Imagine a world with no smartphones (or just think back thirty years). No instant gratification, one-touch results, or apps to spend endless hours scrolling. As a brand back then you had to rely on other marketing channels to connect with your audience. Now, app development advancements have made it simpler, faster, and cheaper for brands to reach people. And with an agency\u2019s expertise in the app developing world, you can make interacting with your brand part of your ideal customer\u2019s daily habit.\u00a0 All about app development Mobile app development includes two main types\u2013\u2013native mobile apps and progressive web apps. For both types, a developer codes \u201ca type of application software designed to run on a mobile device.\u201d The idea being that customers can use the app instead of, or in conjunction with, the brand\u2019s website.\u00a0 Recent statistics show that smartphone users \u201cspend about 90 percent of their mobile time on apps\u201d and that 85 percent of consumers prefer using a mobile app versus a website. Between user convenience and brand revenue increasing, it\u2019s easy to see why app development is an enticing piece of the marketing pie for brands.\u00a0 Getting started\u00a0 Once you\u2019ve decided to join the ranks of app-bearing brands, the first thing to do is find a professional. A solid choice would be an agency\u2019s app development team, in part so you can seamlessly implement your other marketing goals while building your app. From there, you can figure out the first steps together.\u00a0 Establish goals: As with any good project, it starts with research. You may have a vision of what your app should look and perform like, but do you know what your competitors are doing? Other things to decide include what platform you will use, who your target audience is, what the app should accomplish, and your budget and timeline. When you work together with your team and an agency, the development process is smooth.\u00a0 Wireframe\/storyboard: The UX-design part of app development involves wireframes, workflows, and click-through models. This step is crucial to test out your app and make sure it seamlessly integrates your brand goals.\u00a0 Develop: The programming and coding process of development is usually left to the agency\u2019s professionals. This step is where the goals you\u2019ve communicated and trial-and-error workflows come together. It\u2019s the final step before the beta (or testing) phase and then the ultimate launch.\u00a0 What makes an app effective?\u00a0 So you found a developer at a reputable agency and you\u2019re on the way to creating an app. But do you know what makes an app effective? When you translate your brand onto an application, you want to make sure that it\u2019s not just wasting space on your consumer\u2019s phones. The ultimate goal is keeping them coming back to the app (and your brand) time and time again.\u00a0 It solves a problem Just like your product or service solves a problem for consumers, so should your app. The big idea here: \u201cyour app needs to have a sense of purpose and meet the needs of your consumers.\u201d Don\u2019t jump into app development because all your competitors are doing it. (Yes, all the old school rules from mom apply in life and business). Have a strategy, do your research, and go with it. For example, do you have a restaurant and find that most of your customers are booking on Open Table? Create an app that makes your menu, booking, and even ordering seamless.\u00a0 It\u2019s simple and intuitive Remember when we talked about the UX-design part of the app development process? Simple is best. Intuitive is better. When you develop a simple UX\/UI, it makes the app easier to use. Which ultimately leads to higher download numbers, new users, and \u201cwill help skyrocket conversion rates.\u201d And if you\u2019re an e-commerce brand, don\u2019t you want in-app purchases to be second nature?\u00a0 It\u2019s personal and on-brand\u00a0 There\u2019s nothing more jarring than downloading a brand\u2019s app and feeling like you just stepped into the wrong building. In the app development phase, make sure your team members understand the importance of complementary design. Keep colors, fonts, tone, and imagery the same or very similar. Make sure you also personalize the experience, which keeps users coming back. When \u201capp interactions are tailored to suit personal preferences and location,\u201d the experience feels one-of-a-kind.\u00a0 It responds to user feedback\u00a0 When your audience feels heard, they invest in your brand (emotionally and monetarily). Effective apps have areas that invite user feedback. Then, it\u2019s up to your team to take stock of this feedback and use it to inform your app updates. And updates aren\u2019t just for making your app prettier. Plus, statistics show that \u201c37% of mobile app users indicated that they would stop using an app the moment they experience bugs.\u201d\u00a0 How can it help your brand?\u00a0 Still need some convincing that an application helps your brand? Here are three more reasons.\u00a0 Better connection\u00a0 With so many smartphone users (about 2.5 billion), apps can connect with your audience in ways other marketing avenues can\u2019t. And you can use this connection in several ways, depending on your brand goals\u2013\u2013to improve customer service, regularly update about new products, or extend your web experience.\u00a0 Bigger profits It\u2019s simple math: increased exposure plus increased usability equals higher conversions. And, \u201cmobile devices now account for 52 percent of their online orders.\u201d\u00a0 Enhanced loyalty\u00a0 Arguably the best benefit of an app is that you can \u201cbuild an instantaneous and direct relationship with your customers and gain their loyalty.\u201d The easier, more on-brand, and consistent the experience, the more loyal your users will be.\u00a0 Case study: Pahlisch Homes We admit that app development is an involved process. But often worth it with the potential benefits. Our recent work with Pahlisch Homes used dynamic coding and clean design to bring their Rosedale and Vendage communities to life. When the home development company came to us with their application idea, the main purpose was to showcase their new communities comprehensively and dynamically. The progressive web app needed to include dynamic plat maps of the lots, have comprehensive search tools, and a vicinity map. It also needed to work on a large screen for one of their showrooms.\u00a0 Our development team rose to the challenge. The result is a dynamic, touch-friendly PWA that pulls data from the existing Pahlisch site and fits on a large screen. The touch system allows users to search for homes and lots in the Rosedale and Vendage communities\u2013\u2013useful for both interested customers and agents who need to walk people through the available homes virtually. When used on the large screen, users can compare the two communities and customize their search.\u00a0 Overall, the Pahlisch Homes case study showed how apps can be an effective marketing strategy when created as a seamless extension of a brand.\u00a0 Put your brand on the map\u00a0\u00a0 Gone are the days when users had to rely on emails or flyers to update them about their favorite brand. With the right app development and the right team, brands can now interact with their customers every day\u2013\u2013offering them an easy way to buy a product, book a service, or save their information for future purchasing. And with an agency\u2019s expertise to back them up, brands can create apps that are too good not to use daily.