6 things you need for a good mobile app strategy

11 min read
October 17, 2022

Creating apps isn’t easy.

The typical app needs months of hard work and thousands of dollars of investment to pull off. And in the end, 99.5% of them fail.

Many of them lack one thing that would have made them successful—a solid plan.

To help you rise above these discouraging statistics, we’ll discuss the six key points every good mobile app strategy should have.

An app concept that solves a problem

Figuring out the problem that your app solves is perhaps one of the most important parts of your strategy.

It doesn’t matter how good your UX is or how innovative the core idea is—if no one wants to use it, your app won’t succeed.

Indeed, a lack of market need is one of the top reasons apps and startups fail, second only to running out of funds.

top reasons startups fail chart 1

Source: CB Insights

Interestingly, a poor product only causes 8% of failures. That’s because it’s relatively easy to improve your app once you listen to market feedback.

But a flawed core idea that nobody wants is nearly impossible to fix. It’s like removing the foundation of your house.

Such is the importance of solving a core problem. Hence, that’s why you need to prioritize it.

To do this, you first need to pick a niche. There are hundreds of possible categories to consider, so it’s best to narrow it down immediately to focus your time and energy.

Unfortunately, there are a hundred different ways to pick a niche. You can go with an area you’re passionate about, an underserved market, or a trending category.

It depends on your preference and experience.

most popular apple app store categories

Source: Statista

Once you have a niche, your next step is market research. The goal is to uncover the biggest pain points of users in that niche.

You can do this through interviews, focus groups, or online platforms like Reddit and Facebook.

For example, let’s say your chosen niche is keto apps because you’re an avid practitioner.

It would be best if you interviewed people who are into keto and found out what they like (and don’t) with existing apps in the market.

You can then use these insights to craft a problem statement. This is a sentence that encapsulates who your market is, what their biggest problem is, and how it will benefit them.

One way of doing this is IBM’s method.

statement template 1

Source: IBM

The method is really simple. On a whiteboard, you should write your problem statement template in the format:

“[our users] need a way to [solve their biggest problem] so they can [benefit from solving the problem].”

Then, using market research as a guide, have everyone in the team write post-it notes to fill in the blanks on the above template.

You’ll eventually find common themes, which you can plug into your problem statement.

Your app’s problem statement is one of the most important components at your disposal. Use it as a barometer for every decision you make during development.

An understanding of the target audience

If you did the previous step properly, you should already have an idea of who your target audience is. Now it’s time to understand them a little more deeply.

Knowing your target market inside and out is vital if you want to serve them properly. It allows you to craft the best user experience for them.

It also improves your communication and marketing efforts with them.

This is especially crucial if you’re entering a foreign market with different cultures and norms.

Countless companies have made international marketing blunders simply because they didn’t understand their market well enough. Here’s one example:

international marketing Mercedes Benz

Source: Marketing Mind

It’s important to know your audience deeply. You should go beyond just learning who they are and where they live, and touch on their hobbies, interests, and buying behaviors.

To help you do this, you can use the four types of market segmentation as a guide.

what is market segmentation

Source: Referral Candy

The geographic category is the broadest of the four. It simply tells you which city and country your potential customers live in.

It’s the easiest to research since information is freely available (for instance, you can determine a user’s location based on their IP address).

Demographics refer to the tangible traits of your users, such as their gender, age, and marital status. Demographics can be measured quantitatively, which also makes them easy to obtain.

Demographic information alone will already tell you much about your audience.

For instance, if women comprise the majority of your market, you might want to gravitate towards app design with features that are traditionally considered feminine, such as pastel colors.

However, demographic data is limited. There are simply some things that you can’t assume or correlate based on physical characteristics.

For example, you can’t tell if a person is into intermittent fasting (IF) through age, gender, or income alone.

That’s where psychographics comes in. These are the non-tangible traits of a person, such as their preferences, hobbies, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

Psychographic data is powerful because it directly affects a person’s behavior.

Demographics vs psychographics 1

Source: CB Insights

Lastly, you have behavioral data, which are the habits of your users when interacting with your brand or a competitor. It measures things like spending habits and brand loyalty.

Once you have uncovered all of that market research data, you’ll begin to see common elements that best reflect the characteristics of your target audience.

From here, it’s useful to create a marketing persona.

A marketing persona is an ideal person that represents your target audience.

You can use them as a guide when developing your app to ensure it tailors to your market’s needs and preferences.

marketing persona

Source: Cassidie Parker

You can create multiple personas if you realize that you have various subgroups in your market. This allows you to market or even customize the app experience for each segment.

An understanding of the competition

A common mistake many developers make is skipping competitor research. If only they knew how crucial it is!

Your competitors are a gold mine of information. Their apps can tell you the strategies that worked so you can improve them.

More importantly, you’ll also know their mistakes so that you can avoid them.

Best of all, it’s free! Your competitors have already spent the time, money, and effort discovering the optimal approaches that work. You only need to analyze them.

