Thanks to the global availability of smartphones and app development services, the Apple Store now has more than 2 million apps, while Google Play has more than 2.2 million. These numbers were made public by a recent study on current mobile app trends, which also points out the number of mobile only users has already exceeded the number of desktop users. What does this mean from a business perspective? Well, it shows that the mobile app market is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, one that simply can’t be ignored. In fact, if a decade ago having a mobile-friendly site was an innovative and smart idea, now it’s a given. To stand out even more and increase business exposure, you should consider launching an app as well. Of course, the type of app you would launch depends on your niche, but, whether you create a shopping app or a productivity app, the benefits and guidelines are the same.
How can your brand benefit from a mobile app?
Creating a basic mobile app is not expensive. After all, you can even make it with a free app maker. However, the benefits to be gained are considerable. Here’s how your business can grow with the help of an app:
Having a mobile-friendly site is useful and intuitive, but it doesn’t increase visibility too much. A user can access your website once, then close the browser and forget about it. However, once installed, a mobile app is much more visible than a website. Clients will come across it when they browse their phone randomly, which will remind them of your products and/or services.
Unquestionable marketing possibilities
An app can solve multiple marketing problems. It is a channel through which can you can announce sales, new launches, get feedback and advertise your products. Push notifications are particularly useful, because they let users know when something new is happening. Of course, push notifications don’t make marketing campaigns obsolete, but they do give you extra opportunities with minimum effort and cost.
Increase brand awareness
Anyone can have a business, but not every business is a brand. Building a brand takes time, money, effort and innovation. You have to stand out, provide value for your customers and reach a certain level of awareness. Relying on traditional channels to do that will lengthen the brand growth process considerably, allowing your competitors to stay ahead. However, if you also add an app in your brand development strategy, you can achieve better results faster.
A mobile app can simplify customer engagement, because modern users would rather communicate with a provider through an app rather than through a phone call. For example, if you run a hospitality business, such as a restaurant, spa or hotel, you can implement a booking feature so clients don’t have to make a call. This also reduce customer service cost, because you don’t have to hire as many people to pick up calls.
An edge over your competitors
Times are tough for business owners everywhere. Competition is fiercer than ever before and if you want to surpass it, you have to stand out. An app is an excellent way to do that. It shows clients that you’re stepping up to modern requirements and you’re willing to make investments to enhance customer experience.
Reward client loyalty
Gaining customers doesn’t provide long term benefits if you cannot retain them. Use your mobile app to reward client loyalty by offering exclusive discounts, vouchers and special offers.
Creating a mobile app: app makers vs. development companies
Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of having a mobile app, it’s time to move on to practical aspects: how do you build the app in the first place? Here, you have two options: either you can use an app builder and make the app from scratch yourself or you can hire an app development company do that for you. An app maker is very convenient if you’ve just started your company and don’t have that much funds to invest in development. Also, you don’t need any previous coding knowledge. All you have to do is drag and drop elements and customize the theme however you want. In general, an app maker is the go-to choice for business owners who have never had an app before and want to launch one with as little hassle on possible. Modern app makers offer plenty of customization options, so you can implement most features. On the other hand, app development companies have their benefits too. They are more expensive, but they are suitable for large companies that need complex or very custom apps.
The bottom line is that app makers are the cheaper, faster choice, whereas app development companies are only worth the investment if you have advanced requirements that an app builder doesn’t cover. This guide is very useful if you want to study the difference between app makers and coding in more detail.
The features of a successful app
When deciding on the best features to incorporate into your mobile app, focus on quality, not quantity. Regardless of the development method (app maker or coding), you should start by making market research. Find out what your target audience likes and dislikes in an app and take their opinions into account. The actual features depend on your niche; every business provides various products and services. However, you can follow a few general guidelines.
- Avoid being generic and repetitive. The app is a representation of your corporate identity and it should reflect your principles and ethic. Therefore, it should be consistent with the image you use on other marketing channels. Use your company colors, your logo and maintain the same visual identity so as not to confuse clients.
- Don’t neglect mobile app trends, because you risk getting left behind. Mobile users expect their apps to live up to certain quality standards. If your app has an obsolete design and lacks essential features, people will simply uninstall it.
- Less is more. Don’t try to cram dozens of elements into your app, because that will affect usability. For a seamless UX, keep things minimal. Strip the app of all unnecessary content and keep only the data that adds value.
- Don’t forget about testing. Making a bug-free app from the first try is literally impossible, so make sure you talk to a tester.