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Why It Took Us Five Years to Build a Mobile App

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In the early days of Clearview Social, we had an intern who offered us an opinion.

"You guys have to build a mobile app!," he said.

"Why?" I asked?

"Because every serious company has a mobile app along with their web app.

"Why do they?"

"You just have to," he told me.

I wasn't convinced by this argument, so we decided at the time to hold off. The biggest reason we waited was in line with one of our core values here at Clearview: simplicity.

The Importance of Simplicity

We set out with a mission to inspire professionals to engage and share to social media to positively impact their network, and we knew the only way it would work would be if we made the experience simple. They wouldn't even need to set up a username and password to use our software. They could log in once with their LinkedIn credentials, and then the system would remember them afterward. We intentionally made the experience so frictionless that adoption would come easy. Asking people to log in using their LinkedIn credentials on a scale of 1-10 in difficulty may only be a two, but downloading a mobile app? My father has had an iPhone for years, and he still doesn't know how to log in with his apple ID to download apps. For some users, downloading a mobile app would be a 10 in difficulty because they literally don't know how to download apps. We didn't want to introduce that increased complexity until we were sure it wouldn't negatively affect user adoption and the overall experience.

Focus

The second reason we decided at Clearview to hold off on launching the mobile app was a matter of focus. Our start-up business is "fundstrapped", which basically means we took investment money early on to build our product, and have since been bootstrapping it. In other words, we have used our own revenue to grow the company ever since the product was initially developed. We knew that supporting development of both a mobile app and web application in parallel was just going to be a drain on our resources and would keep us from having a clear focus on our main goal of making social media accessible for a highly risk-averse and somewhat tech-averse client. Unsurprisingly, not one client complained about the lack of a mobile app within the first three years of our company's growth. In 2018, two major factors accelerated our need to finally go mobile.

What Changed?

First, we almost doubled the user base of Clearview Social, with over 40,000 users. Second, though our initial clients were primarily law firms and accounting firms, most of our growth in 2018 came from companies in other, less tech-averse, industries. Recruiting, real estate, tech, and a few others. Suddenly we had more and more tech-savvy users buying our product. Though they loved the simplicity of our web app, they also needed the flexibility of a mobile app to organize their social sharing on the go.

Recently, we launched the mobile app for IOS and Android, and I am thrilled with the results. We're sure you'll find that it will accelerate your goals to get even more people sharing content. It is free in the app store, and there are no in-app purchases. One catch: you must be a Clearview Social customer to use it. I'd love to hear your feedback, so leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Adrian Dayton is the Founder of Clearview Social, an internationally recognized speaker on social media for business development, and author of multiple books and white papers including most recently the strategy guide, “10X Your Website Traffic.”  

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