How to Make Your App Successful – A 4-Step Strategy
With over 6 million apps on the App Store and Google Play, most app developers and publishers may have trouble breaking even, let alone making a profit! Planning to build an app around the idea you think will either add great value in respective markets or great entertainment value is never easy.
As a mobile application development company and associated practices for the last eight years, we have had an opportunity to collaborate with various kinds of enterprises and entrepreneurs, assisting them to implement their business ideas as apps. During this collaboration process, we observed some of those products(Apps) becoming very successful, and some did not even break.
This gave us valuable insights into the factors which define the app’s success. This post provides details and insight into how product owners of those successful apps approached the planning, implementation, and marketing of their products.
Every new business, regardless of the enterprise area, needs to serve one of the two objectives for it to succeed. It should either be:
1. An improved, more valuable version of an existing solution/process/product or
2. Be a completely new concept/idea, kind of game changer for that market
And most of the time, new apps being developed by app entrepreneurs are an improved version of an existing product in the market. We have seen many products of our customers becoming decently successful with this approach wherein they worked on adding more value to existing apps in the market – anything ranging from better UX to additional useful features or more reasonable cost, leading to better acceptance by app users and thus success.
Making an app successful demands meticulous planning, market research and analysis, hand-holding during the development phase(For non-tech entrepreneurs), and well-thought diffusion strategy. Following are the key phases of finding a product market fit and life cycle of app development and launch that our successful customers followed:
- Problem/Solution statement and Business strategy
- Testing and Rollout
- Distribution and Marketing
Problem/Solution statement and Business strategy
As mentioned, every business needs to solve a problem to succeed. Some want to simply have an app, while others want to build a business app. The main question you must ask yourself is, “What is the app’s objective?” Your app idea should either be able to solve a key issue users/businesses are facing or should be bringing something your potential market has never seen before. This stage can be labeled as “Need Analysis.” If there is a need, there is a strong foundation for the app to be successful.
You may have to perform user research for the target segment, market, and existing solutions to identify the needs. You could use online information and surveys to collect the required information. You should also identify and create detailed stories explaining the scenario where users face the problems your app is trying to solve. It will help you to live with the problem.
Once needs and an associated solution have been established, the next challenge is identifying the revenue models. Many businesses and entrepreneurs leave the business model finalization for later stages. Information, entertainment, and utility-based apps can build their business model around in-app purchases with a freemium model.
Many entrepreneurs go with an ad-based model only. This strategy can worsen user experience and affect app downloads and user retention. Instead of relying on ads, developers should design the app so that users will appreciate the value it adds for them and motivate users to pay for premium features. if it is a free (ad-based revenue model) or a freemium model.
Information design is another aspect regarding ads that need to be considered at the beginning of app development is a problem that could occur at a later stage. Ad space should be incorporated into app design to not interfere with the information users want to access, thus providing a better user experience.
A mobile app business plan serves as a guide for everyone involved in the project and gives insight on how the app should be introduced to the market in the most lucrative way. Here are some steps to follow when creating a business plan for a mobile app startup
- The mission statement of your organization should specify its goals as well as the guiding principles that govern it.
- Establish your target audience and identify their needs and preferences.
- Conduct market research to identify competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
- Define your unique selling proposition (USP) and how it differentiates your app from competitors.
- Outline the features and functionalities of your app and how they address the needs of your target audience.
- Calculate the project’s development and commissioning costs as well as the timeframe for its return on investment.
- Plan your marketing strategy and identify the channels you will use to reach your target audience.
- Create a financial statement that includes revenue projections, expenses, and funding sources.
- A well-written business plan will help you pave the road to make your project profitable and give you a clear picture of your app’s viability.
We have observed that design(UX) plays the most important part in mobile app success. What is presumed to be an app’s success can vary depending on user and business requirements.
For example, the success of a game or an app in the entertainment category can be defined in terms of frequent usage, long session time, and high retention. In contrast, a utility app’s success can be defined based on how quickly a user learns to use it and how easily the tasks are accomplished.
Good design is essential for the success of an app because:
- It helps a user learn how to use the app more quickly
- It makes the app easy to use
- Design assures more engagement using right triggers
- The app is aesthetically pleasing
- User’s emotional needs are also being fulfilled, along with the functional requirements put in front of an app
- To achieve the above goals, you need a good UX design team, and the whole approach to the development should be user-centric, where business and development goals should align with the user’s goals.
