Developing an app is an exciting project, but it is not something that comes without its share of challenges. The mobile app markets are crowded, the competition is fierce, and it seems like it is getting worse by the day. It can feel like a lot of work just to get noticed.
Further, it is important to remember that it is not enough to just have a good idea – many other app developers will have the same idea or are working on similar apps right now. Many developers and entrepreneurs are creating new mobile apps to support their businesses, and they will do whatever they can in order to get the best results out of it. You need to get ahead of them and reach your potential clients before your competitors do.
The development process takes time, knowledge, and resources. Although mobile app development is becoming more of a commodity industry and receiving less attention from the media, it has become increasingly strategic and continues to evolve. In addition, building a mobile app is not as simple as saying, “build an app.” App development is a long, complicated process. It’s important to develop a plan and a strategy now, before you start building, so you can save time, money, and frustration.
That being said, an app idea is just a spark, but in order to be successful, you will have to get that app off the ground. There are many different ways to do this. As we go through this blog, we are going to be examining one part of the development process: learning how to start an app.
Conduct Extensive Market Analysis
Market research is an essential part of your app development process. You can never be sure whether you are entering a crowded market or not, but with proper research you will easily figure out if there is a gap in the market for your product solution or not. A thorough product research should help you determine if there is an audience for your idea, and what are the other products that are similar to the one you want to build.
You will need to research your market thoroughly and find a gap in it that you can fill. If you think you can produce a product that would help people with their tasks, then it is likely to be viable. Extensive market research is an in-depth analysis of the situation of your industry and competitors. The goal is to determine:
- What makes your product/service different?
- Find out why potential customers should buy from you as opposed to any other provider in the market.
- What is your app’s unique selling point going to be?
- How is your app different from your competitor’s app?
- Find out what the customers are saying about your competitor’s app.
Considering how competitive the mobile app market is, you have to strategize every road towards success and avoid any mistakes that could make or break your app. That is why you have to develop a well-thought-out plan by conducting an extensive market analysis before getting started.
When planning to start developing a new app from scratch, it helps to know what is on the market already and how other app developers are striving to get noticed. And, of course, mobile apps are not the only ones out there and creating solid competition either. Consider researching other kinds of software apps, particularly those that fill a specific niche in the industry. If a niche does not have an app available yet, then there could be an opportunity for you to fill that void.
Identify Target Audience
Keep in mind that when you are planning to build apps, you have to start by identifying their specific purpose and visualizing how people will use them. You might have an idea in your head, but it exists nowhere outside of that. You have a million and one reasons why “now” is the perfect time to execute on your idea. But how will it work? How will you make money? What problem will it solve? These are all the questions you need answered before you move one step further into development.
The most important aspect of getting started is setting out a blueprint for what you are going to do. You need to map out every step from idea to execution and even execution to scaling. When you think about it, a mobile app for your business has the potential to be beneficial in an infinite number of ways.
It is important to think about the right things throughout this process, and take them into account:
- Your market needs
- Your goal as an entrepreneur
- Your app idea’s hidden potential
- Your target audience and the app’s benefit for them
- Your app’s key functionality
Also, evaluate if there is no better solution to solve their problem elsewhere. Further, when it comes to the elevator pitch of your app it should be clear, easy to understand, comprehensible and specific. It should stress how your app is going to fit into the user’s life. If you cannot clearly define what your business idea does, you will have a hard time pitching the idea to potential investors or acquiring users.
Choose Among Hybrid, Native and Web Apps
As you kick off your product development, you will need to decide whether you want a native, hybrid or web app to address your needs. It is important to analyze whether the application is intended for a mobile platform (native) or will it run on the desktop using a browser (web).
Choosing between native, hybrid, and web apps is a crucial step in the process of mobile app development. For example, it is important to define whether your primary focus will be on iOS or Android. This can be done through market research as well as defining the core purpose of your app and its functionality.
- Native mobile apps can be built on a single platform or in multiple platforms or languages. Hybrid apps on the other hand, can be built in multiple platforms or languages, but they are cross-platforms and allow developing code once and publishing it on multiple app stores/stores. They are not as fully featured, but they provide more power over other non-native apps. Lastly, the last type of application is known as a “mobile web app” which is basically an extension of your website that adapts to different screen sizes or resolutions. The difference between native and hybrid mobile app development lies with the programming languages used.
- One of the key questions you need to ask yourself is how you will be distributing your app. Native apps are downloaded through an application store (such as Google Play or Apple App Store). The advantage of having a native app is that it can take full advantage of the device functions that you want it to have. Native apps also provide a better user experience. Hybrid apps, however, are cheaper to develop and function on a wide range of platforms.
