In today’s tech-obsessed world, running a successful business depends on engaging customers on their home turf. Every company today, no matter how small, needs an app to compete — here’s how to build the perfect one.
Mobile devices are so ubiquitous today that, statistically speaking, you’re probably reading this article on one as we speak. Mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage in 2014, according to Smart Insights, and now accounts for 51% of all digital media consumption. What’s even more striking is the way people use their phones: 89% of time spent consuming media on mobile devices is spent on apps, rather than on the mobile web.
Clearly, if you’re hoping to capture the attention of this massive mobile audience, the best way to do so is through an app — that’s where everyone is, after all. But apps are uncharted territory for many small companies, and if you don’t have the money to hire a dedicated development team, entering the app market can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, if you can follow a few simple guidelines and utilize the resources available to you, even a one-person startup or a decades old mom-and-pop company can produce a top-level app.
Know Your Strategy
Like any other business initiative, you can’t just decide to build an app without a well-planned strategy and expect to have success, as Business2Community emphasizes. What essential customer need would your company’s app fulfill? Are you using it solely for marketing purposes, or will your system host real business transactions? Who makes up the audiences you’re looking to engage, and what are their wants and needs? Can you build an app for both iOS and Android OS? Once you have the answers to all of these questions, you’re ready to move forward.
Fully Engage the Platform
What makes mobile apps truly special for businesses goes beyond the platform’s popularity — the endless available functions means that with a little bit of imagination, small businesses can engage customers on multiple levels, according to Mashable.
- By including social media integration, you can link your company to the most popular destinations online and encourage users to share your app within their networks, according to Statista.
- Similarly, push notifications encourage personal interaction by actively engaging users on their home screens.
- Particularly for small local businesses, finding ways to exploit location-based features can have a huge payoff.
- And once you can find a way to integrate in-app purchases into your design, you have more than just a marketing tool — you have an additional source of revenue as well.
Keep It Simple
But remember: for smaller businesses, a no-frills design with a simple user interface is especially important. Keeping the user experience as seamless as possible should be the first priority for your app — everything else is secondary. No matter how pretty it is or how many features you jam into it, functionality remains the most important quality.
Be sure to test (and retest, and troubleshoot after the tests) your design before the final release. Once it’s live, be sure to monitor the ways that people use it so that you can adjust to provide the best experience possible.
Find the Right Partner
All of these decisions hinge on the way you choose to actually build your app. If you can’t afford a dedicated development team or just prefer to build it on your own, you don’t have to be an expert coder for the best results. DIY platforms like AppMakr provide every design tool a small businesses could need, including in-app messaging, monetization options, and analytics that help you ensure that your app meets every quota your strategy has set for it.
By using the right system, your app won’t just be an add-on to your business to keep up with the times — it will be an essential part of your plan to greater and greater success.