Is Developing an App Right for Your Business?

Businesses develop apps so they can leverage the ever-expanding portable device user base. Just about everyone has a mobile device these days, and many of them eat, sleep, and breathe by them. Just look around the next time you go out to a restaurant.  Everyone is scrolling around on their phones while they wait for their food to arrive! The popularity of smart phones and the usefulness of mobile apps make having one for your business a thing to consider.

Most people have their phones with them 24/7, so if you offer a customer a useful mobile app, you’re giving them to access your services anywhere, at any time. That kind of access helps your customers bond with your brand in a big way because you’re literally always at their fingertips!

If the idea of developing an app seems daunting, don’t worry. Contrary to what you might believe, apps don’t have to do a lot of fancy stuff to be useful. They can be really simple, like an app that reminds you to make a phone call or one that keeps track of business cards. It all depends on what your customers will find valuable and useful. The hard part is figuring out what your customers need and want.

Developing a strategy for your app

Companies of any size can benefit from a great app, but with all the apps out there these days, you’ve got some tough competition!  Just because someone paid for or downloaded your app for free, doesn’t mean you’ve won his or her undying devotion.  If your app doesn’t meet their expectations, they’ll get one that does and you could lose them to a competitor. Clearly then, lots of thought and research must go into this—once you get those customers, you have to keep them!

So, just like any other business move you make, you have to strategize before you do anything. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want my customers to do with this app? Will it help them?  Will it entertain them?  Will it keep them coming back to me time and again?
  • What will my business get from it? How can I grow my business with this?
  • Is the ROI strong enough to justify creating it?

Once you’ve answered these questions, save them.  They’ll help guide you through the process and keep you focused on your goals. Once you’ve established what your intentions are, you’re ready to get creative!

How an app can help your bottom line

A well thought out mobile app can help you boost your company’s bottom line in two ways. When you successfully engage your customers, you create a bond with them and they’ll think of you whenever they need something you can provide. They’re also likely to recommend you to their friends. So, great apps can keep old customers coming back, and they can help bring in some new ones too!
Basic kinds of mobile apps: free and paid.

Free apps are usually promotional in nature and make money by driving business to your company in some way. Fee-based apps are usually fancier than the free ones and can be a direct source of revenue.  It’s also possible to start out with a free app and have upgrades available for purchase, or you can provide opportunities to make in-app purchases. Remember those goals you wrote out?  Now would be a good time to dig them out and see how these choices fit into your plans.

What type of device should you develop for?

Once you’ve established what your mobile app is going to do, you should know that different kinds of phones have different requirements, so you need to decide which kind of phone your customers are using and develop an app for that one first. Once it takes off, if it takes off, you can develop apps for the other kinds later. Mobile devices have different building approaches based on who produces them. Debuting your mobile app on the iPhone is a great place to start because the iPhone is so incredibly popular, plus, Apple’s iOS platform is limited to just the iPhone and the iPad. Android and Blackberry have multiple devices to develop for, which in turn costs more to create and test.

Choosing the right app developer

Now that you know what device you’re building for, who will do it for you? This is where things can be a little sketchy.  There are scads of folks out there who claim to be great app developers, but not all of them actually are.  Apps aren’t so easy to create if you don’t have the technical know how to pull it off.  So, make sure the person you hire

A) Knows what they’re doing

B) Has developed lots of apps and has loads of experience

C) Can provide you with examples of his or her work

Knowledgeable as they may seem, now is not the time to cut corners and have your neighbor’s kid do it for you. A crummy app isn’t going to get you any business and will probably even hurt it. Do your homework before you commit!

Whether you’re ready to climb aboard the app train today or you’d rather wait a while, just remember that today’s consumers are addicted to their mobile devices, and ignoring this fact might turn out to be an unfortunate oversight in the future.  Smart, forward thinking businesses just like yours are seriously considering developing an app to make sure they stay relevant and useful to their customers.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow