How many apps do you have on your phone? Undoubtedly you have more than one or two. Today there are countless mobile apps available for both Android and iPhone users. It seems you can find just about any app to make your life easier and more entertaining. You can find apps for business, social networking, photography, fitness, games, music, sports, medical, travel/maps, education, etc. If you need help with anything else, there is a good chance there is an app for that.
Mobile apps aren’t new yet they are still just as popular for users today. Among all of the thousands of apps out there, not all apps are good. Adversely, some of the really great apps are buried and not getting the proper attention they deserve. My question is, what makes some of these apps fail while others have become a huge success? What qualities does the app need to possess to receive the attention it deserves? How does it become popular? Is it the brand that makes it popular?
When you look at apps such as Facebook, Starbucks, Candy Crush, Etsy, or Spotify, what makes them so popular? Starbucks is a well-established brand and loved by millions of people worldwide. Would anything that Starbucks created be a huge hit? Facebook on the other hand, is always changing and keeping people on their toes. It seems that every day you could be surprised with something new on Facebook. Yet, people still continue to use the app despite constant changes.
Etsy and Starbucks are personally some of my favorite apps. I enjoy the Starbucks app because I can use my phone to pay for my drinks. I already have my phone on me so there is no need to get out my wallet and search for cash. Whew! I can also reload my card directly within the app to receive more delicious drinks from Starbucks. I enjoy that the app keeps track of how many stars I have until my next free drink. This type of rewards program helps keep customers returning. I hear people saying, “I only need 2 more stars until I reach gold. I gotta run to Starbucks soon!” They suck you in, just like they intended.
Why do I love Etsy? I love that everything can be completed within the Etsy app. The checkout is quick and easy because they don’t require you to give unnecessary information. The design layout is simple and organized. However, I think the best thing about Etsy (other than the awesome products you can purchase) is that you can communicate with the buyers. I think being able to talk and engage with someone is key during the buying process. Often when I’m considering making an online purchase, I have questions that I probably won’t get answered until the product is right in front of me. It is unfortunate because sometimes things get returned. This can be avoided if you engage with your customers!
Recently I purchased some dog bows from a vendor on Etsy. After numerous messages back and forth and sharing photographs of my dog wearing her bows, I developed a relationship with this vendor. This vendor’s customer service and relatability has made me a loyal customer. Also, because I enjoy her products, I wanted to spread the news about her business on social media. To me, this is what social media is great for! Your friends see how much you love something and take your recommendation, which means more business for them! It continues to grow like wild fire with social media. How awesome is that?
While a lot of your app should focus on your brand and engagement, you also have to pay attention to the design and development. These will all play a role to the success of your app. I have created a short checklist for you to help keep in mind when designing and developing your app.
- Does your app already exist? If so, how does it compare to the competition?
- Complete a competitive analysis
- Interface should be simple, intuitive and easy to navigate
- Know your audience: Satisfy a need for customers. What problem does your app solve?
- Create a unique and memorable design
- Use a creative name for your app
- App store optimization
- Use a monetization strategy
- Will your app be paid or free?
- Don’t jam tons of features on the app, only include necessary ones
- Should function across all devices: Consider screen sizes
- Test your design and functionality of the app…and keep testing!
- Developers should update regularly
- Offer support: How will you communicate with your customers?
- Your app should be enjoyable and entertaining for people. Is it relatable?
- Make people want to share your app with their friends and family
- How will you market your app? Make sure you budget accordingly
- Include high-quality screenshots in the app store to interest customers
- Does your app connect offline?
- Does your app have personalized offers and other ways to drive engagement?
What other qualities should an app have in order to become successful?