How to Make an App? It is a question we get asked almost every single day..
Should I create an app? And if so, how do I start?
Let’s begin by mentioning that creating an app isn’t as easy as you might think.
Successful apps are always a combination of intelligent business strategy, stunning design, expert engineering, and effective marketing strategy.
Anything less and smartphone users simply won’t use your app.
Instead, they are more than likely to use a competitor’s app who has spent the correct amount of app development time and resources to create a high-quality product or service. And with over 4 million apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, there is a lot of competition that users can choose from. So, it’s imperative to build the highest quality app as possible.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom!
Apps are making more and more revenue each and every year. According to TechCrunch, consumer spending on apps is only set to increase and it’s predicted to hit an annual total of $156.5 billion by 2022. And not to mention that the app spending on the Apple app store has reached an all-time high in 2018 and is expected to get higher.
If you are thinking about starting an app business, the time is now.
As a beginner, it might seem impossible to turn your app idea into a reality. But we are here to guide you through it all.
In this article, we will walk you through the essential factors behind creating a successful app business.
Successful Apps Have Three Essential Ingredients
Up to 90% of startups fail according to most statistics, and apps based businesses are no exception.
Thankfully there are three key similarities shared between the 10% of successful app businesses that we can learn from. You can dramatically increase your chances of success by learning and applying these three ingredients into your app too.
You see, it’s just not enough to have an amazing idea anymore.
Your app idea also needs a robust businesses strategy in place to have any chance of sustainable and long term growth.
Let’s go through these three ingredients.
📱 Does Your App Idea Solve a Problem or Fulfill a Need?
An app needs to provide users with undeniable value.
The easiest way to provide value to a user is to solve a problem.
Prospective users will rarely discover or download an app that doesn’t directly help or assist them with a problem.
Most successful apps have traditionally helped users save time, reduce effort, add convenience or connect individuals together. Even mobile app games solve the problems associated with boredom, stress, and loneliness.
Think about how your app will function to solve this problem, whether it’s a game, a productivity tool or something completely different altogether.
A well considered scope of functionality will give you a greater sense of the work involved to build your idea and help to determine if the idea is technically feasible. This will also help app developers estimate an accurate cost to develop your app too.
📱 Does Your App Idea Have a Market?
Apps are useless without users.
So it’s super important to consider the people who are most likely to be interested in your app.
It’s helpful to narrow down and define your target users as much as possible before building your app. Deeply consider the key characteristics of your target market such as their industry, occupation, income, age and location. Look for commonalities or patterns that they all share together too.
Successful apps are tailor built for a specific user group.
In other words, your app isn’t made for you. It’s made to fulfill the needs and desires of your users. Therefore it’s important to design your app from the perspective of your target users and not yourself.
Learning about your target audience comes down to research and simple conversations about your app idea. Arming yourself with these insights can guide and determine the way your app functions, how it generates an income and how it looks.
After all, if you aren’t making an app tailor made for your target demographics, why would they use it?
📱 Can This App Idea Make a Profit or at Least Cover Expenses?
Apps can take a lot of time and resources to build.
The cost to develop an app is largely determined by the number of features, integrations and compatibility it requires. And like any other business, there are also operating costs to consider.
Successful applications, including free apps, generate income through a variety of monetisation methods.
For example, a monthly subscription fee, a single purchase fee, commissions, affiliate links, advertising or even donation based models.
It’s best to strategically choose the right monetisation method for your target users by finding out which pricing model they are most receptive towards.
Apps which don’t generate an income generally don’t last more than a few years.
The good news is that global consumers have become increasingly receptive to spending money on valuable and entertaining apps. More regions are expected to enter the market too, with an expected spending increase of 296% in Africa and 408% in Latin America.
How to Come Up With an App Idea
There is little point in building an app if you don’t have a good idea.
So, how does an individual come up with an idea worthwhile creating?
Unfortunately, it isn’t an exact science.
But we have noticed a few creative patterns over the years that might help you. For instance, we have noticed that creativity thrives when obstacles and problems are presented.
