How to Create A Hit Emoji App – A Case Study With Evan DeLaney

I met Evan at a Bluecloud Solutions event in April 2016.  Armed with a notepad and eager to soak up as much info as he could, Evan left the Bluecloud event ready to make big moves with apps.
In just one month, Evan took an emoji template from the Bluecloud App Formula, published his first app, and hit #37 on the Paid Charts.
Click here to download Evan’s Swimoji app.
Recently, Evan and I caught up on a video call (recorded below).  Evan also offered to share his amazing story and success in this post.
You can reach Evan on Instagram @emojiallstars, Facebook, and in the Bluecloud forum.

My name is Evan DeLaney, and I am now an app entrepreneur. I took the lessons and resources from the Bluecloud App Formula course and created a Top 50 emoji app that was featured by Apple the week I launched it.
The Bluecloud App Formula provided a fast-track to massive success. I’d like to show you how I used the tools and info provided by Carter to launch my new business.

Phase 1: Join A Community

I joined the Bluecloud App Formula program on July 1st, after a lot of consideration. I wasn’t sure if the program was for me. I felt like I had already learned a lot about apps from the Bluecloud website. But, since I still didn’t really know how to get started, I thought the Bluecloud App Fromula code library feature might help get that snowball rolling downhill.
I had no idea I would get massive value from everything in the course.
I jumped into the video courses with Carter, and immediately felt a personal connection. He broke down his app business experience in a way that made me feel like I could achieve the same success.
The case study bonus modules were awesome because they showed me creative ways to run my app business – it didn’t just have to be about $0.99 downloads.

Phase 2: Market Research

I thought there might be an opportunity to do an emoji keyboard app, so in the market research phase of the Bluecloud course, I really started to examine the landscape. From what I could tell, there were only a handful of big players, which left plenty of opportunity for a new competitor – ME!
I downloaded dozens of keyboard and emoji apps and figured out how the ideal app should work.


Swimoji featured by Apple

The Bluecloud Select Facebook group was also buzzing about emoji keyboards. The members of the private group were sharing interesting articles and blog posts about successes, gotchas, and new creative ideas. It was a firehose of information, and a perfect place to introduce myself as a newbie and join the conversation.
The Bluecloud Facebook group wasn’t like some of the other online communities I’ve tried to join (Reddit, StackOverflow, Developer Forums). Everyone in the Bluecloud community was genuinely helpful. And, I was surprised to discover that even Carter would jump into the discussions.

Phase 3: Monetization

It was the monetization videos where my creativity really started ramping up. The emoji business has so many different opportunities. You can work with big brands, little brands, celebrities, communities, niches, and / or artists. Identifying that economic variability and flexibility gave me the confidence to move forward developing an emoji app.
However, I was still a little unsure about some of the business details. So, during the Friday group coaching calls with Carter, I asked a handful of questions where he provided insights that helped me focus my business model – get a steady cashflow going, earn some experience, and then scale.
The group coaching calls gave me a really great opportunity to see how a successful entrepreneur thinks about problems. Carter doesn’t know every answer to every question, but he talks through them so you can see and hear what he focuses on as he thinks about a solution. Hearing him unpack those questions helped me better understand where and how to apply critical thinking to my app business.

Phase 4: Contacting Influencers

So, I had my idea – Swimoji. I was going to make an emoji keyboard app that featured all 47 US Olympic swimming athletes. My job would be to cold call the athletes, coaches, and sports agents to get them involved and their legal consent. I would outsource the emoji illustrations to a contractor and use the emoji template code I got as part of Bluecloud App Formula.
Don’t get me wrong – I was nervous and not particularly excited to have to make cold calls. But, I knew that other app entrepreneurs also didn’t want to make cold calls, so I figured it would set me apart in the marketplace.
I started doing cold outreach: emails, follow up emails, phone calls, etc. The initial response was, to my surprise, very positive. Athletes and agents hadn’t even considered the idea and thought it was a cutting edge opportunity. The conversations became more friendly and really progressed along. Until about the third or fourth call…
The International Olympic Committee has a rule which essentially prohibits athletes from endorsing any business that is not an official sponsor during the three weeks of the games. No one wanted to take the risk of endorsing my app, and the conversations cooled off. I wasn’t going to be able to work with the athletes.
This was a setback. This was a failure. This was crappy. I was really bummed and moped around the house for a whole day. I had just done what I was sure would set me apart from my competitors! And, I knew this idea, Olympics swimmers emoji, would do well in the App Store. Why did the IOC have to go and screw up my awesome plan!?
But! Remember: the thing I liked about the emoji keyboard apps were that they had a bunch of different monetization strategies. I needed to course correct. Instead of Olympic Swimmer Emoji, I decided to drop the athlete endorsement. If the app made a big splash with the swimming community, then I could always go back to the athletes and agents after the Olympics.

Phase 6: Marketing

Not being able to work with the swimmers meant that I didn’t have an obvious way to reach my target audience. I needed a marketing plan, and I’d never done marketing before. But, I knew there were some really smart Facebook Ads gurus in the Bluecloud private group, so I started asking tons of questions.
I learned how to set up the Facebook Pixel on my WordPress site and start an ad campaign. Carter gave me some really good insight on what to measure: conversion percentages, cost per install, and ad set performance.


Swimoji hitting #37 on it’s first day.

Finally, I created a sales page for the Swimoji app. I have seen Carter and other internet businesses do this, and I thought it couldn’t hurt.Before Swimoji launched, I sent traffic to a teaser page and collected email addresses that way I would have a big audience ready to buy when the app was available. I was hoping this tactic would help me quick jump up the charts.

Phase 7: Publishing to the Store

On August 4th, we were ready to launch! Just a little over a month after having purchased the Bluecloud App Formula, I was putting Swimoji on the App Store for other people to enjoy. It was a ton of hustle – 70 hour work weeks – but it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass me by.

Swimoji IG Ad

This Facebook ad went bananas on Thursday and Friday when Phelps swam his final individual event.

I emailed all of the people on the Swimoji email list, posted on social media, and called friends and family. The app shot up to 37th on the paid charts. I was beating Simone Biles’ emoji app – she’s an Olympic Gold Medalist with over a million followers! Then the reviews started coming in: 5-star, 5-star, 5-star, 5-star! I had created an app that people were loving.
And, you know who else loved Swimoji? Apple. In the first week of its existence on the App Store, Apple featured Swimoji alongside other notable emoji apps such as Justin Beiber, Starbucks, Suicide Squad, and Stephen Curry. Such an unexpected compliment!
I purchased the Bluecloud App Formula thinking that the emoji template code was going to be the only benefit. But, I wouldn’t have been successful if I had only the code.
Receiving the support of the Bluecloud community as well as Carter’s experience and business insights are what pushed me into the top app entrepreneurs so quickly. And, now that I have been successful, I’m excited to be one of those Bluecloud community members that can help others.

– Evan DeLaney

Want to make an app like this? Click here to get your own emoji template.


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