People get excited about the idea of building mobile apps. But there are also a lot of really important questions that a business must ask to determine whether or not an app is the best route.
- What functionality will an app provide that your website doesn’t?
- Does your business have a target audience that regularly uses or downloads apps?
- Does your app idea already exist? If so, how will you differentiate yours?
- How will an app enhance your customers' experience with your brand?
- Do you have the proper funds to devote to BOTH app development and marketing the app?
The last question is a big one. Something that not a lot of people realize when starting this process is just how crucial it is to set the foundation to market the app at the same time you are developing it. You cannot simply choose one or the other. You do not want to work super hard on creating a kick ass app and then not have the money or materials to market it properly.
If it is still evident that this is the right thing for your business, then it is time to plan, plan and plan some more.
First is the initial app discovery, which includes identifying the technical requirements of the app. Then you’ll have to do back office discovery. Anything can be developed, but how will it work with the back office? For example, if your app donates money to charity, when and how will you disperse that money to the charity? And who is going to truly own this project on your staff? Are additions in staff necessary to handle the extra workload from the app? After you've worked through those questions, it will be time for your development team to plan out their “dev cycles” and then you can officially get started.
But don’t forget about marketing! During the development phase, you’ll also be creating a brand identity for the app, and developing tons of promotional materials to encourage people to download your masterpiece of an app. You’ll also want to plan your digital and social media campaigns so that they’re ready for the official launch.
Another important part of app development is the soft launch. The soft launch allows a small group of users test out the app and give you honest (and hopefully helpful) feedback about what they like and dislike, as well as how they think the app is functioning. This will give you an idea of what bugs need to be fixed and what people are really getting out of the app before you put it out there for the whole world to use.
Good luck and happy developing!
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