As mentioned earlier, the most successful apps need to be valuable to a certain audience.
If you can therefore identify issues that waste time, money or effort you can then start to think of a solution to eliminate those pain points.
You are well on your way to creating a loyal legion of users if you create a viable solution to those problems with your app.
The best place to begin when you are trying to come up with an app idea is with what you already know. Think about your work-life, your home-life and your hobbies: are there any frustrations that you wish there was a solution to?
If not, speak with friends and family and find out whether there are aspects of their daily lives that they wish they could improve. You could even research the ways existing apps solve problems and look into applying a similar technique to an industry that you are more familiar with.
However you come up with your idea, problem-solving is a hugely profitable business.
Consider Shazam, for example. It takes the age-old annoyance of not knowing the name of the awesome song that is playing in a bar or coffee shop and solves it quickly and easily. This single-function app might be a simple idea, but when Apple confirmed its intentions of buying the company in 2017 the deal was said to be $400 million (although some valuations put the company’s price tag as high as $1 billion).
Don’t worry if you can’t come up with an idea immediately.
Sometimes it takes time to encounter a problem and find a solution. But the more you are on the prowl for them, the sharper your skills will be to identify and act on them.
How to Validate Your App Idea
Evaluating whether or not your app idea is worth building is a necessary activity.
Unfortunately, we are all biased to believe our ideas are fantastic. This can lead us to believe a terrible idea will definitely be the next big thing.
But, it rarely works out this way.
How do we actually know that our ideas are as great as we think they are?
Around 50,000 new apps are released on the Apple App Store every month. You should be certain that your app idea can stand up to the competition. To do this you can filter your idea through a short validation exercise.
It’s vital that you don’t skip this validation exercise.
Charging ahead with an idea that isn’t market viable is going to waste time, energy and money.
Thorough validation will give you crucial insights to counteract the personal bias we all have when it comes to our own ideas. It will also give you the opportunity to further consolidate your idea and strengthen and improve what you already have.
Filter Your Idea Though the 3 Essential App Ingredient
It’s a good start to filter your idea through the three essential app ingredients we have already mentioned in this article.
Meticulously run yourself through these three questions as if you were an outsider to your own idea:
📱 How will this app idea solve a problem or fulfil a need – and if so, how?
📱 Will this app idea actually have a target market – and if so, who?
📱 Can this app idea make a profit or cover its expenses – and if so, how?
Don’t be afraid if you are lacking the correct answers to these questions yet. Sometimes it can take a little time to connect the dots and truly flesh out an idea.
Great ideas usually take some time to formulate.
Your idea doesn’t need to have a detailed answer to all of these questions. Instead, it just needs to have a starting point or a general idea.
99.99% of the successful technology products we see today didn’t look anything like they once did when they were originally launched. Over time ideas change, develop, shift and iterate towards new horizons.
But an idea needs to have a starting point before that natural process can happen.
Tell Friends, Family, Co-workers, and Strangers
Never underestimate the power of pitching your idea to the general public.
It’s really the ultimate filter.
If the person at the bus stop can’t understand your idea then it’s likely everyone else won’t be able to either.
Discussing your ideas with as many people as possible really gives you a sense of how potential users are likely to feel about your product.
They may even have suggestions on how to build a better version of your idea. Perhaps they even might share some similar problems or frustrations which your app can solve too.
But if nobody is understanding your idea, then you might just need a better way of explaining it. And if that doesn’t work, it might just be a lacklustre idea. It’s better to know that sooner rather than later!
Don’t be afraid about sharing your idea with others either.
It’s very unlikely that anyone will steal your idea. And plus, ideas are only ideas without execution.
Most people won’t actually act towards building or creating an idea even if it’s the best idea in the world served on a silver platter.
How to Build Your Startup Team and Contact an App Developer to Discuss Your Idea
Once your idea has passed the family, friends and strangers test it’s time to progress further.
Remember – no man (or woman at that matter) is an island.Which is why it’s super important to build the right team to help you execute on your idea.
