You need an app. You HAVE to have one. Right?
You’ve seen the advertisements for other businesses’ apps. Download now! Only on the app! App exclusive!
But before you set out to create an app, ask yourself these 7 questions. An app can be an incredibly powerful tool – if it makes sense for your business.
1. Is there a market for this app?
Let’s get the most important one out of the way first. Who is asking for this? If you’re going to spend the money and resources building an app, what’s on the other side? You hope it’s a lot of downloads and increased engagement. Before you start to develop, be able to answer this: “People will download this app because ______________.” If that blank space is hard to fill, you should examine your strategy.
2. What will my app do that isn't currently being done?
Answering this question can help answer the previous one. A market is going to form when you meet a demand that isn’t being met. Your app – ideally – should utilize capabilities a smartphone, watch, or tablet has that a laptop doesn’t. For example, if your app involves using voice commands or GPS, it’s likely providing a solution to a problem.
3. What problem does my app solve?
That brings us to: what problem does your app solve? If I can access or do the same things on your mobile site that I can do on your app, it’s superfluous. If your app doesn’t provide a unique technological advantage or solve a specific problem, it may not be worth the investment. Or, you may need to consult with an innovation agency and identify which problem your app can address.
4. Who is going to use my app?
Similar to the market question, this is something you should be able to answer easily before expending resources to create and maintain an app. Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes: are you excited about this app? Would you seek it out? Would you tell your friends? If you can be honest with yourself about those answers, it can save you a world of frustration later.
5. What platform should I develop it on?
This is a complicated question. It is going to depend greatly on what you need your app to do and what your end game is. There are benefits and drawbacks to developing on either Android or iOS. Make sure you do your due diligence before choosing.
6. What legal requirements are there for this specific type of app?
Does your app meet all legal requirements? There are legal issues to consider with app development. This is an important – and overlooked – question to answer before you start developing.
7. How will I make money with or support the ongoing needs of my app?
App development is one thing. App maintenance is another. Supporting your app is going to cost you. Before developing an app, consider how you’ll make a return on your investment. If you plan to charge per download, will that hurt the market? If your app is free to download, will it bring it new customers? Can you attach a sponsor? Be sure you can afford what you’re developing.
These questions are in no way trying to dissuade you from developing an app. Apps can elevate your business and engage an audience in varied and effective ways. Ask yourself these questions to ensure that the app you develop pays off!