Apps Archive

Think Again

Apps are everywhere and chances are high that you’re using quite a few of them yourself. Apps are also a great marketing tool and a new channel that allows you to stay in touch with your customers and fans. While they can be incredibly helpful in small business and online marketing, most small business owners don’t even consider creating their own app. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out how inexpensive and easy it is to get your own app up and running. Best of all it doesn’t require you to learn any type of code.

When it comes to creating and launching an app for your business you have two options. You can use app creation software or you can hire a coder to design it for you. Let’s quickly run through the pros and cons of both options so you can decide what’s best for you.

App Creation Software

There are companies out there that create software that helps you build your app. Prices vary, but overall it’s very inexpensive to get started. If you need a standard app that fits into their cookie cutter mould, this is a great way to get started.

The big pros are that it is inexpensive and very fast. You can literally create and launch your app in a day.

The only con is that you’re limited to what the software can do. You’re likely going to be limited on functionality, design, and looks. If you’re looking for a simple app that allows you to launch a punch card loyalty program for your coffee shop for example, this is definitely a great place to start.

Hiring Someone To Create An App For You

Your second option is hiring someone to create an app for you. You can find these people on outsourcing sites like eLance for example. Start by looking at various apps that you like and then come up with a plan for what you want to do. Take it to a few app designers and get some quotes. After checking references and comparing prices, start working with the designer on building the app.

The pros of going this route is that you end up with an individual app that does exactly what you want it to do. You can even make sure the look and feel matches your website. Additionally you can change and improve things down the road.

The big cons are money, and the fact that it takes quite a bit longer to get to a point where you can launch your app. Expect the process to take a couple of months from start to finish.

We live on our mobile phones. We use them to check social media, deposit checks into our checking account, order pizza, and get offers from our favorite stores. Apps are an integral part of our phones and mobile devices. That’s why it’s important for you to have your own app for your small business.

Step 1 – Do Your Research

Start by looking at successful apps that are out there. These can be the apps of your competitors, or various other apps that somehow relate to what you want to do with your own app for your business.

Figure out what you want your app to do and how you can make it useful for your customers and prospects. How can you use your app to get more traffic, drive more business, and help your customers consume the products they have bought? Just start brainstorming and come up with a bunch of ideas and features to work with.

Step 2 – Plotting And Planning

Next it’s time to get serious about plotting and planning your app. Start deciding what key features you want in your app. Get out a pen and paper and start sketching things out. If you’re good at using a program like Photoshop, you can even create a graphical mock-up of what you want the app to look like.

Part of planning will be figuring out how you will get the app created. You can consider using a mobile app builder, or hiring a freelance coder to build it for you. If you’re really ambitious and have a bit of coding background, you can even learn how to do it yourself.

Step 3 – Create The App

Last but not least it’s time to create the app. If you’re using a programmer, start posting your project to a freelance site like eLance or Odesk and find a programmer or coder you want to work with. If you’re using app software play around with it until you get the look and functionality you want. And if you decide to do it yourself, get to work coding.
Once the app is done, test it, make changes as needed and finally upload it to the app store and/or Google play store. Promote it to your own list and get some feedback on how usable it is.
There you have it – creating your own app in three easy steps. Doesn’t this sound like something you can do for your business?

“There’s an App for that”. – Why not make sure that one of those apps we all love to install and use on our smart devices helps you stay in touch with your customers and your target market.

Customer Support Via The App

A simple thing you can add to just about any app is to make it easy to get in touch with you and get good customer support. For example, if you have a help or FAQ section on your website already, add it to your app, make it searchable, and add a way to contact you for support if the content doesn’t solve the customer’s issue.

Depending on your business, you can also automate certain tasks that otherwise would be handled by you or your customer support person. For example, if you offer personal coaching, all the coaching materials and assignments could be part of the app. Your client can work through them there without you having to send the files each week.

If you’re running a small hotel or B&B, consider allowing customers to check out via the smartphone app. You don’t have to keep the front desk staffed at all times and save on man hours.

Tools And Tutorials To Make The Most Of What You’re Selling

Help your customers make the most of what they’ve ordered from you by offering tools and tutorials through your app. Use the app as a tool to help them consume the content or products. How that will look will vary from business to business. Brainstorm some ideas and see what can easily be implemented in your mobile app.

Don’t forget to look at existing content on your site, users guides etc. that could be repurposed. A lot of the blog posts, user guides, white papers, or short reports you’ve written for your business can find a new purpose and a new home in your app.

Make Use Of Smartphone Technology

Smart phones are amazing devices that can do all sorts of things aside from making phone calls. Use that to your advantage. Use the location function and GPS to give easy directions from the user’s location to your store. Use the camera to make it easy for customers to report broken merchandise, or have them show you instead of describe the problem they are having assembling your product.

Use the smart phone capabilities and your app to get personalized messages to your app users. Send them a note on their birthday, give them a count-down alert on a special deal, or offer them a special coupon to use this weekend.

Once you start to get creative and think outside the box, you’ll come up with all sorts of ideas for your app. Write them down, talk to your app developer, and see what can be implemented.

Smartphone Apps Secrets > Apps Ebook

Posted October 8, 2015 By Callie

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