7 Steps to Building a Mobile App for Your Online Business

Posted by Joe P. on June 25, 2014
Marketing / No Comments

You probably have your very own smartphone filled with downloaded apps. So why is it that you haven’t tapped yet to the mobile platform to promote your online biz?

These days, almost everyone in the world are carrying around their mobile devices and accessing various apps many times every single day. Imagine how much exposure you could have if your app was being used by each and every one of your targeted consumers in different countries. This is essentially why you need to come up with a mobile app for your e-store. Make your brand into a household name— or rather, an app store name that everybody’s scurrying to get.

Step 1: Decide on Your Purpose.

Before you rush into getting this app built, you must take it one step at a time. Begin with the end in mind, as they say.

What’s your purpose? Is it to interact with customers more, to boost sales, to strengthen brand exposure, to inform people about up and coming products, or all of the above?

Part of knowing your purpose is also knowing the message that you would like your app to convey to its users. When you’ve got these all settled, you can then narrow down your ideas and focus on just a few that would help you accomplish your objectives.

Step 2: Study Your Audience.

Even if you’ve already studied your audience before launching your business, it pays to delve deeper into their mobile gadget usage.

Let’s say you are targeting typical teenagers. These are avid app users and many of them like to play games on their electronic tablets and smartphones. You shouldn’t stop with such info. Find out what time they usually play, how often they do it, what kind of challenges they enjoy, and more. These will all provide better insight and thus guide you in planning an app that they would appreciate and love.

Step 3: Choose a Suitable App Type.

Once you know your purpose and audience, the next step is to choose the app type. Given the example above, it’s obvious that you have to establish a game app that would eventually lead these teens to your online store.

But what if your products are for busy professionals and executives? Perhaps an organizational app will be better, one that they could use for work or for managing time.

Indeed it’s essential to pick a suitable app that fits your purpose and audience in order to ensure its success.

Step 4: Plan Your App Well.

Now it’s time to get down to planning proper. How do you visualize this app? Naturally, it has to match your branding— the colors, the entire look, the overall feel, the language, etc. Take note of the graphics and text, the story behind it (if there’s one), the challenges or levels in a game, the features, the rewards. There’s certainly plenty to consider.

In a game, for instance, it would be good to give special discount codes as prizes for completing levels. And in a time management or weight loss diary app, you could lock some features that could only be opened upon sharing the app on social media.

Release your creative juices! There are tons of gimmicks you can incorporate into your app without hard selling your products and services.

Step 5: Pick a Great Developer.

Remember this: your amazing plan will go to waste without a great developer.

Don’t just grab a random stranger advertising on the classifieds unless he’s got valid samples to truly show his expertise. You need to carefully look over your options, given the budget and design you have in mind. Also please take the time to check out a developer’s background and portfolio while also going over reviews on this person or company.

Step 6: Promote Your App.

When your app is finally ready to be released to the public, then you need to promote it. No matter how marvelous it is, it will remain sitting in the app store and getting ignored if you don’t market it sufficiently.

Building a mobile app doesn’t end with the finished product. It’s as good as zilch without active users and without fulfilling the purpose for which it was built.

You can utilize your website and existing social media networks to promote your app. You may also want to feature it in paid ads, spread the word on forums, and incorporate it into your ongoing or upcoming marketing campaigns.

Step 7: Measure the Performance.

The process is not over until you measure the performance of your app. You have to build it up until it’s considered effective. Hence, you need to employ some analytics tools in order to determine if your mobile app is actually doing what it’s supposed to.

For instance, if you designed the app to grow your email list, it should be doing such. If you planned for it to help your customers get to know your brand better, then you must conduct a survey, unveil a poll, or use a feedback form to find out.

Measure the performance. It doesn’t matter if your app has a million users. If it was built to boost your sales but your sales reports show the same results, then the app is not effective and might have to be redesigned.

Eager to try out your own mobile app and see what it can do for your business? Follow the steps above and walk down the right path— toward a fruitful online business!

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The Rise and Fall of WWWW: A Lesson In Stupidity

Posted by Joe P. on June 24, 2014
eCommerce / No Comments

I want to first say, in FULL DISCLOSURE that I sold the company I co-owned (Solid Cactus) to Web.com Group in 2009, and I no longer hold any position in Web.com, nor do I really care about the stock price – but I still follow Web.com because a good part of my past life still lives within the Web.com organization – including a lot of wonderful memories and a bunch of awesome people.  I am writing this commentary because I have been in the technology industry since it’s inception and seeing Web.com lose almost 25% of it’s value in one day is almost laughable.  I’m going to tell you why (since it’s obvious that most bankers and investors have absolutely NO knowledge of technology or how it works).

