In a previous post, we clarified if you really need a mobile app for a business. When you’ve decided that it will be a smart idea to get one, let’s sort out an intelligent approach to start.
Let’s divide the whole process of mobile app development into two major phases: background and build up. Background stage is something like your homework before getting into actual coding and designing your business app. If you complete this stage in a determined and comprehensive way, you get much more chances to get an app that you and your customers want and willing to use.
The very first thing you are supposed to do – is to define the purpose of your app. Make sure that your goals are SMART and mobile app’s goals apply with general business objectives. Goal setting complies with an additional value you can bring in with your app.
To go to the development stage you need to be prepared beforehand. One of the most important steps is to understand how you are building an app for. If you have already established business, you should have a clear picture of your customers. However, not every customer may be your target audience for the app. You may want to develop an app for current clients or new clients; for different segments, you may want to have different apps and so on. For each target segment, there will be different design and functionality requirements.
Describe who your potential users are, where they are located, what internet connection they have and mobile device they obtain. Try to think what apps they are using, what UX they expect from an app like yours, are they tend to purchase the app or opt in to try free version only.
It’s will be a very helpful step to review apps of your competitors, make an analysis of their designs and features. Download competitors’ apps and give them a try. Understand what would you improve and consider that conclusion when building a concept of your app. Furthermore, dig into customers’ feedback on their apps, define pro and cons of each one. You can find reviews of the apps not only in app stores but on forums and comments on social sites. That will help you a lot in creation your own app according to what real customers want.
Decide on monetization for your app if any. Some apps are created without a purpose to generate any direct income, they can influence sales but not through the app. Such apps can be an additional marketing channel for your business, for example. However, that practice isn’t working if your main goal is to get additional revenue through the app.
There are different monetization models you can consider for a business app:
- Paid apps – user is charged once he installs the app on his device;
- Free app with advertising – you get paid by advertisers who want to place their ad into your app. The user gets an app for free but an ad can be annoying enough to say goodbye to your app after few times he opens it. You can offer to user an advertising free option, to get rid of banners user should pay for upgrade;
- In-app purchases – user gets an app for free and can purchase some virtual or real goods within the app;
- Freemium – user gets a full demo or basic version of the app with limited features, to get additional functionality user should pay for unlocking them;
- Subscription – user gets a limited access to the app’s content and then stimulated to sign up for a weekly/monthly/annual subscription.
When you have set the goal, described your target audience, researched on competitors and their apps, gathered customer’s feedback and define the most appropriate way to monetize your app – you are ready to start a development process. Next article will be dedicated to the second stage of mobile app development – “build up”.