While building a startup team is an exciting time, if done incorrectly, it can have negative implications on the startup.This is why creating the right team and right team culture, is paramount to the success of your app business.
The internet has transformed the world into a global community with a rapidly growing remote working culture. You can find someone to work on any of your business functions anywhere in the world. Start your search with asking your network for referrals. Their existing relationship with a potential candidate can help you find someone that you know can be great.
Secondly, make sure you are hiring specialists with proven portfolios. It’s very rare to find someone who can do multiple specialities at an expert level. In app development, each platform is a completely different language, and requires years of dedicated learning to master. In marketing, it’s the same across marketing channels. The person who is an expert in content is usually not an expert in paid ads, because the work involved and skill-sets required are fundamentally different. So assemble a team of specialists, rather than relying on generalists!
Thirdly, make sure your team members has a personality fit for the role. As an early stage start-up employee – this can often mean being driven, ambitious and a self manager. You are starting up an app business. The last thing you want to be doing is micro-managing your team or stressing when certain priorities are not being executed. When hiring, ask them what role they see themselves excelling in and give them a problem to solve to see if they fit your vision for the role.
Lastly, once you have a team, you want to build a culture that rewards creativity, leadership and high quality work.When you look at businesses like Google, Facebook and Apple, hey thrive because they reward their team based on creative problem solving, courageous leadership and quality delivery of products, marketing and content. How do they foster this culture? They have in-built systems and processes that revolves around them. For instance, at Google, team-members get 20% free time to spend at their leisure: to create, play and be free. When someone exhibits good quality work, acknowledge this in the team and publicly wherever possible. You need to build a strong culture, even if it’s a remote one.
Companies like Github, Basecamp and Appetiser Apps prides ourselves on having industry leading cultures that aren’t tied to an office.
When building a startup team, you may want to hire an app developer like Appetiser who already do all this for you.
Unless you are an expert in technology and design, we recommend approaching an app development partner as the next step.
App developers know the business inside and out; particularly when it comes to the technological feasibility of an idea.
A conversation with a reputable app developer is especially helpful for those who have never started a business before. A quick chat will quickly steer you in the right direction towards successful product strategy, market viability or even the process of raising capital.
If you are concerned about your ideas getting stolen by a disreputable app development agency, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself.
Requesting a non-disclosure agreement from an app developer before communicating your idea is one of the easiest ways to protect your intellectual property.
We are more than happy to provide our clients with a pre-signed non-disclosure agreement well before booking an initial consultation.
At the end of the day, Appetiser is an agency who offers app development services.
We are in the business of using our expertise to build successful apps for our clients, and not for ourselves.
Keeping your ideas safe and private is one of our primary objectives.
Now that you have your team, let’s find out ..
How to Fund the Development of Your App
Let’s just address a common misunderstanding.
App development costs money.
So, what are you actually paying for when a developer builds your mobile app?
It takes time, expertise and resources to craft a beautiful and successful mobile app based business.
We will go into the actual costs involved in building an app shortly, but it’s safe to say at this point in time that apps can cost a significant amount of money to develop.
There are many ways to fund the development of a mobile app.
The most straight forward method of payment is to pay for development with savings or business capital. But that doesn’t mean all mobile apps are funded that way.
Don’t panic if you don’t have the funds to cover your entire project right now.
There are several options available to you with regards to securing the capital needed to make your idea a reality.
💰 Venture Capitalists.
Venture capitalists are professionally managed funds that invest in new companies with the potential to grow. Venture capitalists are always on the lookout for promising startups that are likely to provide a return on investment.
Dozens of highly successful mobile apps have been helped by venture capitalists at the early stages of their inception.
💰 Angel Investors.
Angel investors are wealthy individuals who are looking to individually invest funds into promising startups. Angel investors typically exchange funds for equity or convertible debt.
An angel investor can even desire to personally help or offer advice to the startups they engage with; however, this is rarely the norm.
Crowdfunding has gained popularity since the inception of the internet as it has made it infinitely easier for like-minded people to collaborate. Crowdfunding is essentially a fund raised by dozens, hundreds or thousands of donations by everyday people.
