10 Steps to Building a Successful App

App Building Steps

You shouldn’t build an app.

Until….

You understand that an app isn’t just the icon you see on the screen of your smartphone.

Apps are mobile-based technology businesses with the potential to impact millions of people worldwide and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

It takes time, skill and expertise to develop an app – and this doesn’t come cheap.

You simply can’t expect to create a successful app if you are unwilling to invest the necessary amount of time, effort and resources. No successful business has been created without these three ingredients.

But, if you acknowledge, accept and embrace these commitments and have a great app idea…

Congratulations!

Let me be the first to welcome you to one of the fastest growing and evolving technology industries in the world.

It’s certainly an exciting time to create a new mobile-based technology business that can impact millions of people worldwide.

But as you know, building a new business can be a long and difficult process. Especially if you are fresh to the world of app development.

It’s quite understandable to feel overwhelmed at this point in time.

You probably have a hundred questions, right?

But don’t worry!

We have put together this article to answer your questions and layout the path towards building a successful mobile-based technology business.

Let’s dive in!

1.) Know Your Goals

Original Android and iPhone Phones
The original Apple and Android smartphones. Courtesy of wccftech.com

 

The original Apple smartphone launched in 2007. We didn’t know it at the time, but this truly momentous event marked the inception of a brand new industry – mobile apps.

The first set of breakout mobile apps were really simple apps. Quite frankly, many of the initial apps to hit the Apple App Store were gimmicky and resembled hobby like projects.

You might remember some of them – like the onscreen piano app, the flashlight app, the fingerprint scanner app, or even that one app that simulated the act of drinking a beer.

Of course, there were some early exceptions to these gimmicky apps like Shazam, Facebook and Evernote too.

But ultimately, many of these apps were a low resolution image compared to the apps on the market today.

In today’s matured market, mobile apps are far from gimmick status.

In 2018, a total of 4.1 million apps across the Google Play and Apple App Store generated revenue close to $100 Billion USD dollars.

Apps like Evernote, Uber, Airbnb, Spotify and many others are worth billions and billions of dollars.

My point is….

Mobile apps are legitimate technology businesses.

And, business is booming.

pitch app meeting

Before you move any further with your app idea, you must first acknowledge your goals.

Are you creating a mobile app for fun? Or are you creating a legitimate technology business to generate income?

There’s no right or wrong answer.

But it does pay to know your objective in order to successfully plan your next steps ahead.

For instance, if your app is a hobby project or personal challenge, it’s best to start learning the principles of coding and user experience driven design.

And if you are planning to create a legitimate technology business or convert an established business into a mobile app, it’s wise to explore a partnership with an experienced development partner.

But before you dive into either of these two options, there are a few things you need to consider first.

2.) App Idea Validation

There are amazing ideas and there are not so amazing ideas.

But yet, they both have a commonality.

All ideas are worthless without execution.

So, which ideas are worth an investment of time, energy and resources?

Unfortunately, it’s not an exact science to determine the success of an idea.

For instance..

Does a scientific calculation exist that could have predicted that an app that makes images disappear after 3 seconds could be worth over $29 billion dollars?

Snapchat app success

On the other side of the coin, there have been plenty of far more promising apps that have quietly faded of existence.

While the success of an idea can be attributed to a multitude of factors, there is a foundation of four essential key factors that all successful apps have in common.

Let’s get down to it.

📱 What Problem Does Your App Solve? 

Successful apps offer a solution to common problems.

An app needs to therefore provide users with undeniable value in one shape or form.

It’s rare that prospective users will actively discover or download an app that doesn’t directly help or assist them with a specific problem. Additionally, if there is not a problem that is being constantly solved or improved, why would the user keep using the app?

Most successful apps have traditionally helped users save time, reduce effort, add convenience or connect individuals together.

Even games solve the problems associated with boredom, stress and loneliness.

📱 Who Will Use Your App?

Apps are useless without users.

So, it’s super important to consider the people who are most likely to be interested in using your app. In other words – who is your app target market? 

It’s helpful to narrow down and define your target users as much as possible before building your app and executing marketing strategies to advertise it. Deeply consider your target audiences’ industry, occupation, income, age and location. Find the commonalities or patterns that connect your target users together.

Successful apps are built specifically for a user group.

Therefore, it’s important to research, gauge and seek preliminary feedback about your app. Then, use these insights as a guide to determine what your app should do and how it should feel.

