July 24, 2014

Planning your app before using an app builder

It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment, to take something that is free and think it less important, to think: “Well it doesn’t matter it’s only free”.   The fact of the matter is that mobile apps are becoming an important part of our day to day lives, an effective mobile app can be a huge asset to businesses, but it can also be a dead weight in the water, to no valuable purpose.

Free app builders are just one of the means that allow the majority of us without a corporate-sized wallet to take advantage of this growing consumer market, though simply creating the app is not enough.

You need to know whether there is a genuine need for a mobile app from your consumers, whether they would use it, and what features they would expect.

Just because it might be free, doesn’t mean you want to be wasting the time creating and marketing an app that your customers don’t want, or won’t use.

So with that in mind,

Here are 5 steps you should take before using a free app maker, to ensure your app’s success:

Is there a need?  Will customers use it? – The most important step, and should be taken before anything else.  Do any of your competitors offer a mobile app?  How does it benefit their customers?  Consider creating a poll on your Facebook page asking whether customers would use a mobile app, or what features they would most like to see in one.

What are the goals of your app? – Understanding what you want to gain out of your mobile app will help you gear it better towards your goals.   Are you looking to create greater customer loyalty, create a new stream of revenue, or simply fend off competitors.   Once you understand the goals of your mobile app you can then make better decisions as to the feature sets to use, and how you present/market your app.

Decide what’s important to you – With mobile, less is definitely more.  One of the biggest troubles designers often have with mobile is trying to cram everything into those tiny screens.   Make it clear on the purpose of the app, if it’s for customers to more easily book appointments, then focus on that.  There’s no point distracting your customer too much with less important information that isn’t going to make a sale, or isn’t going to encourage their brand loyalty. Give an incentive for customers to come back to the app, (and keep it on their device!) such as exclusive mobile loyalty discounts or occasional push notifications.

Consider app analysis – As with any marketing, if you do not keep on top of your marketing analysis then you may well spend a long time miss-marketing the wrong product. How are you going to track the responsiveness of your mobile app?  How many people do you aim to be using the app and by when?

How will you support the mobile app – Lastly consider what existing platforms you have available to market and support your mobile app, do you have a sufficient social following to market the app to?   How are you going to encourage new downloads of the app and let your customers know that it exists?

A mobile app can be a hugely valuable asset, once you have created your app using an app builder, there are no ongoing-costs, unlike traditional advertising methods such as newspapers, once you’ve paid for your ad and it has been shown then it is gone.  Whereas a mobile app can continue to gain you repeat custom again and again.

Mobile apps can be very powerful marketing tools, yet many will remain un-used in the app store, those that thrive are the ones that are well thought out and with a lot of effort behind them!

July 24, 2014

Do Mobile Devices Hinder When you Make Your Own Apps?

Phones have changed from being simple handsets for making telephone calls into multitasking tools that can help run our lives.  We can now read everything from emails to classic books; we can check our diaries and check documents on the go.  They have transformed into the devices that go way beyond the dreams of even those in the industry, let alone the general user.  But just because they can do lots of things well, does that also translate into aspects of design? Is it a credible notion to think that we can create complex Apps on something as small as a smartphone or do you need the extra power and versatility of a PC or Mac?

The short answer to this is that it doesn’t really matter what you make your own Apps for free on as there are fewer and fewer App creation software programs that actually install anything on whatever device you are using.  The cloud is becoming the place for everyone to have a little corner tucked away to store and download those little projects that you have been dreaming of starting.   The cloud offers a new avenue in computing where data is stored away from your device and access by you as though it were a remote hard drive on part of your network.  In the early days of computing and the internet, programs had to be stored and operated locally – meaning on your device – which took a huge toll on memory devices that weren’t huge anyway.  The first real smart phones had SD card memory that was measured in a few megabytes, so taking up that precious room with programs and applications would eat into the area that you had left for storing messages and contact details, and holding large amounts of music and videos was simply not practical.

But technology marches on relentlessly and advances in microelectronics not only made devices faster, but also improved solid-state memory where a small SD chip could store 64 gigabytes of data and storage became less of an issue.  Many programs are now designed to be unloaded onto the cloud and simply accessed when required through your internet connection.  This is increasingly the case with relatively simple programs like App creator free software; the unpacked files are not huge in the first place and are designed to run remote of your device so, even with all the memory you now have on your mobile, storage of Apps is never an issue.

