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Sep
17

Engaging Your Audience – How to Work with an App Developer

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With mobile, it’s all about apps. Apps are software programs designed for mobile devices. The goals of an app are to make life easier and engage customers while also delivering your brand message. An app is a powerful promotional tool and it’s the single biggest factor in a successful mobile campaign.

How to Work with software developers

Most people don’t have the technical know-how to create their own apps. This is why we hire developers to do it for us. Programming is a good skill to know but it takes a long time to learn, and most marketers don’t have time to do it. There are also online tools that help you create apps, but there are limits to what you can do with them.

Finding the Right Developer

The first step is to find the right guy/gal/agency for the job. There are lots of places you can look online to find developers. You can use freelance sites or contact a company directly through their website. Probably the most important thing to look for in a developer, aside from experience and skill, is communication ability. You need to be able to reach them quickly and have good rapport with them.

If possible, go with a recommendation. Hit up a marketer friend for the name of the company that did their apps. You can also ask around on IM forums.

Planning Your App

The more fully realized your app is, the better you’ll be able to communicate that to your developer. Of course, you’re not a developer yourself, so you can’t tell them everything you want done. But put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Explain to them from the customer’s point of view what you want the app to do.

If you don’t really know how you want users to interact with your app, there’s no way they’ll know. They’ll have their own input and ideas, but you need to have a pretty thorough blueprint laid out. Encourage them to ask questions or offer ideas if your plan doesn’t seem complete.

Ask for Clarification

Some developers know how to explain their work in laymen’s terms. Others don’t. They may turn your heard around with technical jargon that you half understand (or don’t understand at all). This is where communication comes into play. Ask them to clarify and break it down for you, even if it takes lots of time to do it. You need to understand as much of the technical side as possible.

It might be a good idea to do some research and read a bit about developing apps. That way, you’ll have a more complete understanding. You’ll have to update your app in the future, and there’s a chance you’ll be doing it with another developer, so it really pays to know this stuff.

Make It Perfect

Finally, if the end deliverable isn’t exactly what you want, ask them to fix a few things. Be cordial about it and offer them an extra incentive if you feel like you’re asking a bit much (developers usually have multiple jobs going, so be mindful of that as well). But whatever you do, don’t accept it incomplete. It needs to perfectly fit your original vision.

Toby Russell

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