So upon the release of the news that Google is venturing into Domain Registration sales, and email services…  (article: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2367060/google-tests-domain-registration-service.html)

  • Domain Registration is an extremely STICKY product.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to move a domain name from one registrar to another?  Let’s say I’m paying Web.com $35 a year for my domain name, and I have been since 2000…  IF I wanted to move this domain name to Google, which of course would make no sense, since I could have moved it to GoDaddy 7 years ago but never did – I would have to first, UNLOCK the domain name, then get a transfer code, then go to the new registrar and request the transfer using the transfer code I was given by Web.com.  After this step takes place, I have to approve the transfer by email, AND most of the time the email address on file with the registrar is incorrect, causing the transfer to cancel automatically.  Did I mention I have only 7 days to accomplish this?  Did I also mention that any step in the process that is done out of sequence will cause the transfer to fail?  Come on people, this is the most ridiculous overreaction to news I’ve seen in a long time…  GoDaddy has been prostituting domain names on the open market for almost a decade.
  • Believe it or not, you were able to buy domain names directly from Google for the past few years if you were pointing them to your Blogger blog.  The domain renewal interface is borderline HIDEOUS at best.  I have a domain name there and I spent an entire month trying to renew the domain name because guess why…  the email address on the registry was incorrect.   Google has also been a member of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for a number of years.  It is no secret to anyone that they would get involved in domains at some point in time.
  • People tend to renew their domain names in one place, regardless of price.  An expired domain name means the potential to lose your entire online business if you don’t act fast.  If you run a business online, do you really think that to save $20, you will put your entire business at risk?
  • Moving your email provider is such a hassle that probably only about 10% of people who work in technology even know how to change an MX record and not cause downtime, let alone CNAME and A records.  Mind you, Gmail has existed for practically as long as I can remember.  Buying a domain name can be “do it yourself”…  Knowing what to do with a domain name after you’ve purchased it is a far cry from “do it yourself”.  Have you ever tried to call Google for help???  If not, I suggest you try.
  • I’m not sure at this point how much of Web.com’s revenue comes from services, but I’m sure it’s quite a bit.  Also, don’t forget about the “aftermarket” revenue.  A good portion of Web.com’s business model is handling domain auctions and expired domain names – which is a big business, and one in which they are the clear leaders.
  • There are some very smart people running Web.com (in my opinion).

The moral of this story…  Such a reaction to such a useless piece of news is funny, but sad to watch.

 

 

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Comcast and Verizon Must Be Stopped!

Posted by Joe P. on June 06, 2014
Greedy Corporations / No Comments


Net neutrality is one of the fundamental principles of the Internet. In a nutshell, it says that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot give preferential treatment to their largest customers in terms of network transmission speed. (Bigger bandwidth users still have to pay for the volume of bandwidth consumed.)

An Internet with net neutrality means that small startup companies have a level playing field with giant content companies.  It’s the environment that has turned the Internet into a grand collaboration-space and an incubator for technological progress.

And it’s under assault.

The new chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, wants to allow ISPs to create a “fast lane” for their more bandwidth intense users. The ISPs want this, because it allows them to charge more for the same services, all under the guise of “paying for what you use in a fair, market-based fashion.”

Wheeler, it should be noted, got appointed to the FCC chairmanship after a twenty year career as a lobbyist for Time-Warner Cable and Comcast.  Wheeler’s appointment and policy has managed to make strange allies of both grass-roots activists and corporate scions like Apple, Google and Microsoft.

The impact of losing net neutrality is vast – it will, even more so than is currently the case, prevent small startup companies from challenging the regional cable companies. It will make it possible for larger content providers to simply buy up more resources to starve potentially disruptive startup companies.  In effect, the internet as we know it would change into a walled garden run by the giant cable companies.

Fortunately, there’s still a window for you to prevent this. While the FCC has voted in favor of ending net neutrality, they are obligated by law to take public commentary for a 120-day period.

You can do so now at http://www.fcc.gov/comments/, and we strongly advise that you do so.

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