Mobile apps have become an important part of marketing for many businesses. Both large and small enterprises are investing in mobile apps to improve brand awareness, generate leads and increase sales. Just like is the case with having a website, businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of having a mobile app.
Recent reports by Nielsen  indicate that 66% of Americans between ages 24-35 have a smartphone. If your target market falls within this age bracket, you cannot afford not to have an app. But how easy is it to develop an app?
Making an app can cost a couple to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Large enterprises can manage to hire in-house coders to develop apps for them. For small businesses, the best option is usually to hire mobile app development  companies to create custom apps for them. A number of web development companies have diversified their services to include app development.
Just like is the case with web design, companies should know what they want to achieve with their app. Some of the questions that have to be answered include:
Will you offer a free or paid app?
What functionalities should the app have?
Which mobile operation systems should the app operate on?
What do you want to achieve with the app?
Understanding your needs and what you wish to achieve is crucial to determining the functionality to include in your app.
Mobile apps can be used for a various purposes. Perhaps you just want people to have fun using your app or maybe you want them to know of discounts at your store. Regardless of the functionalities you will include in your app, you need to research your competition. With over one million apps at the App Store  and more than 700,000 at Google Play, you need to identify a niche of users that will download and install your app.
Therefore, before you even begin developing your app, identify your target market. Your app should add value to the market e.g. entertain, educate, provide news and so on. For businesses, your target app users will fairly be the same ones that search for your products online. If your target market primarily consists of customers who do not have a smartphone, then making an app may not be necessary at this time. For example, many older people do not have smartphones and thus app marketing for advertisers in this market may not be a priority.
You should research your top competitors to see what makes their apps successful and what you can learn from them. Users will be looking for an app of comparable or higher standard that what they currently can access at the app marketplaces and stores. If you are making an app for your business, you will be looking more at functionality and design. On the other hand, if you want a niche-targeted app, you will have to research the top apps in the niche and see how you can beat them.
Mobile app development companies have made it easier for individuals and small businesses to afford apps. In spite of app development now being affordable, you need to research well to come up with a winning app.