App dev companies are great. They know how to code apps and, as a business looking to reach a broader market base by going mobile, you feel you need one.
Fortunately it isn’t hard to find an app development company. In fact, they’re two a penny. Do a Google search, hit up a freelance website like Elance.com or get a recommendation from a friend, it’s easy enough. But the reality of this decision is that hiring a typical app development company could be the biggest mistake you make on your quest to build a profitable, successful app.
Intrigued? You should be – because the following advice is going to save you heaps of time, bags of money and whole lot of heartache.
Okay, so the usual scenario goes something like this. You search for an affordable app development company. You find one. They build the app. They deliver the app. You pay for it. You feel happy. They feel great. Job done.
Great. You now have an app that does what you want it to do, or at least what you thought you wanted it to do. But sadly this is where the problems start. Because this is the point when you realise that you don’t have a clue how to do the following:
- Effectively position your app amongst millions of others
- Achieve optimal App Store placement following submission
- Achieve broad marketing exposure
- Drive user acquisition, engagement and retention
- Leverage your app to promote other products and services
- Successfully monetize the app to achieve a positive ROI
There’s more, but you get the picture.
These sorts of questions will help set your app on the right trajectory before any development begins, but we’re guessing your build-to-spec developer didn’t mention any of these. So, ipso facto, the truth of the matter is that you don’t want a development company at all. What you need is a full-service app agency: one that can leverage its app marketing knowledge and strategic partnerships during the development phase to help create a better, more marketable product with potentially lucrative monetization mechanics.
You see, development is just one step in the process. Too often companies blindly devise a spec, and then provide it to a generic software house that obediently builds and delivers. But this shortsighted approach more often than not results in failure. Why? Because there is nothing more valuable than having an experienced hand to provide you with direction and knowledge during the conceptualization process, and help you test and validate your ideas before executing.
In other words, you need an agency that will say things like, “Have you thought about taking it in this direction?” Or, “We’ve seen great results with other clients who took this route instead”, rather than a company that is simply keen to rush the execution, deliver the final product and move on to the next deep-pocketed client.
The potential for success is broadened from the outset when you hire a full-service app agency like Appsynth (shameless self plug, yes, but come on, it is our blog!). Yes, we do offer a basic service whereby we are given a clear-cut spec from the client and we simply do the build.
However the majority of our clients prefer us to be involved in the early stages of conceptualisation and planning because it’s conducive to creating a better final product. In addition to this initial strategy consultation, we usually handle the launch and on-going marketing efforts to maximize the potential of the overall project.
7 Ways We Differ to Typical Development Shops
- We’re a creative agency, not simply an app development firm, so you won’t need to worry if you’re short on ideas. In fact, you need only know your brand vision and long-term company goals; from there we’ll help you conceptualise an app with huge market potential.
- We speak to target users to better understand their behaviours, problems and needs to help ensure you are creating something your audience truly wants, rather than risk wasting time, money and effort building a misaligned product.
- We conduct market research to better understand the competitive landscape. We determine which apps are your closest competitors and identify the features required for you to be on par, and what features we can add or improve upon in order to differentiate and surpass the competition.
- We understand monetization. We build the app with this in mind, choosing the angle best suited to your app’s niche, marketing model and brand. For example, effective use of paywalls in freemium applications, getting the right balance of content in Lite & Pro versions of the same app, and knowing when and how to present upsell options and optimal placement of in-app ads are a few of the decisions that should be made BEFORE development begins.
- We understand that many businesses have multiple products/services, and with a captive audience your app is the perfect platform to cross-sell these. Cross-selling is an essential tool for publishers with multiple apps too, and a well-planned cross-selling module is something we seek to hardcode into relevant apps.
- We help take care of the marketing launch, helping to target the types of users most likely to engage with your app. We carefully consider market placement during the development phase, so by the time the launch date comes around, we have developed a strategic, integrated marketing plan built parallel to the app itself.
- Finally, and very importantly, we support clients with the on-going analysis and optimization needed to successfully manage an app post-launch. Once in the market, an app must be constantly monitored and tweaked to ensure it continues to live up to user expectations. An app should be viewed as a living entity that evolves over time, not a one-off build that is “done” on submission to the App Store. On the contrary, an app’s release is merely the beginning.
Don’t make the mistake of developing ornamental code that sits on your device forever representing a “nice idea” you once had. Don’t hire an app dev company. Hire a full-service app agency that will help you execute your vision from beginning to end.