Otherwise, why would they use an app that isn’t tailor-made to solve their problems?

📱 How Can I Make Money From my App?

Apps can take a lot of time and resources to build.

Development cost is largely determined by the number of features, integrations and compatibility requirements listed in the project scope.

Like any other business, there are also operating costs to also consider.

Apps can generate an income through a variety of monetisation methods. For example, monthly subscriptions, single purchase fees, commissions, affiliate links, advertising or even donation based methods.

Each app is best suited to a particular monetisation model.

It’s up to you to strategically choose the right pricing model that your target users are willing to participate in.

This is where your research on your target users really comes in handy.

3.) App Research. 

Research app

 

To be the best, you have to beat the best.

At this matured stage of the mobile app industry, it’s likely that your app will have one or two competitors in the market.

Perhaps they are direct competitors or maybe just competitors in a similar industry as your app.

It’s more than worthwhile to take a minute to research the products and strategies that your competitors are using. After all, they have been around the block a couple of times. Acknowledge that they have probably figured out what works and what doesn’t for the most part.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean your app can’t provide a better experience or fill a hole in the market.

But, by doing a little snooping and investigative research you can really excel your own product towards success.

For example, perhaps your competitors are missing key functionality that your users really want. or they aren’t servicing a particular subset of users. Your competitors may even be marketing their product in an ineffective way.

These are all potential avenues to create a strong challenger app and overtake your competitors.

Competitor app research

On the flip side, you may also discover the aspects that are growing your competitors business like design style, functionality or operating processes. These are the elements you may consider implementing into your own product too.

On the rare occasion that your app idea is in an industry or niche of its own, it’s possible to borrow or lend concepts from apps in completely different niches.

Picking and choosing or combining successful characteristics from other apps in the market can also revolutionize or differentiate your own product from others.

For example, Australian fast food restaurant company, Hungry Jacks, borrowed a ‘gamification’ feature from the mobile gaming industry to facilitate a loyal customer base and increase repeat sales.

You just never know where the next big idea will come from.

The research could potentially lead you to the precise concepts and ideas that excel you to industry leadership status.

Once you have thoroughly researched your competitors, it’s time to proceed to the next step in the development process – contact a developer.

4.) Contact an App Developer

App Development Funding

 

Hold up.

Even if your app is a hobby project, it’s in your interests to contact an app developer.

I’ll explain why.

Any app developer worth their salt will offer you a free strategy consultation protected by a non-disclosure agreement. A non-disclosure agreement essentially means that your intellectual property is legally protected from theft and allows you to freely communicate your idea.

An app developer can help you quickly run through your idea, consolidate functionality and define business strategy before you decide to move forward and build your app. Plus, you will receive an indication of the cost involved to develop your app.

This advice won’t cost you a thing and it’s absolutely risk free.

Be aware that not all app developers operate in the same way or deliver the same quality of advice and work.

As a relatively young industry, many of the first app developers were actually salesmen in disguise with no intrinsic technical knowledge. Upon payment, these ‘developers’ proceeded to auction the fulfilment of your app to the lowest bidder overseas. That basically meant that clients paid full price for an inferior product with flawed functionality, second rate design and negligible product strategy.

Admittedly, these early developers were very efficient at closing large deals.

Thankfully there are less and less of these app ‘developers’ operating in this way. But unfortunately, there will always be a few out there.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a potential app development partner:

🛑 Don’t pick an app developer that is not operated by a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) with personal experience designing, building and operating an app based technology business.

🛑 Don’t pick an app developer who doesn’t employ and manage their own internal engineering team. If they don’t, it means they are simply outsourcing to the lowest bidder with each project.

🛑 Don’t pick an app developer who locks you into an upfront payment or contract. With truly matured agile development processes, there is no need to risk your entire investment. Far too many entrepreneurs have fallen into this trap.

To give you an example of an app developer who operates in an ethical and evolved approach:

Our Co-Founder and CTO, Michael MacRae, has successfully designed, coded and operated his own successful apps which have garnered millions of downloads and generated thousands of dollars in daily revenue.

✅ We have spent years accumulating our own internal design and development teams. Many individuals in our teams have previously worked for technology giants like Samsung, Google and Kyocera.
 