Crowdfunding is achieved by offering a target demographic an incentive to donate. For instance, an offer for an exclusive discount to early product or service adopters.
Lastly, self-funding is the most popular and straight forward option for entrepreneurs and businesses alike.
Business loans and bank loans are also a traditional method of raising capital. But there are also other options including government business grants, incubator funds or competitions to raise funds.
Securing external funding can be a difficult endeavour.
Very few businesses and entrepreneurs achieve funding from external investors.
Investors are looking for opportunities with the lowest investment risk and the highest reward. Therefore, it’s important to note that some entrepreneurs and businesses are more attractive than others.
So, how do you ensure that your app idea is an attractive opportunity for funding?
Well, a successful track record in your industry is always hugely beneficial. But if you are starting from complete scratch, it’s unlikely that you will have that.
The next best thing to do is to start building a community of interested customers. A ready-made audience is usually an attractive proposition to potential investors. It shows there is an interested market who are ready to start using your app.
But before you can collect a group of potential users, you will need a way to communicate your idea effectively to the right people.
Otherwise, a community can’t gather around a non-existent representation of an idea.
The most effective way to sell the concept of your app idea is to create a way to showcase the concept and the potential benefits to users.
To do this you can:
📱 Create a Promotional Animation or Video.
A promotional animation or video can be produced to swiftly demonstrate how your app works and how it can benefit users.
An animation can particularly create an interesting, entertaining and engaging story of your app.
📱 Create Design Concepts.
Creating app designs or concept images can visually bring your idea into reality.
Stunning design is magnetizing to users and often creates a certain level of excitement and anticipation. Nobody wants to use a product that is dull, bland and uninspiring.
Employing a professional multi-disciplined user experience designer to create your app designs is actually less expensive than you think. One of our unique differences as an app developer is our stand-alone design stage. This means that you get your app designed to a professional standard without needing to pay for development costs.
If you are interested in learning more about our standalone design stage, please leave us a message here.
📱 Create an Interactive Prototype.
An interactive prototype is essentially a clickable and testable version of your app designs without the back-end coding.
In other words, it’s not technically functional but it does demonstrate how the app functions and flows from one task to the next. This gives the user a first hand experience of how easy your app is to use and a strong representation of its potential benefits.
An interactive prototype is included as part of our standalone design stage.
📱 Put Together a Presentation.
Communicating directly with a target audience may prove to be very effective.
Think of a keynote talk or the way Apple presents a new product to generate hype. A presentation will be more effective with the necessary visual assets to tell a story. But, it might just be possible with a creative and charismatic approach.
📱 Create a Press Release.
It’s also possible to start drumming up some press coverage in the early days of your app.
Contact any relevant publications that might be interested in your project and let them know about it. If your product is relevant to a particular industry, you can even tantalize audiences to be apart of an exclusive testing and feedback stage while it is still in development.
This can be a fantastic way of gathering a group of interested users together really quickly. Platforms like HARO are a great place to start if you are planning to pursue this avenue.
Once you have some promotional material about your app and some potential users interested, you may consider creating a place for them to assemble together.
This can be achieved by creating a central Facebook group, social media account or even just a newsletter sign up.
It doesn’t matter which option you choose as long as you have collected a group of interested users that you can show to potential investors. Preparation and practice are key before you pitch a project to a potential investor.
There are a few essential ingredients you need to have together when the time comes to present your idea:
✅ Elevator Pitch:
A short description of your app that anyone can understand in less than a minute.
✅ A Business Plan and Case:
What your app plans to achieve and how you plan to do it.
✅ Research Demographics:
Proof that you have an audience and a profile of who they are.
✅ Features List:
The functions, abilities and benefits your app can provide and do.
✅ An Estimated Timeline and Cost:
Investors want to know how much money you need to build your app and when they can expect to see a return.
✅ Designs and Interactive Prototype:
Investors want to see whether you have or are serious about executing on your idea. Professionally created designs or an interactive prototype can show an investor that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is.
How much does an App Cost?
