Some really awesome apps are failures. (Some really crappy apps are successes, too, but that’s another story.) These failures aren’t due to a bad idea or a bad development project or even a bad interface. Some apps fail simply because they weren’t marketed properly. Here are the lessons your developers need to learn about app marketing in order to be one of those success stories.
1. App Developers Can’t Afford to Be Perfectionists
Ready to get the app to market? Too bad, it’s ready to go! A happy ending begins with knowing where to stop.
Apps have to have decent functionality, need to be designed well, and ought to be as bug free as possible. But you simply can’t afford to keep an app in the development process forever. This drives up costs tremendously (mostly in the form of labor costs), meaning that you’ll never earn enough back from the app to make it a financial success. Learn when to call it “good enough” and get it to market. Learn this before the coffers are empty.
2. App Developers Aren’t Necessarily Good at Sales & Marketing
You wouldn’t ask your marketing department to develop your apps, so don’t expect your developers to market apps.
Lots of excellent developers create wonderful apps that are tremendous failures. The problem is that the app was all development and no hype. There has to be someone generating hype so that people get excited about your app and actually want to use it. It might not be a half-developers-half-marketers ratio, but there needs to be enough sales and marketing savvy on the team to make the project float.
3. Apps Have a Lot of Competition
There are a lot of apps. Not only are there a lot of apps — there are a lot of apps just like yours. Yes, yours may have this little thingie and that little whatchamacallit, but aside from the partially newish bells and whistles, there are tons of other apps to do whatever it is yours is supposed to do. For every Uber there is a Hailo. Never heard of Hailo? That’s the point. Be prepared to go head-to-head with the other guys, and have a plan for coming out on top.
4. You Have to Have a Solid Business Model
Some apps aren’t flawed in design, have all the right features, are marketed properly, and still fail. What gives? It could be the business model. More than a few developers have failed to account for things like what people are willing to pay for versus what they expect for free or perhaps what people are willing to go out of the way for versus what they aren’t willing to budge to get. Research your business model (aka, how you expect to generate revenue from the app) before rolling out one that’s already proven not to work.
5. You Have to Understand the Difference Among Locations and Demographic Groups
Another problem is developing an app and business model that works spectacularly in London or San Francisco, but not so well in New York or Birmingham. Cities are different and people are different, and what goes swimmingly well in one area with a particular demographic might be a phenomenal flop in a different city with different people. Research each new region and demographic population before trying to enter into a new market to compete with other, similar apps and services.
6. You Can’t Expect Users to Put Up With Difficulties
Your developers likely realise that the app has to deliver value, but do they know that the value it provides has to be commensurate with the amount of trouble it causes? How many clicks is a user willing to make to get the weather or the latest football scores? How many screens are they likely to navigate to find out what your daily specials are or how much of a discount they can get on airfare to Brussels? If it’s too troublesome, it won’t work.
7. You Have to Stay on Users’ Minds
Another common problem is users simply forgetting your app is there. They might use it the first time they need it, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll remember it the next time. After all, between then and now they’ve had countless conversations, watched TV shows, argued with their mates, and probably cleaned up after some kids. Figure out a way to stay on their minds with regular notifications, but be sure the notifications aren’t bothersome. Make alerts relevant, useful, practical, and above all, at a time when they aren’t likely to be sleeping.
Ready to get started on your own app marketing success story? Visit Glance today!
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.
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