10-Step Mobile Application Development Strategy: How to Develop a Mobile App from Scratch

The future is mobile, and every industry will need to invest in mobile applications to stay competitive and please its audience. The earliest mobile apps were pretty basic but as the tech evolves, so have the applications. From medical monitoring to entire ecommerce marketplaces, anyone with a great idea that helps solve a problem, entertains users, or provides value to an audience can become a millionaire by launching a successful mobile app. 

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger wanted to create a new social media phenomenon that allowed users to share their stories using personal photos. They launched Instagram on Oct. 6, 2010, and just two years later, they sold their mobile app to Facebook for $1 billion.

According to App Annie’s recent forecast, the number of mobile app installs is on track to reach 258 billion by 2022, a 45% increase from 2019. Also, the global consumer spend in app stores could reach $156.5 billion in 2022, a 92% increase from 2017. The question is, are you ready to capitalize on your brilliant mobile app idea?

You’re probably reading this because you’re an entrepreneur who’s ready to get started but, at the same time, doesn’t know where to start. If you don’t have a development background, it can be especially challenging to understand the ins and outs of mobile app development. But don’t worry – Codesmith is here to help. 

Releasing a new mobile application and popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate is the end goal, but it’s essential to have a plan to get there. You need to think about so many different things when releasing your app that it can feel overwhelming. There are many mobile app development risks and application development challenges you need to know. 

Let’s walk through our comprehensive ten-step process to develop a mobile application from start to finish.

1. What Will Your Mobile App Do?

The first step to developing an application is figuring out what you want your app to do. An excellent way to get started here is brainstorming possible features of the app and how it will function for its users. And remember, before writing a single line of code, think about whether this new app is really necessary. Do existing options already solve this need? 

Define your ideal target users and jot down how they will benefit from your mobile app. Whether it’s a more convenient option to an existing solution or a new way to stay in touch with friends, you must identify how your app will fill a market demand and how it’s different, unique, and better than your competitors’ apps. 

2. Who Will Develop Your App?

Deciding who will develop your mobile app is quite possibly the most critical step in your mobile application development strategy. Trying to find the best development talent on your own and a team to support your mobile app development from start to finish can be a nightmare. Fortunately, we’re here to provide complete mobile and web application support for our clients. 

Codesmith has an extensive team of developers that specialize in various development languages, including iOS and Android, SwiftUI (Mobile), PHP – Larvel Framework (Backend), and Javascript VueJS (Frontend), and more. Depending on your app idea, we will assign the right team to your project to create a superior mobile application that fits your vision. In fact, we also provide developer staffing to companies across the country, so you can feel rest assured that we select the right candidates to support your app development project. 

What makes Codesmith truly unique is that we can create your mobile app from start to finish and have a full-service digital marketing team to successfully launch and promote your application. Our team will maximize your advertising budget to engage your audience on the right platforms and at the right times. Best of all, as your mobile app begins to grow momentum, we can help scale your internal team with our IT staffing services to meet the demand for your service or product. Trying to source your own development talent can drain not only your budget but also your valuable time. We have an efficient mobile app development process that maximizes your investment and gets your app developed, launched, and promoted the right way. 

During our requirements gathering phase, a dedicated Business Analyst will review all client requirements for their app. We work closely with all our clients to ensure their future application has the exact look, feel, and functionality they desire. Once a BA gathers all pertinent information, they will coordinate with the UI/UX team to translate those requirements into designs, and our development team turns those designs into applications. 

3. Information Architecture and Workflows

Mobile app designers often start app designs with sketches on paper. Wireframes are the digital forms of the drawings. Information architecture is essentially deciding on where to place content, menus, and navigation in the app. Layouts are similar to wireframes but include more visual details about how the app will look on your device screen. Successful information architecture for a mobile app allows users to understand and navigate your app intuitively. 

Apps with complicated frameworks will inevitably lead users to ditch your app and leave a poor review. When developers establish effective workflows and easily accessible information architecture, users will have a positive and elevated experience. 

During this stage in your mobile app development, you should provide style guides to your design team to help ensure your app aligns with your branding. It will help developers create an app that is consistent with your vision.

A Business Analyst (BA) can also make a list of the significant tasks users will perform with your app and prioritize them from “must-have” to “nice-to-have,” and create user stories. Similar to how game developers will test all the possible options players can explore on a specific game map, user stories will help developers craft compelling user experiences based on how they interact with your mobile app. 

4. Mockups and Prototypes

Mockups are high-fidelity designs that will show you the visual design of your mobile app. It’s a visual representation of how the app will look on your device screen. During the mockup stage, it’s an excellent time for clients to provide feedback on the current design and functionality of the mobile app. Developers will be able to integrate adjustments accordingly and create a testable prototype of the app. A prototype is usually clickable and can actually do things, like take you to another page or site or perform an action.

Prototypes are essential to internal QA teams that test the usability and functionality of the application. The more time you and your team focus on elevating your app’s design and functionality during the prototype stage, the more you can head off potential design flaws that can emerge post-launch.