✅ We charge our clients on a milestone to milestone basis with no lock-in contracts. This negates the need for large upfront investments and unnecessary project risk. If you are unhappy with our work you can leave at any time with your project in hand. Our design and development stages are also separate which means we need to continuously compete for your business.
 
Appetiser Team
 

When approaching a developer to build your project, make sure to see how they compare against these criteria.

Discontinue your relationship as soon as possible if you are ever in doubt.

Contacting a developer is an essential stage for individuals who want to create a mobile-based technology business or to convert an established business into a mobile app.

It can really fast track your idea in terms of technical feasibility, product strategy and development cost – even if you don’t intend to build it with a developer.

5.) App Development Cost, Funding and Investment.

App development costs money like any other service.

Even if you are creating an app as a hobby, it’s likely that you will need to spend some funds to pay for design elements, software subscriptions or even to pay an expert to code rather complicated features.

The most common method of payment for an app development service is to self-fund, invest business capital or lastly, partner with an external investor.

Pricing the cost to develop a mobile app isn’t a straight forward process.

All apps are different.

For instance, Google Maps is a completely different app to Netflix.

Google Maps and Netflix require a unique set of functionality requirements, design styles, integrations and platform compatibility to operate optimally.

Therefore, the amount of time, resources and skill necessary to build each individual app differs.

 

Google maps

 

There really is no other way to estimate the exact cost of your project than to contact an app developer. An ethical app developer will give you an estimated cost for your project – but first, they will need to gain an understanding of your app idea to specify the necessary technical requirements.

From here, you will get a sense of the cost and the best path forward required to build your app.

Apps generally cost between $50,000 to $250,000 dollars to develop.

If you don’t have the funds to develop your project, it doesn’t necessarily mean your project can’t be created. There are many ways technology businesses can raise the funds for development.

For instance:

✅ Approach an investor or venture capitalist for funding.
✅ Apply for a business or startup grant.
✅ Partner with an existing business in the same industry.
✅ Search for a co-founder with access to funds.
✅ Raise funds with a Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

 

Meet with industry leaders

 

An example of a successful app business who managed to raise funds for development was Roamni – a crowd-sourced marketplace for sharing stories and experiences.

But, it’s almost impossible to raise funding without some sort of execution or proof of concept of your idea.

You are far more likely to receive investment into your business idea if you have demonstrated your willingness to devote your time, money and energy into your project.

A great way to do this is to document your idea, undertake market research, define project functionality and demonstrate a viable business strategy. Then, it’s even more attractive to demonstrate some sort of preliminary design work (like an interactive prototype) to visually showcase what your app will actually look like.

This is precisely the path that Roamni achieved to secure project funding. If you are intending to pursue this avenue, we have actually outlined their journey from start to finish in a case study that you can download here.

You might also be wondering what an interactive prototype is and how you go about creating one.

Let’s move on to the design phase where we explain it in detail.

6.) App Design Process. 

Roamni design app

The path towards product design is going to look a little different depending on your path forward. It’s likely that you are either managing the design and development of your project yourself or partnering with an experienced developer like Appetiser.

Thankfully there are some similarities in each of these two paths forward.

For instance, you can generally follow the same process a professional user experience designer undertakes to design an app.

But, bear in mind, an expert user experience designer has years of expertise and experience in design principles and user flow.

Skill and experience will always result in a higher quality product.

If you are serious about building your new mobile app based technology business, it’s best to leverage the services of an expert team to create a quality product to compete in the market. Plus, while a team is busy designing your product, your time is freed up to pursue partnerships and develop a marketing strategy.

Similarly, if you are seriously attempting to acquire funding from external investors, you will want to leverage the services of an expert team to create a quality prototype of your product. A well designed conceptualization of your idea will communicate your vision and convey your willingness to make your project a reality.

Investors, in turn, are more far more likely to fund your project as you have established your competence in entrepreneurship and decreased your risk of failure.

With that being said, let’s dive into the app design process that experienced designers follow.

Basic Sketches:

The first stage of the design process is to brainstorm how your app may look.

It’s not necessary to definitively design your app as a finished product. The brainstorming process is more or less just to play around with different design styles and figure out the most suitable look for the app. A designer will therefore create multiple examples of the app icon, logo, colours and layout that will underpin the entire product.

General sketch apps

A general set of design and branding principles will be defined as a guideline to move forward in the following design steps.

An important part of the initial design stage is to also flowchart app functionality. Each feature or task within your app is likely to span across a logical series of steps.

