Small business owners, e-commerce sellers and influencers know that mobile-optimized content is key when promoting products and services. Most people use their smartphones to search for a particular product or service, read about a company, get the latest news, or generally browse the web.
While a mobile website is a good start for most small businesses, the must-have app is becoming an expected part of the online viewing and reading experience for an increasing number of consumers. There are other advantages to using smartphone apps, so creating one for your business is going to become increasingly important for managers and business owners.
Let’s take a look at the five steps involved in creating a successful smartphone application in 2021.
Alt: A smartphone screen displaying a series of apps.
1. Research and the idea
The first step in creating the ideal smartphone app is to carry out research. Understand your target market, determine preferences and online habits, assess any missing features in apps used by other companies in your industry, and then focus on your app. Make a list of the features you wish to include in your application and prioritize these as you may not have the time or resources to add them all by your launch date.
Researching your target market and preferences is vital, as your app must appeal to the people who have the most interest in your products, services, and content.
Brainstorming for the perfect idea is crucial. As you think about creating the ideal smartphone app, remember that more than four million apps exist on Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Your app must stand out to gain any traction, which means it must offer features not present elsewhere.
2. Create a design mockup
Getting to work on your app after the initial brainstorming sessions is tempting. Your team may want to create an app quickly, but patience is an important part of the process. Instead of rushing to create your ideal smartphone application, focus on each aspect of its design and performance. Create a design mockup that shows the specific design, color scheme, logos, and other application aesthetics.
When you take the time you need to create a design mockup, you can easily change different aspects of the app that need to be corrected or improved. Showing the design mockup to various teams in your company and getting their feedback can also highlight any shortcomings which will save time in the long-run . Making changes to a design mockup is a lot easier than redoing your entire application.
Alt: A man’s hand holding a smartphone with various apps on the screen.
Design mockups can take inspiration from, say, an older app on Google or Apple app stores that appeal to you and fit your own vision for your industry-appropriate app. Next you’ll create a mockup based on the layout of your choice and add the new features you’ve established are essential for your target market.
3. Find a name
All applications must have names if they are going to be available on the various app stores for Android and iOS. You can, for example, choose the name of your company, or a variation of that name to give users an idea of the purpose of the app.
Finding the perfect name is not easy, as you want to gain maximum brand recognition and downloads from your target audience. If your business is nationwide or global, sticking to your company name may be the best way to proceed.
Small, local businesses should include the name of their company along with a reference to their location. Adding the site to the app name is helpful, as people living in that particular area will know that the app is relevant to them.
4. Finalize design and plan your marketing strategy
Now that you have your design mockups, you’re ready to create the graphics for your application. If you do not have extensive experience with design yourself, or you do not have a designer on your staff, hire professionals who can deliver the important aesthetic elements.
Alt: Close-up of a woman’s hand making a sketch on a notepad with a pen.
Those who have a background in computer science or app creation can work with others at their small business to create the perfect graphic design. Ensure that your app not only looks great but also loads quickly and smoothly on various mobile phones and tablets.
Another crucial element to this process is mapping out your marketing strategy, including video ads on social media, YouTube videos promoting the app, and references to the app on your website and email newsletters.
5. Get people to try out your app
Most app developers find that getting a small group of users within the target market to try out a new app is a great way to get it off the ground. Using these beta testers, rather than immediately launching your application to the public can help identify any less than perfect elements that may only become evident through wider use.
With constructive feedback from a test group you can see what works, needs removing, or requires minor tweaking. Choose people you know are interested in your business and will provide you with honest, helpful feedback.
Once your app has gone through this process, you will have peace of mind that you’re ready for the global launch of your new smartphone application.