In the past, having an app for your business was not a necessity, but that has changed. The majority of people use their phones far more often than they use a laptop and people prefer to use a well designed app rather than a website to interact with a business a lot of the time. Creating your own mobile app gives your customers an easier way to access your products and services but there are a lot of benefits outside of that. Firstly, it’s a great branding tool because consumers are exposed to your logo every time they take their phone out of their pocket. It’s also a good way to collect more useful data about your customers, which can then be used to improve your marketing strategies. All of the most successful businesses, regardless of what industry they are in, have a dedicated mobile app, and your business should as well.
If you don’t already have your own business app, developing one should be a priority and you need to invest a significant amount of money in it. As long as you follow these app development tips, you will recoup that investment in no time.
Decide on a function
The first step when developing an app is to decide what it’s going to do. In some industries, this is fairly simple but in other areas, it can be a bit tougher. For example, if you run an ecommerce site, it’s obvious that your app should be a sales portal where people can buy products. Essentially, it’s a more effective version of your website that is optimized for a smartphone. Just look at companies like Amazon or eBay for great examples of this. But what if you don’t sell products through your website?
If you are not using your app as a direct sales tool, you need to decide what the purpose of it is. Are you going to use it as a branding tool or do you want to drive more traffic to your site? In some cases, it may be a way for customers to learn more information about your services or even improve their experience when buying goods and services from your business. For example, a restaurant business may decide to create an app that implements geolocation technology to create a map of all of their surrounding locations. If they also include a menu to gain interest from customers, their app is directly driving customers to their business.
Some apps don’t have a function that is related to the business products or services, but they serve as a good marketing tool. Games are a great example of this because they offer a free experience to the customer while also advertising your business at the same time.
An app that requires users to make an account is a great way to build an email list. The fitness apparel company Under Armour is a great example of this. They developed a calorie counting app and, although they generate revenue from a paid, premium version of the site, even the free users have to create an account with their email. That means they’re building a strong email list from users that have an interest in health and fitness.
Whatever you decide to do, your app needs to have a clear function, and the most important thing is that you give people a reason to download it and keep it on their phone.
Do your market research
Understanding your customers is vital if you are going to create an app that they actually want to use, which is why market research is so important. Survey your existing customers and see if you can find more information about their smartphone use habits. This should give you some insight into the kind of apps that they use on a regular basis and what kind of features they would want to see in an app. You should also look at your website and see how your customers interact with it. This will give you further information about the features and content that people are interested in.
Invest in quality developers
There are some app builders that you can use to create your app, but they are not always the best choice. Functionality is so important and if the app isn’t well designed and built, users will just delete it from their phone. It’s important that you invest in custom web development services and find a company that has good experience creating mobile apps for business. Ideally, you should be looking for somebody that has experience developing apps for similar businesses because they will have a good idea of what customers are looking for. When you are working with a web development company, it’s important to remember that they have more expertise than you in this area and while you have a vision for what your app should look like, it’s important that you take their advice. If you let them guide you, the finished product will be far more effective.
Keep branding consistent
If you want to build a strong brand for your company, consistency is key. You probably already know this and when it comes to your website, you have a consistent brand. But it’s important that you do the same with your mobile app, and a lot of businesses don’t. An app is a great branding opportunity, but only if the branding is consistent with the rest of your marketing materials. If it isn’t, you are sending a confusing message to the consumer.
Be smart about notifications
Notifications are a great way to engage with customers and give them information about your products and services and encourage them to use the app more often. However, people get frustrated with apps that are constantly sending them notifications that they don’t consider valuable, so you have to be smart about it. For example, a notification that lets somebody know about a sale you have on is valuable because they can save money and they have a limited window to make a purchase before the sale ends. But random notifications reminding them to check out the app and browse products will quickly get annoying. Before sending a notification, think about whether you are offering them anything of value or not.
As long as you stick to these basic rules, you will be able to develop a business app that drives sales.