Developing an app strategy in 9 simple steps
Developing an app strategy may mean hitting the ball out of the park or a terrible failure. Let's figure it out step by step.
Developing an app strategy may make the difference when building for mobile. A well-informed plan makes the difference between hitting the ball out of the park and a terrible failure. Both opposites are too close to each other.
Out of the more than five million applications published for Android and Apple, most remain inactive, and potential users are totally unaware of their existence. And those which get downloaded will have lost over 70% of users by the first trimester. Even considering that consumers downloaded 204 billion apps worldwide in 2019—and that number continues to climb– there are signs of deceleration in the US market.
Mobile internet usage keeps rising while desktop internet stays approximately the same. Mobile time usage has surpassed desktop time and is about to double it. As of 2021, 69% of all US digital media time comes from mobile apps.
In any case, that does not directly translate into app usage. More than 50% of smartphone users in the US download zero new mobile apps per month, according to Statista. Why is that? Because users spend 50% of their time in one app and over 97% in their top 10 apps, according to ComScore.
Which are these top apps today? TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, Netflix, Maps, Gmail, Spotify. So, essentially, large social network platforms—you know, the ones that actually take most of our time off…
To be fair, this is only looking at it from the perspective of social media. Today more than ever, businesses need apps. Whether it is an app where you can scan barcodes for inventory or do data analysis, it is there. The same is true for engineering. There are still so many real-world engineering problems to be solved and technologies to be created, so the potential is limitless.
So, taking the state of the market today, before putting a new product up in the app store, there are two concepts to account for in the path to success. First, the app must add value compared with what is available in the market. Next, a strategy should be in place for the period after the app rolls out to become known on a massive scale and avoid falling off the radar and losing usefulness in the short run.
Developing an app strategy in 8 simple steps
#1 Set up a goal
Having a good idea is not enough to guarantee the success of a new app but just the beginning. Take into account that the present context is more competitive than ever. Indeed, most people can't conceive their daily routine without a smartphone, but any new application should provide a solution and service to the already existing and competitive universe. The purpose and mission of the app will define the success or failure of its mobile strategy.
#2 Assessing the needs
Is any application out there covering these needs? What is the audience looking for? A competition and user requirements analysis is the validation step that will prove the existence of a market and demand. Using research methods from the design thinking strategy can make a difference. Don't be shy: it is essential to ask people about their needs.
Be sure to collect information to make a SWOT matrix (no, that is not the next Star Wars installment). SWOT refers to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, a process of initial analysis before development, and a chance to revise concepts before moving on.
#3 The blueprint
It is crucial to put the idea for the app on paper, even if it is a basic sketch. Pointing out its main functionalities should be enough to validate it with collaborators or partners. The most important thing here is providing a visual of the main app features for the developer to get a grasp of the idea.
For this, our comparison between prototypes and wireframes may be useful at this point in the roadmap.
#4 Pricing plan
Choosing an appropriate pricing plan can make all the difference. Companies opt from a range of options: free download from the beginning, subscription model, initial download fee, and/or in-app purchases.
At Awkbit, we play by the numbers. Today, more than 90% of the apps on mobile stores are free, but that does not mean companies do not collect revenue. We often suggest offering a freemium version: free downloads to build your audience and then upgrade on demand.
In any case, we recommend a tailored approach. When trying to reach a market niche, the best option might as well be a subscription model because of the low market cap.
#5 Begin the design process
This is the time to start developing the app. That does not only imply working on the aesthetics but also the functionality and user experience.
We have discussed these steps in more detail in our article about MVPs. At this stage, most companies have both a design and development team ready to go, even if it is only to consult about potential issues.
Building the front and back end together while also thinking about the user interface and experience through a multidisciplinary team can make all the difference in the long run.
#6 Test the prototypes
Ideally, the wireframes will undergo critical examination from people who can provide professional insight. Those who test the first app mock-up should be carefully selected, as this is the last review stage before going into production.
Here is where the Quality Assurance team and software testers enter the field—nothing escapes their eyes. Testing is a critical part of developing an outstanding product. It is the difference between publishing a draft or a well-polished product.
#7 Building and new tests
Once the application's functionalities have been defined and tested, the following can take place: finishing up the back end, polishing the UI design skins, and defining the necessary databases, log-in information, and storage solutions, among others.
Before hitting the market, the app undergoes one final testing cycle. We know it is a hassle, but following agile software development and DevOps work culture ensures a much better-finished product through iteration.
#8 Marketing and communication strategy
Your marketing and communication strategy should be based on your target audience and their needs. Where to begin? Pick a name that is easy to remember. Set up a landing page and start collecting emails that you can turn into downloads at release time.
Claim and leverage your social media accounts, nothing like having the same username across all platforms. You can drive users from Twitter, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, blogs, and forums. This is a great way to create a buzz even before your app launches.
When launching a product for a niche audience, you should spend some time on Reddit. That is the place where the most enthusiastic users are (I know it firsthand as a D&D fan myself). But be wary; just profiting from an online community to sell your product is frowned upon. Make sure you come with a giver mindset and offer something of value.
#9 Launch the app and make it visible!
Android enables launching the app and performing the checkups afterward. IOS reserves the right to review and approve the application before launch. It is time to make your app visible following the established marketing plan.
Here is where everything you prepared beforehand pays off. The amount of dedication and care a team puts into an app increases the chances of success. In any case, this is where hazard comes in. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. No project has an assured chance of success, some factors go beyond any control, but you can rest assured that you did your best.
At Awkbit, we believe that a well-thought-out strategy can make all the difference to make any project come true. Success combines preparation and opportunity, so we put all our effort into perfecting our processes and being up to date with the latest trends and events. Contingency can be a blocker or a chance; we go for the second.
Do you want to strategize the best possible plan for success?