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How to Turn Your App into a Business

Developing an app that represents your business may seem easier than what it was five years ago but that is only the beginning. Turning the app into a viable business requires more hardship than just development skills. Increasing competition in mobile app stores is making things even harder for any app to survive and grow like a business. The App Store of Apple is getting 20,000 new apps every month while Google Play is also adding the same or higher number. In this crowded marketplace of apps, developers are struggling to cut through the clutter to make their product noticeable by the users. Apart from competition, enhancing expectation from users is another constraint in creating satisfactory user experience and winning users. Diversity in devices and fast changing tech space is another challenge for business apps to keep up with the pace of change.

Considering these factors one can easily think that creating a great app is only the first step with too many other requirements to meet in the subsequent process. But without ensuring merit and great user experience all other points are lost. A great app is the first and foremost step in turning the app into a business.

Focus on quality rather than quantity

The focus on acquiring users as much as possible is no longer an effective acquisition strategy if you want your app to deliver business. Rather building a loyal and quality user base that over time stays with your apps and frequently engages with the app, would make all the difference. Even when the growth of user base and installs is slow do not lose the focus on quality.

A handful of loyal users will help spreading the news of your app and recommend it in their circles bringing quality users. Moreover, more engagement will mean more in-app purchases and corresponding direct business outcome.

You should focus on marketing channels that give you loyal customers and give priority to retain users rather than acquiring casual users. Secondly, it is important to make sure you are doing everything to engage your users and make your app useful for them.  As for monetization drive in-app purchase and other activities that result in business outcome. Finally, you can inspire your existing users to promote the app in their circles.

Make your app discoverable

With the tolling competition in every app store, making your app discoverable and then finding a noticeable spot on ranks is a challenging thing to do. But however big remains this challenge, you cannot help but concentrate on this. Developers now have to think over aspects that make certain apps more discoverable compared to others. For instance, last year, Apple has added some features in the App Store to help discovering your app and you need to maneuver them. Similarly there are lot of tools to augment app discoverability and you need to work on them to enhance chances for your app.

The first principle of making your app discoverable is a rigorous app store optimization through various tools and analytics. Using appropriate keywords for optimizing your app for search will play a crucial role. Definitely, you should test different keywords in app marketplaces for their search potential as well.  

There can be an array of sources outside the app stores through which you can drive extensive inbound leads by placing links on those places. Also try to make your app reviewed extensively across websites, media and other traffic generating avenues. Review sites and various blog sites often publish curated lists of their preferred and reviewed apps on diverse niches. Target curated lists like ‘New’, ‘Staff Picks’, ‘Top 100’, etc. Often users show greater interest in these categories. Targeting chart ranks can be helpful if you can spend heavily on marketing. Especially, prior to major occasions such campaigns can be effective to garner installs. App charts published in New Year or Christmas or in other occasions can also be targeted.

Drive extensive social media campaigns utilizing app videos and test runs for game apps. Make use of recommendation engines like AppGroves and FrenzApp to drive traffic. Other than the mainstream App Store search, also make use of other app search engines like Appsfire, AppsFlow, Discovr and Quixey to enhance your chances. It is needless to say that targeting top app review websites will also add to your chances of visibility. Finally, make sure you have a robust pre launch marketing strategy in place.

Follow correct monetization strategy

All recent statistics show that most apps today are offered free of cost which means for majority of apps advertisement is the primary source of revenue. This is also the reason most apps find it so difficult to make decent revenue from their app. Advertisement revenue is one of the most contested monetization channel and for a new app it is often hard to survive through this source of revenue alone. So it is recommended that you make a balanced monetization strategy combining both advertising and in-app purchase. A ‘freemium’ strategy is still great if your free version manages to gather loyal users and can successfully promote the premium version.