So with the storage size of a mobile device plainly not an issue, does it physical size make any real difference when creating an App?  Does the fact that the only pointing and maneuvering device you have is your finger a real issue?  Again, a few years ago it would have been as the first generation of touchscreens relied on a different technology that was a lot less precise than the screens of today. The initial designs of touchscreen relied on touch to connect two conductive layers to signify and ‘event’ happening, which the operating system of the phone took as a command.  The technology was very poor and the devices were haphazard in operation, sometimes needing several very precisely placed ‘stabs’ to operate a function.  Touchscreens soon moved over to the capacities type which relies on interference of a surface layer to operate and have many times the precision of the conductive screens.  Carrying out precision operations such as building an App on a capacities device is easy and so not a barrier to making things like Apps.

With no real exclusion on memory and with mobile devices becoming increasingly precise in operation,making your own App for free on something as small as a mobile phone is not only viable, but also fun and, with the Cloud, a function you can share with friends and colleagues.

July 23, 2014

Planning a New App – Create an App for your Business

Unless you are a professional designer and spend all your day thinking of news designs and enhancements, ideas come to most of us in flashes of inspiration.  You find yourself doing something such as filing a report to your boss by email, and suddenly think – this would be so much easier if I had an app to do it for me.  So it might be and it may well a more efficient way of working, but to just launch into making an App for free with one of the internet’s App creation software programs, it might be worth stepping back and doing a bit of planning first.  Before you start fiddling with skins and elements, it would be best to work through a few basic questions and see if what you have is truly original and worthwhile, or will it just become another unused app that people turn away from.  Some of the obvious questions to think about are:

What are you goals?  Is your idea actually something that could become a viable seller or do you want to create an App simply because you can and it would give you some kind of bragging rights amongst your peers?  Is this something that people are really going to want and will find useful and thus become one of those essential Apps that everyone has at their fingertips?  If  you can truthfully answer ‘yes’ to anything other than you just want to have your name out there, then it is probably worth pursuing.

Determine who will want it. While you can easily make your own App for free, there will still be a certain amount of cost in terms of your time and effort, and possibly marketing efforts that you will have to expand. You may need to construct a website to promote your App, which will have a material cost, so you need to be assured that you will recoup some of this cost through either direct sales or in-App advertising.   But neither of those routes will result in any money if no one wants your App. You need to try to determine how many units you are likely to shift and at what price to see if it is a viable option in the first place.

Understand what already exists. Just because you haven’t seen something similar – or even the same – as your App, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an App that fills the niche that you are looking at admirably already.  There is a section of design called “Me Too” denoting a design which is unashamedly very similar in form, fit, and function as something already on the market and it has been designed to make the most of a high selling product area.  If the market are that you are hoping to sell your App in is already being serviced, it’s unlikely that a new App will make much of an impression, or generate significant sales, unless it has something about it that sets it aside from other Apps doing the same thing.

Break the problem down. Having big ideas is great, but you may struggle if the area that you are trying to fill requires an App that is complex both in operation and in coding.   Generally, App creator free software does lots of things well but starts to show a few cracks as your App becomes more complex.  Typically, many of the larger and more complex Apps are constructed using purpose-written code rather than being constructed from the addition blocks that most free App creators have.  Once you have sketched out your App idea, start to break it down and see how simple you can make it.  The simpler it is, the more likely it is that you will be able to make it in a free App creator.

If you have a viable idea, it is advisable to follow these few simple rules right at the beginning to make sure that you construct something that is useful and usable, rather than an unsightly mess that no one wants to buy.

July 23, 2014

Creating an App For Free is only Half the Story.

In the early days of App creation, if you had a good idea for something that would really sell, getting the coding done was something that generally, you had to find a dedicated software engineer to do.  Detailed knowledge of computer languages was a prerequisite to creating the kinds of Apps that we are used to seeing today and they were usually beyond the use of everyday people.  But then the first mobile App creators came along and it opened up a whole new world for the non-designer, giving them the ability to put their wildest dreams into something approaching reality.  But once you have spent the time creating what you perceive to be the next big thing, the App that simply everyone would need to have, how do you get everyone to realise that it is available?  How can you actually make sure that the App that you have spent time making will actually find its way onto theworld’s mobile devices?

Like big cities, the internet can be a lonely place if you don’t know your way around it.  It is a hugely powerful tool but unless you can take full advantage of it, your design time might all be for nothing. There are many different routes that you can take to design and make an App for free and far from being the most difficult part of the process, actually constructing you dream with App creation software is now the easy part.  Getting the world to understand that it is both there and that it is the answer to their prayers is now the hard bit.  But if you follow a few simple rules, you can make this a much easier – and even fun-filled route, and once you appreciate the basic principles, when you come to do it for a second time, it will be something that is a second nature.

