Moms spend 37% of their daily media time on their smartphones and 97% of moms made a purchase on their tablet in 2012. There’s a huge opportunity for brands to provide value to customers through apps, especially to moms. However developing an app, particularly for the first time, is not a simple task. Rather, you need a well thought-out mobile strategy. App development requires a large budget, skilled engineers, dedicated marketers, and time. Here are several key topics to keep in mind while you consider if an app is the right choice for your brand:

Purpose: Determine the purpose of your brand’s app before you commit to the project and find a developer. Does it offer a unique service or value to customers or can your brand get by with a mobile-ready site? Consider if the app will convert users to customers in a way that your site doesn’t. For example, consumers use a bank mobile app to locate the nearest ATM while on the go but they use the bank’s tablet app or website to check personal bank funds, tasks more commonly done at home.

mobile appsRevenue Model: Once you know the purpose of your app consider if the app contributes to your revenue, offers an add-on for engagement, builds your mobile strategy, or serves a non-revenue related goal. You want a defined revenue model that benefits your brand. If your business has other revenue sources you may offer the app for free to build mobile presence for your brand. If the app is your primary revenue source, perhaps you can generate revenue through an eCommerce engine, ads, or paid membership.In 2012, paid apps accounted for only 23% of all tablet app downloadsbecause tablet users prefer free apps with ads to paid apps. Consider if your app offers something that customers will pay for or if it offers another value to your business.

Device and OS Options: You don’t need to develop an app for all platforms to be successful. Rather, to narrow down options, know which device your target audience uses. For example, 51% of moms own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, compared to 52% of teenagers who own an Android. Can achieve deeper engagement with customers via touch capabilities or the larger screen size that tablets offer? Pros and cons apply to the various platforms as well. Windows is flexible for developers, but lots of device models to manage. Apple has fewer models, but gaining approval form the App Store can be tricky. Android also offers many models and screen sizes, but the Google Play Store is easier on approvals.

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Development: Be sure to find a developer that understands the target audience. Developers are expensive and apps require a team that understands user flow and space restrictions. Moreover, the design must be appealing with a great icon, splash screen, navigation, and dozens of other assets that tie together. Bells and whistles like social media integration, which allow users to market the app for you, and GPS locators are consumer pleasers but cost more. It’s best to add these in subsequent versions. Prioritize the essential elements and add additional functions in future releases.

Promotion: Once your app exists you must market it. Social media marketing and co-promotional partnerships work well. Use your own mobile site to advertise and direct consumers to your app through a banner that followers click to direct them to a download page. Another download strategy is through email marketing. Email your existing customers and include a direct link to the app store so they can download the app within seconds. Feature your app on an App of the Day service like App-o-Day that creates buzz and traffic. Also, have users rate your app. Work with websites like Localytics to target groups through in-app messaging campaigns. It’s important you make the app easy for consumers to find and download.

Cost & Time: Costs for development varies based on devices, functionality, operating systems, etc. Funds go toward development, design, IT architecture, and marketing. However, the development of an app comes with long-term costs. Brands must continue development through releases. If brands develop an app that costs $200,000 they should expect to pay about $40,000 per year to maintain it. Moreover, apps designed for tablets are more expensive because of the size and speed tablets guarantee.

To create and maintain an app costs a large sum of money and requires a lot of time. Developing an app may or may not be worth it for your business, but after you think through each of these points you should have a better idea of your approach and mobile strategy.

Posted by Chelsea Amaral


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