Thousands of mobile apps are submitted and published to the Google Play and Apple App Stores every day. Some of these mobile apps are games, others are social networks, and many are e-commerce apps.
Developing apps is the most challenging service that we offer here at The Coding Bull. The difficulty in mobile apps development comes from the fact that unlike a website or web app, people aren’t tied to a mouse and keyboard when using an app.
They are moving through their day, be it balancing themselves on a subway car, or sitting in a cafe killing time. Mobile apps are tricky to develop because they need to work well in all the different contexts a person might be in when they look down on their phone.
From weak 3G connections to poor eyesight, mobile apps require us to move beyond the stationary user interaction model that has been assumed in non-mobile development.
That’s why before investing your seed money to start designing and developing your mobile applications. It is ideal if we spend sufficient time to plan the applications development, applications marketing and applications scaling, so that you won’t have to raise funds to recode the apps, but instead focus on scaling the business.
At The Coding Bull, we have built over 30 web and mobile apps in 2016 alone. In this article, I will outline the application strategy that we always come up with for our clients before a mobile app design and development project.
What’s In The Coding Bull Mobile Application Strategy?
A mobile application strategy can take from two to four weeks. Here are the things that we are going to do. We will present every detail in the following steps to you during our application strategy meeting.
Step 1 – Project Definition and create use cases
Create a written definition of your app idea that spells out what it will do, who the users are and why they will care about it. Make sure you can answer the following questions:
- Why does this app need to exist?
- What unique problem does it solve?
- Will the app simplify payment transactions for customers?
- Will it increase productivity for field agents?
- What is the business case?
Use this information to create use cases to further guide the project.
Step 2 – Monetization
Far too many apps (particularly startups) skip this step and have a hard time later turning a profit. Unless you are building the apps just for fun, you are expecting your apps to make you money. There are many ways to cash out from your apps: in-app purchases, subscription payments, premium features (freemium model), ad-revenue, selling user data, traditional paid apps or a buyout.
To determine which is best for your app, in this strategy, we will know what the market expects to pay and how they usually pay for similar services. During the roadmap stage, we will also consider at what point you can begin monetizing your app. Sometimes, charging money at the beginning is a great way to get honest feedback on the products.
Step 3 – Storyboard
With the use cases you created in step 1, we create rough sketches of the idea with template tiles. This is the first visual representation of all the screens described in the use cases. This step will help uncover hidden usability issues. We will also be integrating the payment flow in the storyboard so that we can find the best way to capture payments.
Step 4 – Feasibility Analysis
We will have to involve the development team at this point because this is where we determine if your idea is feasible, can be successful and what expectations you should have for time and budget. If some features require a bigger budget and more time than allowed, we can always recommend several ways to work around it.
Step 5 – Research & Compare Competitors Marketing Activities
Once we know the idea is feasible, we have to plan on bringing users to the apps. The best place to start is by looking at your direct and indirect competitors.
There are two main objectives of this process.
First, we want to learn as much as you can for free because making mistakes is time consuming, frustrating, and expensive.
It’s never the case that you can nail the approach to provide the value of your app on the first try, so we should always learn from your competitors’ success and failures to save yourself a few iterations.
Second, we have to understand the difficulty to compete in the market. Are there enough looking for a new solution? Is there some niche problem not being tackled by the existing options?
Understand the market and the offerings in the market allows us to refine your solution further for meeting the market’s needs. If your idea is new (which is rarely the case in 2017), we can study other “first to market” apps and see how they introduced their product to the market
As we gather data on your competitors, we can see their app features. We can find out which feature brought them the most growth and which feature did not. Based on this information, we can also set priorities on the features based on the potential return.
Here are the things that we will look at when we research your competitors:
- Number of Installs
See if the market wanted this solution. Even though your competitors may have crappy screenshots and crappy user interface design, if the solution is needed, people will still download it. Hence, you shouldn’t use “my apps will look better” as the only reason to support this investment.
- Ratings & Reviews
See if people like these apps and what they like/dislike about them. People usually leave bad reviews if the apps do not perform to their expectation. This is a great resource to learn what is needed for your future apps.
- Company History
See how the apps have changed over time and what sort of challenges they faced along the way. Try to see what they did to grow their user base. We can always see this by looking at the past versions of the app.
- App Store Optimization Audit (ASO)
- Keyword & Description Research
As part of this Audit, we find the top keywords that we should include in our app store listing. We will be doing keyword research twice. Once for the Apple App Store, and another time for the Google Play Store.
- App Icon Analysis
App icons are one of the most important factors to increase click through. Unfortunately, a pretty icon doesn’t mean a thing! You need to understand how this icon will stand vs others in the same industry as well as whether your icon connects with your target users.
- Screenshot Analysis
Your app store listing doesn’t have many factors for optimization. Once people land on your app store page, the first thing they see is the screenshots. In this audit, we want to find out what messages should the screenshots carry and how they are conveyed.
- App Store Localization
If your target users go beyond the English-speaking world, we must cater your brand communication and language to each audience segment.
A “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t work because 72% of the world prefer to use their native language when shopping, even if they’re fluent in English.
- Keyword & Description Research
- Outside Promotion
Successful apps always have use external digital marketing channels to bring traffic to their app store listing. From our website strategy blog, you can see that we are able to find out how your competitors are getting traffic to the app store.
Step 6 – Audience Definition & Research
Knowing your audience will help us identify the key features your apps must include. You’ll need to make sure you include whatever it is that your target audience will want to be able to do on your applications. It is also a way to help refine the go to market strategy because different people have different ways to look for new and useful apps.
Step 7 – Determine what devices you are building your app for
An app will have different requirements depending on its platform (iOS, Android, etc.) as well as the format (smartphone, tablet, wearables, etc.). At The Coding Bull, we recommend native development for an optimal user experience and the ease to scale your business.
Step 8 – Go To Market Strategy Recommendations
This step in the mobile app strategy is about identifying and recommending solutions to the challenges you will face when marketing your app.
If you are working with The Coding Bull, you will have a reliable app design and app development team. Driving app adoption becomes your priority.
There are thousands of beautiful and useful apps that just go unused. In this step, we will help you predict what your marketing budget and marketing strategy will be. In cases, like internal-use apps or B2B apps, you might not even need marketing.
Step 9 – Development Roadmap
The final step of the strategy is constructing your app’s roadmap. The goal of this process is to understand what your app could one day become and how to get to it. This step will also help you to know what the apps need to be successful on day one, Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
During this step, we will put all of the features that we discussed in all the previous steps, and then begin ranking these items by priority. We will consider questions like:
- What are your app’s core functionalities?
- What is needed to gain users?
- What are the features that we think the users might want?
To facilitate the prioritization process, we will let you know the budget required for each feature, so you have one more tangible factor to consider besides the market information that we provide.
Once the priorities are set for the features, we will know the project cost as well as the project timeline.