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7 Apps Entrepreneurs Need on their Next Business Trip

As an entrepreneur, you might be required to travel to different locations to meet with customers or clients. In the past, we had to rely on physical maps, travel guides and notepads which might take up space in our luggage. Luckily for us, we can now access all those tools on our smartphone.

There are a variety of travel apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores that can make your bags lighter and make your trip more efficient. We’ve done the groundwork and compiled a list of seven mobile apps that you should have on your mobile devices the next time you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

1. Uber

If you’re not hiring a car, Uber is the app for all your transportation needs. As one of the most popular on-demand ridesharing apps, you can save time waiting for taxis or public transport and also could save money. With its intuitive UI design, you’ll be able to request your Uber at the touch of a button and track the driver as they arrive at your pickup location.

Compared to a taxi, you’ll pay a fixed fare and will be able to know how much it costs before travelling. Payment is all done through your credit card via the app so you won’t have to use cash. You can choose to ride economically, luxuriously or carpool with other passengers. With Uber you can save money and ride to your next meeting with style.

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Uber gets you where you need to be at a lower cost

2. Tripit

Tripit is a very useful that allows you to input and access travel plans on your smartphone with ease. It’s one of my personal favourites that I always use when going on trips. You can add essential information, such as flight itinerary, hotel reservations and contact information all on your smartphone or tablet.

Tripit is very easy to use and setup. All you need to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to a specified Tripit email and it will create a master itinerary for you. Your plans and itineraries are shareable to others, which means your family, friends, managers and co-workers will know where you are. Tripit boosts your efficiency, allowing you to stay ahead of your travel plans.

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Tripit helps you stay ahead of your itinerary

3. Evernote

With its recognisable app icon, Evernote is one of the most popular productivity apps for entrepreneurs that is available for free for Android, Apple and Windows phones. The app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists, add meeting minutes, set reminders and capture your thoughts while you travel.

You won’t need to worry about losing your notes because they’re stored on a cloud server and accessible on multiple devices. Evernote comes in three different plans; Free, Plus and Premium, which varies in pricing, features, and data uploads. One of the standout features, which is only available in the premium tier, is the ability to scan and digitise business cards into your phone.

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Evernote keeps your notes organised and improves your productivity

4. Google Maps

If you’re trekking into an unfamiliar location you’ll need an app that can help you get to your destination. Here’s where Google Maps comes into play. With this app, you won’t need a map or directory ever again. The app lets you easily find your way from point A to B in a matter of seconds. It also delivers real-time information on traffic, public transport and even identifies points of interests.

Finally, you can use it offline by downloading maps to your phone in case you don’t have wifi or mobile data available. Like Google Translate, this app is preloaded onto android phones and available on the iTunes store. With this app, you’ll never get lost again.

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 Google Maps helps you get from A to B efficiently

5. Tunnelbear VPN

It’s a good idea to use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) if you rely on public wifi for social media, email, and web browsing.  Essentially, a VPN helps encrypt the internet data on the connection you’re using, allowing you to use the internet privately and more securely. Another of my personal favourites is Tunnelbear, which I use every time I travel overseas. It’s free, easy to use and visually appealing. The free plan limits your usage to 500 MB each month but you can gain more data by tweeting the company on Twitter or subscribing to their paid plans for unlimited data. 

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 Tunnelbear helps you browse privately overseas

6. Skype

Whenever you’re away from the office, you might want to communicate with your colleagues, customers or even family. If you don’t want to be billed for long distance overseas calls and only at your location for a few days, you’ll need to download Skype. The app allows you to make calls, video calls and chat through instant messenger with other users on your smartphone or tablet.

Skype also offers cheap rates if you use Skype to call landlines and mobile numbers. You can make a free account or opt in for the paid option called “Skype for Business”, where you can hold online meetings and create accounts for all employees.

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 Skype lets you stay in contact with your family, friends and colleagues wherever you are

7. Google Translate

Nǐ míng bái wǒ shuō de ma? If you didn’t understand what that meant, then it’s a good idea to use the translating app, Google Translate. Using the app will help you translate the Chinese phrase at the start to “Do you understand what I’m saying?”. It’s easy to get start translating foreign words. Just type or say what you want to be translated and it will do the work for you. 

One of its innovative features is that you can also translate words using your device’s camera. This can help if you’re not sure what words mean on street signs or posters.  This app will help when communicating with foreign clients to ensure there isn’t any miscommunication.

This app is already preloaded onto Android devices and is available to download on the iTunes store

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Google Translate helps you to communicate with locals overseas

There you have it, the 7 apps that entrepreneurs should have on their next business trip. With these apps you’ll be prepared for any journey.

Bon Voyage!

Do you use any of these apps? Are there any other apps you’d recommend?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

3 Things to Know When Making an App for Generation Z

Get ahead of the curve and meet Generation Z – The global, social and technological mobile app consumers.

The widespread popularity of smartphones and mobile technology owes much of its rapid adoption to Generation Y. That may seem like a ‘narcissistic millennial’ thing to say, but this cohort of young adults aged 18-34 grew up during the web revolution of the 1990s. As such, millennials were the first generation to have digital technology and the Internet embedded into their upbringing.

And with technology becoming more affordable and compact into the 2010s, smartphones have become a necessity in everyday life for millennials. For a generation that grew up immersed in the Internet, apps are virtually new tech products to easily adapt and navigate.

But while millennials grew up with the Internet, it’s the next generation that is coming of age alongside an unprecedented amount of technology. Generation Z (Also known as the iGeneration) is fast becoming the most mobile-consuming, app-savvy generation. Born in the late 1990s to now, they are strongly influenced by technology in terms of education and communication.

Furthermore, Gen Z’s interests in tech and how they use mobile apps are different from their predecessors. While millennials often prioritised mobility, authenticity and transparency in their apps, Gen Z is already showing a desire for security, privacy and immediacy.

As Gen Z’s influence on mobile technology inevitably grows, businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to develop an app should look to get ahead of the curve to engage these consumers.

To help you make an app for the linked-up and logged-on iGeneration, here are strategies to appeal to their interests and capture their attention. And with their spending projected to reach $200 billion by 2018, this is the generation who will decide the future of the app economy.

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Gen Z consumers spend 15.4 hours a week on their smartphones. Source: Vision Critical

1. Keep the app’s design and usability simple

The design, usability and experience an app provides should resonate with the audience that it’s been developed for. When it comes to Gen Zers, there are few things less frustrating than an over-designed, complicated app.

As a key ingredient to a successful app, the navigational flow from screen-to-screen and between features should be as simple as possible for them. The last thing they want to do is waste time figuring out how to navigate an app.

ROKO Labs found that poor design is the third most common reason for Gen Zers to uninstall an app.

According to ROKO Labs CEO Dima Rakovitsky, “nearly three-quarters of iOS apps are distributed from the App Store with anywhere from one to ten bugs, while 20% of these apps are reported to have as many as 50 bugs.”

Tech-savvy kids uninstall apps if they don’t work how they’re supposed to. If you want to attract and engage Gen Z, make sure your app is simple to navigate and bug-free.

 Melbourne App Developers

Gen Z’s most used and least used types of apps. Source: Adweek

2. Deliver content in a quick and convenient manner

As mobile devices have become more compact across generations, so too has the time span to grab their attention. Gen Z’s average attention span is around eight seconds, which is shorter than  millennials.