There are many ways to do competitor research.

The easiest place to start is in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Simply enter a relevant keyword (like keto or forex trading), and look at the apps that pop up.

Alternatively, you can also check the top charts in each category.

App Store Videos App Previews and Google Play Promo Videos

Source: App Demo Videos

Aside from checking the features and UX design of each competitor app, it’s also vital to explore the reviews and the comments section.

These will tell you what users think of the app and unveil any shortcomings you could capitalize on.

Once you have a list of your top competitors, it’s useful to lay them out on a table. You can lay them out on a marketing plan template.

Include the key points of each, such as marketing strategies, monetization and core features.

Septa Key screenshot

Source: Septa Key

Laying everything out this way allows you to compare competitors easily and spot patterns in the data.

A viable mobile app design

Having a great core idea alone can’t guarantee success. You also need an effective vehicle to drive that idea forward.

That, in essence, is what a viable app design does.

Great design is crucial because it helps give a fantastic UX. Without it, there’s a high chance that people will uninstall your app. Check out this statistic:

top 7 reasons why people uninstall mobile apps chart

Source: Mobile App Daily

Bad UI contributes a significant 42% of uninstalls. But, the reality is that all the reasons listed above are due to poor UX.

Achieving a viable UI design relies on several factors. Nevertheless, arguably the most crucial one is to keep it intuitive.

A UX design that’s familiar and easy to use feels comfortable to users. It reduces the cognitive load or the mental strain required to interact with your app.

Too much thinking will overwhelm users and make them drop out.

cognitive load illustration 1

Source: Boagworld

Other best practices to keep in mind include removing clutter, designing for one-handed operation, focusing on great copy, and using notifications wisely.

If you want to learn more about UX best practices, check out our post here.

Regardless of which design approach you use, it’s crucial that you get constant feedback from stakeholders and end users.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to create wireframes and prototypes to test your app designs.

wireframe vs mockup vs prototype

Source: Eleken

Later, you should also consider creating a minimum viable product, or MVP. This is a version of your app that’s stripped down to the essential features.

An MVP can help you validate your design to end users to ensure it’s acceptable to them.

And that, in a nutshell, is what a viable app design is—it should give value to your users.

A plan to promote the app

Contrary to what most developers believe, the bulk of the work of your app comes after you launch it.

See, users won’t just automatically flock to your app once it’s on the app store. You need to market it properly.

Consider the statistics a new app is up against.

There are 5,692,144 apps in both the Apple and Google Play stores as of 2022. That’s a lot of competition.

There are 5692144 apps in both the Apple and Google Play stores as of 2022 1

Source: Statista

But it doesn’t end there. You also must compete with the other apps on your user’s phone.

With the average person having around 40 apps installed but only using roughly half of them 89% of the time, that’s plenty of competition.

Luckily, there are plenty of strategies to help you stand out in the highly saturated mobile app market.

You can start by optimizing your app store page.

Tactics like keyword optimization, writing a compelling app page description, and using the right icon can help make your app more discoverable.

After that, you can help spread the word with a mobile app marketing plan. Here’s what it looks like, including the tactics you need to invest in.

mobile app marketing plan

Source: Smart Insights

Just be prepared to spend time and money marketing your app. If you want to get the word out, there’s no way around it.

Ideally, you should allot around 31% of your development funds to marketing for the best results.

A customer service plan

Here’s a fact you must accept—you won’t launch an error-free app on day one. No matter how many rounds of testing you do, there will always be a bug or UX issue that will pop up.

You need to consider how users can reach you when encountering these problems.

The critical characteristic of a good customer service plan for apps is 24/7 availability. That’s because you have no control over when the issues will pop up.

Some simple strategies to ensure this include FAQ articles and chatbots.

Here are some other components your customer service plan needs.

The past and present state of customer support 1

Source: Hiver

An important part of customer service is to always listen to your customers.

Opening your ears to their feedback and complaints allows you to catch problems or spot opportunities for improvement early.

There are plenty of strategies to do this. Some are outlined below:

A graphic showing different ways to collect customer feedback

Source: Call Center Help

Customer service might not seem as crucial as other app areas, like marketing or testing. But it still contributes to the overall app experience, so you should invest time and energy in it.

The next step

After reading this article, we hope you’ve learned how to create an effective mobile app strategy.

But no matter how good your mobile app strategy is, it’s useless without proper execution.

And that’s where hiring the right mobile app agency like DECODE matters.

With our extensive experience and skills, we believe we have what it takes to bring your plans to life.

Interested? Get in touch with us today, and let’s talk!

Written by

Marko Strizic

Co-founder and CEO

Marko started DECODE with co-founders Peter and Mario, and a decade later, leads the company as CEO. His role is now almost entirely centred around business strategy, though his extensive background in software engineering makes sure he sees the future of the company from every angle. A graduate of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, he’s fascinated by the architecture of mobile apps and reactive programming, and a strong believer in life-long learning. Always ready for action. Or an impromptu skiing trip.

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