Practically every company has PDF files, whether they are catalogs, brochures, event schedules, reviews, pricing lists, reports or white papers. PDF files are the result of time-consuming cooperation between marketing and design departments. They require a lot of resources, and it’s nice that you can both print them out and distribute them online via links and websites. However, can you use them for mobile marketing?
Mobile products—and especially those introduced by independent developers—usually don’t have good marketing budgets. In fact, only 5-10% of all mobile apps have a mobile marketing strategy. But at the end of the day, why do you need a marketing plan? Making one sounds like it would take a lot of effort and time. But that’s not the case at all. Marketing plans are only as long as they have to be to synthesize the marketing elements, multiplying your chances for mobile success. A plan is a way to describe your path to a bigger sales volume. Sure, there are several cases of mobile apps that won customers’ hearts without a mobile marketing strategy, but these are the products that shot to the top right in the beginning of the App Store era. But things are a little different now. Like Thomas Jefferson said, the harder you work, the luckier you’re going to get.
Mobile technologies can be used in various ways. Big brands that develop other products and services can still use mobile apps for business to attract the attention of digitally advanced audiences. Despite the common stereotype, it doesn’t necessarily mean that only users from developed countries become engaged. Developing countries also show high levels of smartphone intervention due to decreasing mobile device costs and the expansion of the mobile Internet.
You probably know a lot about mobile marketing using texts, but today I’d like to emphasize the use of mobile apps for business to strengthen a brand, increase coverage, or boost customer engagement through the longer sessions that are typical for mobile apps. While these mobile apps are usually free, some of them also help grow sales because they improve order processing either by collecting customers’ contact info or providing customers with forms they can fill out to order products or services directly. The most advanced apps also offer mobile payments but this area still needs work to become perfect. Most users are more familiar and comfortable with desktop payments.
Analyzing mobile app usage is essential to get a better picture of your client’s interests, hobbies, preferences, and behaviors in general. Analytics data will help you make decisions that are more efficient for your current market conditions. Mobile app analytics are enabled through a short code that an analytical company installs in your mobile app. This code allows you to gather information about your users’ target actions. You can learn who uses your mobile app as well as when and how they use it, which can help you launch better advertising campaigns, send clear marketing messages, improve your mobile app features, or segment your audience into particular user groups. But exactly what can you measure?
The first step to creating your mobile app production budget is to define and quantify the mobile app development costs. As with any other product, these costs can be divided into two categories: fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs almost never change over a given time period and are the same no matter how much or how little product development is done. The cost of leasing office space for the period of mobile app development or purchasing the MacBooks you’ll use for development are two examples of fixed costs.
Variable costs vary with the workload. In development, an important variable expense is the cost of the outside app developer, which can vary from $70 to as much as $300 an hour and depends on the complexity of your project. You can hire or contract with a developer and subsequently discover that your great new tech monkey doesn’t actually have the skills, qualifications, or experience needed to complete the job the way you expected. Or it happens that the developer makes a mistake planning the project, and it takes 250 hours of work rather than the projected 200 hours. This is why it’s reasonable to inflate your calculated mobile app development costs by 20 percent, especially if you hire outside developers. It is not a big difference, but if you find you have to increase expenditures, it won’t be an unpleasant surprise and you’ll already have the budget approval.
Why do enterprises go mobile? The well-known motivation is to build closer relationships with customers. Another important one, empowering internal communications, is frequently overlooked, however. This area is especially important in healthcare, where communications form the cornerstone for preserving health and saving lives, especially regarding the immediate availability of information that enables speedy reactions in crisis situations.
Healthcare mobile enterprise solutions can interconnect patients, sales reps, physicians, pharmacists, and other industry stakeholders in a convenient, user-friendly way. Indeed, the adoption of mobile apps creates opportunities for healthcare organizations to benefit in multiple ways.
I’ve already discussed the average profits web developers generate with mobile apps in my mobile app market review last year. Today I’d like to address the subject of mobile app pricing. How do you define the final price level that will bring you maximum profits without discouraging users?
The apps market is overloaded with free mobile apps, and many of them have high-quality sound and graphics along with nice functionality. However, while the huge number of downloads looks tempting, web developers will be hard-pressed to make both ends meet by offering a free product. The cost to develop an app won’t be covered even with a cost of $1-2 dollars per install, so what’s the compromise?
Simple, so-called table-based apps with very basic information (hierarchical topics with a list of available subjects) cost from $1000 to $4000 (money you would pay to a web development contractor agency). Add-ons such as geolocation, social media integration, camera integration, push notifications and all the rest will cost up to another $4000. Database native mobile apps vary between $8k and $50k, and you will be responsible for all the content. This type of app is great for adding structure and logic to the existing content so that it is organized and displays efficiently. You can also opt for a fully dynamic mobile app. The data it relies on is outside the app (on a social network, for example). In the last few years, web-based mobile apps have become more sophisticated and started to replace native apps because they require less memory and use more convenient cloud-based storage for the information they need.
The growth in the usage of smartphone and mobile apps has made developers and marketers interested in using this new marketing channel or even producing an entirely new independent product. There are many reasons why everyone cares about mobile these days. Can you believe that mobile app usage has exploded by 76% in the past year?
“How much does it cost to make an app?” is the number one question developers and marketers ask themselves and Google when thinking about their mobile strategy for the first time. Oddly enough, this topic is even more mysterious than the actual revenues developers can potentially make out of mobile apps. I’d like to clarify the situation a bit and show you the most interesting statistics along with my experience.
Many marketers assume it’s too expensive to produce a mobile app. A small number have heard about easy-to-use mobile app builders and think they can make one for a very low cost. Both points of view are extreme.
Individuals and some marketers frequently opt for mobile app builders. The pricing starts from $10 a month and goes up to $1k a month, while you can also buy yearly plans. What exactly do you get? Don’t let the “no coding skills required” promise mislead you. Cheap mobile app builders are nothing but a range of templates, and the maximum customization you get is choosing the color and changing the text above and under each of the fields and blocks. Although this type of solution may work great for small local businesses and individual users, they are actually a waste of time for the majority of businesses for several reasons.
I’m happy to finally publish an interview with an expert I conducted some time ago. In addition, I’m ready to cover new topics, so please let me know what you’d like to learn from the experts about marketing mobile apps and related areas.
1) What would be your advice to a company that wants to start mobile app development?
First of all, pick the right platform. That is, where is your audience primarily? iOS? Android? Then come up with a limited feature set, focusing on those things that really matter to users. You do not have to do everything in version 1.0. Just get started and iterate.
It is easy to get un-focused, thought, and make an app that is way too bloated.
As Steve Jobs once said: My best decisions are when I said no.
2) Do you think mobile apps can be useful for marketing and branding? Why?
Absolutely. People spend tons of time on their phones. And nowadays, they just expect a company to have an app. Yet the app must be useful — not just advertising. So provide some type of service, provide a benefit. This will help create some brand loyalty.
An interesting example of this is Ace, which makes bandages. They are a sponsor of Little League Baseball. So to leverage this, they created an app that allowed parents to create baseball cards of their kids. It was very popular. More importantly, it helped to create interest/excitement about a mature, ordinary brand.