For instance, a series of steps must be completed in a logical order to create a user account. First, the user needs to create an account by entering an email address and a new username on one screen. Then, on the next screen they can add in a profile image, and fill out account details on the screen after that.

A flow chart is the easiest way to lay out these steps which will later be designed into a series of wire-frames.

Wireframes:

Just as a concreter lays down steel rebar before pouring concrete, an app designer also creates a design skeleton first.

Wireframes act as a blueprint for how the user will interact with your app to complete all necessary functions and tasks. It’s important to create wireframes first to determine user flow – because if your product looks great but doesn’t flow logically or naturally, your product is doomed to fail.

Users quickly become frustrated and annoyed when tasks take too long to complete, are in a strange order or are downright confusing.

That’s why we wireframe user flow first and then add a stunning design later.

Wireframe to Finished App designs

Wireframing also saves time and money.

There’s no point spending time perfecting and finalising screen designs if they are actually found to be unnecessary. The wireframing process allows the user experience designer to notice and scrap these before wasting time and energy polishing and perfecting designs.

There are many intricacies and subtleties involved in building great user experience and flow.

Here are a few guiding principles to assist you when you create your designs:

✅ Create a specific purpose or mission for the user to achieve on each screen.
✅ Implement a hierarchy of action for each screen. Show the most important action first.
✅ Consider the path of least resistance for the user to follow.
✅ Avoid unnecessary pathways, screens, steps or menus.

You can use a variety of specialist tools like InVision, Marvel or Proto.io to wireframe your app. Or, just keep it simple and sketch out your screens on phone screen sized paper cards.

Flowchart wireframe app

At the completion of the wireframing process, you should have a blueprint of the entire scope of your app outlining layouts of all functions, features and tasks.

It’s worth getting a second opinion to evaluate your wireframes to double check that everything makes sense and there aren’t any unnecessary features or screens.

Finished Designs:

The next step of the design process is to add higher fidelity designs to your wireframes.

A designer will usually start this process by rolling out the visual brand guidelines defined in the initial sketching phase.

Then, the visual designer will start an iterative process of continuous refinement focusing on a variety of factors such as:

🎨 Assigning a visual hierarchy to the design so the user sees the most important information first and instantly knows how to proceed to the next task or content.

🎨 Weaving together a natural flow across each screen. The human eye is naturally trained to find errors in patterns like things that look out of place or completely alien. Great design eliminates these discrepancies as much as possible so everything feels exactly where it is supposed to be.

🎨 Presenting information in an easy to digest format and layout. For instance, using the most appropriate font, size and colour choice to ensure background imagery doesn’t impede on readability, or applying the correct screen real estate to the most important information first.

🎨 Applying a memorable, unique and aesthetic visual brand identity to the final product. If the app is an extension of an established business, the visual brand needs to be a reflection of it.

Great designed app

 

The final design stage can take a considerable amount of time to complete.

Many small and subtle design choices can take significant amounts of time to perfect. And in truth, the design process never truly stops. It’s a continuous process of iteration based on user feedback and analytics, or even to keep up with the latest trends and brand image guidelines.

Most apps have multiple competitors, and sometimes the design and ease of use of a particular app is enough to stand head and shoulders above the competition. So, it’s completely natural to justify a lot of time in perfecting your apps designs, especially if you are a first time user experience designer.

Of course with a development partner, a user experience designer is able to work faster and more efficiently due to experience.

If you are in the market for some design inspiration, take a look at our portfolio on Dribble, here.

Interactive Prototype:

The final step of the design process is to create an interactive prototype.

An interactive prototype is essentially an animated version of your finished designs that mimic the functionality of your app.

For instance, a viewer can click a ‘purchase’ button on the interactive prototype which will then take them to the ‘process payment’ screen. But of course, the payment functionality doesn’t register on a technological level.

 

Interactive prototype app

 

An interactive prototype is important for multiple reasons.

Firstly, it’s an initial testing ground of your finished app as a whole.

Its purpose is to give users a greater sense of the look and feel of your app. And, there’s really no better way to experience an app until you have actually held it in your hands.

An interactive prototype allows the designer and test subjects to gauge the design, flow and value of the app as a whole. Based on relevant feedback, the designer can revisit the finished design stage and tweak the design or user flow before product launch. A data-driven approach to design can be implemented to track the precise way test users interact with the prototype to achieve this.