Simply put, Generation Z want everything provided to them ASAP.

Download errors, slow loading and transitional crashes within an app are hugely detrimental to winning over millennials, and you have even less time to capture the attention of younger consumers.

The fluidity and immediacy that Gen Z crave have been highly influential in the popularity of apps like YouTube and Snapchat, as both apps offer platforms for users with short attention spans to quickly engage with content.

Make sure your app functions smoothly and that the content is was to understand. Doing this will put your app on the right path to attracting and retaining young consumers.

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How Gen Z uses Social Media apps. Source: SocialTimes

3. Give the user control of their app experience

Gen Z is a lot more concerned about how their personal brand is impacted by their online personas. This is why they enjoy the fleeting nature of Snapchat and the secrecy of Kik. However, they also enjoy the control in curating everything, from photo collections with VSCO to music playlists on Spotify.

Gen Zers also are concerned about security across online platforms. According to a study from the Centre of Generational Kinetics, “Gen Z is more concerned than millennials about their security and privacy when paying online with debit and credit cards (63% compared to 58%).”

This higher concern over Internet security may be due to the high-profile hacks that have occurred over their lifetime. And yet, in the same study from the Centre of Generational Kinetics, also found that Gen Z have “fewer worries when entering similar details on mobile payment apps like Venmo.”

So why do Gen Z feel more comfortable putting their credit card details into an app than a website?

It’s because the mobile app provides the user with a sense control that can’t be replicated by a website. Let’s consider Venmo: The ‘free digital wallet’ app provides a component of control regarding what is private or public in the app (Similar to Snapchat), as well as the power incorporate emojis into a financial transaction.

The bottom line is, Gen Z is cautious with their private information. As a result, providing an app experience where they feel empowered will directly impact their decision to download the app, engage with the features and, in turn, become a loyal consumer of the functionality provided.

So for anyone looking to make an app…

You need to understand the opportunities and challenges that come with targeting this mobile-loving consumer.

Your app has to be easy to navigate and bug-free. It has to provide content in a fast and straightforward manner. And finally, it needs to give users the power to curate their app experience.

Have an idea for an app with Generation Z appeal?

Contact us to see out how we can help you launch your innovative app project.

Why Restaurants Are Moving to Mobile Apps and Facebook

At Launchpad App Development, we are always keeping up to date with the latest trends and insights in the world of apps and mobile. A notable trend we’ve been witnessing is the increase of businesses in the hospitality industry using apps and social media. It’s easy to see why. Social media and mobile have benefited many industries in the past few years by increasing efficiency, sales, and innovation. Restaurants and cafes can also achieve these benefits through mobile, allowing them the opportunity to increase customers and sales. Today we give you an insight into why your restaurant should take advantage of mobile browsing, social media, and smartphone apps.


Smartphones are changing our lives

Smartphones have changed many elements of people’s lives. For example, many young people rely on the clock on their phones, instead of wearing watches. In addition, it has also changed our purchase behaviour, where people buy things due to mobile commerce, which is a growing and lucrative market.

For instance, Restaurant App Engines found that 51% of smartphone users say they would be far more likely to make a purchase from a retailer or restaurant with a mobile specific website or app then search a retailer on a desktop. However, currently, only 4.8% of retailers currently have a mobile-specific site or app for their hospitality business.

How will an app benefit my business?

There are many benefits of creating an app for your hospitality business, such as:

  • Gaining more reviews:

An app gives users the opportunity to establish a database of reviews from customers. Customers can rate and write their own reviews, while also reading reviews from previous customers. Online reviews are one of the main elements that influence a consumer’s purchase decision. According to Invesp, 90% of consumers online reviews before they visit a general business. As a result, having positive reviews will most likely increase sales and customer conversion.

  • Creating convenience for customers:

Creating an app can increase convenience for your customers, enhancing customer experience. Building an app can provide customers easy access to information, such as your menu, daily specials, business hours and store location.
In fact, previewing menus could influence customers visiting your restaurant. Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey found that 62% of customers would less likely go to your restaurant if they can’t see a menu on their mobile.

 

Melbourne App Developer      Source: Guzman y Gomez’s app from the Google Play store

In addition, an app can help make the entire purchase process much easier. Customers can order their meal on their mobile and collect it in store. This decreases any long wait times or queues that consumers might experience during peak hours, reducing customer annoyance.

  • Gaining the competitive edge through incentives:

With an app you could even offer incentives, such as loyalty programs or mobile coupons, to increase sales and repeat customer visits, giving you the competitive edge. For example, Starbucks has a rewards program on its app, allow customers to redeem free music, drinks, and apps.

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Source:  Google Play Store


Case Study: Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is an example of a restaurant that gained success by creating an app. The app allows customers to view menus, order and customise pizzas with ease, while also tracking their order in real time. Released in 2009, starting with the iPhone, the app helped increase $2 million in sales within weeks upon release. Combined with its Android and Smartwatch platforms, the app continues to contribute to the pizza chain’s profit increases.

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Domino’s app allows you to order, pay and track delivery on your smartphone.

How will Facebook benefit my business?

Facebook now has over 1.13 billions daily active users with 1.03 billions users who access social networks via mobile devices. People spend a lot of time on social networks with an average of 50 minutes on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger every day.

This is a great opportunity to interact and engage with your target market. This can be done in various ways, such as providing menu updates, offering discounts or gaining feedback from customers. In addition, you can use images and videos to capture the interest of your target market, which can instantly become a return on investment.

Facebook campaign uses a pay-to-pay network, which gives you the ability to target users by their location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behaviours and much more. Facebook gives you the ability to easily track your users and provides you with an immediate influx of traffic.

As a result, Facebook marketing will give you the opportunity to capture your audience’s attention before they begin searching for other business like yours and potentially increase sales.

So what does this mean for restaurants today?

People are far more selective when it comes to eating out and are more inclined to share their dining experience on social media and blogs. Today, a majority of our decisions are influenced by research and information found online or recommendations by family and friends who post about their experiences through social media.

Users tend to use online reviews such as Google or Facebook when making their decision about where to eat. According to Modern Restaurant Management, around 80% of people will check the rating of a restaurant online before stepping inside. This can include checking websites or looking at reviews on different social media platforms. In addition, 80 % of people are more likely to take action the same day as their search.

At Launchpad App Development, we create innovative apps that will benefit your business and give you a competitive edge. We work with you throughout the app making process to enhance your app idea. We have worked with entrepreneurs and businesses from various industries around Australia to create the app of their dreams.

Have an app idea? Contact us today!

 

6 Step Guide to Designing Your Very First Mobile App

Did you wake up with a creative idea for the perfect mobile app? One that nobody else has thought of, and that you are certain will be the next Uber or Airbnb?

The only problem is, you are unsure on how to even begin designing and building an app! Never fear! We at Launchpad App Development have developed a brief guide on the 6 key steps that will bring your mobile app from idea to smartphone screens everywhere.

1. Define your goal.

It all starts with an idea. Having a “Great Idea” is the starting point to every successful project. Having a vision of what you want to accomplish at the start is an important benchmark that will confirm whether the development process is heading in the right direction.

