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So you think you want an app?

Business Life 08-04-2017

Web expert Shaz Memon explains where apps fit into the business mix.

Often when I take on a new business client, they request an app custom built for their brand. Sometimes they don’t even know what sort of app they want, or what the app should do. They just want an app, because that’s what companies do these days!

Well, that’s not exactly true. If you don’t have a firm idea of what your app should do and what problem it’s solving, it can come across as superfluous and even silly. I spend so much time explaining under which circumstances it’s appropriate to build an app, I figured I should just commit these thoughts to writing.

An app is a product, not just marketing

A lot of businesses these days release an app just because they see so many of the things. After all, Coca-Cola has no less than 20 apps on the Apple App Store today. If it’s good for them, it must be good for you too, right?

Sure, if your app catches on and goes viral, everyone will know your company’s name. However, if your app isn’t fun, or useful, or interesting, then it will be ignored. Even worse, it could turn into a joke. Either way, you’ve spent time and resources building something that isn’t helping your business in the slightest.

Each and every one of those 20 Coca-Cola apps has a unique hook or functionality that makes it a pleasure to use, whether it’s a game, informational app, or fun social toy.

Without that firm idea of how your app is useful to the client, and not just to you as a marketing tool, then it will fail.

Can and will enough people use your app?

In apps as in all aspects of business, it pays to think big up front. Plan for your app to go viral. Plan for the best case scenario, in which you reach the largest possible market.

The concept of the app needs to be one with a broad enough appeal to reach thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people depending on the price and target market. If the app relies on servers, there needs to be enough capacity or potential capacity to handle all those people.

This is a marketing puzzle as well as a technical one. How will you reach all your potential users? How will you harness social media to spread the word?

Apps are expensive

They can be worth it! But they’re expensive.

Carefully consider all aspects of your app development, marketing, and support. If you have contracted a third party development house, make sure to stay on top of communications with them to keep abreast of costs and concerns. It’s entirely likely that the entire process will take more time and cost more money than you imagined, unless you are already an experienced developer who has been through all this before.

Apps are an integral part of our modern digital lives, and anyone who has a great app idea can and should get it out on the market. Just be sure to carefully plan and consider ahead of time, and you’ll set yourself up for success.

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