Marketing is just as important as design; if you don’t sell – or at least distribute and get your name out there – there is little point in doing it in the first place.  So how do you start to market your App?  Actually, you should be thinking of that aspect right from the off.  Whether it is a game, a film review site, or a method of matching physics equations to mechanical principles, you need to be thinking about your target market early on.  Obviously you will have a website , even if it is there as an App marketing tool, and you will use social media to promote both the App and the website behind it, but it is very easy to think that with that in place, you don’t need do anything else and people will flock to it and your App.   It sounds good, but it generally won’t happen, so you need to ensure that the reverse happens; get people to visit your site on the back of hearing about the App.  Using bespoke blogs and social groups, or getting known via industry publications are among the best places to start the social snowball that will make your new App well known, and draw people to find out more.

When you create an App, you have an opportunity to release a stand-alone item that sells once and then becomes consigned to memory, or you can strive to create a linage that, once it has hooked people, will actively look out for either upgrades or variation s of it. Obviously this works well with games rather than usable Apps, but it is not confined to them.  Think of Angry Birds and the number of iterations that followed – everything from the different franchises (Star Wars, Rio etc) to spin-offs like Bad Piggies.  The initial success created interest in future releases and the whole series became self-sustaining.  That is the absolute ideal, and if you can generate that kind of interest, you will do very well indeed.

Using App creator free software will give you confidence to construct software that people want to own and use; creating a proper marketing strategy that makes your App a byword in the field in which you’ve pitched it will make it a huge success.

July 23, 2014

TopMethods to Marketing Your Mobile app – Free App Maker for Iphone & Android

The capabilities of mobile apps for business are almost endless, app makers allow you to create apps that help to drive customer loyalty through coupons, mobile booking, and in app shopping.

Like anything however, simply creating it doesn’t mean people will instantly use it.  So here are the top tips to marketing and getting the most from your mobile app.

Use Fiverr for marketing materials

Fiverris a micro-job site, which allows workers to work for anyone, anywhere in the world.  With a focus on quick & easy small tasks such as graphics design, article writing, video testimonials or small programming tasks.

The premise is simply any service sold at $5 a pop.  Or in $5 increments for larger tasks, such as $10, $15, $20 etc..  When you consider that you’re app can be produced for free using an app builder such as Apps Bar it’s a small price to pay to get your app marketing off to a good start.

Fiverr is perfect for getting together a range of high quality marketing materials for your app, great for setting you apart from the rest.  Quality services include: Web banners, blog advertisements, written reviews, leaflets, app icons, logos or even video testimonials.

If you lack the professional design skills yourself you can take advantage of a whole pool of workers for far less than design agencies.

App Reviews – Should not be overlooked!

A hugely valuable marketing tool for mobile apps, when you consider just how many app review magazines and blogs there are… You’d think we’re all app crazy!  There’s still a real topical buzz around apps and journalists will regularly write editorial pieces and reviews on the latest available apps.  Consider also how many app reviews you see online compared with website reviews, people love reading up on the latest apps that make their life easier or more enjoyable.
Think about contacting your local press, industry trade publications, industry bloggers & the 100’s of free app review sites on the net.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising as you’ll probably know is a hugely valuable tool for fine-tuning your marketing., allowing you to reach a large majority of your target audience at the click of a button.

What you may not know is that Facebook also provide a specific service to drive installs of mobile apps. Facebook makes it very easy to advertise any app from both the Google Play & Apple App stores, just input the app store URL of your application and start specifying your target demographics, budget and time-frame.

The advantage of Facebook is you have the added ability of promoting your fan page, brand and encouraging comments/likes and shares.

Create hype around your app

Just having a mobile app is excuse enough to create a huge fuss, before you release your app, if you can put out regular messages on social media, newsletters or your business blog.  Let your customers know your app is coming and how it will benefit them, it’s something new and exciting and you should promote it as such!

Consider creating a “coming soon” page on your website; use one of the graphics or videos from Fiverr to help make the page shine!

Don’t forget you can use this page to collect emails from interested customers, so you can contact them when the app is released.

It’s easy enough to create a mobile app using a free app maker, but don’t let this deceive you, to make the most of your app you need to put a huge amount of effort into marketing it, else you could end up with a dormant app that sits unused in the app store like thousands of others.