Before you go straight into it, you must clearly define your app concept. This includes outlining:

  • Your app’s mission and purpose: what is the app going to do
  • Its core appeal
  • The problem is it going to solve, or what part of life is it going to improve

Defining a clear goal for the app is also going to help explain your idea to a developer and help move the development process along a lot faster.

2. Research your idea.

While you may believe you have a revolutionary idea, you may get your hopes up a little too quickly.

The main purpose of research:

  • Find out if there are other apps that do the same thing on the app stores.
  • Look for design inspiration for your app.
  • Determine the technical requirements for your app.
  • How you can market and monetise your app?
  • Decide whether you want to develop your app on iOS, Android or both.

Nonetheless you should not get discouraged by those who play in the same arena. It is essential that you focus on your own app project and your user acquisition. Learn from the core features and mistakes of competing apps, and drop all other assumptions about them.

3. Getting your app out there.

Think about developing a strategy on how you will get your app out onto the market. This shouldn’t be an exact map to take, but you should consider your possible pathways when getting your app noticed by your target market.

To do this, you must determine your niche. Research into how you can reach out to your target user and how you should reach them to make them see the value and use of the app.

Another important consideration is figuring out how your app is going to generate revenue. Will you charge your users to download it? Or will you offer the app for free but with ads? This monetisation model requires a large user base, so consider that as well.

There are various ways to monetise an app and it is up to you to decide on the channel you want to use.

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4. Sketching your app idea onto paper.

By developing sketches you are laying the foundation for your future user interface. In this step you visually conceptualise the main features and the approximate layout of your app.

Having the first rough sketch of your app helps everyone on your team understand the mission. Use these sketches as a point of reference for the next phase of the project.

When sketching your app, keep in mind these 4 questions:

  • What will my Visual Brand Name and Design look like?
  • How will each screen look?
  • What are the size and shapes of various elements?
  • What are the actions users can take from each screen?

5. Creating a basic Wireframe and Storyboard for your App.

Wireframing is the process of creating a prototype or mockup of your app. There are a number of prototyping tools online. The most common are, Adobe Experience Design, Lucidchart and InVision.

These programs allow you to not only drag and drop all your representative graphics and placeholders into place, but also add button functionality so that you can click through your app in review mode. However, if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to these programs, you can always hand sketch your wireframes onto paper.

While you are working on your wireframes you should also build a storyboard for your app. The idea is to build a roadmap that will help you understand the flow between each screen and how the user can navigate through your app.

Wireframing

6. Find your self an App Developer you can trust!

When looking for an app development company, you’re really looking for a partner. To make sure you find the right partner for your app, we suggest asking every company a series of exploratory questions:

  • How do they learn to develop new innovations in mobile technology?
  • How do they collect and leverage the data from their previous apps and experiences? What have they learned from working with previous clients?
  • Do they offer the ability to collaborate (pairing their team with yours to develop, design, and test)?
  • Do they follow agile development methodologies (quick iterations, test driven development, constant communication)?

When it comes to agile development, our process at Launchpad is built to encourage innovative planning, adaptive development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement.

From budding entrepreneurs to emerging business, this framework allows us to approach every app with the right mix of technical constraint and creative expression to develop market-leading mobile apps.

So what are you waiting for? To find out how you can launch your very own mobile app, take the first step towards transforming your innovative idea into a successful app!

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How to Make Your App Zig in a Market That Zags

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out!”

– Dr. Seuss

Say you were looking for a free note taking app (like I was recently) to help remember appointments and take notes at seminars. If you searched “note taking app” in the Google Play Store, you’d be greeted with the following results:

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From the screenshot above there are apps from independent developers and reputable companies like Microsoft, Google and Evernote.

The million dollar question is: which one should you choose? Factors you might take into consideration could be the app’s rating, app icon, features, description or screenshots.

The app market is like a lolly shop. There are so many choices and so much variety, it’s overwhelming and competitive. Similarly, when you publish an app on the market you’ll be up against other apps vying for the attention of app users. The aim is to rise above competitors by standing out amongst the other apps in the market through grabbing the user’s attention.

How can my app stand out in the market?

1. Create unique and disruptive ideas

To stand out in the market you’ll need to either create an app that either solves a new or existing problem in a more innovative way.

For instance, Uber helped solve the problem for commuters who wanted to catch a taxi at a reasonable price. It also allowed riders to pay by credit card and track the location of their ride.

An example of innovating an existing problem would be the app Parachute (formerly known as Witness). It’s a personal emergency app that allows user to alert family and friends if in danger. While there are many similar apps in the market, the innovative feature is the ability for users to live stream the user’s location and camera to contacts.

A starting point of finding a need is through doing research on the target market of the app. If you’re looking to capitalise on an existing need, look at competitors in your app category and think of ways to be more innovative.

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Parachute lets users live stream their location to family and friends.

2. Create visually appealing Screenshots and Graphics

A picture is worth a thousand words – This is the case with your app’s screenshots. In-app screenshots are one of the main factors which prospective users will assess in the app store. This is the case especially when prospective users are still confused over what the app does after reading the description.

Essentially, your screenshots should be like a movie trailer, showing off the most exciting sections of your app to grasp interest and a potential download. They should be high quality, visually appealing and also contain a caption or headline of the app’s main features and benefits.

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Trucker TV’s Optimised Screenshots. Source: Google Play Store

3. App Ratings

App ratings is one of the main determinants of whether a user downloads an app, as it dictates quality. Research from Apptentive found that 59% of people assess the app’s rating before downloading the app.

As a result, having a high rating increases your chances of potential users downloading and using your app.

Melbourne App Developer

Source: Apptentive

In addition, gaining positive reviews and stars in the app store will highly likely significantly increase your app download conversion rate.  For instance, Apptentive also found that jumping to a four star rating from a three star rating could bring an expected conversion rate of around 340%.

Finally, app ratings is a tool for continuous improvement for your app. Whether it’s changing the app’s UI and UX or launch times, feedback from app users will allow you to identify improvements needed and overall create a more smooth app.

4. Create a Great App Icon

People search for apps in 3 ways: searching by category, keyword or a specific app. Your app icon is your opportunity to create a great impression on the prospective user. In fact, it’s the first thing people will see when browsing through the app store. In a way the app icon should function like a brand logo.

When creating an app icon the main things to consider are colour, image, icon shape, borders.


We’ve previously written about how to create a great app icon. Basically, you should be aiming for an icon that is easily recognisable, simple and visually appealing.  

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From left to right: Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger

When creating the app icon avoid using words, keep it simple, use a border and only use your company logo if your brand is well known. You’ll probably notice that most of the apps on the market look very similar in terms of shape and colour, so if you’re stuck, check out icons from competitors.

5. Research Your Target Audience

Identifying your target market for your app is one of the key stages when formulating your app strategy. Every age group and demographic has different app usage behaviours.

For instance Blue Cloud Solutions found that that most smartphone users are aged between 25 – 34, who are parents or professionals.

By doing research, you’ll get an overall picture on aspects like app usage, behaviours, needs and preferences. Identifying these characteristics will give you ideas on what kind of app to create and features that appeal to them. Being innovative for the sake of it could cause confusion for the user when using the app.

6. Advertise on Multiple Channels

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Source: Think With Google

One of the myths of app store success is that the app store is the only place where apps are found. However, it isn’t effective to rely solely on app browsers discovering your app on the iTunes and Google Play.

