10 things to figure out before you start building an app

Posted on September 4, 2017 by Nikhil P Naik

From the cost of creating a mobile app to marketing strategy and testing, it is all about scrutinized planning. Things to consider even before making an app.  

Start planning now to begin making an app in 2 months  

With 4.7 billion smartphone users we can state that literally almost everyone engages with mobile apps. Apps bring both creativity bloom and monetization opportunities. You know it well, at some point you’ve probably had an idea that could be a cool app.

There is a 99% chance that you’re going to hire an expert software engineering agency when you want to build an app. But you can not step blindly into app making process without consequences. So better to be informed and prepared. I’ve made a short cheat sheet of key things to know before making an app.  

  • Market research
  • The cost of making an app
  • Target audience
  • Development partner
  • Timeline
  • The right platform
  • Monetization strategy
  • Best ways to test
  • Marketing strategy
  • Ways to inform people

Let’s elaborate, as each aspect is crucial.

#1 Market research

After you have determined your app idea clearly, researching the market will help find out how really unique your app could be. In reality most of mobile apps don’t meet initial target, or fail in other words. With millions of apps you have to find your niche.

For instance, you want a taxi app. A quick search and you find out about Uber, Lyft, GoGet and others. Then your app has to really be revolutionary. In case of less fierce competition you need to know competitor’s’ strategy, features, etc. You need to know all inside out.

#2 Cost and budget

At the very least the app is going to cost you about $10K to $20K. For a serious commercial application you may even need $100K in store. All the stages of app development demand  money. Look at hourly rates, ask for a quote, set the budget. If the cost and your budget meet,  more or less, go ahead.

#3 Target audience

This is also a part of initial market research and establishing a mobile app business concept. Naturally, it is customers, real people who will be using your app, and a foundation for its future. Questions like who will be using the  app, is it going to help them, what purposes is it going to serve, and so on. The closer you meet those customer expectations, the better chance of catching a ride your app will get.

#4 Development partner

Unless you are a programmer or a designer yourself, you gonna need the help of such experts to build an app. And app engineers are quite expensive. Usually, it takes analysts, UX designers, app developers, project managers, testers to make a proper app. Find a talented software company or a freelancer (your choice), check their rates, see their portfolio. Preferably, you need a reliable partner who will stay on your project even after the app launch, to help with bugs and fixes, or updates.

#5 Timeline

In this regard, you should know that mobile development doesn’t take 1 week. If you have some specific date or event to link the app release to, see carefully to development timeline. After user research you’ll most probably delve into an iterative process with your team. Then quality assurance will come, and marketing efforts, and then updates. Plan it wisely.

#6 The right platform

When you want to make your first app, the common advice is to choose just one platform. Budget restraints and quicker launch make it obvious. Most businesses choose between iOS and Android when starting. Though don’t just assume what phones your customers might be using, check. When decided, master that single platform, make it truly efficient.

#7 Monetization strategy

Now, this is crucial and even if in other articles you see 3 or 5 things to know about app development, pricing must not be ignored. Pricing is balancing between profit and usage. Most of beginner apps start at $1-2 per download. Also remember, that app markets will take away their fee too. But this is just one option. You may also get bigger popularity among users giving your app away for free, but then have in-app purchases or advertisements.

#8 Best ways to test

Testing seems like something after you get a thing. Though it is an absolute must to test an app before it goes public. And that is why you have to consider who will be performing quality assurance, what type of tests is it going to be, etc. You want your app lively, simple and performing nicely. One of the ways to check that is MVP, a kind of draft working version of an app.

#9 Marketing strategy

With millions of apps out there you’ll definitely have to know how to present your product. You may even want to start making chatter before its launch. A proper timing and strategy matters. As a matter of fact, it should start no later than 2-3 weeks prior to release. Marketers often apply A/B testing for conversions, SEO tactics and social media outreach.

#10 Ways to inform people

Here you can be as creative as you wish, but you have to plan this beforehand as well. Because sending out generic emails to tech media outlets will get you nowhere. Sometimes it is better to find the proper person and send a download code along with short announcement. Sometimes demo-videos work, or promotion over Facebook, Instagram.

These simple steps in your mobile app planning will help to make up your mind and business logic for further product development. Good luck!

About the Author Alex VolskiOver 10 years in software engineering, and passion for mobile and augmented reality development. Since 2011 a product manager at ThinkMobiles, now sharing experience and assisting ambitious new business projects.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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