the rank of your app in the App Store’s search results. The higher you rank, the more visibility your app gets – which means more traffic to your app page. You need to have a good understanding of your target audience and the keywords used by your potential users to find similar apps.
Build a Marketing Strategy
Before the product hits the market, your go-to-market strategy needs to be in place — including branding, PR, pre-launch buzz, media outreach, social media, content marketing and affiliations. You need to create hype about your app on the right platforms to make the launch a success. The key elements of the strategy are:
Branding – The name, logo, color and tone of your content should be consistent and of high quality.
Content – Create content on how to use your app. It could be text and/or video material, which could be shared as blog posts, social media content, website or email marketing copy, and press releases.
Social Media Channels - Use your social media accounts to not just promote the product, but also to get feedback from potential users. Once you know the launch date, include the download link in all of your posts.
Product Demo - Create a short video that will demonstrate how to use your mobile app, and emphasize the features that are useful and interesting for the users.
Paid Ads – Combine organic search with paid/targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram and other relevant platforms to gain more traction, and redirect people to your app downloads page for them to install the app immediately.
Influencer Marketing - Tap key influencers in the industry who can promote your app, including content creators, bloggers, social media and tech influencers who have strong followings and can create buzz before the app launches.
Media – Reach out to the tech media and industry journalists to pitch a story about how your app can fill a white space. Let them use your app before the launch so they’re ready to publish reviews that can attract users.
Affiliations – To encourage app downloads, you can connect with industry leaders and media moguls in a personalized manner, and share a special link for downloading the app. You can track the downloads and run a reward program to further promote your app.
Perfect Customer Support
Launching an app successfully is not just about creating a great product, but also about excellent customer support. Your app should have a separate section to help users resolve any issues they may have.
Developing a new app is exciting, but you need to move in the right direction. It’s not just a digital tool, but an asset that connects you with your customer. If you get the app development right, you can stay on the minds of your target audience members more often, which is always a positive.