Mobile applications have become powerful tools for businesses, and can be used as a direct link to the customer, or internally to streamline operations. So, while coming up with an app idea is relatively easy, it’s not quite as easy to develop a realistic budget that will enable you to achieve your goals.
Successfully developing an app is all about careful planning. There are many things to consider if you want to concoct a budget that is realistic and will give you a suitable or poignant idea of what to expect. Here are five essential aspects you need to look at when working out the costs.
Deciding on the Platform for Your App
The first thing you need to decide when you start working on a mobile app is what platform you will be developing it for. You have a choice of:
- Native apps written for specific operating systems such as Android or iOS
- Web-based apps which include server-side mobile web sites
- Hybrid apps, which are combine native and web-based apps
The platform you choose will depend on a number of factors, including your target audience and how you plan to monetize the app. For example, if you are selling high-end services, studies show that Apple users tend to have greater spending potential, so developing for iOS might be in your best interests.
You also need to look at location, because in some countries Apple isn’t quite as popular, which might make Android a better option. If your audience is relatively equally split among the different platforms, it might be a good idea to develop a cross-platform app or to develop separate apps for each platform. While the first option is more cost-effective, it might restrict the app’s potential as you won’t be able to take full advantage of the functionality of each platform.
Analytics are Critical to Your App’s Success
Many businesses try to cut costs by not investing in analytics, which is a mistake. Yes, you can expect to invest up to 20% of your budget in analyzing your app based on market potential and effectiveness, but it will save you much more in the long run because you’ll be certain you are putting out an app that works well and that people will want to use.
Custom or Standard Mobile App Design
You can opt for a standard interface for your mobile app, which is cheaper than getting a custom app designed. However, it also limits what you can do with your app. Furthermore, you can’t take advantage of branding, which is critical for a mobile app that you are producing for your customers.
Generally, a mobile app with a custom design is more effective as visual elements can be used to create a connection with your audience. It’s important for your audience to be able to immediately identify the app as being your business’ app for branding purposes but also to build loyalty. Also, a standard design can do more harm than good as customers might feel you didn’t think they were worth the investment.
So, you have to weigh the costs against potential return on investment when deciding whether to go with a custom or standard design, while remembering that the benefits of a custom design might not necessarily translate into dollar amounts but into a more powerful relationship with customers.
Verifying Quality and Testing Your Mobile App
This is one area where you don’t want to skimp on the investment because you can’t put an app out that contains errors or doesn’t work properly. Thus, you need to invest enough time and money—note that the costs are minimal—in ensuring that your app truly is ready for launch and all errors have been corrected.
Make sure to test the app on different platforms and with different users to ensure proper operation as well as ease-of-use.
Marketing Your App
Last but in no way least, you need to consider the marketing costs. Some people choose to wait to develop a marketing strategy until after their app has been developed. This is the wrong approach because certain elements of your app’s design could depend on the marketing strategy, which means higher costs if you have to go back and change aspects of an already-developed app.
There are plenty of free methods you can use to market your app, but investing in getting the word out there and convincing people it will be useful to them will significantly increase your ROI. After all, the longer you wait to get your app in your customer’s hands, the more money you are leaving on the table. And you do not want to be kicking yourself repeatedly for that mistake!
Photo Credit: Tax Credits