Ever since smartphones hit the scene, developing applications for both iOS and Android have sort of been the new gold rush. But, it’s not enough to develop a great app, you need to secure enough app downloads so it pays off.
|Image by William Iven from Pixabay|
In fact, according to statistics published for the first quarter of this year, the Google Play Store boasts of around 2.1 million applications, whereas the Apple App Store has around 1.8 million. What’s more, there were around 205 billion application downloads last year alone.
Given the attractiveness of this new app market, many have flocked to it, making it competitive for everyone and reducing the profit that each developer gets to make.
As a result, one of the hardest things to do is stand out from the crowd and get more app downloads, something that requires a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
So, with that in mind, let’s see what developers can do to maximize the chances of their app’s success:
1. It all starts with market research
Like any other product out there, applications are supposed to serve a true need. Ergo, the first thing that you as a developer need to do is to identify a gap in the market, i.e. an unsolved problem, and tackle it head-on with your app.
This may require several steps, including asking customers what they want, hypothesizing about possible solutions to a given problem, and trying out those solutions.
If you’re looking for ideas you can find inspiration from several different sources.
For one thing, look at the competitor’s offerings and see how they fall short.
Or, take bits and pieces from different places, reaching a wholly original solution.
Whatever path you choose, what matters, in the end, is that they deliver genuine value to their end user. In other words, developers need to make sure that their users are getting rewarded for the time they spend on the app.
One way to make sure that an app delivers is to test it using what is known as an MVP, minimum viable product.
The idea is to build the app in its simplest form and then see whether it does solve the customers’ problems and whether the customers are willing to doll out cash for it. Not only will this help developers confirm that they are on the right track, but it will also inform them of any aspects they might be missing.
2. A solid backend can make all the difference
An app’s backend is the code the users don’t get to see; it is the code that works silently in the background, doing all the calculations and governing the users’ overall experience. Is it any wonder that the backend is so important?
Bearing this in mind, every dev out there should make sure that their backend is mostly geared towards serving a single feature, the main one that they identified during their market research.
This is because each feature solves a particular need, and an app that tries to solve several needs simultaneously usually ends up fumbling and serving none of them. Alternatively, an app that focuses on one need and targets a specific niche has a much better chance of succeeding.
Once the core feature is identified, direct all your efforts towards maximizing its effect. Accordingly, you will be able to deliver a high performing application that delivers superior value.
But, what’s even more important than delivering superior performance is maintaining this high level of performance and offering the users a consistent experience.
3. The front end is just as important for more app downloads
The front end pertains to the code that the users actually get to interact with; it encompasses the user interface, shortened as UI, as well as the user experience, shortened as UX.
In a nutshell, the main tenant here is KISS: keep it simple and stupid.
The simpler and more intuitive an app is, the more likely it will be adopted by users. Remember to keep an eye on efficiency, always thinking about how you can minimize the number of steps a user has to take to perform a specific task within the app.
|Image by William Iven from Pixabay|
You should also think about the aesthetics of the app as well. After all, making an app efficient doesn’t mean that a developer has to make it hideous as well.
Users care about what the app looks like, and if they feel that they are using something that looks like a rushed high school project, odds are that they won’t become repeat users.
4. Marketing the app can give it the extra push it needs:
Assuming that you have followed all the previous steps and developed your app properly, you can start thinking about how you can market your app.
It is worth pointing out that marketing isn’t an all-encompassing solution; without following the above steps, all the marketing in the world will be of little help.
Begin by developing an overall marketing strategy for the app. This strategy will probably be based on the need the app serves along with the core feature that solves the need. The clearer you are on who you are serving and how you are providing your service, the easier it will be for you to come up with a solid strategy.
Break down your marketing strategy into three portions:
- The prelaunch phase, which is what developers do before the app has officially launched.
- The launch phase, which involves letting people know about the app as it launches.
- The post-launch phase, which covers things such as offering the users a customized experience, keeping them engaged, and taking in and incorporating feedback from the users.
With that said, here are a few tactics that you can use during the different phases of marketing:
The app’s name:
There is a saying that in theater, the show starts from the sidewalk. Similarly, an app’s marketing starts with its name, which is the first thing the user interacts with before they’ve even had the chance to see the user interface.
App Store optimization:
Similar to SEO, App Store optimization lets an app dominate the search results. In order to achieve this, you will have to rely on the use of keywords, clear app descriptions, the cultivation of excellent rating and reviews, among other things.
As Seth Godin mentions in his book “This Is Marketing,” a product’s price tells a story. And with that in mind, you can develop different business models to satisfy your customers. On the one hand, there is the freemium model, which is especially effective when it comes to apps that flourish with network effects. On the other hand, a stratified pricing model can be ideal when serving different niches.
Almost everybody is on social media these days, making it all the more imperative that developers get there too. There are many platforms to work with, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube, and while one platform might be suited for a particular app, another platform may be more ideal for another.
A feedback channel:
One of the most important things an app can do to stay relevant is to always keep updating itself. And, in order to figure which updates should be invested in, you can rely on a good feedback channel as well as the in-app analytics, which will give you insight about how users actually interact with the app.
Simply put, apps can be quite lucrative, especially if they go viral. However, a lot of work goes into making an app a success, whether the app will be published for android or iOS, and the work starts before a single line of code has been written.
| About the Guest Author:
Heather Redding is a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. She loves to geek out writing about wearables, IoT and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.