Oversupply of software… Who would’ve thought we would ever get there? Yet, 2020 is here and that’s our current reality.
The most recent reports show that there were already over 2.9 million apps in the Google Play store by December 2019 and 1.8 million in the App Store by January 2020. However, most of us use only 9 apps per day and 30 per month. That means that there are hundreds of thousands of apps that nobody ever uses.
So, what does that mean for startups and business owners? A few things, on one hand, doing market research is not optional and, on the other, that getting your product noticed will take the same or more effort than developing it.
If you’re thinking about how to create your own app from scratch, the most important question you’ll have to ask is: how to create one that will stand out? From deciding on the type of technology to promoting the app, every single aspect along the way will be a turning point in the success of a new mobile application. Through our own expertise and by gathering advice from companies that have gone through the process of creating their own mobile apps, we’ve put together the best 6 tips you’ll need on how to build a mobile app from. If you keep these tips handy during the mobile development process, they’ll help you stay focused.
Figure Out the Market & Audience
First order of business: market & competition research. It’s probably clear enough that your app shouldn’t be just another one in the pile – and research helps assure just that.
Through this initial work, you’ll be able to figure out what is already available, what your value proposition is (what does your app have that others don’t already) and what users are looking for.
With that said, Ira, Marketing Manager at Scopic recommends diving into marketing well before the development stage.
“One should understand that marketing is not limited to promotion; marketing is a much broader field. App creators should be thinking about their audience and target market before their app is out there ready to be downloaded.”
She suggests to ask the following questions:
- Who is the app for?
- How many people would be willing to have it on their devices?
- Why do they need it?
- Why would they want it?
- How would they know about it?
- What other similar apps are out there on the market, and how is my app better or different?
How do you find the answers to the questions above? Ira continues saying:
“All those questions can be answered once marketing research has been performed. It will give an app owner a clear picture of the market they are targeting, the competitors, and the functionality that their app should have. With so much data available to marketers today, it is a mistake to ignore marketing at the stage of app development planning. Once you have the marketing research ready, you can clearly see your strategic steps while developing the app as well as when it’s out there on the market.”
Gone are the days when entrepreneurs had an amazing idea, brought it to life and then started thinking about who their clients were going to be. You always have to start with your target audience and create a product that they actually need and that will appeal to them.
If you manage to follow Ira’s advice, you won’t find yourself hectically looking for promotion opportunities or ways to engage with your audience at the last minute once the app is ready to be launched.
Choose The Right Technology & Features
One of the first decisions you’ll be faced with when diving into the development phase of your mobile app is which language and framework to choose. Will you start with native app development, and choose tools like Objective-C, Swift, Java and Kotlin? Or will you decide to go with cross platform app development and use tools like React Native, Ionic, Flutter SDK or Cordova? The difference between the two is that with cross platform development, programmers can write one code and deploy it anywhere, while with native programming languages, developers write custom codes for each device and platform. The truth is, there is no right answer here – you need to identify which development strategy will work best for your company.
TalkTravel: Case and Point
Saurabh Jindal, the founder of Talk Travel, went through the process of mobile app development himself when creating an app for his company. He summed up all of his experience about creating a mobile app from scratch.
What technology to use
The technology world is changing very rapidly and brings a lot of options for development. The biggest challenge for Saurabh when thinking about how to build an app was selecting and using a technology stack that could help build the app in a quick and easy manner, and also provide flexibility for future scaling: two critical factors one can’t overlook.
Which features to keep
One needs to decide on the features to keep and to avoid in the early releases.
“You can’t avoid trade-offs and you shouldn’t: decide which features are most important to your customers and only keep those. Customer interactions do help a lot, but at the same time, it takes a lot of trial and error to finalize.”
Which platforms to choose
It is easy for iOS, as there is a standard platform. But when it comes to Android, and with the sheer number of devices in the market with various screen sizes and specifications – it is a big challenge to customize for all. What Saurabh did for his company was covering the most common screen sizes and operating systems.
The CEO of Talk Travel went on saying that a well-developed mobile app can lead to better engagement rates with the user and ultimately lead to increased loyalty.
How to build a successful mobile app? He suggests to keep the following factors in mind to be prepared for the future:
- The users’ main requirements – the main features to be provided to the user,
- Size of the app and how it works with multiple devices
- The number of potential users and return on the investment versus the cost involved in building the app.
Build An Impeccable User Experience
When you’re thinking about how to build a successful mobile app, one of the most important factors to consider is the visual appeal of your app.
They say looks don’t matter. When it comes to the visual appeal of your app, you should always keep your target audience in mind – who is the app for? You should already know who the app will cater to from your initial research and now it’s time to apply that – taking it from theoretical to practical. And here is where product marketing comes to help.
If you’ve never heard of product marketing before, it is the process of bringing a product to market and overseeing its overall success. So what do marketers do here? They put themselves in the customers’ shoes to understand them and be able to market the new product to them correctly. Through the audiences’ perspective, product marketing provides the guidelines that help make the product a better experience for the general user.
