10 Cheat Sheets for Small Biz App Development
Apps are a great tool for small businesses to expand their reach, generate new revenue streams, and promote their business to a wide audience. If you’ve got ideas for how to utilize a mobile app for your business or need some help, take a look at this checklist to help you outline your roadmap to app success!
1. Market Research
Apps have a lot of momentum in a wide variety of geographies and niches. You’ll need to narrow in on a specific ideal user in order to provide a good experience and ensure you can get the app in front of the right customers. You need to make sure your app is useful to someone and gets discovered.
Also look into pricing models and monetization options for apps to see what might work for you. As a business, you may want to use the app primarily as a marketing/promotional tool, so a free download is definitely the most attractive way to distribute the app.
2. Know your Competition
There are two angles to the competition problem. On one side you have all businesses in your industry, and on the other you have apps in the same category as yours. You probably already know your business competition pretty well—and your app should serve to elevate you past them in some way, but it needs to provide unique service compared to other apps in order to attract users.
Look at successful apps in your category and see what they do right. We could help you look at a few right here in our portfolio. Find out what they do wrong. Make sure you aren’t providing redundant services, follow the best trends in the app world and you should be right as rain.
3. Envision UX
The most important things to establish early on in the creation process are the flow and the purpose of the app. What will people be able to accomplish with the app, and how will they go about reaching that goal? This is how the app used, and the rest of the development process if founded on this vision. You can polish up your vision with designers, but you need to know the general mission of the app before you can proceed.
4. Work with Designers
Put your vision into concrete terms by thoroughly outlining and wireframing the interface. This will be a multi-step process in itself, as you iterate a few times to work out the kinks and create an ideal information architecture that guides and serves users well.
After that you’ll go through a similar process to fill in those boring wireframes with beautiful graphics, images, colors, icons, and fonts. Once this is done, you’ll have some pretty great mock-screens for the app. If you want them to actually do anything, then you’ll need to turn to the programmers.
5. Work with Development Partner
Your development partner will construct a low-level document detailing out the project and get to work programming the features & functionality. Once you’ve provided the in-depth info for their initial analysis, you probably won’t be needed much until testing begins. If possible, you should keep tabs on the progress to make sure nothing is going way off the rails of where you had intended.
6. Set Up your App Store Page
The two major app platforms today leading in development are iPhone app development and Android app development. You’ll need to set up a developer account with the corresponding app stores in order to publish your app. Inside that account you’ll be able to prepare your app store page, complete with app name, icon, description, screenshots, and contact information. These are important things for converting visitors into downloads so it’s worth the time and effort to make them really shine.
Submit your app to the app store and await approval! Once it is approved, you simply go into your dev account and make it live! If you don’t get approved, that probably means you need to make one or two minor tweaks and resubmit. iOS is the main culprit here, with Google Play being a lot more hands-off in screening apps. Most apps are approved first try, but the iTunes App Store is notoriously fickle, so if you don’t make it through, don’t freak out, you’re in good company. You’ll get through eventually.
8. Execute Marketing Strategy
Marketing is key to the success of any product, and apps are certainly no exception. Apps tend to have success in marketing online and through social media, given their digital nature. If you serve customers in a certain geographic area then you might find other ways to reach out to them more directly.
A few staple strategies for marketing include: social media, SEO, blogging, content creation, and growth hacking (which is where you build aspects of the app specifically to encourage growth). Software Developers UK, a leading app development and marketing company forges ahead with their unique services.
9. Leverage Business Relationships
One advantage you have as an existing business building an app is that you already have relationships with other businesses, clients, etc. These can be useful for promoting the app or establishing partnerships for mutual gain through your new mobile asset.
10. Support and Update
Owning an app is an ongoing responsibility—it’s not a constant thing, of course, and all in all it’s a pretty passive tool for generating revenue and promotion, but you do need to do a bit of maintenance here and there. You’ll want to fix any bugs you find, keep it compatible with new devices, and update it with new features or a fresh design if you want to generate renewed interest in the app. Treat the app right and it will draw in more and more users to your business for years to come