Nowadays, people rely on their smartphones for everything, from networking and communicating to shopping and managing their finances. That’s why developing an app for your small business is crucial to building brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Depending on the features, an app can improve customer interaction, facilitate purchases, and provide customers with a direct channel of communication with your brand. Having a mobile app will help you to better understand and address your customers’ needs as well as generate more leads, which are key aspects of customer experience and business growth.
With all this in mind, we are offering 5 simple steps that will help you create an app for your small business.
1. Define Your Objectives
Why should you develop an app for your small business? Because your competitors do it? That’s not a valid reason. Developing an app that will help you grow your business requires some planning and the first step is to set a clear objective.
What’s the purpose of your app? What are you trying to achieve? Are you going to use it to inform customers about your products or services? Or maybe to make it easier for them to place orders and make payments?
You’ll also need to think about what benefits your mobile app will bring to your small business and what features it should have in order to bring those benefits?
Having clearly defined objectives will help you finish the development process much faster. However, even though having more than one objective is acceptable, try to limit them to 3 or 4 so that you can stay focused.
2. Sketch Your Mobile App
The next step is making a rough sketch of how you want your app to look on phone screens. Your sketch should include the UI and the opening screen, as well as the screens that will be displayed when the users tap certain buttons.
Next, you should render the entire process into a flow chart and make sure to check your flow chart for any incoherent components of blind ends. In addition, be sure that all components blend seamlessly with each other.
It would also be a good idea if a few people could check your flow chart and sketches. This will not only help you spot and fix any errors but will also give you a chance to receive improvement suggestions.
3. Build Your App
So, when it comes to actually build your app, what’s the best option? Do you call in a pro or use a DIY app creator?
Hiring a developer can be very costly and somewhat complicated. For instance, where do you find the right person for the job? Should you reach out to an agency or work with a freelancer? And do you need to hire your own part-time or full-time in-house developer?
There’s a number of DIY options for the thrifty entrepreneurs out there. If your app goals are simple, and your budget is tight, using a simple app creator might be a viable option. Most of these tools have a very simple interface, which means that even those with no technical knowledge will be able to create a usable app without sustaining too much brain strain.
4. Test Your Mobile App
Once you are done developing your app, don’t rush to launch it on the app stores – take some time to test it. Tests should be conducted on your app to check for access bugs, design mistakes, and usability issues.
The first thing you should check is the aesthetic. Do your elements, menus, titles, colors, fonts, etc show as you want them to? Next, check your app’s usability, i.e how your users will be navigating through your mobile app and their experience. Finally, check access and security. Is your app public for anyone to access? Is it public with certain private feeds? Or does the whole app require a login?
Taking the time to test your mobile app can help you detect issues that could get it rejected, saving you lots of time in the long haul. In addition, ‘proofreading’ your mobile app before the launch can help spot any possible areas of improvement which, if solved before your app is launched, can help you avoid getting uninstalls, poor reviews, or low ratings.
5. Market Your App
With the number of mobile apps available on the app stores being over 4 million, you should be well aware that having a comprehensive marketing strategy is the only way to rise above the rest. And even though focusing on development and creating a functional mobile app is the main factor for success, if people have no idea that your app exists, all your hard work will be in vain.
An app marketing strategy should cover every user interaction from when they first find out about your app to the moment they become loyal users.
An efficient marketing strategy involves identifying your target customers, finding ways to reach them and communicate with them, as well as analyzing their in-app behavior in order to make constant improvements. The ultimate goal of your marketing strategy should be to attract users that will drive engagement and also become advocates for your product.
The usage of mobile is skyrocketing and businesses of all industries and sizes are depending on apps now more than ever. The competition in the mobile app marketplace is fierce, so you’ll need to build a mobile app that helps your cut through the noise. By following these 5 steps, you will easily create a mobile app that will help you attract new customers and grow your business.