It’s 2016, and mobile apps aren’t going anywhere. In fact, this year the global app economy is expected to be worth almost £1 billion. In this blog, social media influencer and Comms Axis founder Lilach Bullock breaks down the app development process to help business owners see that developing an app is not an unachievable aim, but simply a series of steps.
There’s a reason apps are so popular; they provide businesses with an opportunity to reach out to their audience in a completely new, interactive and more convenient way. The app market, more than ever before, is open to anyone. Individuals and organisations that may have considered an app as a “nice to have” – assuming they lack the necessary skills and budget – are now able to turn their idea into reality and create an app.
Connect with your customer
So you’ve identified a gap in the market for your industry? Great. By utilising the functionality of smartphones, mobile apps have the potential to improve your business offering and bring added value to your audience. Apps utilise everything from location services, to cameras and push notifications to offer a richer customer experience and direct channel to your users.
Whatever the reason for your app, you need to do research to validate your idea. Ask yourself – do my customers really need this? Are my customers the type of people who are likely to use apps? Is there another company that has a similar offering? If so, how does it work and how well was it received? An idea only becomes workable once it’s backed by solid data and research.
Following your questioning, you’ll need to come up with a budget for the project, and assess whether you can create an app with that in mind, before figuring out a realistic monetisation model.
Ask the expert
The next stage of app creation is the development process itself. For many, this is the difficult part, the stage which many feel they do not have the prerequisite skills needed to succeed. However, like most things, anybody with enough desire can learn how to code. There are lots of online resources, courses, and guides where you can learn the fundamentals of coding, it’s not as difficult as you may think.
Learning to code is a worthwhile process, and one which will give you an incredibly valuable string to your bow. There are YouTube tutorials to help; marketplaces such as Sell My App from which you can buy helpful pieces of code; forums where developers share tips and tricks; and online communities where developers help each other refine and promote their apps. Still, if you’re convinced that coding isn’t for you, sites such as Upwork, Elance and oDesk are a great place to get in touch with freelancer who will help make your idea a reality.
Ready for launch
If you’re developing an app for an existing business, pre-launch promotion will likely be aimed towards your existing customers. Simply letting them know what you’re planning, how it will improve their experience, or allowing some customers to have a sneak peek are good places to start when your app launches
If you’re developing an app as an individual, this process could be more complex. Depending on your budget, set aside some money for marketing, since failing to do this is the most common reason apps fail. This money is best spent on paid social media advertising, in-app advertising, and a dedicated website for your app. Of course, great marketing can still be done for little or no cost (such as on social media) but to give your app the best chance of survival, willingness to spend at this point can often be crucial. Make sure to check out our helpful technology advice, full of practical tips and tricks to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest in business innovations.
Once you’re confident with the quality of your app, and with developing and testing complete, you’re ready for launch. Submit your app for reviews, ask bloggers to trial your app in advance, prepare a press release for influencers and update your own marketing channels in order to generate even more buzz.
Onwards and upwards
With your app up and running, it’s a chance to see your initial ideas brought to life. But the development process doesn’t stop at launch. For continued success, you need to conduct post-launch promotion and optimise your app.
Post-launch promotion ensures that more and more people are attracted to your app, while optimisation is the process of continually debugging your app, responding to customer feedback, implementing changes and making sure that your app is running as efficiently as it should be.
This app creation guide goes into more technical detail about each of these steps, and is one of the most comprehensive resources available on how to create, launch, market, monetise and optimise an app. So, if you’re serious about getting your app idea off the ground, be sure to check it out.
Are you thinking of developing an app? If so, what’s stopping you? Or perhaps you’re in the process of developing an app already? If this is the case, what are you finding most difficult? Share your comments below or tweet @Sageuk and @lilachbullock