Your Biggest Questions About Building Mobile Apps, Answered
There’s no doubt people are using their phones and tablets more and more. But did you know that while mobile app usage is increasing, mobile web usage is declining? The idea of building an app (whether to market your business, make ad revenue, or use as a standalone product) is starting to look pretty appealing to most businesses.
The process of building an app brings up many questions, so here’s our take on some of the most common.
How Much is Building an App Going to Cost Me?
One of the main concerns with building an app is the budget. And for good reason – there’s no set amount of money you’re going to spend. The cost of an app is dependent on several factors, including the complexity of said app and the service providers who build it.
A better question to ask yourself is, “What’s the strategy for this app?” Do you want to build a prototype and then get funding to create a finished version? Or are you trying to augment your current business? If you only have $10,000 to spend and you want to raise funds, we might even suggest not building an app. Instead, you could go through product design and build a prototype to take to investors.
At the end of the day, you must be fully committed to the process with enough financial backing to build a solid product. For further reading on finding a solid development team and accurately pricing an app, you can check out this Q&A over at The Next Web.
What OS Should I Build My App For?
This question goes back to the core of most solid business decisions: know your audience.
Is your target market using iPhone, Blackberry, or Android mobile devices? If you have an existing website, use Google Analytics to find what OS mobile users are visiting your website with, and use that as a starting point.
However, you can’t rely on that information 100% because, as we’ve already covered, mobile browsing is different than mobile app usage. In general, iPhone and Android both have their pros and cons. Most people build for iOS first, and that’s what we do if possible, because it’s less segmented and easier to build.
How Do I Market My App?
Something to consider: if you don’t already have an established audience and brand, marketing your app is going to be difficult.
A strong pre-launch is a necessity, so promote the app before it’s available. Send interested visitors to a landing page where they can input their email and contact information. Once you launch, you could pick up a few hundred (or even a few thousand) users on the first day. Pre-launch campaigns also show you who’s excited about your app and why, which will inform your future marketing and hopefully, make it more effective!
The second tactic we recommend is reaching out to key influencers. Not only are there app-review blogs, but there are also general audience blogs that could be a good fit. For example, if you have a fitness oriented app, don’t just reach out to review sites, contact fitness and health bloggers as well.
Finally, take advantage of cross-app promotion platforms. Using these, you can promote other apps, and they’ll promote your app in return. Many of these platforms only charge a dollar per install, which can help you accelerate your organic growth.
And the Most Important Question: Is There a Proven Need?
As you can see, building an app isn’t something to take lightly. A lot of thought, time, and money go into the process.
Again, knowing your audience is key. Does your audience have a need for this app? Will they download and use it once it’s available? It’s easy to forget (especially for the tech-savvy folks) that depending on your audience, a mobile app may not be a good fit.
It’s true that mobile apps are one of the easiest ways to access people, and they can be a huge opportunity to grow your audience and generate revenue — if there’s a reason for it.