The mobile app market is growing constantly. According to App Annie, the app store revenues will surpass $101 billion by 2020. Statista stated that 252.2 mobile apps will be downloaded by 2022, which is higher than in 2017. With these numbers, there will be more growth.
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Considering this, many startup aspirants are willing to start an app business, but they don’t know where to begin.
To give an answer and help those wanna-be entrepreneurs, I have created this complete guide on how to start and scale an app business. During my career as a marketing professional, I have helped numerous startup owners to grow their app businesses and market their brand to the right audience.
Let’s dive right in!
#1. App idea
Your idea is everything.
To get success for your app business, you need a solid idea. Your idea sounds best to you, but you must check whether users like your idea. In leading app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store, there are almost 4 million apps with different ideas. It’s a challenging task to come up with a new app idea that has not been turned into a mobile app.
Make sure your app idea provides a solution to a problem.
Developing an app that solves a real-time problem assures success. Thorough research will help you know the apps that offer the same solutions like yours. So, you can develop a product that has a unique selling point and gets users engaged with your app.
#2. The right audience
You must be thinking about getting more and more users onboard, but you may have no idea who your target audience is. To develop a successful app, you must identify your potential audience. Knowing this will help you narrow down the features that you want to include and identify the potential channels for app revenue.
There are four types of apps with different revenue models:
- Apps that charge a little for each download. Because of the large number of userbase, their revenue is high.
- Apps that target a particular audience. They don’t charge per download, but each download earns more profit.
- Apps with high volume and high profit. These kinds of apps generate sales with their add-on services, for example, Candy Crush and PUBG. Most of the gaming apps have set this profit model.
- Lastly, apps that generate low profit with a low number of downloads. Sadly, these apps don’t get a favorable outcome.
By finding the right audience, you will be able to pinpoint the right users. Hence, your app won’t fall into the fourth category.
#3. Creating a prototype
The next step is to build a prototype that includes the below steps:
Validate your app idea
Validating your idea is the most significant step for a successful app business. Your idea is just speculation before your customers buy from you. Use Google Keyword Planner to see how many people are looking for a solution that your app provides.
Designing a landing page with a detailed explanation of the app idea can also help you understand users’ interest through email signups. Additionally, you can also create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with the core value of your ideation to measure user interest.
Wireframe your app
Wireframing is the next step after getting the validation of your app. It can be as easy as mapping your app on paper, or if you want to research more, you can use different prototyping tools. Make sure you put every detail of your app on the paper or in the tool as much as possible. Incorporating the user flow and navigation of the app will help developers understand the app requirements.
#4. Costs to develop an app
Developing an app requires funds for each process involved. Different variables affect the actual cost of the mobile app development i.e platform you want to launch for, the complexity of the app, and hiring dedicated developers for quality code.
Native apps are platform-specific apps and use single programming languages. Hence, if you launch an app for both app stores – Google Play Store and Apple App Store, it will cost you more than a cross-platform app. Cross-platform or hybrid apps use shared code for both app stores, so the estimated cost will be less compared to native apps.
Web apps are the mobile version of the website, so users can’t download via app stores. So, web apps can be built at a lower price than native apps.
This is fairly obvious that a more experienced and professional team is required to build complex features that directly affect your app development cost. The higher the complexity, the higher the cost.
#5. Raising funds
Raising funds for any startup is an important step and so too for an app business. From ideation to launching your app in the app store requires funding. Securing more investment will help you get more resources, hence more chance of app startup success. But many startup owners are not aware of which stage they should apply for funding.
At the initial stage, using personal funds and assets can be a good idea. If required more, asking friends and family members to maintain internal cash flow can help you run the startup smoothly. To speed up the development process after ideation, another option is to consider small business loans.
Angel investors are willing to invest in startups, and in return, ask for an equity stake in your venture. You can approach these angel investors after launching your first version of the app and receiving some user growth.
#6. Pre-launch and post-launch marketing for an app business
Keep in mind, it’s a myth that users will find your app directly from the app stores and engage with it. To reach your target audience and to market your app, marketing strategies should be defined even before it’s launched.
Pre-launch marketing helps to launch your app successfully and to get initial traction. Create social media buzz to get the attention of users and take benefit of their excitement for the new app. Connecting with industry influencers can help you get the word out about your app, and reach your target audience.
Now, your app is launched in the app stores, and you want to grow your userbase. Post-launch marketing is as important as pre-launch to increase the userbase and convert them into customers. Market your app on suitable platforms.
Don’t forget to optimize your app for the app store. Add a title and description for your app with keywords that you want to target and then try to get reviews to rank in the search results.
#7. Taking feedback to improve
“Nothing works better than improving your product” – Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Stack Exchange
No product or app is perfect. What works for you might not work for your users. If they don’t like your app, there is a high chance they will abandon your app.
To understand users’ pain points, you need to know what they are expecting from the app. If users provide feedback before they discard the app, it will help improve your app as users need it. Make it easy for them to provide feedback. Ensure you take the criticism as remarks to improve your app, and respond to users politely.
Developing a successful app business is not easy, but if you have planned properly at each stage, you are more likely to get the rewards. By identifying the users’ needs and expectations, you can fill a gap in this growing app market.
Guest author: Kunjal Panchal is a Brand Strategist at Simform, a custom software development company. She is passionate about content marketing and strongly believes in the power of storytelling for marketing. She has shared her inputs on high-end publications like Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur and many more. A perfect day for her consists of reading her favorite author with a hot cuppa coffee. Connect with her on @KunjalPanchal