How To Create Your Own App – The Right Way (A Guide)
Whether you’re a start-up, individual, or successful business, creating and launching an app can be daunting. While there aren’t hard and fast rules on how to create an app, there are hard “dos”.Arctic Edge has many years experience in the app business, and with so much that could potentially fail, we present you with the dos of launching a new app successfully. From our experience, we’ve created a clear outline which you can follow to aid in the launch of your app – minus all the fluff text.
In this article, we’ll cover the following steps and have linked them below for easier reference.
If you want to create a custom app successfully, there are a few core tasks to tick off your to-do list.
- Identify your concept
- Identify your audience
- Identify your competitors
- Prepare a name and domain for your app
- Prepare a concept ‘package’ for your developers
- Find the right app development company
- Pre-launch marketing
#1 Identify Your Concept
The first step to any successful venture, is placing an idea on paper, this is the moment it becomes tangible. By this time, you would have very likely been thinking about your app concept for quite some time and have identified its purpose. In a format of your choice (bear in mind that you should use a format which is easily editable and shareable), whether it is a text document, a presentation, a mind map, or any other method (preferably digital) flesh out your concept.
You do not need to feel pressured to suddenly become a UX/UI designer and draw out your app. Simply jot down your app’s purpose and target audience. To do so, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I describe my app idea in one sentence?
- What problem will my app solve for users?
- Which features will enable users to gain value from my app?
- Is this app a copy of another concept?
- What will my app offer that will make it better than competitors?
- Who is this app intended for? (E.g. Students, children, parents, young professionals, etc.)
Keep this initial document throughout your entire app development process to refer back to.
#2 Identify Your Audience
The success or failure of your app endeavour will depend on whether you attract the right people to your app. While you did ask yourself this question in the first section, it’s important enough to reiterate. If your app is an entirely new concept and not based on your current business, you can skip ahead to step 3, however, we do recommend reading the entire post. If you already have a website for your business, you should (hopefully) be able to access metrics about your audience using Google Analytics if you have it implemented on your site, as well as looking at your audience on social media.
If you do not have Google Analytics implemented on your business’ website, you need to do so immediately. At this point in time, you need to be tracking the traffic, users and behaviour on your website to determine website success. You can sign up free for Google Analytics with your Google account.
If you do have Google Analytics implemented on your website – good on you! Here’s how you can leverage your data to analyse your target audience. Collect the below information in a spreadsheet.
#1 Age Group & Gender
Once you have signed in to Google Analytics, look in your left sidebar menu and click ‘Audience’. Then select ‘Demographics’ and head on to ‘Overview’ as shown below.
Change your date range to view data from as far back as your account allows, to current. You will now be able to identify the most common age ranges and genders of your website’s visitors.
Next, in your sidebar menu still under the ‘Audience’ tab, navigate to ‘Geo’ and then ‘Location’ as shown below.
From here you can see a drill down of the countries where your visitors are coming from. You can click into each country for a more granular look at that specific country’s users’ region and also further to view cities.
#3 User Source
Now we’ll determine where your users are coming from before landing on your website. In your Analytics dashboard, click on ‘Acquisition’ in your sidebar menu, and click ‘All Traffic’ and then ‘Source/Medium’ as shown below.
This view allows you to see where your website’s users are coming from. You are able to see how many users land on your site from organic search on Google, referral from social networks, etc.
#4 Assemble a user profile
Using the data you just collected, create a profile for your top 3 – 5 ideal user types. Make use of the locations, age ranges, genders and sources you noted in your spreadsheet and specify these in your user profile summary.
This data will be extremely useful to your developers and will also greatly benefit you when the time for marketing comes.
More on marketing a bit later.
#3 Identify Your Competitors
Depending on your industry, you should be able to complete this step with a few Google searches.
Compile a list of terms you think your users will be searching for in order to find an app like yours. Next, launch your internet browser in incognito mode to avoid personalised search results.