The important thing to understand about design is that it is not just how it looks. The design comprises graphic design, information architecture and information design, and interaction design. While designing an app for a particular platform (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, or web), it is important to analyze and incorporate various design guidelines specific to the platform so that user experience remains consistent.
There are many challenges and questions app owners generally face while developing applications. Here are some of them:
- Whether apps should be developed using Hybrid or Native technologies?
- Should we launch with one platform only or with multiple?
- Identifying the right tools for app development?
- Which server-side technology stack should we choose?
- How can the communication between client-side and server-side teams be improved for better API design & development, more importantly, if the teams work remotely?
- Which development methodology is appropriate; waterfall, agile, or a mix of waterfall and agile?
- And lastly, should one use test-driven development (TDD) or rely on manual testing?
Answers to these challenges and questions depend on various factors. For example, the development methodology can depend on the project agreement or the preference of the development team. Other examples can be whether to use TDD or not. The choice, in this case, depends on cost and deadlines. Another frequent question we face is whether to go with hybrid apps or native apps.
A hybrid app built using Xamarin or HTML5 may save on cost and time, and in many cases where apps are not too complex or comprehensive, will deliver similar performance as that of native apps however when apps become more comprehensive they may not be able to deliver the same level of user experience and performance to users as the native versions do. Thus the trade-off needs to be evaluated and compared very thoughtfully. To save time and make sensible decisions, seek expert view from a proficient mobile application development services provider.
We have consulted with over 200 clients who had an app development strategy in the past. To our surprise, hardly 5% had at least 10% of the budget for marketing activities and app distribution.
With every app category having thousands of apps and over 2 million available in both stores, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new apps to differentiate themselves and remain on users’ devices with high usage. Therefore, it is of the essence to invest both time and money to market your app.
With our experience, a minimum of 30% of the total budget should be allocated for marketing activities. Unless your aim is different and you want to target a specific focus group or develop the app just for validation. In rare cases, when the idea is so unique, apps attain great virality without marketing efforts.
Followed are some of the key To-Dos related to App marketing:
- App’s site – your app needs to have its own home, i.e., a small microsite. Before the launch, you should have a launch page for early bird sign-up. When we built our first app in 2011, we made sure that it had its site, and to our surprise, the site brought lots of traffic to our mobile apps.
- Explanatory Videos – Building a well-designed, full-fledged video might be expensive, but if the budget allows it, this is one of the best things to do. Most successful mobile apps use this channel to maximize their reach. Alternatively, you may simply create a “How app works” video using various screens of the app and your voiceover.
- Blog and Social Media – Starting a blog and having social media accounts on all social networking platforms is very basic advice you may get. However, we have noticed by interacting with various clients that they post on these social networks for the sake of posting and not to create awareness and engagement with the readers. Every post you write needs to create value for readers and should drive engagement. These engagements will help you get insights into various types of users, which can improve your product and service.
- Press – One of the traditional and effective ways of promoting a mobile app is by creating a pre-release buzz through press announcements. Get the press to work for you. This helps create curiosity among mobile app users and increases the number of downloads.
- Identify the journalists who work in specific domains related to your target segment or in your app’s category, and contact them with your app’s brief. This is generally more effective than typical paid or free press releases (but then again, they undoubtedly help as well).
- App recommendation engines and platforms – Distribute and list your app to as many recommendation and review sites as possible. Some platforms take their work seriously and review each app meticulously.
There are numerous other (both free and paid) methods to distribute and market an app. The key is identifying the platform or place your end-users are available at and aligning your marketing strategy accordingly.
As an entrepreneur, you might be facing a tough question i.e. how to create a successful app business. But then you must first answer “how to develop a successful app” that forms a precursor to the former question. With the strategies outlined above, you can follow the right steps to develop a mobile app that will fetch far-reaching results.
As you may have observed, the app’s success combines a well-thought mobile app strategy and particular implementation. Any one specific factor does not drive it and needs great efforts in the initial strategy and each phase of product development. In our future posts, we will share more insights on the points discussed above with examples and reveal the deep-rooted reasons for the success of thriving enterprises and consumer apps.
For , if you are looking to build a mobile app or even craft a successful mobile app business strategy, you can confidently choose Finoit technologies as your partner.
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