By the end of 2017, the global app market is expected to reach $77 billion. Once a mobile strategy only the major brands employed, now many small businesses are benefitting from developing their own mobile app. If you’re thinking of doing the same for your small business, consider the following ten mistakes that many brands make so you don’t make them yourself.
Trying to do too much
Less is definitely more when it comes to mobile app design. Many brands want their app to be able to do everything their mobile website, but that’s not a good strategy. The reason people seek out and download a brand’s mobile app is because it’s more convenient and streamlined than the brand’s mobile website experience. A simpler app is less expensive and easier to design and it will actually be more effective.
Not understanding customers’ needs first
Building off of the last tip and the need to be selective in choosing which features to include in your mobile app, it’s important to prioritize according to customers’ needs. Don’t assume you know what your customers want and don’t go about developing your app just to create another channel. You need to survey customers and find out what they really want out of your mobile app before you waste money building in features nobody asked for.
Every day, more than 1,000 new mobile apps land on app stores. With so much competition, brands are in a hurry to get their app to market. But you can’t afford to rush the testing process. A buggy mobile app can turn off a lot of users and they won’t redownload it even after you’ve fixed the bugs. Better to do extensive testing before release to make sure your app is running as smoothly as possible.
Focusing on downloads and not retention
Here’s a startling fact: more than 75% of apps are never opened a second time. First time app developers are often too concerned with getting a lot of downloads and they don’t think enough about retention. Repeated use, not the number of downloads, is the measure of an effective mobile app. So while it’s important to market your app to get downloads, you need to work even harder to make your app relevant and useful so that the people who do download it continue to use it.
Developing for multiple platforms simultaneously
Since you’re investing money into developing a mobile app, it’s understandable you want to reach the widest audience possible. But you should resist the urge to release your app on multiple platforms at least at first. Cross platform tools that allow you to build an app for multiple platforms simultaneously aren’t as effective as building a new app from the ground up for each new platform. Many brands prefer to start with iOS since there are far fewer iPhone models than Android phones that have to be tested for. Whichever platform you decide to go with first, make sure it’s running smoothly and you’ve got all the kinks worked out before moving on to the next one.
Giving up too early
Less than one percent of apps make a profit. If your objective in building a mobile app is strictly monetary, or if you’re expecting an immediate return on your investment, a mobile app may not be the right direction for you. Mobile apps have a lot to offer beyond ad revenue or revenue from in-app purchases and seeing those results will take time so you need to be patient if you decide to proceed.
Ignoring negative feedback
Many brands think their job is done when their app is deployed. Smart app developers keep an eye on feedback in the app store, especially the negative feedback. Not all of it will be particularly helpful–some people just like to gripe–but there may be some valuable insights in negative feedback that will help you to improve future versions of your app.
Doing it the easy way
Great apps take lots of time and money to develop. Drag and drop app building software might be a good way to get your feet wet with app design but in the long term, you’re going to want to build a professional app from the ground up.
Failure to consider hidden costs
The cost to develop an app is only the start. Testing, maintenance, app upgrades, and marketing for your mobile app all cost money so you need to allocate funds for those things as well, not just the initial development costs.
Not marketing it
Don’t assume that customers will seek out and download your mobile app. Many of them will assume you don’t have one since many smaller businesses don’t. You should be advertising in store and using other marketing channels as well to market your mobile app. Mobile channels are especially important. If you’ve got an SMS campaign, chances are those mobile subscribers are already among your most loyal and will be a great place to start in getting your first app downloads so send out the occasional text message complete with a download link to your app.
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