Using the list of keywords you want to be identified with your app, search each one individually in Google and note down the top most relevant competitors for each search. You should find that if there is a close competitor, they will likely show up more than once in your searches.
Use this information to investigate your competitors and what they offer users and whether your concept is still better. Not better? Back to the drawing board. See how you can improve on your concept in order to make it fierce competition for others in your industries and how you can offer users something more valuable and unique.
If you needed to head back to the drawing board to develop your concept further, remember to note this down in the document you created in step 1.
#4 Prepare A Name, Video & Domain For Your App
When you create your own app, don’t underestimate the importance of your website. Many users will view a webpage before they decide to download an app and when it comes to your marketing, most publishers, marketers, press and bloggers will link to a website instead of an app within the app store. Having a website will also allow you to leverage the power of web search and SEO as an organic and/or paid marketing channel to lure more users to your app.
At the very least, a landing page is required for an app. You can easily create a one-page website to market your app cost-effectively by using WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, or Carrd. A beautiful, enticing and clear website will greatly enhance your marketing strategy.
For now, it’s time to think of a name of your app. Register a domain for your website and claim your social handles for the social networks you would like to use to further market your app.
We highly recommend making use of at least the following:
Video is dominating the internet right now and while it’s not great to say – users have become lazy. We highly recommend creating a short 30 second to 1 minute promo video about your app to assist with marketing. There are dozens of free or low-cost online solutions to help you make a stunning video yourself, you could try sites like Biteable, Magisto, Animatron or Fiverr.
Now your domain is claimed, your promo video is ready and your social accounts have been created and are ready for when you begin the marketing process.
#5 Prepare A ‘Concept Package’ for Your Developers
After all the hard work you’ve done, it’s time to compile all your research and concept ideas into an easy-to-understand package for your developer.
We will discuss how to choose a custom app developer in the next step.
Your best option is to compile a Google Doc which you will be able to easily share with your developer. Remember, when it comes to mobile app development, you won’t only be paying for the time spent on the actual coding of your app – you will need to take into account that your chosen developers will perform research, wireframing, design, user experience design, prototyping, testing and more to give you the app you’ve always dreamed of.
The more information you are able to give to your developers, the less time you will have to pay for and the more likely it is that your app developer will understand your vision.
Be sure to include the following in your concept package:
Note: Before sending your app concept package to your developer, request that the developer send you a Non-Disclosure Agreement to ensure that your concept remains confidential and safe.
- A summary of your app in one sentence – remember, this is how you and other people will end up talking about your app. The fewer words needed to describe it, the better.
- A full description of your app and the features you require
- Reconcile and concatenate your documents from step 1 to step 3 (concept, audience, competitors) into this one document.
- Any design elements you have (logo, colours, etc.)
- Include your app’s name, domain name, and social handles.
#6 Find The Right App Development Company
Knowing which developer to entrust with your concept can be a stressful process. Be sure to do thorough research to find out whether the various app development companies you are choosing from have ample experience in the development of apps such as yours and be clear with your expectations. Here at Arctic Edge, we like applying a personal touch by meeting with our clients in person where possible or via Skype. We explain our services, how we operate and support you throughout the entire process of your app’s creation – from concept to launch.
It is important to determine whether the company you are choosing offers a discovery phase, UX/UI design, bespoke development, prototyping and testing – a full circle development process.
We offer a comprehensive Discovery Phase, which you can select as a stand-alone service in order to gauge your app’s probability of success, cost and how it will be built. You can use this information to approach potential investors too. Your next option would be to incorporate the discovery phase with your app’s development. Our clients have the option of having a completely bespoke app developed, or to have us custom build their app on our own pre-built app framework with pre-made features. These options allow clients of all sizes and budgets to be accommodated.
Once you are confident in your choice of app developer, get in touch and set up your first meeting! If you would like to get in touch with us to bring your concept to life, don’t hesitate to contact us.
