The pandemic has shifted more and more peoples’ lives online, and businesses are adapting their marketing and outreach efforts as a result. For many companies, this means developing a mobile app. This can be a solid move that pushes your business forward, but the process comes with a lot of pitfalls — many of which business owners may not even notice they’re falling into. Courtesy of the experts at Lamirande Studios, we’ve taken a look at some of the most common mistakes business owners make when developing an app for their business, as well as some tips for how to avoid them.
First Things First
If you haven’t already, now is the time to get your business house in order. Expanding your business to include an app, may mean you need to hire employees, which will require an Employer ID Number, register a doing-business-as name, set up an LLC or other business formation, and so on. You can use an attorney for these tasks or go through an online formation service, such as ZenBusiness, which will be cheaper. Either way, you’ll have to make an upfront investment of time and money, but it will pay off in the end.
DIY-ing Your App
If you run a tech company and you have the talent on staff to develop a mobile app, this section isn’t for you. For nearly everyone else, however, DIY app creation is typically a mistake. Many small business owners go with DIY app builders in order to save money and have direct control over the process. However, these template-based builders can only do so much, and it’s nearly impossible to wind up with a unique app that stands out from the competition.
They may not even be budget-friendly in the end. If you go through one of these builders and wind up with an app that doesn’t do its job, you’ll wind up with a very poor ROI. Plus, if you decide to hire a developer to fix or build an app from scratch later on, you’ll wind up spending far more in the long run. That’s why it’s best to work with a development company or hire an experienced freelancer from the start. Searching in the right places, like an online job board, gives you access to many candidates who you can then vet by comparing rates, reviews, portfolios, etc.
Interacting Unprofessionally with App Store Reviews
No one wants to see negative reviews on the app they worked hard on, but it’s a fact of life when it comes to mobile development. Moreover, they’re an invaluable tool when it comes to continuously improving your product. Although some negative reviews will be too vague (or simply incorrect) to be useful, others can help you catch issues or identify a poor user experience you can fix in updates down the line.
In addition to reading and learning from reviews, you need to learn how to professionally respond to them. If someone leaves a review that you can learn from and you make appropriate changes in the next update, respond to them apologizing for the experience, thanking them for the feedback, and explaining how you’ve fixed it. Even if that particular reviewer doesn’t see your response, future users will be impressed with your professionalism.
Avoid leaving snarky or sarcastic responses, even if users are totally off-base or nonsensical in their reviews. If it’s not something you’d say to an investor, you shouldn’t publish it in the app store: Silence is better than snark.
Not Justifying App Permissions
Another mistake business owners may not realize they’re making is overreaching when it comes to app permissions. When you build an app, you might decide to include the capacity to access the users’ location, contacts, microphone, or camera. If you do this, however, you need to find some way to either immediately justify the access, or require users to opt-in before the app asks for that permission.
The reason for this is simple: If someone downloads your app and it immediately asks to access their camera or contacts and they don’t know why they’re likely to delete it. Privacy and app overreach are serious concerns for users, and you need to take those concerns seriously as a developer. You wouldn’t ask permission to go into a stranger’s home without a clear reason — treat app permissions the same way.
Mobile apps can be a great way to push your business forward, but these mistakes can hold you back. We hope that this article helps you address these issues before they happen so that your app is the best it can be for your customers and your business.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Author: Cody Mcbride