Secondly, an interactive prototype is an essential element in the process of securing external investment from venture capitalists, business partners, incubators and grants.

Investors want to decrease their investment risk as much as possible while also increasing their potential return on investment.

A prototype is a visual demonstration of your product which can be used to create an effective and dynamic pitch. As discussed earlier, it also inspires confidence through means of a proof of concept. If you are willing to invest your own money to create a well designed example of your app, then you are perceived to more likely to actually build and launch the end project in comparison to another individual with a mere idea.

Remember, when pitching to an external investor you are competing against others for access to a finite amount of funds.

A well executed interactive prototype is essential to increase your chances of attaining external investment. Tools such as InVision or Marvel can be used to create an interactive prototype for your app if you are designing your own product.

We can also build and design an interactive prototype for your app idea too.

Established businesses who are converting an existing service or product into an app should create an interactive prototype too. It’s an invaluable tool to gauge initial user response and internal feedback without the need to spend a considerable amount of capital to create a finished product.

An interactive prototype is entirely ready to enter the development stage once completed.

7.) App Development. 

App support and maintenance

 

Your app is getting closer and closer to an official launch on the app store!

It’s certainly an exciting moment in the app development journey.

But there is still a considerable amount of work to be done! The development stage focuses on adding the back-end codebase into your polished app designs.

In other words, development focuses on making your app functional, stable, secure and responsive.

The development stage will also look different considering your decision to build your own app or work with a development partner like us.

A development partner will handle the entire programming and coding process for you. Each developer has a different method of preferred development.

We operate using an agile development methodology.

Agile development is commonly broken up into a series of milestones called sprints. Each sprint usually lasts 4 weeks and focuses on building a particular set of features.

For instance, the engineers will build an app’s login process and profile functionality for the next two weeks, and then build out the dashboard and timeline for the next two weeks after that. Our clients are charged at the start of each milestone and receive all assets at the completion of the milestone. The entire app will eventually be built over the course of 3 to 6 months depending on the degree of difficulty and features required.

The advantage of building an app through a development partner is that you can spend your time focusing on business development tasks such as pre-launch marketing activities, gathering contracts or pursuing partnerships.

Business development

 

This is obviously not a luxury you will have if you decide to program your own app.

The process of development can quickly become overwhelming for the first time programmer. But, it is possible with the relevant knowledge and tools.

The first thing the programmer needs to consider is the type of app they are want to build.

Apps aren’t a one size fits all solution.

There are three primary types of mobile apps – a Native App, a Progressive Web App and a Hybrid App. Each of these common app formats is suited to a particular set of functionality, performance and budget requirements.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the key differences.

📱Native Apps:

Native apps generally cost the most to build as they provide the best user experience and performance to the user. Everything generally works faster, smoother and more reliably on a native app.

📱 Progressive Web Apps:

Progressive Web Apps are essentially a website posing as a mobile app. Progressive web apps aren’t as responsive or reliable as other types of apps. For this reason, they cost the least amount of money and require the least amount of time to build.

📱 Hybrid Apps:

Hybrid apps are a middle ground between a native and a progressive app. They over decent performance and stability, but they also come with their own unique set of problems. For instance, they require far more maintenance than a native app.

For an in-depth look into the differences between these types of apps, read our article titled Hybrid VS React VS Native VS Web: What’s Perfect For You?

 

Successful app

 

Whether you choose to build a Hybrid, Native or Progressive Web App, you will have to learn the right skills, tools and relevant programming languages first. Luckily there is a wealth of resources available on skill sharing platforms like Udemy, Skillshare and CodeCademy.

There is definitely a learning curve involved in all three of these options that can really take some time and practice to really understand and apply.

There are also several app building platforms that require little coding experience to create.

However, we have found these tools really aren’t capable of providing you with a custom solution that succeeds at complex compatibility and functionality. Many of these platforms use a drag and drop template style which can look fairly mediocre. Ultimately, it may mean your app might not stand out from competitors or effectively win users as a result.

Building an app yourself also means you are losing out on the experience and advice of an experienced app developer. Ultimately this could lead to your app not being as successful as it could have been had a developer built it.

Regardless of the method you choose to build your app, you can follow the way an app developer approaches a new project.

First up, build out the app’s core functionalities.

For instance, if your app is a podcast hosting platform, you would naturally start building out the functionalities related to uploading an audio file, playing an audio file and searching for a podcast.