  • Always select a platform that offers a good level of data transparency and immense tools and controls to optimize placements of ads.
  • Maintain separate monetization strategies for different platforms.
  • Use interstitial ad formats in gaming apps - they are found effective.
  • Make sure ad formats are perfectly integrated into the app. Creative engagement of ads within the app would make effective monetization.
  • Consider overall impressions besides eCPM.
  • A freemium model with effective marketing of a premium version can be a good strategy.
  • Cross marketing with other successful apps can be great strategy if you can make deals like that.
  • Finally, make a diversified monetization approach rather than following one track blindly.

Research on your target audience

To make your app generate revenue and grow like a business a good grasp on your target audience is a necessary prerequisite, too. Engaging with your users on a regular basis you can get insights as what encourages them more to respond in a positive fashion. Address every different shortcoming as shown, complained by the user or seen as detrimental to user experience. Building a loyal user base and gradually finding growth requires alert engagement on a day to day basis.

  • Ask for opinions on your new app in social platforms.
  • Access app user data of the respective niche and know the potential loops where your app has a chance to stand apart.
  • Engage with users to know their feedback as how to make the app better.
  • Find the areas that users detest for one reason or another and enhance the app on those areas.

Tools that can help your app turn into business

There is a wide array of resources that can help you engage users more with your app and find the correct monetization strategy.

These tools also help you to find how to build a native advertisement strategy, create interactive ads, view lists of competitive apps on various categories and understand different marketing channels.

Let us have a quick look at some of these tools:

  • This is a great tool for creating interactive ads for your app. You can drive traffic to your game app by not only showing a video but by offering a real playable demo in the publisher app or web page.
  • ShareThrough: It is tagged as the largest in feed ad exchange tool for creating native ads.
  • Tapstream: Tapstream is a great tool for gaining insights into various marketing channels and knowing what drives more downloads.
  • Swrve: Swrve is great tool for in-app segmentation, auto messaging and A/B testing.
  • MoPub: Owned by Twitter this tool offers wide open ad marketplace to find, sell or to do anything imaginable with ads.
  • AppsGoneFree: This great app tool lists all the apps that hit the app stores in that particular day.

Factors that influence your app store downloads

There are various factors that play a crucial role in respect of influencing your app store downloads. While some factors play a direct role, there are also others that are playing indirect but important roles in the outcome of the app store ranking.

  • Keywords used in the title should be one of the popular ones with heavy search traffic.
  • Make sure you always use easy keywords and avoid difficult ones.
  • Know the keywords used by your target audience most and utilize them to draw traffic.
  • Your garnered app reviews will play a role in reaching higher app store ranks and consequent downloads.

How a great design can work in favor of the app?

You can hardly see an app that garnered millions of downloads with a poor design. Yes, app design is a crucial element in driving download numbers, retaining users, gaining good reviews and finally for business conversion. A smart look and feel is never enough, there are other important aspects for creating great UI and UX.

  • Make sure that your brand identity is established by leveraging color scheme, logo and other design elements.
  • Make sure the app icon is amazing and contextual.
  • Maintain conventions in navigation and icons.
  • The navigation must be least time consuming and your app design can contribute a lot in that.
  • Make eye-catching screenshots that perfectly describe your app.
  • A/B test your screenshots (and your app) to assure effect on downloads.

Localizing your app is important for business conversion

It is widely accepted now that localization features in an app greatly help in garnering downloads. Localizing your app can increase downloads by two times or more. Offering local language translations helps in getting the edge over apps that are only available in English. Similarly, contextual local specific ads in some apps drive more in-app purchases. Offering screenshot templates in different languages also helps in attracting more users and engaging them more with the app.

Maintaining steady growth in the app lifecycle requires continuous value addition. An app is a continuously engaging business and needs to focus on every single detail

About the Author

Juned Ghanchi is the founder and marketing director of IndianAppDevelopers, the IT industry’s leading app developers company that empowers web and mobile applications for small to big brand business houses. He is responsible for developing and executing IndianAppDevelopers’s global marketing strategies, market analysis and generates leads.

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