Pricing the cost of a mobile app is not as straight forward as clicking an ‘add to cart’ button on a website.
Get the latest industry news first.
Apps vary in price depending on multiple factors including resources, compatibility and integrations requirements.
This is precisely why it costs far greater to build an app like Uber than say, a cookbook app.
Uber requires a driver-to-user ticketing system, geo-location tracking, route processing, push notifications, complex analytics and payment gateways. It takes a lot of time to create and build these systems and even more expertise to ensure it works without a hiccup. But, a cookbook app may only require a content management system and a payment gateway to provide strong value to the user.
So, if you are wondering how much it costs to develop an app, the simple answer is that the cost can vary hugely depending on the type of app that you want to create.
The easiest and fastest way to know how much your app will cost to build is to contact an app developer. From here, a good developer will take the time to understand your app inside and out and determine the requirements it needs. Then they can estimate the cost of your app so you know what to expect.
We are happy to book a free consultation with you to determine the price of your app – just send us a message here to get started.
Most of our projects range from $50,000 to $250,000 dollars.
For this price, you are paying for a specialized team with a range of technical skills like product strategy, design, development and marketing strategy. So, it’s no wonder why our projects have become multi-million dollar businesses.
There are some key differences that do affect the cost of an app that we can cover here.
For instance, not all apps are created equal. Did you know that there are multiple types of mobile apps suitable for different uses and budgets?
The three main types of apps are called Native Apps, Hybrid Apps and Progressive Web Apps.
Speaking in generalities, here’s the difference between the three types:
📱 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?
How to Build Your App
There are several options at your disposal when it comes to building an app.
But no matter what development option you choose, it’s advisable to consider building a minimum viable product (MVP) first.
An MVP is the highest value version of your app but at the lowest investment risk to develop. In other words, you dip your toes into the water before you dive into the water.
Let’s illustrate this point by using Amazon.
Amazon didn’t start their business by investing billions of dollars into multiple packing and shipping warehouses to become the worlds largest online retailer. Instead, they started in an empty garage selling books online. From here they expanded their product range as they sold more and more books.
The most valuable service Amazon could provide to online users was to sell books. The lowest investment required to start operating was to use an empty garage (AKA Amazon’s MVP). Amazon simply wouldn’t exist today if they had tried to start with a billion dollar packing and shipping warehouse.
It’s unlikely they could have secured the necessary funds for that type of operation and they didn’t truly know if customers would buy books online. After all, Amazon started in the days where internet shopping was extremely niche.
Building a product at the highest possible scale is a common mistake many first-time entrepreneurs often make.
To give your app the highest chance of success, we recommend that you build the first iteration of your business like Amazon – start small with the highest value set of functions and features.
If it’s successful, your business will grow to the highest vision you have of it. But first, plant the seed and then water it.
Imagine investing in a full-scale version of your app just to find out that your idea doesn’t work. It’s every entrepreneur’s nightmare and it is completely avoidable with an MVP.
Here are the best options for getting your MVP made:
Dedicated app developers generally have a full team of experts available to validate your ideas, design your user experience, build the back-end and launch your product to market.
This type of skill and expertise consistently results in the best user experience, product strategy and robust functionality of an app.
There are plenty of app developers available at your disposal. But, it is important to find the right developer for you.
Here are a few factors to consider before choosing a developer:
The best app developers are deeply interested in understanding and growing your app idea.
A good developer will always take the time to discuss your goals, product features, development options and express any potential problems you are likely to face in terms of competition or business strategy.
Great developers won’t take on a project they don’t believe can become successful. Simply put, they aren’t interested in wasting your money or your time.
Avoid any developers that skip straight to signing a contract before taking the time to understand you and your idea; they are only looking for a quick sale.
📱 Agile Development
Agile development is a crucial aspect of great app development.
As previously mentioned, the first indication of an agile development partner is a strong belief in following minimum viable product (MVP) development methodology. It’s a sign that the developer has the best interests of the client at heart as it greatly reduces investment risk.
But agile development extends far beyond MVP thinking.
