A guide to making an app for iPhone, Android, tablets and more and distributing it the right way for your business in 2015.
By Adam Friedman, Founder and CEO.
There is no debate – the future is clearly mobile.
In fact at the end of 2013 there were 1.9 billion of them in use around the world; that number is expected to continue to grow to 2.6 billion at the end of 2014, and a whopping 5.6 billion by 2019.[i]
So chances are if you’re reading this you have a smartphone or tablet, and so do your customers and staff.
The rise of the app continues: In July 2013 Android announced that 50 billion apps have been downloaded from their Google Play store and in October 2013, Apple announced that they’d had 60 billion total apps downloaded.[ii]
So if apps are so great, why doesn’t everyone have their own already?
It’s a great question and the answer is simpler than you might think.
So, today let’s debunk a few myths about apps and demonstrate why something that could be great for your business is now a good idea, when done correctly.
Listening to the market
Since starting Shareable Apps a few years ago, we’ve been having conversations with business leaders throughout a wide range of industries around the world. From banking and finance, to fast-moving consumer goods, to tourism, entertainment, content, government, small to medium businesses, you name it – we keep hearing the same story:
Everyone wants an app for their business, and they fall into one of two categories:
Those who’ve tried (and failed expensively), and those who’ve been too afraid to start.
The reasons for this are simple.
Most businesses are good at their core business (making pizzas, selling life insurance, and so on). What they’re not good at is software development, complex software project management or being an expert in mobile marketing.
Nor should they be.
However, when done right, an app should make it easier for you to do business.
How about a nice drink of Kool-Aid?
This is the reality of the situation:
Of the 1.2M apps available for iPhone, Android, and Windows, 700K are zombie apps! That is, they’ve not reached sufficient downloads or been updated since having been placed in the app stores. That means more than half the apps out there are languishing in obscurity, having failed to reach their target audiences.[iii]
This also means real time and money has gone into making these products that has not been returned to the app owners.
How much money? Well, research indicates that typical app development costs look like this:
Business App Development Costs:[iv]
- Simple Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $50,000 (+/- 20%)
- Medium Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $100,000 (+/- 20%)
- Complex Enterprise iPad App Development Cost: $150,000 (and up)
Plus the costs to develop the same app for iPhone, Android, etc can come in at over $360,000
Sounds like good business for developers. But is it good business for you?
What app developers won’t tell you
There are plenty of developers and companies who’ll offer to make you an app.
The first question you should have is whether their motivations are aligned with yours. Making an app is not enough – you need a distribution strategy to ensure it reaches your desired audience.
Here are some of the pitfalls with traditional app development:
Not reaching everyone
Housing your app in an app store is no guarantee that your intended audience will get it. Additional money and time needs to be spent telling people to go to the app store and download your app. This is like building a 5 star hotel in the desert.
If you’re building a native business app and want to reach the widest audience you’ll need to be prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for an iOS and Android version as well as for Windows, Blackberry and tablets (if your budget allows).
And if you’re selling content, stores also take significant revenue shares that, frankly, are better sitting on your bottom line than theirs.
Bad reviews and competitors
One bad review for your app in a store and people stop downloading. That review could even have been written by a competitor. You have no control over this.
Also if your competitors have apps, they are visible to your audience as well. You could be spending lots of money and helping them instead of yourself.
Traditional development can take months and is multiplied with each different target platform you add. Then you have to wait for approval before your app is published. Sometimes that approval is never forthcoming.
This is your app for your business. Why allow someone else to vet and control your content?
What happens when there is an update to phone operating systems? You have to re-engage your developers to make it compatible again. More time and money spent, and now you’re supporting multiple versions in the market. Then how do you update your content?
Afraid? Relax – Shareable Apps solve these problems. Here’s how:
Reaching more people
With Shareable Apps’ unique distribution functionality, your app can be shared via SMS, email and social media directly with your database. And because it’s cross platform, your app works on all popular smartphones and tablets including IOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows phone and more out of the box. Plus because it’s shareable, it can be sent from phone to phone, blasted out in bulk, and gives you the ability to go viral as people begin to share your app with colleagues, peers, friends etc.
Low entry cost
You can make a Shareable App yourself right now for free in just minutes. Then to publish your app and start sharing, you pay just $99 per month. The risk of expensive development has been removed and you can get a mobile presence instantly for your business at the price of a coffee a day.
Easy to manage
Shareable Apps come with their own content management dashboard that allows you to rapidly and easily update your app and content. The apps themselves update automatically on all of your users devices too, so they never have to go back and download an update – what they see is always current.
More effective communications
As a communication channel, Shareable Apps is one of the fastest and most direct ways to market your brand or deliver your message. All components of your campaign can be added to or fed through the app and it can be updated and published in real time. You can let your database know about your latest update by bulk sending SMS (which is how banks and airlines do it) or emails.
Instant Response and Customer Loyalty
Shareable Apps enable two-way communications so your business can connect with your audience directly with special offers, rewards, information, feedback opportunities etc. encouraging greater customer engagement and loyalty.
No special skills are required, it’s really quick and easy to use, so once you have your content ready, it’s a snap building your app, in fact it’s actually quite fun.
Not only can you get your Shareable App out to your intended audience and further, you can see where your audience are, what device they’re looking at your app from, how many times they’ve visited or shared your app etc. So you can measure the effectiveness of your app campaign.
There are a whole lot more benefits and cool features our customers love to use, and our product is evolving all the time.
We use it ourselves – in fact you can see this article and other news about our products in our own Shareable App at http://shareableapps.com/demo
Got a question about how Shareable Apps can help your business? Contact us to find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org