Today’s consumers are inseparable from their smartphones. Developing a mobile app for your startup or small business is a great way to build brand awareness, enhance your online presence, and connect with customers. If you’re ready to build an iOS app, here’s what you should consider:
1. Business objectives
If you have a limited budget, it’s important to focus your resources on app features that’ll move the needle for your business. For example, do you want to establish a thought-leadership position? Generate more leads? Build relationships with customers and increase retention rates? Increase e-commerce sales? Promote in-app purchases? Set clear goals and corresponding KPIs to measure success. From there, you can develop a set of features that will yield the highest ROI and support the growth of your business.
2. Target market
It’s often more cost-effective for startups to gain traction in a niche market before expanding. As such, you should identify a very specific target audience and research the user profile to understand the market demand. This will help you pin down essential features so you can focus your resources. Market research, surveys, and focus groups can give you insights into how to effectively position your app in the market.
3. Brand awareness
A presence in Apple’s App Store can give your startup an opportunity to increase brand recognition by gaining exposure to a larger potential user base. Many consumers prefer to try out an app before they further engage with a brand or make a purchase. Allowing prospects to interact with your brand before making a purchase decision can help build trust. To ensure you’re reaching the right users, name the app and use keywords that are most appealing to your ideal customers.
4. Coding style guide and app structure
Before developing your iOS app, create a system to keep the code uniform, clean, and easy-to-read, which will make future enhancements and maintenance more efficient. A coding style guide determines the style and conventions to follow during the development process. Good app architecture makes the app more testable and understandable, thereby lowering its maintenance cost. An app folder structure helps organize hundreds of source files to make future updates more cost-efficient.
5. iOS app development team
As a startup, you probably don’t have a large in-house IT team. Often times, it’s more cost-efficient to outsource the initial app development by hiring developers who specialize in iOS. To select the right developer(s) for the job, consider the candidates’ experience, expertise, communication skills, and professionalism. Review their portfolios to see if they have developed apps similar to yours and ask for references to make sure you’re working with someone who’s reliable and delivers high-quality work.
6. Deployment and distribution
In order to launch an app, you need the iOS Development and iOS Distribution certificates issued by Apple. For many startups, time is of the essence and delays can cause a cascading impact on timelines. Since it may take some time to get the necessary certificates, plan to obtain them ahead of time. In addition, select the most appropriate distribution model: upload directly to the App Store and make the app available to all iOS users or use Apple’s TestFlight service to do a beta-launch.
7. Marketing and promotion
Every penny counts when you’re running a startup. After you have invested the time and resources in app development, make sure your app reaches the target audience and achieves business objectives. Not to mention, launching an app is an opportunity for a startup to generate some buzz while engaging an audience and customers. As you develop your iOS app, put the marketing plan in motion simultaneously. You can implement tactics such as app store optimization, paid ads, social media marketing, and app store reviews to help drive traffic and increase downloads.
When you look at the demographics of people who use Apple products, iOS users typically have a higher income and education levels. They tend to be more engaged and spend more per app. This makes iOS an attractive platform for startups.
An iOS app offers opportunities to help your startup reach a larger audience, build an online presence, and foster relationships with prospects and customers. By taking a few steps to plan out the process, you can ensure that development will go smoothly and maximize ROI.
Matt Shealy is the President of helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.