Agile development methods seek to reduce investment risk at every step of development while simultaneously crafting a quality product for the end user. To achieve this, a great developer operates on a milestone to milestone basis which essentially means you pay for the development of your app according to the work completed every 4 weeks.
Therefore, the client never needs to risk the entire sum of their investment before they are yet to see evidence of work. If a client is not happy with the work conducted on their product or a circumstance requires them to pause or abandon the development of the app, they can safely end the relationship with the developer with the remainder of their investment in hand.
Avoid any developer that refuses to work on your app unless the entire project is paid upfront or even just a significant percentage is charged upfront. That is a sign that they are only interested in your project for their own cash flow desires.
Experience is a tell-tale sign of a good app developer.
Have a thorough look at their past client projects and download their apps. Have a play around with the apps they have created to get a feel for the design and functionality standard they are able to produce.
Additionally, read past client reviews on services like Clutch, Google and Facebook to see how they have treated clients in the past. It’s a good indication of how they are likely to work with you in the future.
📱 Full Stack Service
Effective app development is so much more than great design and robust functionality.
A well-designed app in the early days of the industry used to be all that was required to become successful. But in today’s mature market, customers simply have many more options to choose from. A well-designed app is essential, but that doesn’t mean your customers will be able to find your app to begin with.
A full stack app development team doesn’t stop at product strategy, design and development. A full stack developer extends further to offer marketing services to acquire users. A full stack developer also assists with future business development to establish future market growth. Furthermore, a full stack developer is willing to help you service your users long into the future by maintaining and updating your app as needed.
Don’t choose a developer who is only able to offer you design and development services. It’s just not enough to reliably maintain and grow your app long into the future.
It’s possible to find a freelancer to build your app. But, will you get a good result?
That’s the twenty thousand dollar question – and often you will pay that amount for a product that frustrates users and is full of glitches.
In an industry where the user will uninstall your app and move to a competitor because of the slightest glitch or point of confusion, do you really want a sub-par product?
It’s just not worth the risk when you really consider the level of financial reward available on the market. If you do find the perfect freelancer, it’s possible to build an app with great design and robust UX for less money than an app developer.
But 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t work out this way.
Each week we are contacted by a client who is unhappy with the design and functionality of their app which has been built by an overseas freelancer. We attempt to salvage their product but often the entire code base is flawed or the designs aren’t well thought out. Unfortunately, we have no option to start a rescue project from scratch.
That means our client has essentially lost $10,000 – 50,000 dollars on a useless app before coming to us.
And then to rescue their project they need to fork out even more money to re-create it from scratch. But after being burnt, it’s unlikely anyone would continue to build an app. It’s a shame because some of those ideas could have generated a healthy income.
According to Entrepreneur, the best way to find the right freelancer is to first consider your extended network for people that you or your friends already know. If that doesn’t work, check out local colleges and universities for up and coming developers. And if neither of those methods works, look into freelance outlets such as Upwork and Fiverr as a last resort.
Remember though, freelancers don’t have the expert teams behind them that app developers do. So it’s unlikely that you will get the same level of service or quality of product necessary to compete in the market.
It’s very rare to find a freelancer who is a master of ideation, monetization strategy, intuitive UX/UI design, robust programming and marketing strategy.
If you do intend to go down this route, thoroughly research and review potential freelance candidates before you hand over any sum of money.
Build it Yourself
There’s always the option of building an app yourself.
It can take years to learn how to create an application from scratch. But it can be quite a rewarding process if your app project is intended for fun or to pursue a new hobby.
There are plenty of tutorials and online courses available if you want to learn the basics of app building. Online teaching platforms like Udemy and Skillshare are a great place to start looking.
Alternatively, there are app building platforms which provide drag-and-drop options that don’t require any coding knowledge. However, it’s important to note that these platforms aren’t going to provide you with a custom solution that succeeds at complex compatibility and functionality.
Additionally, most of these drag and drop templates are built from templates which look very similar to each other. 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 the application not being as successful as it could have been in the long run.
It’s only recommended to build your own app if you have the desire to learn or already possess extensive knowledge about development, design and product strategy.