To increase awareness and potential downloads, you’ll need to promote your app through additional channels. It can be through social media, paid advertising and even creating app landing pages.

You could even offer app users incentives for downloading the app like giving discounts, free in-app content or even creating a rewards program.

For instance, accommodation booking sites, like Hotels.com, offers lower prices of their rooms if you download their app compared to browsing on their desktop site.

To determine where to advertise, you should identify where your target audience are most accessible digitally. Research by Google found that the most effective mediums to drive app downloads is through search, video, banner and social ads.

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Source: Think With Google

7. App Store Description

After the app icon and screenshots, the app store description will be the third main area that app browsers will see. It is important to focus on how you write your description, as good copy could persuade users to download your app.  

The description should start off with the most crucial information about your app. This is because the app store only shows a few sentences of the description, while hiding the additional text under the “Read More” icon. Here is a good example from One Minute Closer’s description:

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As seen above, the introduction should contain a summary of your app’s Unique Selling Point (USP) and the main message. You can also add credibility by stating the high number of users or positive reviews from reputable sites.

The rest of the app description should contain information about the app’s features, benefits, a call to action and other apps you have developed. It’s also important to keep it free from any spelling or graphical errors and avoid lying as it could result in app deletion.

Why should your app fit in when it was built to stand out?

So here are the 7 tips for standing out in the app market. Just a final note: success doesn’t come easily, you’ll need to continue monitoring your app and trying to find ways to enhance your app activities.

Do you have any other tips for standing out in the marketplace? Have you managed to successfully stand out?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Want to increase your knowledge? Check out our most recent blogs for more insightful knowledge.

5 Tips to Growth Hacking Your Personal Brand

First coined by entrepreneur Sean Ellis in 2010, a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth”. In this post, we outline five growth hacking tactics to help boost your personal brand and, in turn, expand the overall marketing strategy for your app startup.

A growth hacker differs from a conventional marketer in the sense that all of their efforts and strategies focus on lasting growth. The word hacker represents the fact that these tactics for growth are not mainstream or “by the book”. This does not mean they work outside the limitations of the law of course, but this approach to marketing is often unconventional and very creative, bypassing mainstream marketing techniques and promoting huge amounts of growth – often with little to no cost at all!

The term “personal brand” refers to the total experience others take from you. This includes the thoughts and ideas they have of you and how they recognise you as a person.

Having a good personal brand attached to an app startup and/or enterprise mobile app is a great way to promote consumer loyalty. For example, real estate tycoon Donald Trump uses his name extensively on his businesses and products (E.g. The Trump Organisation).

Growing your personal brand is a great way to set yourself apart and be unique. Setting aside some time and effort into growth hacking your personal brand will lead to much better results when implementing your overall marketing strategy over traditional marketing alone.

Social is a standard place to start when you’re talking personal branding and is my go-to place to promote growth. 

Mobile App Development

Traditional Marketer vs. Growth Hacker. Source: Inbound Marketing Agents

Social Media

Social media is more often a place where users or potential investors go to find out about you. So why not show them what you want them to see?

It’s important to be true to yourself on social networks while keeping the values and contentions of your brand in mind. Just as it’s essential to be relatable, you must also be professional and valuable. Make sure your profile photos show a unique, fun side of yourself, while still keeping them polished and professional.

Make use of the different social networks available. Find out which one your potential app users flock to and concentrate on those. If you’re an online marketer, try LinkedIn or Twitter. On the other hand, if you’re into retail you’d do better focusing your efforts on Facebook or Instagram. Regardless of your industry, first you must identify your target audience, find out where they “hang out” online and then focus your efforts on those social hubs.

Remember, if you’re trying to grow your personal brand as quickly as possible you want relevant followings from people within your industry, who can then share your valuable content, not your second aunt, twice removed.

Personal Brand

The benefits of a powerful Personal Brand. Source: Buffer

Identifying Your Strength

The first step is to find your strengths when creating content for your audience. Releasing content that you’re passionate about and well educated in is the quickest way to finding your niche. This will promote brand loyalty and a good volume of app downloads while identifying yourself as an industry expert. With consistent writing and insightful content on your social sites and blogs, you will soon propel yourself to becoming the to-go guy in your field of work!

Once the hard work is done and you have an interested group of strong followers, they will want to listen to more of what you have to say. This will give you the opportunity to start talking more openly on subjects that might interest yourself, further broadening your potential audience.

Stay a Student in Your Industry

Along with releasing consistent content to your audience, you must stay hungry and continue learning. Educating yourself in the latest news and information keeps you at the forefront of your industry. It’s not enough to simply learn new things, you must share what you learn to get the credibility as a professional in your field.

Learning doesn’t stop at content, finding new ways to present your information via social networks, videos or even webinars is a great way to keep relevant and continually grow your brand. Rachel Perkins, Associate Director of Social Media at Michigan University, insists “Personal branding doesn’t end once you get a job. You are constantly building your brand, especially as a student or young professional”.

Be Yourself

Many people believe that you have to portray your brand, speak or act a certain way to be successful. This can be painfully strenuous and tiresome as even the smallest falter in your brand’s image can have a tremendous effect on its reputation.

Instead, be real with your audience and just be yourself. People connect better to people and would prefer if they really believe they were communicating with a real person instead of a ‘fake’ persona.

Remember to tell a compelling story that includes your ups and downs in life. Remember back to when Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, got fired from his own company? He came back years later, smarter and more refined, eventually reforming Apple to become the powerhouse we know today. That’s a relatable story and did wonders for his personal brand. Everyone has their own unique story full of excitement and who’s better to tell that story than yourself?

iPhone App Development

The evolution (or lack thereof) of Steve Jobs’ personal brand. Source: Fast Company

Networking

Networking online and in person is mandatory to grow your personal brand. According to Lynne Sarikas from Northeastern University, “LinkedIn doesn’t replace networking—it makes it easier to find the right people with whom to network. While it can be a great enabler in the job search process, it does not replace the power of building relationships.” Sharing good content and creating a mass following is a great place to start your personal brand but definitely not the whole package.

Speaking to clients and professionals will help promote your brand and give you opportunities to talk at big events. Start small and always speak with confidence and vindication. This gives you the opportunity to voice ideas and share your knowledge. It’s also an amazing way to meet new people and promote networking growth.

Building your personal brand won’t be an achievable overnight, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. It’s one thing no one can take away from you and will be with you for the rest of your career. Needless to say, it requires consistent maintenance and tweaking but using as many of these growth hacks as you can help skip a lot of time between being a nobody to someone that stands out as an industry leader.  

Are there any other Growth Hacks we should consider for Personal Branding? Let us know what works for you in the comments section below.

4 Steps to Skyrocket Your Mobile App Strategy

All great mobile apps start with a clear strategy that guides them towards success. If you have a game-changing idea for an app, this article will show you step by step how to define your mobile app strategy to ensure that your app is designed, developed and launched with maximum effectiveness.

So you have an innovative app idea that you believe will attract users and generate revenue. To do that, you need to create a mobile app strategy that puts your app concept on the right path towards startup success.

A clear mobile app strategy is a key ingredient to successful app startups that attract loyal user bases and generate ongoing revenue.