5. Testing Your Mobile App

Thorough quality assurance (QA) testing for your mobile app before your official launch is essential. QA Engineers should perform extensive user experience, functional, performance, and security tests to ensure users have an intuitive and engaging experience while using your mobile app.

For instance, we push all iOS applications on TestFlight, which allows users to test the mobile app on their phone without deploying it on the app store. Using feedback from the users, we can make any final changes before launch. 

6. What Is Your Pricing Strategy?

You need to decide the type of pricing strategy you want to use for your application, i.e., a paid, free, or freemium pricing model. Some of the most popular apps globally are free, but the app developers make their revenue through other means, such as affiliate marketing or locking premium options behind a paywall. There are some reasons behind both models, but you should go with a free app if you want more downloads. However, you should figure out how to offer an enticing premium upgrade option once users have downloaded your app.

You always want to position your product as having greater value than the price you sell your app. If users pay $10 for your app and it doesn’t live up to their expectations, don’t be surprised if they leave a 1-star review and demand a refund. Users expect more from paid apps, so make sure you can deliver. During the testing stage, feel free to price your app at various price points. Once you have enough data, you can determine the ideal price point based on the number of downloads, customer feedback, and other KPIs. 

7. Set up Analytics, Determine KPIs, and Benchmarks for Success

Use mobile analytics to get accurate information on user behavior and preferences. This will help you make adjustments to your mobile application as needed. KPIs such as active users, monthly usage, and more will serve as benchmarks for your mobile app performance.

Once you define your KPIs, set up third-party analytics such as Google Analytics or Flurry to track the progress of your mobile app. It’s an essential way to understand how your audience engages with your marketing material and allows for continuous refinement of future app versions based on user interaction. 

Some of the most important metrics to track include:

  • Retention rate
  • Daily Active Users (DAU)
  • Daily Sessions per DAU
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Lifetime Value (LTV)

8. Mobile App Marketing: Budget, Channels, and Testing

Without a marketing strategy, your app won’t have much chance of success. You need to have a well-thought-out mobile app marketing strategy that includes your budget, channels, and testing methods.

The development of a user acquisition strategy should be one of the top priorities. Focus on choosing channels to promote your app and have users easily find your app based on keyword searches, including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Adwords. Work with your marketing team to decide how to allocate your budget to your various channels. Start with a variety of ad sets and keyword lists and refine your campaigns based on the effectiveness of each mobile advertisement. Once you identify winning PPC keywords and social media ad campaigns, increase your budget and track the results of your campaigns month over month. 

For Codesmith, building out a diverse marketing team made total sense. From the start of any mobile app development project, our team is deeply invested in understanding the goals of our clients, researching the competition, and creating an app built around their ideal users’ needs. We invest so much time and effort to develop a successful app that it was a seamless transition to grow our marketing team to bring your app to the masses. 

Since our marketing team works in tandem with our development department, we can craft a winning marketing strategy that maximizes each dollar in your budget. We specialize in social media, PPC, SEO, and content marketing to reach your audience and convert them. We also provide IT staffing services to provide ongoing support to respond to the growing demand for our clients’ apps. 

9. Choose an App Store, Optimize Your Listing, and Get the Word Out on Your Brand New Mobile App!

App store optimization (ASO) will help users find your app based on their keyword searches in the app store. You can use tools like Sensor Tower or App Annie to help you with your ASO, but make sure they align with your overall marketing efforts.

What’s more important is the conversion rate of downloads to users installing your app. This is partly why optimization for your app listing page is vital for getting new users. Performing keyword research will help you incorporate the best terms that connect to your users’ search intent. It’s also beneficial to identify apps that are complementary to your app. Associating your app with another existing app will help supercharge your marketing efforts and get the word out quicker.

Complementary apps might be other applications that help you to accomplish a task or complete work. For example, if you are developing an accounting app, finding complementary apps in the finance space would be beneficial. Many financial institutions have mobile banking apps. Associating your app with their app would give you instant credibility and trustworthiness in front of your audience. Learn more strategies to increase mobile app installs and increase your mobile conversion rate. 

10. Maintenance and Support

You must deliver value with every new release of your mobile app version, along with bug fixes and enhancements. You must have the right development support post-launch to ensure any issues are fixed promptly. You don’t want users to start dishing out 1-star reviews for your app only days after a launch.

Take screenshots of all activities in your mobile app while testing them on various devices so that developers can quickly resolve any bugs. Since Android and Apple continuously roll out new system upgrades, having your development team on-call to fix problems rapidly is essential to avoid unhappy users. 

Overwhelmed? Don’t Worry! Codesmith is here to Create, Launch, and Market Your App!

If you’re not a developer or marketer but have a great app idea and the ingenuity of an entrepreneur, we’re here to help. Codesmith provides comprehensive services to develop your custom web and mobile application. We can execute your vision and launch your app using our extensive team of developers. We’ll handle:

  • Mobile application development from inception to deployment.
  • Digital marketing services to ensure your target audience finds and downloads your app.
  • IT staffing to provide ongoing support for your application or source the best talent for your company’s internal tech needs. 

If you are ready to create your next mobile or web app, contact us today to chat with our team about a winning game plan to turn your idea into reality.