11-2- Mobile applications

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Mobile applications

– There are many reasons why companies should, or should not, build a mobile application.A mobile app must provide significant value to your users, especially because they require a lot of time, money, and effort to develop. Nowadays, mobile optimized web experiencescan often offer the same value as an application, so you have to be pretty confident that an app will bring added value to your marketing efforts. Now apps do have several pros. They add additional exposure in new markets by being listed in the Apple or Google marketplaces, and they provide you with a new call to action for your advertising.

In this case, a download or install button. Plus, because they live on the device of your customer, they’re a constant reminder to engage and interact with your brand. You can use apps that are directly related to your business, or you can create a supporting app that draws attention to your brand. Geico, a car insurance company, pulled off a great example of this. They have an app that allows you to manage your account, pay your bill, and view your ID cards, but they took mobile applications to a new level. Leveraging on the silliness of one of their commercials, they launched a different mobile app called BroStache.

The app allowed you to try on different mustaches on yourself or your friend. It was well designed, funny, and it fit with the whimsical mature of Geico’s image. They branded it with their Geico logo and saw impressive viral growth. As you decide to explore the mobile app landscape, decide what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your app. If your app is just an extension of your business, then first determine if it allows a customer to interact with your product or service in a more meaningful way than your website.

If it doesn’t, there might not be a lot of value there. Mobile applications require a lot of planning. You should create a document, called a scope of work, and outline everything the application will need to do. Get really detailed, as you’ll want to list every requirement. I recommend thinking simple, though. Your options, design, and interface should be clean,effective, and look good. Start with a small prototype, or a minimum viable product. Don’t try to pack all your features in at once. Instead, pick the must have features and start with those.

Always consider how people interact with mobile devices, too. They’re small, so make sure the features you’re adding work on limited screen sizes. Now, app development can be costly, especially if you’re looking to put your application on multiple devices, like the iPhone and Android. Finding a mobile application developer, though, is much like finding a web developer. Do your research, get multiple quotes, and stick with a person or team who has demonstrated results that you like. Now, there are some self service solutions for building your own mobile applications.

Explore them on your own and decide if they’re a right fit for you. A mobile application can serve as a standalone marketing effort, a tool to help convert customers, or as an extension of your business. It’s one more resource that you can use to gain even more exposure with your online marketing. However, it’s not a necessary component of your strategy, and for many businesses, this is something you can do without.

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