Written together with Thomas Botton, Product Owner at Liip specialized in the development of mobile applications.
Text initially published on the Liip Blog.
Everyone wants a mobile app that people will own, love and use every day. Before you jump in, ask yourself, and your team, these 3 basic questions to avoid the most common mistakes. This is our guide to help you focus on your strategy and make sure that you invest in a mobile app effective for your business.
1 – What is your objective? – Strategize and test
Do you want a mobile app, because during a meeting, the CEO/CMO/Head of Marketing or whoever proposes ideas you have to follow said ‘we should have one’?
Or because a mobile app seems to be a symbol of innovative, modern or digital enterprises, you want one? Maybe because an app is the symbol of your enterprise taking on the digital turn, you need one?
It is time to rethink.
You should not ‘decide’ to have a mobile app. A mobile app should not be a ‘one shot’, it should be part of a marketing mix, which means, it belongs to a strategy.
Start by focusing on the needs of your business and identify the blockers in the customers’ journey. Ask yourself, what added-value would this app offer your customers. If it is a mere duplication of the content of your website, you should not start developing one.
An app needs a user centric design or is meant to fail. Make sure that the objectives of your mobile app are as clearly as possible defined. Skipping this step is taking the risk of developing something useless and/or having to modify it afterwards.
Keep in mind that the further you are in the project, the more expensive it is to modify. Investing time at the beginning of a project to strategize or, in the best scenario, even test with real users the first wireframes is not wasted time.
2 – Who and where are your customers?
Your app will be effective at its best if it answers your customers need. It is essential to know them and their behavior and where you find them. Then, you will maximise your targeting.
If your product or service uses a specific feature available on smartphones, for instance a live positioning system, like Uber, you will obviously launch it via an app as it will provide a better user experience. However, you should coordinate your app launch with a web strategy.
Advertisement on the web will allow you various forms of visibility (SEO/SMO) only partially available for mobile apps. Google recently started to display apps to download as search results, but only via searches carried out on smartphones.
If your product or service is not specifically based on an app and could be launched on the web, you should prioritise the web. The web allows broader forms of advertising (SEO/SMO) and to reach a wider public.
3 – What is your domain?
We identified five main domains that apps fall into and five inspiring examples:
- A business app addressing a daily issue: for instance the app Houston which allows bus drivers to not only communicate with each other but also with the central communication system (as it is an internal app, it is not available to the public),
- An app for “grand public” addressing a daily life issue: for instance FairtiQ, allowing to easily buy tickets,
- An app for all channels : like an app for UEFA.com, providing push infos and highlights,
- A m-commerce app: like QoQa,
- An app designed to increase customer engagement and loyalty : Politbox is allowing live content creation during television broadcast, linking polls participants to TV speakers,
- A game: like Patchie, the fun therapy app for children suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Ask for advices
While you are in the process of deciding to invest in an app, do not hesitate to ask for professional advices. A simple strategy workshop might help you precise your project, objectives and target. When you start the development with an agency, it should be as clearly defined as possible. Investing in a few hours of consulting will bring you valuable targeted advices.