Successful apps have been built in this fashion, but it is truly a rarity.
Marketing Your App
Ok, you have built your app and it’s looking and performing great.
So, what next?
Designing and building an app is really only half the picture.
An app is redundant without users. So, like any other business or service, your next goal is to acquire customers to use your product or service!
Let’s take a brief look at some effective app marketing strategies to attract users to your app.
For a deeper understanding and guide to implementing any of the strategies listed below, take a look at our in-depth article on 11 Powerful App Marketing Strategies to Drive Installs.
App Store Optimization (ASO)
We all download our mobile apps from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Each respective app store hosts over 2 million apps each and that number is constantly growing. Finding an app to download is often facilitated by entering a keyword like ‘meditation app’ into an app store’s search bar.
But how does the app store determine which apps are listed at the top or bottom of the search results?
In a nutshell, both app store’s utilize an algorithm to match the most suitable app to the most relevant keyword. These algorithms consist of multiple factors that are used to automatically determine which app is displayed as the first search result and the last search result.
The goal of app store optimisation is to ensure your app is the number one search result for the keywords relevant to your app.
Most users will simply install an app that is displayed on the first page of the search results out of convenience. So it’s super important for your app to be listed on the first page and ideally in the number one ranking position.
In fact, 63% of apps are discovered through App Store searches alone. It is well worth the effort to optimise your app for discoverability.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The internet is almost as expansive as the universe.
Well, not quite in the literal sense – but you get the point.
There are over 130 trillion web pages on the internet. But how do we sort through all 130 trillion pages to find the right web page to solve our specific problem?
This is the precise reason why search engines like Google have essentially become the gateway to the entire internet.
Search engines match the most appropriate web page to the most relevant search query entered by the user. Search engine’s work in a similar manner an app store – it uses a complex algorithm to determine the best and worst result.
For instance, you search ‘Melbourne App Developer’ into Google and you find yours truly, Appetiser.
Just like ASO, the objective of search engine optimisation is to rank the highest in the search results for the most relevant keywords to your app.
Most search users click on a result on the first page of the Google search results – so it’s pivotal to the success of your business to rank as high as you possibly can.
SEO has the potential to organically acquire thousands of users to your website virtually for no expensive. An effective SEO strategy can really decrease your marketing costs and sustainably raise your profit margin!
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engines match the best possible web page to the most relevant keyword.
But did you know there is an easier way of making your business become the best possible result to the keywords of your choosing?
It’s called search engine marketing or SEM for short.
Services like Google allow marketers to overlay advertisements at the top or bottom of the search results for specific keywords.
Here’s how it works:
A meditation app has discovered that many of their potential users search ‘mediation for beginners’ on Google. Therefore, they have decided to overlay an advertisement for their app at the top of the search results each time ‘meditation for beginners’ is searched on Google. The meditation app will then be charged each time their advertisement is clicked by a user.
The price to overlay an advertisement on a specific keyword fluctuates on a supply and demand basis. Google puts each keyword up for auction where the highest bidder is awarded the top search result.
SEM is one of the most effective strategies to acquire app users. But that effectiveness can come at a significant cost over time.
Content marketing is closely linked to search engine optimisation (SEO).
Google receives over 5.6 billion search queries each day from users looking for content to answer questions, find solutions, research a subject or even just to find entertainment.
And your target customers are no exception.
Members of your target demographic are constantly searching for content that directly relates to the services that your app provides. Content marketing is all about creating that valuable, informative and entertaining content for them.
It can take a lot of time and energy to create these resources. So, what is the benefit of giving away your content and expertise for free to your target audience?
Firstly, content marketing drives traffic to your site.
It then creates an opportunity to harbour a relationship with an individual from your target audience. If your content demonstrates your expertise, leadership and authority in a particular subject or niche, you are well on your way to fostering trust.
Trust is an essential factor when it comes to converting an individual to an app user and then a paying subscriber.
Content marketing can take the form of blogs, videos, lectures, podcasts and more.