#7 Pre-Launch Marketing
The biggest obstacle faced by app creators today is not design or development, it’s marketing. You could have a revolutionary app, but without the proper marketing it could end up with the millions of other apps which gather dust in the archives of app stores. Your pre-launch marketing is your most important marketing phase.
Engage with your audience
By this time, you should have a website or landing page complete. Be sure to include a sign-up form to a newsletter which will provide updates on your apps development and promises your users that they will be the first to know your app has launched and where they will be able to download it. You can also sweeten the deal by mentioning that you will select beta testers for your app.
Start by doing research in online communities which your target audience belongs to. Chances are that if you take the time to submerge yourself in the interests of your audience, you should find online forums, blogs, subreddits, social media pages and groups and much more where you can join in on the conversation. Find out what your audience is talking about, what their needs are, and should their needs line up with your concept, subtly engage with them about the launch of your upcoming app. Here you will be able to direct users to your website and if they wish, they can sign up on your website to be notified about your app’s development or even to be beta testers.
Start the conversation, engage with real people and pitch your app in the most “humanized” way possible. Don’t flat-out market. Consumers in our current age are way less concerned about formality and want to see that real humans stand behind the products they invest in. While you do want to make money, you need to truly care about your audience in order to be a success.
You can also gain enormous value from promo codes and coupons. Offer people promo codes and coupons for when your app launches which they can claim by signing up to your newsletter.
Engage with the media and press
Research active bloggers and websites which cover news in your industry or in the app industry. Find people to reach out to who can potentially help you market your app.
In order for this to be a success, the benefit of the exercise needs to be mutual. Make it as easy as possible for bloggers, writers, marketers and journalists to talk about your app by creating a press kit. By doing so, you will lighten their workload by making them feel like this will be an easy day’s work for them, they won’t have to scour the depths of the internet to gather information, and you will be represented accurately.
Include the following in your press kit:
- Your app’s logo, icon, screenshots, and promo video
- Your boilerplate description or app store product page description
- Links to your public marketing site and social media accounts
- Links to recent press releases or coverage
- Press contact information
Stay engaged with your followers
If you’ve gotten email sign-ups, social media followers or people you’ve started conversations with, these are worth their weight in gold. Don’t forget about them or you will lose them.
Make sure you tick the following off your list as often as you can to create as much hype around your app as possible:
- Post engaging updates on your social accounts.
- Create a consistent newsletter updating people who have signed up on the progress of your app.
- Offer promo codes and coupons.
- Stay in touch with bloggers, marketers and journalists.
Once your big day arrives, ensure that your press kit has been sent to all the bloggers and press you’ve reached out to prior to launch day. Ensure that your current followers will receive an email with your app’s download link and that you leverage all your social media networks to cover your launch. Ask your family and friends to support you by downloading your app and engaging online with their reviews and opinions as well as sharing your app with their friends.
While finding organic leads are fantastic, well-designed and well-written ads can add tremendous value to your launch.
We would highly recommend advertising on the following platforms:
- Google Ads (Text and display ads + YouTube ads)
Once the bang of launch day is over, the excitement and work aren’t. For your app to be a success, you will need to work on it and market it consistently to create a presence online.
What’s more important, which an unfortunately large amount of app creators neglect, is support for the users. You need to provide consistent and helpful support to your users. Stay active on the app stores to resolve issues and queries and offer support on your website.
Listen to your users, keep going to your drawing board, adapt, update, improve, implement. There is always room for improvement and the harder you work on it, the bigger your success will be.
We hope this guide could help you in starting the process of reaching your dreams. The app market may be big, but there’s room for everyone to be a success. Do you need further guidance? Why not send us an email?
Have you ever launched an app? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check it out!
Please also let us know if you found our article helpful and if you have any tips for budding app owner.
Already in need of a professional app development company to help you create a beautiful custom app? Request a callback below!1