1. Focus initially on iOS and Android platforms
There are many smaller players that are growing but for the most part these are the two key platforms of significance
2. Understand the differences between the iOS and Android platforms
Apple is a fantastic platform for an app. It provides great tools and has implemented a very effective worldwide distribution network. An advantage of Apple devices is it allows you to buy once and then be able to use on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. With Apple, all apps must meet the App Store Review Guidelines and are reviewed before they are published. This way Apple regulates what is on the App Store, eliminating apps that either crash or have content that is objectionable
The primary downside to iOS is that the Apple App Store is crowded. It is tremendously hard to get visibility for new apps
Android is also a fantastic platform for an app. Google allows you to publish anything you choose on the Android Market with no review process. It has fewer rules and a larger target market. The Google Android market is growing at a faster pace than the Apple market, and industry sources predict this will continue for the next several years.
The problem with Android is the large number of devices from different manufacturers that support a variety of operating systems and hardware specs. Android can make your app development much more complex and expensive. Testing Android apps can be a nightmare
2. Outline and determine the level of interactivity for your app to avoid future “feature creep”
To say the least it is essential that you establish what features will, and more importantly, won’t be included. You must establish the genre for the app (e.g., games, children’s books, etc) and then take care to eliminate any “feature creep,” or unnecessary ideas that increase development costs, but add little value.
Strive for “Five Star” ratings from customers, a vital component to an app’s success. The more positive ratings, the better longevity for the app. The key to developing apps is making them user-friendly and age appropriate. Properly designing your touch screen interactivity is essential. Always design with navigation tools that are straightforward and features that do not take away from the essence of the app.
There is nothing worse for a developer than a client who sucks up time changing things constantly throughout a project (other than not timely paying their invoices)
3. Communicate what your ROI outcomes will be for the specific app to your developer
In a crowded marketplace that is growing exponentially daily, and with over 400,000 apps currently just in App store it is important to get your understand your ROI. Apps are price-sensitive and low prices are encouraged – even free. There are strategies to play around with pricing such as offering introductory prices or time limited sales to help get your app noticed. It is actually true that many users seek out apps that go on sale and purchase them.
Although these tactics fall under the marketing strategy it is important for the developer to know as it can impede the development
4. Plan to follow up with updates and feature enhancements as appropriate or required
Listen to customer feedback and provide ongoing technical support, communicating regularly with end-users. It needs to be part of the development cost with either retainer or per hour labour
5. Get your apps on the marketplace bug-free to create your core base of loyal buyers or users
Testing, testing, testing, testing. It is so important to test your mobile apps and have as many bugs ironed out before you launch. Consumers can be fickle and do not respond well to bugged experiences. If managed properly and concisely it can be a good thing but ideally plan for the worst and have backup plans ready to implement
6. Make sure to nurture good relationships with media and blogs
Marketing is key. In fact, in many ways it can be more important than the actual development cycle for the true longevity of the app. A combination of a broad public relations campaign, ongoing social media outreach and responsive customer support is needed to support the app. A great starting point is good relationships with tech media and blogs for both the development phases and release phases to gain exposure
7. More formats = more work
There are many formats of which development can take place. It is essential that work is scoped out and understood completely before commencement of project. In general the more platforms or formats required the more work and $$$ required
8. Transform your traditional workflow to manage your digital content
It is sometimes hard to put a system in place to manage your new digital media. There are many digital tools that can assist in this process
9. Ask yourself – Does your app merge with your current and future business models?
It is unfortunately common for some mobile developers to build apps that do not actually achieve what the business/client requires. It is one thing to build something that works yesterday or today, but it is another thing to build the platform for tomorrow. This can be the mobile developers fault but for the most part it is the clients fault.
10. Remember that technology tools can help, but alot of manual work is still required
While there are many tools out there that help with this process, none of those tools do the actual work for the developer. Tools can help organize the workflow, streamline tasks, send reminders and keep other communications going, but the constructing work still has to get done and that means someone (or several) has to do it.
11. Remember that there are a lot of ways consumers access content
Consumers access data freely from so many channels nowadays. It is important to incorporate the key channels of your audience and even factor in other technologies or developments that you may adopt into your strategy. It is now possible with Augmented Reality campaigns to link all marketing materials under one umbrella and have the technology provide multiple unique experiences from the same assets
12. Rethink what your product is
Challenges can be fundamentally different. Traditional products are at risk from apps that deliver granular content or specific benefits. Implementing a mobile strategy can be the difference between losing marketshare and closing the doors or completely dominating a marketplace with an innovative app that solves a problem (possibly with Augmented Reality)
13. Be bold with your Mobile App
Just like the web 10 years ago, apps are a new technology where the bold win. Research your industry and if you can solve a problem with your app keeping in mind the feel and that it needs to be a user friendly experience then you may be onto a winner
14. There is more than one way to go mobile- mobile app or mobile web
Mobile sites—websites optimized for mobile devices—can be just as successful as native apps and are often easier to develop. Using/creating a responsive framework can be a one solution for all
15. Apps will most likely cannibalize from your other platforms but you will still retain the customers
With a well structured overall strategy you will be be providing your customers with more services and providing them with more ways of connecting with your brand in the way they prefer to interact
16. Understand and learn how to work with Apple and Google
The best way to reach the top of the charts is to have your app featured on their respective markets. This most likely will not happen. Consistent product offerings on the charts increases your likelihood that they’ll take notice, this type of exposure can help your app reach the top of the charts.
Understanding the process of submission for Apple is also important as it can take 2 weeks to be processed as they are strict with submission requirements
17. Understand the devices and technologies
For example the Smartphone – iPhone 5 will have 18% more digital real estate than previous models screens. The trend is making developers ask how to use the extra space. It is also hard to keep up with all the changes
18. Mobile Search strategy is different from Web search
There are differences between how a consumer searches on the web and mobile. It has been proven that consumers search for different products on differing devices. For example a consumer will search and purchase in an online store with a tablet but not on a smart or mobile phone. These are key behaviours you must understand when creating your mobile strategy
19. Mobile strategy should focus on “action-oriented activities”
Mobile applications can be highly interactive in nature. The new devices allow for stretching, taking photos, sharing, fulfilment and all at a press of a button. Augmented reality mobile campaigns even use accelerometers and gyrometers that don’t require pressing buttons. Understand the interactions and your audience and cater to these new parameters
20. A mobile search has to yield a result with products that are interesting, priced competitively, and available to buy [immediately] on mobile or in-store
It is vital to your business that you include a call-to-action. Even if you can’t provide a product or pricing you can provide a link to a sales quote or callback system. With Augmented Reality you can even take it further by taking a photo of a digital product merged into the real world through a camera device and share it socially or send in for quote
21. Take the plunge
What are you waiting for? If you require guidance or assistance Explore Engage are happy to help. Let us help you build an innovative app that has the potential to transform your business
That said, the Google Android market is growing at a quicker pace than the Apple market, and industry sources predict this will continue for the next several years.