These are the primary set of features that convey the most value to the users. Therefore, it’s worth spending the most amount of time perfecting these functions.

After the core functionalities are built, it’s time to add the additional functionalities and features.

Borrowing the podcast app analogy once more, the next features to build may include a user profile system, a review and comment section or a way to add a podcast to a playlist.

While working through this priority of development, you should also be doing some light testing and bug correction.

But it’s important to enter a dedicated testing phase before launching your newly created app.

8.) App Testing

App testing

 

Nobody likes to use an app which doesn’t work.

Every bug and every glitch your app has will rapidly turn your users away faster than you can say BAM!

Needless to say, it’s important to prioritize an entire stage of development towards finding and ironing out as many errors, bugs and glitches as possible.

You will need to test your app for the following problems:

✅ Usability
✅ Compatibility
✅ Security
✅ Interface
✅ Stress
✅ Performance 
✅ Reliability 

Bug testing in a laboratory setting is one form of testing. But, testing your app out in the field is an entirely different beast.

We recommend getting your app in the hands of as many test users and devices as possible to test for these errors. Tools such as Apple’s TestFlight or Android’s Fabric are useful to facilitate pre-launch user testing.

Ask your test users to perform regular tasks from start to finish and see how the app responds. Don’t babysit or guide your test users through the process either – allow them to act freely and follow the wrong prompts, enter the wrong inputs and get confused.

The analytic tool you are using (TestFlight or Fabric) will record any errors your test users encounter which can then be addressed by your development team.

Apple Analytics for Mobile Apps
Apple App Analytics should be your go-to tool for iOS apps. Source: apple.com

 

Your development team will also try and break your app through a series of technical tests to see how it reacts to abuse and irregular commands. For instance, adding strange symbols to text fields or trying to upload unsupported files.

After finding as many bugs and errors as possible, your development team will program as many safety nets in your codebase as possible. For instance, making your app only accept numerical data into a field requesting a numerical value, encrypting sensitive data or adding in a retry message when a user attempts to upload an unsupported file format.

The more testing, breaking and fixing you do, the more robust and reliable your app will be.

It will also save you time and money by identifying and solving problems before launch which could have prevented security breaches, lost revenue or excess use of post-development support hours.

Consequently, it’s okay for the testing phase to last a considerable amount of time as you go back and forth from testing and fixing bugs.

Think of it this way – the longer you spend making a high quality product, the better your app’s reputation and usability will be. It’s best to get this all sorted out before you launch to the real market where consequences hold far greater weight.

Testing your app

 

An app developer will go through these steps for you, so you can again focus on business development tasks.

As soon as you are confident that as many bugs have been ironed out as possible, it’s time to proceed to the launch stage!

9.) App Launch

Roamni App Store

After months of effort and energy, it’s time to launch your app to market!

It’s definitely the most exciting time of your project.

But there is no time to rest yet.

There are a few steps which need to be completed before your app can be launched.

Hosting your app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store involve a few associated costs and processes to follow.

How to Submit an App to the Apple App Store:

1️⃣ To launch an app on the Apple App Store, an individual or business needs an official Apple Developer Membership at a yearly cost of $99 USD.

2️⃣ Your app will then need to be reviewed by Apple to ensure it’s in line with their guidelines.

3️⃣ Once your app has passed through the review phase, you will need to prepare for launch by adding details like an app icon, preview images, descriptions, category and keywords so users can search and find your app.

4️⃣ Then it’s time to launch to market!

How to Submit an App to the Google Play Store:

1️⃣ Likewise, to launch an app on the Google Play Store, a Google Play Developer account is required. A one off fee of $25 USD must then be paid.

2️⃣ You must then accept Google’s Distribution Agreement to ensure your app complies with quality and community standards on the Google Play Store.

3️⃣ Then, you will go through the process of adding app details like an app icon, preview images, descriptions, category and keywords so users can search and find your app.

4️⃣ You are now ready for launch!

There may also be additional costs involved to maintain and operate your new mobile app technology business too.

Depending on your app’s functionality, there could be monthly subscription costs for server hosting, SMS communication systems and third party API’s. These are essentially your monthly overheads (similar to an electricity bill for a brick and mortar business but far cheaper).

Your developer will set these payments up for you with the best service providers. But you will need to set these up yourself if you have built your own mobile app.

