To be or not to be a mobile app developer. That is the question. The answer?
Be! Be! It’s an amazing opportunity.
There are billions of smartphone users and nearly everyone of them uses multiple apps every single day. People love apps. There are apps for learning, playing, managing finances, losing weight, connecting with friends, finding the best deals; everything. But the mobile app’s amazing success has created a unique problem: standing out from the crowd. As The Verge reveals, it’s becoming increasingly harder for each new app to get noticed:
For all but a few developers, the App Store itself now resembles a lottery: for every breakout hit like Candy Crush, hundreds or even thousands of apps languish in obscurity.
Seems like if you don’t crack the top 10 right away few will ever know about your app, no matter how great. Don’t give up. There’s plenty you can do to tilt the odds in your favor. Here are 7 success tips for developing a top ten mobile app.
You want your app to be wildly popular, that’s obvious. You want your app to earn you a lot of money. Stop. Don’t think about what you app can do for you, think about what it can do for your user. That comes first. Who is your user? What problem do they have that your app can solve? Why should they choose your app over all the others?
If you want your app to succeed, you need to measure, measure, measure. Measure usage, users, engagement — everything. Where are your users coming from? What prompted the download? What parts of your app are underused? What happens once the user opens your app?
CleverTap offers a suite of analytics that help you measure, understand and interact with your users. Know what your users are doing inside your app. Know where users are dropping off. Track activity in real-time.
According to Forbes, most mobile app developers simply can’t afford “a level of marketing” necessary to stand out among the fray.
There’s another option.
Turn your users into cheerleaders. Give them a reason and the means to promote and share your app. Make it easy for them to post to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or anywhere else, something they love about your app, or something your app reveals about themselves. Can your users share images from the app? High scores? Personal achievements? If they can, they will — and this type of viral marketing will pay dividends.
Breaking news: there are numerous tech-focused websites out there. They are seeking stories and they really do love to promote cool new apps and app developers. Members of the tech press can be found on Twitter, of course, and will often list their contact information in articles. They’re easy to track down.
Skeptical? Fair enough. But, when Entrepreneur examined the success of several popular apps they were surprised to discover that early coverage from the tech press helped spur success.
TechCrunch wrote about Evernote’s closed beta which ignited the spark for its growth. Within days of the coverage, Evernote received a couple thousand signups for its beta. And the first set of users who loved the product helped spread the word around.
The founders of the Clear app …went all out to get tech blog coverage based on demos, previews and teaser videos even before it went to market and sold 350,000 copies within nine days of its launch.
You want your app cracks the top 10, goes viral and earns you a lot of money. One of the best ways to achieve this, however, may be to not charge for your app, at least not initially. Like it or not, there are just so many amazing apps out there that it’s simply an easier, no-risk choice for users to try the free app. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of dollars to be made, even after you set your download price to $0.00.
In-app purchases are just one path. For a fee, your user can unlock new features within the app. Or, they can advance to new levels. Also consider charging a fee to link your app with a user’s other devices, such as a smartwatch or pedometer. You can charge a fee so users can sync their mobile app data with your companion website or desktop app. After all, there’s plenty of hours in the day when users are seated with their laptop, their smartphone tucked away.
You should gently encourage your users to leave a review. The more reviews your app has the more potential users will give it a shot.
But don’t stop there.
Build a relationship with your users. Discover what it is they like most about your app. Learn which of their needs aren’t being met. CleverTap tools include push notifications, in-app notifications, email and other options to send personalized messages to your users. Messages can even be segmented by user activity, location, and other characteristics. This information will also prove helpful in any marketing efforts you undertake. Advertising on Facebook or Google, for example.
A great app deserves a great app icon. Remember, an app icon is likely the very first thing any potential user sees. Next, it needs a name that sticks. While the name field in app stores typically allows for up to 255 characters, the name most potential users will see is what’s right under the app icon. For example, Gmail, Snapchat, Evernote — about 12 characters or less. Your app’s name should be more than memorable, it should remind users why it makes their life better, even if just a little bit.
You can also benefit from app promotions. Consider reducing the price of your app or in-app purchases on the very day Apple launches a new version of iOS. Or, when Samsung unveils its latest device.
Lastly, make regular updates. Listen to your users and continually improve your app.
Remember, over a billion users use multiple apps everyday. The opportunity for mobile app developers is almost without parallel. Follow these tips and you’ve radically increased your chances for app success.