Smartphones and a myriad of other devices that provide instant access to the internet are becoming increasingly ever-present. The existence of hi-tech, highly mobile technology has greatly changed how consumers anticipate to access information. The expectation is, almost without exception, to be able to find exact product details and information anywhere, and at any given time. Prior to these technological innovations and their profusion, many enterprises were accustomed to being in full control of the information flow regarding their products and services. This shift in information philosophy is a challenge for many businesses, but can also be an exciting opportunity for innovation and growth.
Mobile Optimization Before even considering the development of a mobile app, an important first step is to make sure your website looks good and is user friendly on screens of any size and format - from large, wide screens to mobile phones. Your website will be next to useless if it is not optimized for viewing on a wide array of devices. Clarity is key, and customers browsing on mobile devices will simply disregard your website if it’s impractical or difficult to navigate.
Target Audience An important question to consider is who your target audience is, and who you would ideally like to be selling to. Are they tech savvy, how many of them are likely to use smartphones and take the time to download your app? When doing your target market research, be sure to ascertain what the most prevalent operating system and mobile operator are, so you can optimize your app to best suit them.
Budget There are no two ways about it - app development is not cheap. Although there are various DIY solutions for app building, more likely than not you will have to hire a professional app developer at some point. When meeting with app developers, it is important to be specific and clear about what you need from your app, in order to avoid confusion and hidden costs. That being said, it is advisable to reserve a portion of your budget for unforeseen costs and potential additions.
Cost Benefit Analysis This is what it all boils down to - will your app end up costing or making you money in the long run? The costs of app development most commonly range from $3000 to $5000, but can be more expensive if you need advanced app design and additional app marketing. Trial and error is an integral part of creating a successful and popular app. When pondering your bottom line, be sure to take into consideration future app improvements, additions and tweaks.
In Conclusion Apps are potentially a very powerful tool for showcasing your product or service as a solution to customer needs in a very personal and indirect way. However, nothing puts potential customers off as quickly as marketing your product too aggressively. If you do decide to develop an app, strive to make it a gift that has actual value for your customers and gently draws attention to your brand in an engaging and non-invasive way.