Demand Metric state that 90% of organizations use content marketing, so it’s undoubtedly a hugely popular method of marketing that your business shouldn’t be missing out on.
Many experts agree that content marketing is one of the most effective methods of achieving conversions and a return on investment. A single piece of content can potentially generate thousands of reliable and qualified customers long into the future.
Content marketing is certainly a method which should not be overlooked.
Social Media Advertisement
Marketing is all about following the attention of your target users.
Wherever your target audience is spending their time, energy and focus is where you should also be advertising your app.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably noticed the number of individuals who are glued to their devices every single day. Social media is one of the primary drivers for that behaviour.
Almost all social media platforms generate a profit by allowing advertisers to reach the users that they have acquired. Most social media platforms have built several key tools that make it easier for businesses to create a successful advertising campaign – even with little advertising experience or knowledge.
Social media is an effective strategy to advertise an app because it has traditionally been a low-cost-high-reach method of marketing.
Advertisements on social media subtly blend into user-generated content and are far less abrasive than say, a television commercial. It’s not as easy to identify and tune out an advertisement on social media. Therefore, social ads can have an increased ability to impact audiences.
Social platforms also allow advertisers to really narrow down on a target demographic.
For instance, a roadside billboard advertising a fishing rod is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day – but how many people are actually interested in fishing?
A social media platform, on the other hand, will only display an advertisement for a fishing rod to an audience who have previously shown an interest in fishing content. Therefore, less money has been wasted reaching disinterested audiences.
The ability to narrow down an advertising campaign audience on social media has greatly increased conversion rates and decreased marketing expenditure.
This is just one of the many examples of why social media advertising has grown in popularity.
Ongoing App Support
Apps are living and breathing digital organisms.
Creating an app isn’t a matter of setting and forgetting.
Owning a successful app-based technology business means that your product will require ongoing maintenance, updates and improvements.
It’s a common mistake to think that once an app is up and running it will just look after itself.
Apps are generally low maintenance investments. But, it’s important to monitor an app for glitches and look out for opportunities to enhance your user’s experience by improving or building new features.
Technology is evolving constantly.
Major operating system updates to Android and Apple iOS supported devices can mean that your app is no longer operating to an optimum level.
Any incompatibility errors or glitches that your users are experiencing can result in frustration. And this commonly leads to your hard earned users jumping ship to a competitor.
Consequently, it’s important to schedule maintenance from time to time.
The type of ongoing support your app requires will depend on what you have created. But even the simplest app will need some love and attention from time to time.
Forgetting this important detail can bring a successful app to its knees. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs have a mindset to avoid spending any additional budget maintaining their product.
But think of it this way – assigning a budget on app maintenance is one of the best ways to look after your users and encourage loyalty.
It is certainly more cost efficient to retain a user than it is to acquire a new one.
A quality app developer will always offer an ongoing maintenance service to protect your app when issues present themselves. In this way, your app can be amended as fast as possible without the risk of losing loyal users.
Always ask your developer or freelancer for an ongoing maintenance program before you sign any contracts. Otherwise, you might be left alone in the dark when problems present themselves.
Successful technology businesses evolve and reiterate too – so make sure your development partner is keen to be a long term supporter of your business.
There is a lot to consider when considering to build an app.
It’s certainly easy to feel overwhelmed.
It’s most important to understand that an app isn’t just the icon you see on a smartphone.
An app is a technology-based business with the potential to drive hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in profit.
It’s helpful to frame your desire to build an app through this perspective.
A successful business is always a product of good planning, hard work, experience and technical skill. Working with an experienced app developer means that you don’t need the technical ability to design and build an app.
You just need a feasible idea with a good business plan.
It’s exciting to develop an app and we know it can be tempting to rush ahead with your idea. But if you take your time, follow our steps, and work with a great development team, your chances of success are far greater.
At the end of the day, do you want to create a successful business that grows long into the future?
If the answer is yes, it’s wise to choose the best team to guide you and invest the necessary resources to make it happen.
We are here to support you and your app based technology business.
Please let us know if you would like to talk to us about your app idea! Feel free to send us a message here.
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