Successful appreneurs make mobile app development look EASY. From the outside, it seems like some people become millionaires overnight.
Well, here’s the truth: it’s a long journey. For starters, you have to think of a great app idea. That’s not a trivial task.
Sure, some people are lucky enough to have a Doc Brown moment where an amazing idea just hits them over the head. If that’s you, consider yourself lucky. This article is for the rest of us.
You probably already know that you want to develop a mobile app. You’ve been dreaming about living the appreneur lifestyle for a while now.
You have some ideas, but you’re not sure if they’re going to bring in the cash you’re looking for.
Well, you’re in luck because I’m about to tell you some killer strategies you can use to pick a winning app idea.
Successful apps fill a need in the marketplace
Most top-selling apps solve an existing problem. Don’t worry, you don’t have to figure out how to end global warming or feed the homeless. But, your app does need to be innovative or useful. You can start by improving an existing idea.
Check out some of the best apps in a particular niche. How could you make them better?
For example, there are probably thousands of health and fitness apps on the market. You might think it’s downright CRAZY to even think about entering such a competitive category.
Well, maybe it’s time rethink your strategy. CARROT is a judgmental talking calorie counter app.
It fills a need in the marketplace by making people laugh. Who says weight loss has to be so serious?
That’s innovation. You can do the same thing by finding a need and filling it.
Who’s your target audience? Will they buy your app?
Now you have a kickass idea that you’re pretty excited about. But wait…It’s not time to pull the trigger just yet. You have to figure out if your target audience will actually buy your app.
Most smartphone users are on the younger side. Have you seen your grandma download many apps lately? Probably not.
It’s generally a good idea to choose an app idea that appeals to people 25 to 35 years old. Give or take a few years.
At the end of the day, you have to sell your app to make money. You don’t want to leave it to chance. Do your research and make sure your target audience has plenty of buying power.
Getting the word out about your app
Some apps seem to instantly explode up the charts. It’s probably not just luck or an awesome idea. The vast majority of successful apps have pretty slick marketing campaigns behind them.
If you want to sell your app, people have to know about it.
App Search Optimization (ASO) can help people find your app. These days, there’s a LOT of competition in the App Store.
Look for long-tail keywords that can bring in targeted traffic.
There are many ways to market an app. The important thing is to generate some buzz. Get people talking about your app.
Many developers have found success with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Experiment to figure out what works for your target audience.
Don’t forget about the user interface
Apps are supposed to entertain us and help us out. If an app is confusing, people aren’t going to use it… or recommend it to their friends. The bottom line is that your app should be fun and easy to to use.
Don’t let your app fail because of a fixable design problem. A basic usability test can help you avoid potential issues.
Put your app in front of someone. Anyone. It doesn’t have to be a formal focus group or anything fancy. Friends, family… basically anyone who will help you out.
Watch them use your app. What problems do they have? Ask them questions about the functionality. This can be an enlightening experience.
You might be surprised by what you learn.
Choosing a platform
The “Big Three” platforms are Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Google dominates the market with 900 million active users. Apple is close behind with 600 million. Microsoft just barely makes the cut with 12 million active users.
Each platform has benefits and drawbacks. Apple has the most rigorous approval process. But, if you can get in, you can earn your share of the $5 BILLION worth of profits that developers raked in last year.
Android users download more apps, but the price per app is lower. The best thing I can say about Microsoft is that there’s less competition. If you can gain traction, you might be able to make some money.
Stay on top of industry trends
The mobile app world moves fast. If you can move just a little bit faster, you might be able to take advantage of the latest trends. If you play your cards right, being first can have its advantages.
Always be on the lookout for new needs in the marketplace. The cool thing is that once you get started, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch.
You can update your existing apps to reflect the current trends.
Pick your payment model
Paid, freemium, free-to-play… what’s the best option for developers? The answer really depends on your niche and target market.
Freemium and free-to-play apps are HUGE right now. People can download these apps for free. The catch is that they have limited functionality.
This model is all about getting users to pay for premium features.
You can offer in-app purchases in paid and freemium apps.
Just don’t screw it up.
When done badly, in-app purchases can really piss people off. You don’t want to end up with empty pockets and a bunch of 1-star reviews.
Figure out your budget
The last step is figuring out your budget. How much will it all cost?
Simple apps can cost $3,000 to $10,000. A large company can spend up to $150,000 on a mobile app. The sky is the limit.
Mobile app development is a lot of fun, but don’t forget that it takes time, money, and resources. Before starting on this journey, learn everything you can about the mobile app business. When you’re ready, come to the party with realistic expectations.
Apps aren’t always profitable. If you want to be a successful appreneur, you have to develop a plan.
You might not be successful the first time. Or even the second time. But, if this is your dream, you have to keep trying. It’s the only way to achieve the app lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
What's your secret strategy for coming up with a kickass app idea? Drop a comment so we can discuss it!