Although apps started as a way to stay organized and play games, they have certainly transformed into great tools for those hoping to stay connected with a business and the services of that business. Probably the greatest transformation in the app world, however, is the idea that now absolutely any company can easily create an app and benefit from it. This innovation is no longer something that only the major corporations can get away with—small businesses rejoice.
A mobile app, or mobile application, is nothing more than a piece of code that you create. It is not a mobile website because it is not connected to your company website. An app is a completely separate project from your website and a completely separate thing that you need to manage. However, you will find that the time it takes to create an app and the time it takes to manage that app is worth it based on the audience you can reach. According to Forbes, a study found that 49 percent of smartphone and tablet users use apps to find local information.
The Benefits of Creating a Mobile App for Your Business
Creating a mobile app for your business is a great way to stay innovative and remain ahead of the curve. More and more companies are going to begin creating apps for several different reasons:
· They are convenient for users.
· They help you reach a new audience.
· They can be used as a PR tool.
· It helps you remain ahead of the competition.
· They don’t cost much to create, and in fact could make you money.
· Apps can be easily integrated with pre-existing mobile features.
· Apps are easy to customize to fit your specific needs.
· They make your company more accessible.
· They help your company stay connected with social media.
Although the vast majority of companies take advantages of these benefits, creating an app isn’t necessarily for everyone. Creating an app means that you are trying to reach a new audience or a current audience on the go. For some companies, their customers simply don’t use mobile phones. This makes it important to analyze your audience and your goals first before diving into the project.
How to Create a Mobile App for Your Business
If you do decide that you want to create an app, there are many different tools out there that can help you create something custom. In most cases, however, you’re going to need to use different tools for different operating systems (OS). The three steps include:
Step #1: Decide what type of app is right for your company.
This has everything to do with understanding your audience and understanding your goals. You have to ask yourself what about your company would be helpful to have in the form of an app—particular content, particular metrics, social sharing ease, etc. Many companies integrate the app with a YouTube channel or a blog. It’s all about asking yourself those questions and potentially checking out other, competitors’ apps to see how it works.
Step #2: Choose software to create your app.
There are quite a few different software options out there, all at different prices and all with different goals in mind. Fortunately, using the software is generally straightforward enough that anybody can figure it out. Many software choices such as EachScape are even just a drag and drop platform. The most popular software is probably AppMakr or GENWI, but it’s important to really research all of your choices. Entrepreneur created a great list with nine different software choices and their descriptions that you can find here.
Step #3: Distribute your app to your customers.
There are really only two different ways that you can distribute your app to customers once it’s finished. First, you can send your app to the different app stores so that they can distribute it. The app stores are where customers go most often to purchase apps, so it’s a good option. However, you often have to wait in a long line when you take this approach because the app stores have to look at all of the apps coming through. Therefore, many recommend just sending out a link or a QR code to your customers in an email.
Many companies start creating an app for one OS (usually Android or Apple) first and then move on to creating apps for more than one OS. Many companies also work with a third party SEO company to help with the development and marketing of the app.
What to Include in Your Mobile Application
What you include on your mobile app will certainly depend upon your goals and your audience, but there are a few things that veteran app developers would call “must haves.” First, including analytics is important because this is often something that people want to see on the go. Analytics are something that you are constantly checking or thinking about when you are away from your computer, so incorporating them into an app is a great feature. Second, gamification is a great way to get users engaged with your app. Mobile users are used to using app to interact and play games, so if possible, give them a little bit of that with your app and you will likely find yourself successful. Lastly, make the speed of your app a priority.
Have you tried creating a mobile app for your business? What did you find difficult? What helped you be successful? Tell us your story and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: bravr.com
<a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/113948183183915741351/posts?rel=author">Amanda DiSilvestro</a> is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading Ecommerce SEO company.