Six Keys to Developing a Killer App For Your Business

IMG_0574Having an app for your business is something you may have ignored in the past, but these days, it deserves serious consideration. With millions of smartphone and tablet users scattered about, it is essentially another way to connect with your audience and get closer to their wallet. But simply having an app isn’t going to get the job done. People want an experience that is fast, fluid, and conforming to their needs. This is true even though mobile connectivity options are not nearly as reliable in the mobile arena as they are in the desktop environment. Needless to say, there are numerous factors that go into building a proper app.

1. Know the Landscape

Believe it or not, but creating an app can be more challenging for seasoned developers than it is for total newcomers. When you’ve been building apps for desktop and web environments for 10 years, you become embedded in your own methodologies and what you know as the best practices. In the mobile arena, you have to think about how people will be using their apps in relation to what they want and what they expect. This type of focus enables you to create an experience that allows the user to quickly complete tasks, navigate from page to page, and perform other critical operations in seamless fashion.

2. Choose the Right Platform

There was a time when building an iPhone app was a no-brainer, but times have changed. The landscape has been turned upside down as Android is currently the most widely used mobile operating system. Slowly but surely, Microsoft is building a case for why developers and brands need to start paying attention to the Windows Phone platform. Building for the iPhone and iPad devices is still a great idea, but don’t forget that there is a budding audience on Android and other platforms as well.

3. Make It Affordable

An app is another channel that can drive revenue for your business. With that said, it’s something you want to keep as affordable as possible. Most apps are extremely cheap, with even the best of the premium options costing only few bucks. While there is certainly nothing wrong with putting a price on your program, making it free is something to consider. There are plenty of opportunities to drive purchases, including in-app transactions, which have proven to be highly effective. Free is going to turn heads off the bat, so think about acquiring users first, then focus on dollars later.


4. Market Your Content

Like any piece of content, your app needs to be thoroughly marketed in order to make the type of splash you’re hoping for. That means you must think about distribution strategies and more than likely, allocating a budget to the task at hand. Advertising is always an idea to consider, and whether it’s search or video-based, there are many options to choose from. Word of mouth still works exceptionally well, which is why keeping your app free is such a good move. That word tends to travel substantially faster when it’s tied to something that saves people money.

5. Keep It Sophisticated and Simple

A sophisticated app is rich in quality content and performance. It looks spectacular from the user interface to the graphics you incorporate for visual enhancement. When users fire it up, it accounts for their natural tendencies to thumb and tap their way through the navigation process. More importantly, your app needs to deliver a responsive experience whether it is used on mobile phone, tablet, or even a PC.

Although you want your app to be a visual wonder, you also want to strive for simplicity. Don’t overwhelm the user by crowding too much content on a single page and stay away from technical jargon so instructions are easy to comprehend. While some of your audience members may be savvy in almost all things digital technology, others may not be so versed, meaning you need to strike up a careful balance of complexity and simplicity when designing your app.

6. Make a Connection

An app is your opportunity to not only engage, but build a relationship with the user. One effective way to work toward building that relationship is encouraging them to give you their contact information. For example, whenever someone downloads your app, you can direct them to a sign-up form connected to your email database. Another option you have is getting them to your Facebook page, where the user can keep up with your brand and connect on a more personal level. People may use your app couple of times and then move onto something. At least by making a deeper connection, you can stay in touch even when the user has lost the desire to interact with your application.

As you can see, building an app is no walk in the park. There is a lot to think about, and overlooking a single factor could leave you with an incomplete concept that simply fails to deliver. If you want to excel in today’s app ecosystem, you need to conform to a whole new set of practices and strategies. No other way around it.

Chiko Noguchi is a best practices activist and advocate for Benchmark email marketing company. She can be found on Twitter @email_wiz

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