In order to stay competitive, a growing number of businesses are investing in mobile technology. But whether you’re a marketing director in want of an app to increase brand awareness, or a CIO looking to invest in an enterprise application to expedite internal processes, there are a number of things you must consider before you hit the ground running.
Creating a mobile app is a strategic decision. If the resulting software fails to make a return on investment, then you could potentially be out tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the app fails to make an impact, then you could leave your employees, clients or customers frustrated – and hurt your brand in the process. In todays mobile-enabled world, a good app can make or break your business, so it is important to dodge the most common pitfalls before you’ve invested too much time and money. Here are five common reasons why many mobile initiatives fail:
1. You never outlined a clear business objective
Your goal should never be simply to “build an app.” Apps exist to fill a need, to provide convenience and virtual mobility solutions to the end user. If you’ve set out to develop an enterprise app, then it ought to be in an effort to achieve specific business objectives, either to make your employees accomplish a specific task more efficiently or to enable a better client experience. If your app is meant to target consumers in a bid to raise brand awareness, it better provide a valuable and engaging solution to your target market.
Strategizing is important. If you embark upon your journey to app creation with a clear idea of what the app is meant to achieve, then not only will you be more likely to succeed, but the process itself will go a lot more smoothly.
2. You tried to do ‘too much.’
A mobile app does not equate to a desktop application, or even a website. If a smartphone is a swiss army knife, then a mobile app is merely a corkscrew – meant to serve a single function, despite being linked to a device that has far more extensive capabilities.
We understand the temptation to seek a one-fix solution to common business problems, but even if your employees have three common impediments to their day-to-day process, make an app that solves only one of them. Apps that are loaded down with too many features become clunky. They are more easily burdened by bugs and require much heftier maintenance in the long-term, and users encounter a steeper learning curve with convoluted applications.
Think of Microsoft’s Office Suite. Imagine if Microsoft had consolidated Word, Excel, Outlook and Power Point into one hefty mobile application; it would be inconvenient and impractical.
Bottom line: the rule of apps is to keep it simple.
3. No one knows about your app.
This one should go without saying, and yet too many developers fail to account for this until long after they’ve uploaded their first build and watched as their download count stagnated.
Do not underestimate the necessity of marketing.
Creating value is only the first step; an app that’s not been promoted will become lost in the sea of over 1,000,000 of its kind hiding behind the app store’s search function. People cannot find it if they do not know what they’re looking for. This applies more to consumer-facing apps than to internal enterprise apps (which need protocol more than promotion), so yes: you will need to market your marketing app. If it exists to build brand loyalty, make sure your customers know about it – either by offering mobile-specific promotions or otherwise providing highly advertised download incentives.
4. It’s just… ugly.
…Or simply average, or otherwise dysfunctional. The point is, pay close attention to UI/UX, because that is what ensures your app is actually used after it’s been downloaded. If the design is poor, or the experience is frustrating, people won’t use it. So you’d better make sure that your brilliant idea isn’t tarnished by blinding colors, too-small buttons or advertisements that encroach upon your app’s content.
5. You never implemented an adequate maintenance plan
It’s not enough to simply bring your application to life; you have to pay your due diligence to ensure that it stays alive. Mobile maintenance is incredibly important – particularly for enterprise applications that need to maintain security compliance standards. Mobile platforms evolve rapidly, and as the operating system that houses your application evolves, so too must your application. Regular debugging, quality testing and feedback monitoring should all be key services offered in even the most basic mobile maintenance plans.
In order to truly benefit from your mobile app, you need to strategize. Knowing how to avoid the most common mistakes will put you ahead of the competition and ensure that you receive an impressive return on investment. If you’re amongst the vast number of business owners seeking to expand their reach into the mobile marketplace, why not start by consulting with the experts? Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.