We always like talking to experts about the mobile market in order to offer our users the best tips beyond the AppFutura marketplace. For the first time, we are inviting one of these experts, Dale Carr from Leadbolt, to write an interesting guest post that can help all our users to do better in their ventures.
For entrepreneurs with the next big app idea who are considering taking the plunge into mobile, here’s 12 steps to guide your journey. While there are no shortcuts to success, it helps to have a map.
1. Big Picture – Decide what kind of app you will build. Go for your passion. When an opportunity is present, serve a need or fill a gap in the market. Your app will become an all-consuming business, so it’s best to love the material. That said, look around at what apps are popular at the moment. Here are a few websites and tools that can help you with your research: App Monsta, App Trace and App Annie.
2. Have a Target Audience in Mind – In broad strokes, develop a sense of the kind of user you will seek, as this will help with your efforts to reach them later on. General audience considerations may include those who use specific devices and wireless carriers, live in a certain region (consider language, local relevance, special offers, weather-related content), are part of a demographic set (age, income, education), have special interests or favor specific app environments. Casting a wide net to start prevents you from eliminating potential customers.
3. Pick a Platform – Recognize the platforms and stores (Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows, HTML) that are best suited to your app. In a perfect world, you would want to make sure your app is available on all four major platforms, but this isn’t always possible. When it’s not, you should look at your audience and try to determine which mobile platform they’re using the most.
4. Find a Framework – Build your app using a framework that supports your technical requirements and delivers on your creative vision. The first thing to understand is that frameworks can have their own programming language. Corona, Marmalade and Unity3D are all examples of this. You develop the app with the framework and then can deploy to different platforms. Here are some popular frameworks supported by Leadbolt:
5. Plan to Make Money – Plan your app monetization strategy in advance. Consider the 4 main money-making models: Subscription (charge a recurring fee); Paid App (charge users a 1x flat fee to download your app); In-App Purchases (the app is free to download and users can purchase perks such as additional game lives, virtual goods, virtual currency, upgrades, access to a secret or bonus level of the game etc.); and Free Apps (free to play, the app generates income from advertising.) Note: nearly 94.5% of mobile apps are expected to be free by 2017 (Gartner).
6. App Distribution – Submit your app into stores. Consider expanding your distribution beyond Google Play. If you have a quality app, alternative app stores are hungry for great content and your odds of being featured increase significantly. There are a number of companies offering information, tools and services that can make executing your distribution strategy more manageable.
7. Establish Unique Selling Points – Identify how your app is different, better or more valuable, useful or entertaining than similar apps of its kind. Create a few messages that highlight the app’s unique features and benefits. When accurate, being “First” or the “Only” app to provide a specific benefit gets attention.
8. Get social - Set up a Social Media presence for your app. Beyond the online store where your app is available, you’ll want to create an online environment for fans to congregate, share experiences and interact with your brand. Social media environments such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ serve as an interactive exchange – a two-way communication channel – that lets you hear and respond to your user base directly.
9. Generate content – Use your blog and email list to write about topics that are of interest to your intended audience. Trade show in town? Discuss it. Something new in pop culture? Share it. Engage your audience in a range of topics that are loosely related to but not always exclusively about your app.
10. Optimize for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and ASO (App Store Optimization) - When customers search online for their interests, (perhaps looking for an app that will match their need), will they find you easily? As you develop content, think about the words potential customers will use when they type in a query subject. Then include those phrases or keywords into your content to improve the chances that your links will come up in the relevant searches.
11. Earn Free Press - Try to earn favourable reviews from fans and critics. Submit your app to review sites such as Touch Arcade, 148apps, and several others. Get as much of that good “earned” media as possible by asking bloggers and journalists to write about your app.
12. Promote your app across other mobile apps - Proactively improve your chances of getting your app discovered. Achieving critical mass of users and getting your user base to grow often requires the support from an ad network partner / discovery network. Call in the experts to increase visibility of your app and help interested users find and download it.
Dale Carr is founder and CEO of Leadbolt. He is currently EY’s (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year for Technology in Australia. Leadbolt was recently named “Most Innovative Company of the Year” by Best in Biz International 2014 and “Technology Company of the Year” by 2014 APAC Stevie Awards. In the US, they are named “Best Mobile Ad Network” by Mobile Excellence Awards, and “Best Publishing Platform” by Mobile Media Summit (Mobile Mafia Award).