- It is easy to get carried away with choosing whether to go with native, hybrid (or web-based) or mobile apps – so much so that often you wish you had a single app rather than a number of different ones. But the truth is one size does not fit all, and often it is the user interface and audience which will determine how your app should be shaped.
Identify App Monetizing Options and ASO (App Store Optimization)
Of course, you want to get your apps out there and make money from them. With so many different strategies out there, where should you begin your monetization plan? When it comes to choosing the right monetization model for your app, there are many possible options.
- Freemium Apps: Freemium apps are a great way to get your app off the ground and build up a user base. These apps are limited-feature and free-of-charge apps that have optional in-app purchases that expand their capabilities or enable additional features or content.
- Premium or Paid Apps: Premium or Paid apps provide a way to monetize an app and make money. Simply charge the user for downloading your app from an app store. The paid model requires you to put some serious thought into how you will price your app, as well as how to promote it, but the benefits can be great.
- In-App Purchases: In-app purchases, also known as in-app monetization, app commerce or mobile commerce, are a new business model for selling digital products via applications on cell phones and other mobile devices. The monetary transactions occur directly from the mobile device with data transmitted securely to and from the online store.
- Subscription Apps: Subscription apps are your steady flow of revenue. It is very similar to freemium apps but instead of getting one product, you get an ongoing service. This strategy requires a user to subscribe to your web service in order to use it. For example, Spotify pioneered the freemium model, which offers free service with a limited number of features and premium services for paying subscribers who listen to more music or get extra benefits from their accounts.
- In-App Ads: In-app ads are an incredibly common monetization strategy in mobile apps. Specific apps may have third-party ads, but more commonly, in-app ads are sold by app owners themselves.
App Store Optimization:
As you are building your app, it is so important to think about how you want to be found by potential users in the App Store and Google Play. This process is called App Store Optimization (ASO), and the more familiar you are with it, the more downloads you will get from organic searches. Put simply, ASO helps you maximize the number of users who can find and install your app — two steps that must occur before they use your app.
Just like you have an app development plan, it is crucial to also have an app store optimization (ASO) plan. ASO is an extremely broad topic, and each app store has its own set of rules and criteria.
App store optimization (ASO) is an umbrella term that refers to elements like app description, keywords, reviews, app name, icon, screenshots, preview video, etc., that assist in promoting an app on the app stores. But there is a lot more to ASO than just that. App store optimization is not a one-size-fits-all field. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you might want to look at other ASO factors, or use the same optimization tactics in different ways. Let’s take a look at this field and how you can improve your results.
While it is possible to run app store optimization after the app is built, it is much better to plan ahead as it enables you to plan and implement your ASO strategy during the development stage of your app. This will provide you with a much higher chance of success with your application optimization campaign.
Equal Focus on Marketing Strategy and Pre-Launch Buzz
Whether it is an established brand or a new project, any app will most certainly require a solid marketing strategy. The combination of marketing preparation and amplifying efforts can make or break an app and its potential lifespan. You should consider thoroughly your marketing strategy, budgeting, and implementation process: before launching your app, while in development and even after launching. Every pixel of your mobile app must live up to the expectations of potential users and looking at the numbers, it is clear that you have to be ready to put as much effort into marketing as you have put into development. You can start with:
- App Branding: Defining your brand clearly is important, but so is creating a consistent experience across all platforms. Take time to define your values and how they should come across with your logo, colors, and writing.
- Decide Channels: Your target audience is out there. They are talking, sharing, and interacting online in ways you probably aren’t tapping into. You need to find these channels so you can start to engage with your customers or potential customers where it matters most: where they spend their time.
- Develop Content: Your audience craves useful and valuable content. Give them what they want and start to rank for the keywords you care about. Start writing useful material and watch your organic search traffic increase.
- Start Outreach: Putting effort into reaching out to influencers can be the best ROI (Return on Investment) on your marketing spend. Influencer marketing is a great way to reach new customers with your brand. The key is to engage with influencers before you launch the campaign. You want them to be excited about your product, so helping them understand how it works beforehand can go a long way.
Double-Check App’s Security
While it is important to put together a timeline, build your mock-up and make everything as pretty as possible, do not forget about security. This is an application for business purposes and safeguarding your customers’ confidential information is a key part of that.
For your app to run properly and legally, you will have to ensure that it adheres to all the rules and regulations that are imposed on any app. Remember to apply appropriate security measures that will keep data as safe as possible and allow users to work with the app in peace.
It is clear that Mobile App Development is a serious business. Consequently, every step needs to be taken seriously and constantly questioned, from research and market analysis to implementation.