Once marketers are in the app’s potential users’ mindset, here are some questions that will help reveal crucial information about how the app is going to perform:
- Is the app intuitive and aesthetically pleasing?
- How is the overall experience and is it memorable?
- How is the navigation and is it fluid?
- Is there consistency in design elements?
Once you have your answers, you’ll know what needs to be implemented or changed to provide a better user experience. With that in mind, Shayne, the CEO of TechLoris, shared his advice:
“Focus on visual appeal and marketing to your specific audience. Remember that you’re competing with people who are just as skilled and just as creative as you are. You need to stand out.
Make a good first impression. Hook your audience the first time they visit you because people aren’t likely to give an app a second try, regardless of improvements, unless they have to use it.” What do you need to consider when building a mobile app to be able to hook a user? What do they really need in order to stay inside your app? Turns out, smart UI/UX can be the game-changer. According to UXPin, there are 6 persuasive UI design patterns that get users’ attention.
One of the most important factors to use are triggers: they are small nudges, known to us as notifications, that push a user to take action. When a user sees the number 1 written in red popping near the “notifications” button, they can’t help themselves but click and continue their journey in your app.
The next persuasive UI design patterns are feedback loops: give your users space where they can take action and see how those actions modify subsequent results. Give them a goal, for example, becoming a loyal user and earning coins. Then let them see how they progress.
One tactic that never fails to grab the attention of a user and keep them in the app is having periodic events. General examples of periodic events are seasonal events: Christmas, Black Friday, Independence day. But you can also create your own events by implementing weekly tips, daily updates and even monthly reward cards. Think about it, what excites us the most? Anticipation. And that is what your users are getting when you construct recurring events and keep them waiting for something more.
App Store Optimization
What happens when you’re done building a mobile app and the product is ready for the launch? You need to publish it on the App Store, Google Play, or on both platforms. If you decided to go with a cross platform solution, then it would be possible to be on both platforms, hence have a broader reach. At this point, you’ll need to think about App Store Optimization (ASO).
ASO is about gaining visibility in the app stores and increasing your organic downloads. With this, more users will be able to find your app and download it: more downloads mean more revenue.
Natasa Ljesevic, Client Marketing Lead at Scopic gives her valuable advice:
“Our experience working with different mobile apps taught us that you shouldn’t wait for the app release to start working on ASO. This is something that should be considered earlier as it will help find the best keywords, so the app ranks well on the store from the start, and uses those keywords to build a high quality, optimized content.”
A good example of an optimized mobile app is RecipeIQ. The nutrition analyzer app is available in both App Store and Google Play. Scopic’s team of marketing and SEO specialists came up with optimized descriptions for the app. Now, anyone looking for a calorie calculator app will find RecipeIQ with ease. The efforts brought great results: an increase of 600% in the number of downloads in 3 months.
Create a Marketing Plan
Just like you make a plan of your upcoming week every Monday, when it comes to creating a mobile app from scratch, you will need to create a marketing plan.
A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter or month. Some of the essential elements that marketing plans include are the following:
- A description of your business’s target market, customer needs and strategy
- An overview of your app’s marketing and advertising goals
- An explanation of your business’s current marketing position
- A timeline for the tasks within your strategy
- Key performance indicators you will be tracking
It’s essential to have this information at hand because it will help you evaluate your future actions, especially ones that are connected to the costs and the timeline of building an app, then taking it to the market.
Sean Bair, CEO of ZooWoo said:
“The challenges I faced were choosing which language to develop the mobile app in, having realistic expectations about cost and timeline, and getting the word out that it existed so people could download it. There are so many apps available today that being another app in a sea of 3,000,000 can be a daunting marketing challenge.”
He then continued stating that his best advice would be to prepare yourself for the expense of writing and launching an app. Even if you are able to afford the average $250,000 app development cost, the costs to market your app will run into the tens of thousands as well.
Maintain high performance
Any issue in design, coding, specifications or features that brings incorrect results is called a bug. Bug tracking is one of the most important aspects of a software development life cycle if you want to deliver quality products: keep this in mind when building a mobile app.
While taking the latter into consideration it’s crucial to make sure you make every effort and eliminate bugs before and after the release of your app.
Fahim Sachedina, Quality Consultant at Global App Testing, had his share of experience in this area of mobile development. He advises:
“62% of mobile users will delete an app outright if they find a bug. That’s why it’s so important to put software testing at the very center of your app development strategy. Even at the very early stages, incorporating testing into the coding and development process will ensure you are delivering a quality product to your customers. By testing your app early and often, you can find bugs before your customers do.”
How to create your own app from scratch
To sum everything up, let’s go over a statistic: people spend 87% of their time in apps and only 13% of the time in browsers. So if you’re thinking about how to build a mobile app from scratch, then go over all the steps proposed:
- Getting to know your market and audience
- Choosing the right frameworks and tools
- Creating a killer user experience
- Optimizing it for app stores
- Creating a marketing plan
- Making sure it’s as bug free as possible.
Do you think you’re ready to take in all of this amazing advice and start building the mobile app of your dreams? Click the button below to get started with us!