With many considerations to take into account, this may seem like a daunting task. But worry not, because this step-by-step guide will show you how to create the most effective mobile app strategy to give your innovative idea the execution it deserves.

Step 1 – Understand your key business objectives and the market you’re entering

Your key business objectives will drive the overall strategy for your mobile app. In order to gather the essential information required for the best possible mobile app strategy, you need to understand and note where your startup is, the app store marketplace it will operate in and the user personas of your target audience.

The significance of this initial stage in the overall mobile app strategy cannot be underestimated. The business goals you want to achieve with your app are the foundational base to startup success.

To best understand the objectives you want to reach with your overall strategy, these are the main areas you need to focus on (starting from the highest priority):

  • Key Performance Indicators & Targets

Don’t think just mobile app – think big about your mobile app startup company! What exactly does your startup want to achieve in the next five years?

You should understand your company’s yearly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), how it will generate revenue when launched and through what channels. What’s your revenue target for the first year? For example, your revenue target may be a 50% Return on Investment generated via a freemium monetisation model.

This ensures that the mobile app strategy you create is aligned with your startup company’s KPIs and targets as a complementary tool. In short, you want to define what ‘success’ means for your mobile app through measurable desired results.

  • Target Audience – Mobile as a touch point

Mobile is not a channel. It is a touch point where users can quickly interact with apps in a convenient and seamless manner. This is how your potential users think when interacting with their smartphones and, therefore, how your startup should think.

The best way to provide a valuable touch point to your app’s target audience is by understanding how users will actually interact with your app. Once you know that, you can capture the sweet spot where your mobile app will provide the maximum amount of value for both existing and potential users.

So when you’re creating your overall strategy you must understand how the touch points on your mobile app can satisfy user needs. Mobile is an enabler for your app to help users get the value they want as efficiently, smoothly and quickly as possible.

  • Competitor Analysis & SWOT Analysis

Analysing what your competitors do will more than likely reveal a shared set of best practices that will make it to your features list. However, you will also inadvertently discover things that competing apps do poorly or don’t do at all. Note these as a competitive advantage to gain a superior market position.

This competitor analysis activity was essential to the success of the world’s biggest disruptive app startups – they studied their market, identified something that competitors were missing but consumers really needed, and then built their successful app startup from there.

The last step before you start defining your mobile app strategy is the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The SWOT analytical framework helps you discover and overcome the biggest problems your app startup would face, while also raising awareness to external threats and opportunities that can influence your potential market position.

The main benefit of a SWOT analysis is that it makes you self-aware of all the internal and external factors that could impact not only on your whole mobile strategy, but ultimately the success of your app startup.

Step 2 – Define your Mobile App Strategy

After you have clarified your business objectives and the market you’re entering, you are now in an ideal position to think about your overall Mobile App Strategy. A high-level strategy will include user stories for your mobile app, the resources needed for product execution and the technology stack required for a successful app startup launch.

  • Start building the Mobile App Roadmap

What is your vision for what the mobile app should be in order to be a success? Your entire mobile app strategy will hinge on getting this right. Consider this is a two-fold question:

  1. What’s the idea?
  2. How will the mobile user benefit from the idea?

Once you have your overall app idea clearly identified, you need to plan all the components that need to be implemented in order to execute your mobile app strategy. At Launchpad App Development, we refer to this as the roadmap.

A roadmap provides a visual representation of all the work our strategists, designers and developers will do to create an app that delivers real value.

Melbourne App Developers

Sample Mobile Application Project Roadmap. Source: ProductPlan

A roadmap provides a visual timeline for our team and our clients to communicate project milestones that align the business objectives with an app concept’s set product deliverables.

Considering how a roadmap simply represents X amount of time for any given deliverable, it may periodically change if there is a shift in priorities or because a project task has taken longer than initially anticipated. However, for a professional app development agency, you should expect 80% of the roadmap to more or less remain the same throughout the app development process.

  • Determine the Technical Feasibility

When we run Rocketfuel Workshops with our clients to help them build best-in-class apps, it’s at this stage where we do a technical review of the app’s functionality to plan the optimum technical implementation method. We do this to ensure that the underlying technology of the mobile application is aligned with the client’s defined business goals.

We refer to the technical aspects that need to be established as ‘non-functional requirements’. You may not consider these requirements when you’re using mobile apps, but they are critical to an app’s success in the market.

The bottom line is that you need to have the foresight to make informed business decisions with technical certainty. Establishing this internal alignment will ensure that your app will not only look and feel great to use, but also perform seamlessly when launched.

  • Choose Agile Development as a core component of your Strategy

The main reason to apply agile development methods is because app requirements and business needs ultimately evolve over time based on user feedback, industry shifts and other insights.

Because these needs and requirements change constantly, the best way to develop your mobile app is with an iterative approach: adaptive planning, innovative development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement to produce what your app’s target audience wants.

At Launchpad, we apply a powerful agile framework so that our developers can use their extensive coding experience to deliver iterations as often as possible, while being adaptive and flexible to change.

Again and again, the agile development framework has proven to be significantly more productive and efficient than any other development methodology. Providing a target audience with easy solutions to their problems and adapting to their regularly changing needs should be a key element to your mobile app strategy and entrepreneurial mindset.

Step 3 – Determine your App’s Product Strategy

  • Create your Product Strategy by defining clear user stories

You know what the end goal is and who your users are. So what would it take to deliver on your app idea? Now that you’ve documented everything you can think of to make the final mobile app, you need to outline the specific user stories you want your app to excel at.

The number one secret I can provide here is to focus on one or two main user stories. Rather than overwhelm the user, focus on doing a couple of user stories really well.

This is the secret behind most successful apps. For instance, I use Uber when I want a quick ride, Instagram to share photos and Shazam to identify a song. That’s what makes these apps great – when I want or need something, I go to them.

If you nail down primary and secondary uses of your app in a way that the customer’s mindset is to always open your app to accomplish a task, you’re setting yourself up for success.

  • Define your target audience – who will use your app and why?

Knowing the types of users that you should build your app for will help you more accurately determine the most valuable functions and features required. This is where user persona modelling comes into play. Personas are an effective tool to create the right product for the app’s intended target market. This helps you understand the motivation of your app’s target users and, in turn, define the product features that satisfy the market.

This exercise is essential to defining requirements and creating user experiences that cater to as many user types as possible and, in turn, increasing the user adoption and long-term viability of your app. It also leads you towards the right mindset of building the app for your most common denominator. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to design your app for 80% of all its potential user types.

Melbourne App Development

An example User Persona, including the intended user’s bio, goals, motivations, and personality. Source: Xtensio

  • Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

All app entrepreneurs should clearly outline not only the strategy for measuring the effectiveness of their app, but also set specific periodic targets to make sure what is achieved matches their original targets.

The metrics you should track to clearly measure the effectiveness of your mobile app strategy are as follows:

  • Startup/Business Metrics – Revenue, Market Share, and Increase Customer Satisfaction (NPS Score).
  • App Metrics – New Users, Active News, App Rating and Retention Rate.

Tracking insightful data has never been easier with so many tools now readily available. The secret is knowing what to track and doing it well from the beginning.

Step 4 – Assemble your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Finally, you’ll need to know how to implement your strategy. You need to define the MVP and processes that the developers need to deliver the project on budget and on time.

