There are many reasons individuals and businesses decide to create apps. Some decide to hold back on their mobile app development because they think it’s only for major brands but that is not the case. If your business launches an app it can help in so many different ways, more than you would think. While creating an app is definitely a necessity no matter what size business you have what is equally as important is maintenance. Many launch their app and end up not doing much with it after but you should consistently try and improve your app. Creating and maintaining go hand in hand. Why you need an app 1. Marketing – Having an app is another way to market your company and brand. Small businesses find this especially useful because they can use it as a marketing tool to grab the attention of potential customers. Users can get details about the company, prices, what you offer, news, promotions, a direct communication link to you, and much more. 2. Customer Service – You can connect with your customers better by providing fast and simple ways to get in touch with you. Your mobile app should also have a place to get answers to common questions. There are so many options out there for people, chances are you aren’t the only one in the market. This means you have to improve your customer retention. One way to do that is through great customer service and mobile apps provide a better way to do this. 3. Competition – You might be surprised to learn that your competitors don’t have their own mobile app. Chances are that if you released one you would be ahead of the game making you stand out from the others. If you’re a small business you most likely aren’t taking on major corporations. The other smaller companies that are in the same industry are your competitors so they are who you want to get ahead of. 4. Rewards – You can offer unique things like rewards to your customers and/or potential customers. Do you remember when companies used business cards that they would stamp each time you purchase something? Then after a certain number of purchases you got something free. This is a digital version that allows you to send notifications and updates a lot better than a card that easily gets lost. 5. Customer loyalty – Customers tend to stick with a company if they have a mobile app. They tend to feel like they have more options to learn, buy, and connect. It also allows you to send them notifications to remind them to come back. Developing a mobile app for your small business can help increase your customer loyalty. While there are many reasons your business needs an app there are equally as many for updating it as well. Why you should update your mobile app Updating and maintaining your mobile app is critical to its survival. Think about it, people get bored of the same thing over and over again. Users are always looking for a better way to accomplish a task. You want to keep your users engaged so they don’t find a replacement that’s fresher. This doesn’t mean you have to change your app every week to keep users interested but you do should be monitoring it on a daily basis to help guide you with anything that needs to be fixed or changed to help improve it. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should be updating your mobile application. 1. Bugs – If you have bugs in your mobile app it can be a huge problem and I’m not talking about the ones outside. If users encounter issues in your app the majority of them will jump ship. It’s already common that people tend to stop using apps after 1 or 2 uses and that is without any bugs. Testing is something that needs to be done on a daily basis to ensure bugs are caught and fixed immediately. This is the difference between successful apps and ones that fail. Many people who decide to build an app think that the testing phase before launch will catch everything. The truth is it doesn’t matter how much testing you do, there is still going to be something lingering that users will find. This doesn’t mean that if a user finds a bug that everything is over. Every app has bugs no matter how massive they are. In the end, it’s about how quickly you can fix it. Listening to and answering your customers can definitely help you retain them. 2. Security – There is a huge issue with hackers stealing information. Keeping your user’s privacy has never been more important than it is today. It’s not just about telling your users that their privacy is important to you. You should actually be implementing innovative technology solutions that will keep their personal information safe. One of the biggest reasons people decide not to put their information in an app is due to the concerns they have over security. In order to help combat this problem, regular updates are needed. You should be using top tier tracking tools to help find any potential leaks. That being said there is no perfect security solution so there is always a chance that a breach could still happen. However, if you maintain your mobile app properly and use good quality security solutions your customers will feel more at ease and you’ll stay ahead of hackers which means you’re less likely to have security problems. App developers know all too well the problems that occur if this is not taken seriously. 3. Latest technology – Using the most recent technology is important because as updates to phones from Apple and Android happen then problems can occur with the useability of your app. You should always stay informed when a new operating system release is going to happen so that you can start making the necessary adjustments to your app ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than when your app crashes because a new OS is released and you weren’t ready for it. Soon Apple and Google are going to force app owners to do these updates otherwise they won’t be able to list their apps on their stores. If you haven’t done an update in a long time you have a lot of catching up to do and even if you have done an update recently, you should check to see if you need to do another one. This will ensure your app stays on the store and your customer experience isn’t negatively affected. 4. UI and UX design – Updating the design of your app is the best way to stay relevant. There are always going to be elements that need to be changed to improve usability. For instance, if it takes too long to accomplish a task that has frustrated some users, then make adjustments that simplify the process of completing that particular task. This does not mean your UX design needs to be completely changed at 1 time. This is something that happens gradually. It should be minor tweaks so that your users don’t feel overwhelmed with having to relearn how to use your app. It should be to the point that users barely notice anything. 5. Marketing – When you do a new update it the perfect excuse to reengage with your users. It’s also common that you’ll see a spike in your app store ranking when you do an update. These updates provide a sense of reliability in your commitment to the app. People will feel confident that you are sticking around and that you take pride in providing the best experience. It’s also a great excuse for sending out a new push notification. Telling your users there is something new to remind them to come back. This along with the other reasons will have a significant impact on retaining your customers and well as gaining new ones. How often should you do an update The moment you launch is the moment you should start working on the next update. Yes, you will need to market and get people to download and start using the app but your next update is just as important. As mentioned earlier there is no way to find every single issue or bug. Once you go live there will be new things you find that need to be fixed or even elements you change your mind about. Some say you should update every 2 weeks and some every few months. Which is correct? The answer is both. If you have a critical bug that needs to be fixed then you should update it right away. You might find things you want to improve on and fix regularly which means you may be pushing updates 1 to 2 times a month. If your app is going strong and you simply want to improve the UI and security a bit, then you may need to update it every 2 to 3 months. Either way, you should be testing your app on a daily basis and taking user feedback seriously. Put a plan into place that makes sense for your app. If you’ve got the right app development partners they can help determine and fixes or changes that should be made. Your app developers can also monitor everything and advice on the best security features to use. If you are looking to create a new app or update an existing one you can contact SDI. Call us now at 408.621.8481 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.