Reaching new customers with a branded application

Small businesses interested in expanding their interactions with customers should consider developing an application for their business, according to many industry experts.

Mobile and internet users have increasingly integrated applications into their daily routine, offering businesses a new platform to reach their target customers.

Small businesses interested in creating an application can do it on their own with affordable online tools, seek help from freelance developers or reach out to an established agency, notes Mashable's Jolie O'Dell.

Businesses taking on the task alone have a variety of tools at their disposal including Google's App Inventor, BuildAnApp, Socialight, AppMakr and SwebApps.

For those who decide to hire a freelance designer, oDesk, Elance and Softensity have directories of application developers, writes O'Dell. She also emphasizes the importance of communication when working with a third-party.

"Also make sure that you’re communicating well with any web developers or designers you hire. One of the biggest keys to getting great work is being a great client. Have appropriate expectations, listen to the professionals in your employ and don’t micro-manage a design or development project," writes O'Dell.

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