It’s important to connect your app with an analytic tool which continuously monitors the financial and functional performance of your app. There are dozens of tools which can be integrated into your app as we have compared in our article titled The Most Powerful Mobile App Analytic Tools & Which to Use.

It’s pretty rare that a launch in of itself will attract your intended users. So, the next step is to deploy a marketing strategy to attract and retain users!

10.) App Marketing 

App marketing team

App marketing is a relatively new frontier.

But yet, it is already predicted that businesses will spend up to $64 billion dollars in mobile app advertising by 2020.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that app marketing is the same as a traditional digital marketing campaign.

Yes, there are a lot of similarities.

But the key difference is that app marketing not only aims at acquiring new users, but it also focuses on retaining long term users.

It’s far easier and cost effective to retain a user than it is to acquire a new one. Plus, the longer a user engages in your app, the higher the chance they have of organically attracting more users to your app.

An app marketing campaign that attracts thousands of users who only use an app for a single day is for all intensive purpose, renting users.

So, what is the correct way of conducting an app marketing campaign?

The best way of approaching app marketing is to divide strategies according to the customer journey funnel.

Awareness

The awareness stage can be thought of as an individuals first introduction to your app.

A user needs to be exposed to your app and understand what it can do before deciding to download your app for the first time.

As such, the following app marketing activities can be deployed to create an awareness of your app:

🚀 App Store Optimization
🚀 Social Media Engagement
🚀 Public Relations
🚀 Influencer Marketing
🚀 Search Engine Optimization
🚀 Content Marketing
🚀 Cold Calling

 

Tell A Friend App Idea

Activation

An individual now has an awareness of your app and it’s potential benefits. So now it’s time to persuade them to download it for the first time. The strategies which can be deployed include:

🚀 Paid Social Media Advertising and Retargeting 
🚀 Email Campaigns
🚀 Search Engine Marketing
🚀 App Store Marketing

Apps

 

Conversion

Congratulations, you have an app user!

But, you also have bills to pay and revenue to generate.

Therefore, it’s time to see if they are interested in dipping their toes into your pricing model.

🚀 Push Notifications
🚀 Email Marketing
🚀 Social Media Advertising and Retargeting

 

Influencer marketing apps

 

Referral

Your users have been paying to use your app for several weeks.

It’s safe to say that they are finding some serious value from your service. Therefore, they are likely to tell their friends, family and colleagues about your product.

Your business can encourage these actions by engaging these tactics:

🚀 Community Engagement
🚀 Reviews
🚀 Referral Reward Programs
🚀 Affiliate Marketing Programs

 

Events

 

Retention

It’s not enough to assume or expect your customers will stay loyal to your service.

Reward systems, customer support and meaningful engagement can help to create long lasting relationships.

Here are a few strategies app businesses can reconnect and engage with existing users:

🚀 Push Notifications
🚀 Email Newsletters
🚀 Forums
🚀 Community Events
🚀 Loyalty Programs
🚀 Content Marketing

 

Recipe Content Marketing

 

Marketing is a complicated activity which needs to harmonize creativity and data-driven science.

For this reason, we have created an extensive guide to implementing many of these strategies in our article titled 11 Powerful App Marketing Strategies To Drive Installs.

App marketing never really stops and it requires constant experimentation and optimization to remain effective.

While there are many strategies that can be implemented by oneself, it’s definitely helpful to get started by enlisting an expert marketing team who tentatively understands app marketing.

This is where it’s important to partner with an app developer who is able to support you in setting up analytic tools and gaining early market traction.

In Conclusion.

App development is not a sprint. It’s a marathon!

While it’s possible to create an app from scratch, there can definitely be a steep learning curve and multiple areas of expertise to master.

At the end of the day, apps are no longer novelty projects and are legitimate technology businesses driving close to 100 billion dollars each year and growing.

It’s truly best to leverage the experience and expertise of an app developer if you are absolutely serious about building your app idea into a profitable business.

You might not be sure about whether to pursue your app idea. Or, you may just need some friendly advice.

We offer a free strategy session to individuals who are serious about their app idea.

This is the exact route Roamni travelled down. And today, they are worth over $5,000,000 in little over three years.

You can send us an email here to set up a strategy session!

Thanks for reading, and good luck on your app development journey!

About the author

Nicholas is an experienced artist, marketer and content creator. He has a strong background in app development and also the entrepreneurial startup ecosystem.

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