Open your smartphone and check how many apps you have and how many you use regularly. From a user perspective, apps are super effective extensions of our very beings that make everything faster, easier, and more comfortable.
For businesses, mobile applications are a robust technology to be as close to their target users as possible. When we say close, we mean being part of their lives and gaining the highest retention.
Mobile applications are an opportunity to connect with customers on a whole new level. It is a gateway to reaching a vast audience, fostering engagement, and propelling your business to unprecedented heights.
Brace yourself as we embark on a transformative journey, unveiling the steps to building a truly remarkable mobile app that will become a primary extension of your product or service.
When building an application for an existing product or service, the strategy excludes several stages, but to make the guide comprehensive and handy, we will include all the stages, from ideation to implementation.
Defining the goals and objectives
Before diving headfirst into mobile app development, it’s crucial to define clear goals and objectives. This foundational step will serve as your starting point for the app’s creation and ensure its alignment with your business goals. The key objectives may be as follows:
- Increasing sales: Drive revenue growth by providing a seamless mobile experience and a personalized approach.
- Enhancing customer engagement: Foster deeper connections with the target audience through interactive features, push notifications, loyalty programs, and personalized content that resonates with user preferences.
- Expanding customer base: Attract new customers by leveraging the mobile app’s accessibility and reach through referral programs, social sharing, etc.
- Improving brand visibility: Establish a strong brand presence by designing an app that reflects your business’s unique identity through engaging visuals, intuitive navigation, and consistent branding elements.
- Streamlining operations: Enhance mobile applications with must-haves and valuable features meant to simplify service or product reach to customers.
- Gather customer insights: Leverage the app’s analytics capabilities to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and refine your marketing strategies.
- Enhance customer satisfaction: Prioritize user experience as the primary goal by creating a user-friendly, intuitive, and responsive app.
- Differentiate from competitors: Stand out in a market with unique features that address pain points and surpass your competitors’ offerings.
- Build brand loyalty: Be present in your customers’ lives anytime and anywhere they need your product by providing excellent service through your app.
Identifying the target audience
Understanding your target audience is paramount to developing a product that resonates with their needs and preferences. Modern go-to-market strategies offer different approaches to identifying a target audience. Actually, the target audience is a conditional term; in your strategy, it may be a buyer persona who makes a decision but doesn’t necessarily use the product; a user persona who is the actual user but is not a decision maker; ICP; target audience, etc. Each of these terms requires its own strategy of research and outreach. Still, they all have something in common, like demographics such as age range, location, gender, and interests. Only after identifying which one is your target and creating its persona can you think of building a messaging strategy.
Bonus tip: think of approaching target audience research from another perspective. Define the job-to-be-done of your application and think about who may benefit from it. The JTBD approach focuses on the motivations and pain points of the users rather than on product features. It means you will have a more customer-centric approach.
Researching the Competition
The traditional competitor research method is still used to identify your direct competitors, find out how they approach customers, and determine their unique selling points. This research will help identify their strengths and weaknesses, study user feedback, and seek opportunities to differentiate your app by providing a better user experience, innovative features, or unique value propositions.
Still, this is not the only approach to identifying competition. Modern go-to-market strategies and product use cases include an “Alternatives” component that enables you to identify not competitors but alternatives that solve the same problem as your product. Once you define those alternatives (which may be more effective and cheaper), you will be able to repurpose your application and make it more targeted and effective.
P.S. Implement both approaches for more effective research.
Choosing the right mobile app development partner
You and your application cannot succeed if you don’t have a “partner in crime.” Having access to a global talent pool helps in choosing a reliable partner, but the vastness of options may also confuse. To filter the available options, you can first define the minimum and maximum rates you are willing to invest in application development. The rates of software development dramatically vary from region to region. A promising new direction is the countries in Eastern Europe that offer expertise and quality at relatively lower prices.
Once you decide on a budget, look for a development agency with relevant experience, expertise, and a portfolio that aligns with your project requirements and application niche. Collaborate closely with them, sharing your vision, objectives, and expectations to ensure a successful partnership. Whether you choose nearshore or offshore outsourcing, full-process outsourcing, or a project-based collaboration model, don’t ignore the importance of close communication with the team. The shortest way to have success is to communicate your thoughts and fears, be on the same page with the development team, and request updates on project development.
*The following steps are more technical but critical for building a successful mobile app for your business.
User experience and user interface design play a pivotal role in the success of a mobile app. If you are not familiar with UI/UX design practices, you’d better rely on the expertise of your partnering team. To secure an exceptional user experience, make sure your application has the following points checked.
- User-centric approach: Repurpose the data from target audience research to reveal user needs and preferences.
- Intuitive navigation: Ensure a seamless and intuitive navigation flow in your app that allows users to effortlessly explore and interact with the app.
- Visual Appeal: Employ a visually appealing design that aligns with your brand’s identity.
- Responsive design: Ensure optimized design for various screen sizes and orientations to provide a consistent experience across different devices.
- Efficient information architecture: Organize content and features in a logical and structured manner by using labels that help users easily find what they’re looking for.
- Accessibility considerations: Ensure your app is accessible to users with disabilities by adhering to accessibility guidelines.
When it comes to mobile app development, choosing the right platform and development approach is crucial. This step will require deciding on
- App features
- Development approach (native, cross-platform, hybrid)
- Tech stack
- API integrations
- Backend development
Optimize app performance by following coding best practices, minimizing load times, and conducting rigorous testing.
Testing and Deployment
Testing and deployment are critical stages in the app development lifecycle, and adopting an agile development methodology can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of this process.
- Functional Testing: Conduct testing to verify that all features and functionalities of your mobile app are working as intended.
- Compatibility Testing: Test your mobile app on various devices, operating systems, and screen sizes to ensure compatibility across platforms.
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Involve a group of beta users and early adopters to collect their feedback and observe their interactions with the app to identify areas of improvement.
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment: implement CI/CD pipelines, and automate the build, testing, and deployment processes.
- Rollout Strategy: Plan a phased rollout strategy to gradually release your app to the market.
- Monitoring and Analytics: Implement robust monitoring and analytics tools to track the mobile app’s performance and user behavior.
Marketing and Promotion
Building a great mobile app is only the first step. The marketing team works hand in hand with development, researching the market, building strategies, and launching campaigns to prepare the audience for the application launch. While there is plenty of time before the application is published on the market, this period is critical for building brand reputation and raising brand awareness. Experimenting at this stage is less risky; you can experiment with different channels and strategies before you find the most effective.
Talking about building a successful mobile app for your business and actually doing a job are two different things, but visualizing everything through this guideline is a great way to start planning a project. Remember, building a successful mobile app is not a one-time endeavor. To make the idea work in your favor, your application should be on top of available options, and to be on the top shelves, you should keep pace by constantly monitoring the market, updating, and improving your application.