n part one, we evaluated the massive scope of the Mobile App landscape. In part two of the series, we will answer the elephant in the room: “Is my app idea any good?”
With the millions of apps in the marketplace, you would think every idea was exhausted already… well guess again. Every day there are hundreds of new apps hitting the AppStore. New apps come to market those capture users and gain market share.
Apps are continually evolving.
And you may think you have a brilliant idea, but does that translate into a useful app in the marketplace?
In this part of our series, I am going to answer that for you…
Who is going to download and use your app?
Who is the person that is going to download and use your application?
And I mean, who is the person. Not the market. It’s easy to generalize. Males age 24-34 that live in Los Angeles and like sports cars sound like a tremendous demographic, but you need to dial in on a persona. Give that person a name.
Thousands of people might download your app, but remember that your app is downloaded one person at a time. Come up with a persona for your app. Give him/her/a name. What other apps do they use? Put yourself in your best customer’s shoes and think about exactly who they are. A persona will serve you 1,000 times better than some general “target market.” When you answer questions about features, pricing, and marketing, you need to be able to say, “What would Dave our persona do in this situation?”
Now you need to find Dave. Here is a super tip: You can spend years researching, reading reports, making “educated” guesses, and asking people, not like Dave. Or you can go straight to the source and ask Dave himself.
Create a landing page that says what your app is and what it does. Ask users for their email so you can notify them when the app is released. You can create a landing page in 10 minutes with software like ClickFunnels.
Now you can either join some Facebook groups, pay for Instagram/Facebook ads, or both. Google network can also be an incredibly cheap way to get traffic to your page.
Spend some time or money and drive 1,000 Daves to your landing page. Now see what you get. Want to find out if your idea is worth anything? Ask visitors for money (pre-order). If you can get people to give you cash for your idea… and if your idea is good enough, you can — then you have a killer idea.
But won’t someone just steal my idea and build it themselves?
Let’s be honest… your idea was probably stolen either directly or indirectly from someone else anyway. Ideas are worthless. I give them away daily. People spent way too much time worrying about taking their precious idea and way too little time executing.
Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea at this phase. Worry about whether your idea is any good.
Who are your competitors?
No matter how unique or innovative your idea is, you will have competition on the AppStore. And the competition is fierce.
Start by doing some general research on the AppStore. Or better yet sign up for a product like App Anne. App Anne will save you tons of time searching the AppStore and learning about other apps in your category.
There are 25+ categories in the Apple and Android app stores. Most of those categories have additional sub-categories. You can find the list of categories for Apple here: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/categories/ and Google Play here: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/113475?hl=en
Look at the top apps in your category and sub-category. These are your indirect competitors. These are the apps you will compete with to get to the top 100, 25, and editors picks. These apps compete with you for your customer’s downloads, attention, and ultimately, dollars.
Look at the top 100 strictly. Better yet use App Anne to look at the top apps over time. See how they are marketing. Look at the way they write descriptions, updates. How many reviews do they have? Download the apps. Don’t be afraid to pay for some of them. How do they engage users? How do they monetize?
Now search for direct competitors in your category. Who is doing something similar? Build a list of direct competitors. Download every direct competitor and document precisely what they do. Read through their reviews. Pay special attention to the 3-star reviews. These are gold. Three stars mean the user liked the app overall, but there was something about it they didn’t like. Take lots of notes about your competitors.
Now put together your USP or Unique Selling Proposition. What is going to make you stand out against your competitors and get you noticed in your category? Take your time focusing on this because it’s critically important. People waste millions of dollars every year because they skip this critical part of the process.
How are you going to make money?
Now that you know your customer’s persona and know your competition, it’s time to decide how you are going to make money with your app.
There are five primary ways to monetize your application. I’m sure there are some other smart ways out there, but these are the five main ways that apps generate over 2 trillion dollars in revenue a year. Most apps use more than one of these strategies. Some use ALL of them.
- In-App Purchases
- Paid App Downloads
- Affiliate Marketing
In-app advertising is displaying advertisements in your application. You can display banner ads on pages or display full-page advertisements between actions. Google Admob is an easy way to get started with in-app advertising.
In-app advertising is a fantastic way to generate tens-of-dollars while annoying your users. 5+ years ago, people could get rich from advertising in apps. Today advertising makes a fraction of what it did for app developers. In-app advertising is still a fantastic way to generate some income from free users and help drive in-app purchases. Many users will pay you money simply to remove the annoying ads.
App uses in-app purchases to give users access to restricted features or to obtain in-game currency of some kind. Essentially users agree to provide you with a one-time payment in return for something inside the app. An example of this is a user paying $2.99 to remove ads inside an app.
Some apps rely on a one time purchase to download the app. This monetization strategy is where an app will charge a fee to download the app. For paid apps, it can be tricky to convince users that the app is worth the purchase. They are not able to test the functionality out before purchasing the app. If your competition is free or offers free trials, it can be challenging to show the value in a paid app.
Subscriptions are how the most aggressive and profitable apps generate revenue. With subscriptions, you can offer users a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscription options. You can offer free trials.
Subscriptions are an excellent way to monetize apps that will be used regularly by users. A subscription option may not work well for an app that serves a singular purpose and is not used frequently.
Subscriptions also provide the developer with recurring revenue, which can help to keep the app up to date and introduce new features.
If you can generate interest from your customer persona, identify a unique selling proposition amongst your competitors and figure out how to make money from your app idea, you are 100 times farther ahead than you would-be competitors.
In part three, we will go over the discovery process of planning your app.
If you need help working through the evaluation process, we would love to help. You can reach out to us here. We have helped dozens of entrepreneurs like you evaluate, plan, and build apps that help people and generate millions of dollars in revenue.