  • Define your Minimum Viable Product 

Depending on the complexity of your app concept, you may have identified more than 100 potential features that can be included. The next step is to take all of these features and rank them very simply as ‘must’, ‘should’ or ‘nice’ to have features.

With the features you have ranked as ‘must haves’ for the initial launch, you are now left with your MVP. This is the leanest version of your app with only the most valuable features that address the problem the product solves and demonstrates the core value of your app offering.

As previously mentioned in our ‘3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea’ post, the MVP is not the same as the best app offering. Your app is not yet at the ‘sweet spot’ where the maximum number of users are satisfied by the minimum number of features.

Mobile App Development

The minimum viable product has fewer features than an app at the sweet spot.

The MVP is a much earlier iteration than this ‘sweet spot’. It’s the leanest app you can launch to attract users while providing additional time to start developing non-MVP features.

These non-MVP features can be based on your prioritised list of ‘should have’ and ‘nice to have’ features for future updates, as well as insightful data you have gathered from users that have interacted with your MVP app.

Key Takeaways

There’s a lot to be said about developing a successful app. It gives our team a great sense of empowerment and creates real value for clients and their app users.

A strategy for developing a mobile app is simple: think big, act small, launch, test and improve. However,  an effective mobile app strategy requires thought, flexibility and alignment across your business objectives and app goals.

By following this guide, you will be well positioned to successfully build, launch and manage your app.

Are there any resources you would recommend for an effective mobile app strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.

5 Reasons App Development Should Be Your #1 Business Strategy

Are you caught up in the thought that only corporations with an abundance of financial backing need to create an app? Think again. In this post, we outline five reasons why all businesses, big and small, should make Mobile App Development a top priority in 2016.

A 2008 study by Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey found that 69% of users only used their mobiles for voice calling and SMS. In 2014, the same survey found that 7% of users only made use of their mobile for voice calling and SMS. Why is there a huge change in just six years?

Thanks to the rise of the smartphone we can now be connected to the Internet at all times. The way we make use of this connection on our phones is through mobile apps.

81% of Australians now own a smartphone with mobile apps playing a key role in how we go about our daily lives. Mobile apps can help us do chores and order food all with a few clicks on my phone.

But it’s not just smartphone users who can benefit from apps. Businesses can too.

Many businesses still prioritise the desktop/laptop experience for customers over mobile. However, mobile Internet access has overtaken desktop in 2014. with 21% of users now only accessing the net via their mobile devices.

That’s where the benefit lies for businesses. Having a mobile app that is beneficial for customers and a potential revenue generator must become a top priority for any business to consider, from local start-ups to multinational corporations.

Here are five reasons why your business must have a Mobile App Development strategy.

 

1. Internet use is occurring more on Mobile than Desktop – You need a mobile strategy to not miss out on this audience.

Desktop is dead! Long live mobile! While it might not be quite that bleak, it’s not far away from being reality. Mobile is now king when it comes to how users make use of the Internet.

Your customers are waking up to social media notifications on their mobile, looking at their emails over breakfast and making use weather apps to check if they need an umbrella – all just a few moments before leaving for work. You’re probably even reading this blog on your mobile right now.

Take a moment to look around at your fellow commuters the next time you walk onto a train. I’m betting you’ll see that their eyes are glued to their phones. Soon your eyes will be entrenched on your phone too. The point is, people spend a tonne of time on their mobile phones and they are now truly intrinsic to our everyday lives.

But what does that mean for your business?

Firstly, there is a large audience out there, whose daily Internet use is done largely through mobile apps, which your business is missing out on. And let’s not forget that 21% of users who exclusively access the Internet via their mobile.

Secondly, having a web presence is simply no longer good enough for small to medium size businesses. Many businesses are still creating and relying on websites, without the knowledge that developing a mobile app would be far more efficient and effective at targeting a mobile app-driven market.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it means that there is now an opportunity. Opportunity for your business to develop a mobile strategy that will help market your product to a large audience that is yet to be reached by your competitors and will only become more mobile-focused for years to come.

Long live mobile apps!

 

2. Mobile notifications allow you to connect with customers 24/7, 365 days a year.

Does your business struggle to bring in new customers or reconnect with old ones? This is a problem for businesses worldwide as traditional forms of advertising are becoming less effective.

But with strategic mobile notifications, connecting with customers is easier and more effective than ever before.

Before mobile, traditional forms of customer engagement included flyers, catalogues and emails. They are still used today, but the fact is that mobile notifications are the most efficient method of connecting with customers. Mobile notifications are also more effective at capturing and engaging users too.

Customers can so easily put down a catalogue or just delete an email. Not to mention the fact that you constantly have to produce new and engaging content for these forms of advertising.

How about that email marketing campaign you’re running? According to Smart Insights, it’s only getting a click thru rate of 3% to your website from recipients. In comparison, check out the infographic below to see how effective mobile notifications are.

Melbourne App Development

Your eyes are not deceiving you – mobile app notifications really do get an incredible 6% Click Thru Rate across all industries. Source: Accengage

Mobile app notifications have a click thru rate of 6%. That’s twice as effective as that email marketing campaign you’re spending so much time and money on.

With mobile notifications, there are constant alerts and interaction between your business and its customers in real time – 24/7, 365 days a year.

You can nudge your customers to do something, remind them of an upcoming service or even provide offers exclusive to mobile users. The options are endless when it comes to using mobile notifications.

Mobile notifications are here, they’re effective and are ready to be used on your potential app. So what are you waiting for?

 

3. Apps have customer’s full attention and improve customer engagement.

15.3 million Australians own a smartphone, but just how engaged are we with them? I called out my fellow commuters for being engrossed in their phones but I have the evidence to back it up.

Below is a table displaying how much time a month users are spending on their mobiles and how they use them. You might be surprised by the amount.

App Development Australia

Source: Nielsen

That’s 36 hours a month spent on smartphones, with users spending 33 hours of that time on mobile apps.

Further analysis by Deloitte found that Australians look at their smartphone more than 30 times a day on average, with all our daily views combined making a total of 440 million views a day.

What if Australians were spending some of those 33 hours or 440 million views on your business’s mobile app? With the right app, this possibility can easily become a reality.

While it’s clear that mobile apps have our attention, it’s important to understand why certain apps have our attention and how they improve customer engagement.

The great thing about an app is that your customer is locked into your app while using it. They can’t just open up another tab or look up something else, like they can on a desktop or laptop.

Once customers are using an app, the best ones keep them engaged enough to understand the value of the app, without the desire to search for an alternative.

You can keep users engaged with your app in a number of ways.

Apps that provide value to customers are always the biggest engagement winners. Whether it’s having a mobile store that provides a streamlined shopping experience or a loyalty system that incentivises ongoing purchases, provide value to app users will keep them returning for that same value again and again.

Remember that dinner reservation I mentioned before? It was done in a few easy clicks and without that loud, tedious phone call to the busy restaurant. Now that’s value right there.

Mobile notifications keep your customers engaged and help to reconnect with users. They are attention grabbing and remind customers of your products/services in a more personalised and strategic manner.

My personal favourite are in-app rewards. The offer of a small reward, eg. 10% off for ordering through an app, is another highly effective method to keep customers engaged.

At the end of it all, creating more interesting and sophisticated apps that provide the customer with real value will command the attention of users, keep them using your app and generate revenue for your business.

 

4. Mobile apps can be personalised for each user, creating a better user experience.

No two people are the same. So why give everybody the same experience? With apps, you can personalise the customer experience, generate a loyal user base and, ultimately, provide a better performing app.

Again, we bring it back to making the customers life better or easier. If the app is more tailored to the user, then it’s easier for them to perceive the benefits it provides.

A major hurdle in personalisation is the log in process. Customers have to log into a website every time they come back to use it. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got better things to do than continuously log back into websites.

With a mobile app, your customers only need to log in once to access their account and make use of the app. The best form of log in is through a social network (E.g. Facebook) as this provides your app with rich user data to aid the personalisation process.

A personalised app can use data to understand details about your customer. You can find out likes/dislikes, where they are using your app and time spent in the app.  Additionally, you can gain personal information, such as birthdays and gender. Your app continuously responds to this information and creates a constant personalised experience for the user.

There are no limits for how personalised an app can be to each user.

You can even use personalisation as a marketing engagement tool. Mobile notifications can be personalised to each user to increase click thru rate and create cost-effective mobile marketing campaigns.

When investing in a mobile app for your business, make sure your app provides a personalised user experience.

 

5. Stand out from the competition.

Mobile app development gives your business the opportunity to stand out in your industry and gain the competitive edge.

More small business owners are recognising the response digital media advertising garners from consumers and are keen on making use of that strong response. Instagram advertising is being embraced by small businesses, but soon too will mobile app development.

Mobile apps at small business level are still rare, but by being the first to adopt a mobile app strategy, your business can stand out from the competition and validate your brand to its customers.

A great app also helps businesses differentiate themselves from competitors. If your business offers a great service and an enticing app that provides real value, then customers will flock to your business in droves.

Ultimately, having your own app means that your business will be a step ahead of its competitors and be perceived as a forward-thinking business in your industry. That’s the power great mobile apps have.

Look at Netflix. The DVD-by-mail business was failing badly in 2011 and looked in dire straits. However, the company embraced mobile apps, which led them to be an iconic company. They have also dominated the DVD and online video industry, which made Blockbuster go bankrupt.

Mobile App Developers

Netflix subscription rates have increased significantly since the introduction of its mobile apps. Source: Daily Tech

I’m not saying that you need an app to bankrupt your competitors, but I’m sure that you would like a way for your business to one-up the competition.

This is all possible with your own app. Embrace the idea and be ready to stand out.

 

Key Takeaways

Mobile apps are the future of how we use the Internet and connect with customers in the online world.

There should always be a place for desktop in business strategy, but with mobile apps taking on greater relevance in our lives, your business must have a mobile app strategy to remain relevant in today’s ever connected digital world.

Being an early adopter of a mobile app strategy helps your business stand out competition and open up opportunities.

Remember – there’s nothing holding back your competitors from developing an app of their own. Nothing should be holding you back either.

Do you have any other reasons why businesses should adopt a mobile app strategy? Feel free to leave us a comment below.

The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

What are the shared traits of apps like Uber and Airbnb that help them become impactful multinational companies? The answer can vary depending on industry and business model. In this post we share the four most common characteristics of successful app startups.

Not since the dot-com days of the late 90s has there been such a prevalence of tech startups. The rise of mobile technology and innovations such as cloud computing has spurred this latest round of tech entrepreneurship.

As the mobile revolution becomes mainstream, new business opportunities are being presented. At Launchpad App Development, we help entrepreneurs and emerging businesses realise these opportunities through iPhone, Android, and Web App Development.

Here are the important qualities in achieving app startup success in the evolving mobile marketplace.

They are disruptive

One of the defining characteristics of successful app startups is Disruption. A disruptive app challenges the status of an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. – to such an extent that the traditional way of doing business becomes practically obsolete.

That’s easier said than done, and a lot more difficult than creating an app that follows consumer demand and market trends. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

So is a disruptive app created?

Clayton Christensen – who introduced the disruptive innovation theory in the Harvard Business Review – notes that disruptive innovation often starts from the low-end market foothold.

Consider an industry where companies try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services. In such an industry, these companies are paying less attention to less-demanding customers. This opens the door to disruptive apps to provide these low-end customers with a Minimum Viable Product.

Example – Uber

The taxi industry is tightly regulated and the drivers face strict obligations. In most cities, drivers need a special operator’s license in order to act as a taxi. Furthermore, there are restrictions to what cars they can legally drive.

In comparison to traditional taxis, Uber started in the low-end market by allowing anyone with a car to drive other people around for money. No special certification or knowledge was required.

As Uber’s network grew in each city, ride costs and waiting times declined and the rating system ensured that the driver quality was relatively consistent. With this improved service quality, Uber was able to move upstream to attack taxis directly – a classic disruptive move.

Uber Most Valuable Startup

Now worth $85 billion AUD, Uber is the World’s most valuable startup. Source: Statista

They have a well-defined Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits your app provides and how it does it uniquely well. It describes your target users, the problem your app solves, and why it’s distinctly better than the alternatives.

A significant part of defining a value proposition involves what Forbes writer Michael Skok calls the 4Us:

  • Unworkable: Does your app solve a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction?
  • Unavoidable:  Is it driven by a fundamental requirement for accountability or compliance?
  • Urgent: Is it one of the top few priorities in the marketplace that your startup is entering?
  • Underserved: Is there a noticeable lack of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right path toward a compelling value proposition.

Example – Evernote

Evernote’s value proposition is to “help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. From saving ideas and thoughts to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s distinct app offering makes it easy for users to stay productive and organised.

With a well-defined value proposition, you know that your target market is primed for the solution that your app provides.

They start with a small market

When it comes to successful app startups, there’s been a lot of talk about the huge market that’s readily available through the ever-evolving mobile platform.

While it’s true that a startup must eventually reach a large market to transform into a large company, it’s actually best to identify a narrow market segment to begin with.

As we covered in a previous post, starting with a small market helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in an insightful manner, while also underlining any issues that need to be rectified more quickly.

“Begin with a really small market, take over said market, and then expand that market in concentric circles.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder, and early Facebook Investor.

Thiel advises in his lecture, “the greatest mistake you can make as a new startup is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories properly. And you’re going to be dealing with too much competition in one way or another.”

If you want to turn your app startup into a successful company, you should first capture targeted small markets and then help that market growth over time.

They provide an outstanding User Experience

By definition, a startup is a new company. They can’t be dependent on brand loyalty built over years or decades like their big, entrenched competitors can.

This is why providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to the business’s long-term success.

So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

    • Easy flow and navigation – Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to be part of the app, it’s essential that you make it easy for the user to navigate from screen to screen, or from one feature to another. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
    • Understand your customer What is the profile of your typical customer (E.g. Age group, gender, their behavior with technology, etc.)? The navigational features (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes) will differ from a 5-year-old compared a 55-year-old mobile user.
  • Utilise the platform – Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, up or down) can bring a new screen and remove another, while a pinch can zoom into content or move out of the current screen as well. Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, platform-specified gestures should be offered to provide an intuitive navigation experience.

App User Experience

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: Business 2 Community

The User Experience your app offers should be an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether your app idea will grow into a successful startup depends on a variety of factors. They have common characteristics that can be identified.

Successful app startups are disruptive, have a well-defined value proposition, start with a small market and provide an amazing user experience. Making sure that your app concept has these four traits will set you on the right path to achieving startup success.

What additional characteristics do you believe lead to app startup success? Let us know in the comments section below.

An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Instagram Advertising

Instagram reached two important milestones in 2015. Neither of them had anything to do with Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Firstly, Instagram surpassed Twitter to become the second biggest social media platform in the world, after its parent company Facebook. Secondly, and most importantly for this blog topic, Instagram activated its advertising API for marketers to use in their advertising collateral. Read on to find out how Instagram ads can help get your app more downloads in 2016.

As we have stated in one of our previous blogs, businesses are moving away from traditional advertising channels and taking advantage of social media’s powerful influence on society. Instagram is following Facebook’s lead on advertising and now allowing small businesses, as well as large companies, to advertise within the app. We have seen the benefits of Facebook advertising for small businesses but can Instagram Advertising have the same effect?

According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion by 2017. This will account for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues, surpassing Twitter and Google’s ad revenues altogether. This indicates that Instagram will quickly become a leading platform for advertising. As a rsult, early adopting businesses will reap the rewards of using the Instagram app for mobile marketing.

Instagram Mobile Marketing

Instagram’s Ad revenue is set to surpass Google and Twitter by 2017. Source: eMarketer

But how will Instagram ads be different from what’s in our feed’s now?

Previously, Instagram ads were targeted based on country, gender and age. Now Instagram will use an algorithm, which incorporates data from users Facebook profiles and Facebook ad buys, to make their advertisements more relevant but without a huge increase of ads on the average feed. This means that advertisements are going to be more effective as the relevant people are going to be reached.

So you’re an app entrepreneur that wants to make use of Instagram advertising, but want to understand the science behind what makes an Instagram ad effective. Here’s our top 5 tips and tools to creating adverts that are #instagood.

1. Learn About The Different Forms of Advertisements On Instagram.

Instagram advertising has evolved quickly in the past year. There is now an array of options that you can apply for your Instagram advertising campaign. Lets look at them below:

Photo Ads

Photo ads are what users see the most in their Instagram feeds. They use high quality visual imagery to deliver your message and engage viewers. They are simple but extremely effective in reaching target markets and creating brand awareness. All these ads have a small ‘Sponsored’ icon in the top right corner to distinguish themselves from regular Instagram posts.

Video Ads

Video ads allow up to 30 seconds of creative video, including sound, to entice your viewer. The use of short video advertisements is rising and the benefits of video advertising are there for all marketers to see. However, it’s important to use engaging visual imagery to capture the viewer’s attention and not rely solely on sound to deliver your message, as the ad must be clicked on to for sound to be heard.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are Instagram’s newest advertisement feature. You can advertise your app using a number of different images in the same advertisement. Swipe right and the viewer see’s another image, with a different message or call to action. Swipe right again and they see another image. Carousel ads are strong performing and flexible, allowing you to use a number of different images and call to actions.

Instagrams Advertisements

The three Instagram advertising formats. Source: Instagram Business.

 

2. Get Your Advertisement Design Right.

The design element of your advertisement is crucial to the overall success of your advertisement. Unfortunately, just posting up an image of your product that hasn’t been given much thought will not get the desired response you are after. I’ve outlined some key steps to follow when designing your advertisements.

  1. Create a focal point in your image, which will engage the viewer and capture their attention.
  2. Make use of the rule of thirds and symmetry in your advertisements. Rarely place your focal point in the centre of the image.
  3. Use your logo subtly, not as the focal point, as it becomes a distraction and takes away from the content of your advertisement.
  4. When using text, utilise it to compliment the focal point and make the same fonts, one or two max, consistent across all of your posts. Only 20% of your image can be made up of text.
  5. The use of colour and contrast is key to creating a strong image. Use a plain background to help your focal point colour shine and make the image pop. When using a coloured background, contrast this with a white coloured focal point or text.
  6. Be consistent with your brand advertisement look. Your different advertisements should have a consistent look, whether it is similar compositions, use of fonts and colours or place of logo. This makes your brand recognisable and distinguishable to customers from other content.

3. Make Your Advertisements Look Native.

Making your advertisement look native doesn’t mean you need to have images of people from the depths of the African jungle in your ad. What I mean by native is making your advertisement blend in so it appears as though it isn’t even an advertisement.

You want your advertisement to look like any other Instagram post that might pop up on the average newsfeed. This means that you are not ruining the users overall Instagram feed by spamming them with obvious advertisements, much to the chagrin of many users (myself included!) and creating negativity around your app.

Instagram Ad Post

The Sprint ‘post’ to the left is clearly an ad, while the post to the right looks like a normal Instagram post. Source: The Verge

4. Use calls-to-action

Before Instagram allowed advertising, the only way to create traffic to your website was through putting a link to your website in your bio. Instagram was great for promoting brand awareness, but for directing users to a buy now page or prompting them to download your app? Not so much.

With the new advertising API release, Instagram has created Calls-to-Action buttons for use in advertisements. You can use these calls-to-action including, Install Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, Download and Learn More.

Instagram Ads Call To Action

These calls-to-actions can do a number of different things, such as opening a shop inside of Instagram or linking the user directly to their respective App Store for download of your app. Calls-to-action are making Instagram a far more effective marketing tool and all strong app marketing campaigns going forward will make use of them.

5. Make use of relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are critical to brand promotion, audience engagement and can be used across a number of platforms. Using hashtags comes easy for most of us on Instagram, but for advertising, you need to use them strategically. When used correctly, hashtags can reward brands with a larger audience and engagement outside of their local area. There are three different forms of hashtags that businesses can make use of.

Content Hashtags

Content hashtags, such as lifestyle, event or location hashtags, can get you views and click throughs from people who are searching for or using these hashtags. Hashtags such as #mondays, #coffeefix or #melbourne are all great examples of content hashtags that can be used to great effect in advertising.

Trending Hashtags

Making use of trending hashtags allows you to potentially promote your brand out to a large-scale audience, without the need to create the hashtag yourself. Businesses use trending hashtags such as #AFLGrandFinal or #fitness to effectively promote their brand and engage with a wider audience.

Custom Brand Hashtags

You can create a hashtag for your marketing campaign and promotions. Some of the top brands across the globe use their own hashtags in their posts, which become recognisable to their brand and can then be used by other users to create a community of followers and content around the brand’s hashtag.

They can be difficult to create and maintain, but if your custom hashtag becomes popular, the brand awareness can be immense.

A great example is KitKat’s marketing campaign featuring the hashtag #mybreak. KitKat utilises the hashtag across their social media pages and many other Instagram users upload photos of their own KitKat’s along with the hashtag, creating a community of KitKat fans and a growing audience.

Your Instagram Advertising Campaign Starts Now

Instagram advertising looks pretty straightforward. But without following these key steps, you won’t get the most out of the potential it can offer.

First, decide on what ad format you will use. Next, get your advertisement design looking on point. Your advertisement shouldn’t blatantly look like an advertisement – make it look native to the Instagram newsfeed. Use relevant hash tags to promote your brand and advertisements. And don’t forget to make use of calls-to-action!

Using those tools and tips above will help you design strong advertisements on Instagram and contribute more to the overall advertising of your app.

Do you have any other tools or tips to use for advertising on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.