So your app has been built, tested, and launched – now the real work begins. I know, I know. You’ve already poured your heart into this project. You’ve identified the problem, you’ve come up with the perfect solution and turned into a phenomenal app. Isn’t that enough??
Sadly, no. It is not. In all honesty, it’s just beginning. Hold on folks, it’s going to get worse. Not only do you you have more work in front of you, it’s not going to be easy. In fact, this is the part in an app life cycle where most entrepreneurs fail. Fortunately for you, the Bay Area’s mobile app development company is here to help.
We are more than just a development company. Sure, we develop anything from apps to custom software to websites, but our focus is on success. When apps we build blow up, we know we’ve done our job. After all, 80% of our business is from return customers and the best way to keep customers coming back is to make sure they make money!
So what’s our secret sauce? How do we make one app – your app – stand out above the rest? Our method was developed by a marketing team pulled from Apple, WebEx, Cisco, and others and perfected through nearly two decades of testing. We’ve studied the best ways to make an addictive app – from development to post-launch strategies. More importantly, we’ve studied the best app monetization strategies out there, not too mention creating some of our own.
Enough with the tease already! Let’s take a brief look at 5 excellent ways to get users begging for more.
Gamification, as you may guess from the name, refers to a series of app techniques and strategies borrowed from video games. Essentially, it’s a way to continually engage your users, to keep them coming back based on the usefulness of the app itself (called an “engagement loop” in the biz).
The idea is to offer users something that keeps them coming back. In video games, it takes the form of character leveling, or reaching for an achievement. Obviously this process changes little from console/PC games to app games, but what about apps that aren’t for gaming? How do you create an engagement loop for an app that promotes a service?
2. Encourage Loyalty
You make them an offer they can’t refuse (no horses are harmed in the making or marketing of our apps). For Starbucks and Dunkin’ Doughnuts, this took the form of free coffee, though they are hardly the only two companies to approach app engagement this way.
Whether you offer coffee as a part of a rewards system (Starbucks) or as part of a community engagement (Dunkin Doughnuts offered free coffee to app users on game days in various US cities), you are creating customer loyalty. Even better, you are driving traffic both for your app and, in this case, your store.
A quick note for the aspiring entrepreneur: Apps that tabulate rewards points are gaining in popularity. In fact, over the last month, we’ve seen a huge uptick in questions revolving around rewards points and even several apps that focus solely on the gathering and spending of rewards points gathered from multiple stores.
The opportunity here is that many stores have rewards points within their organization, but are beginning to realize the benefit of some universal reward points. What if your purchase points from Target and Safeway were interchangeable? Wouldn’t that drive growth to both stores? This approach is still in its infancy and interested entrepreneurs will have to develop one helluva pitch, but our market experts think this is here to stay.
3. The Right Monetization Strategy
App monetization is the biggest hurdles an entrepreneur will face. Making an app that’s successful is one thing, making money off an app is another. And there is no one size fits all revenue model for apps. Creating a successful mobile app monetization strategy requires forethought, planning, and patience. Lots and lots of patients.
App monetization strategies generally fall into one or more of the following categories:
In-app purchases: This is a great option for any app promoting a service or selling a product. It’s also perfect for gaming apps – get people hooked on a game and offer game levels or items as a sale.
Analytics: Selling users anonymized is a common path as well. Usage data is very valuable to the right people – i.e. retailer and marketers.
Ad modules: there are various ad modules and most apps make use of one or another. Ads generate a small, but steady revenue (though more users = the more you charge for your ads!).
Subscriptions: probably the hardest monetization method, but it can be the most profitable. If you want to charge a subscription fee for your app, it’s generally best to start with a free version and steadily ramp up to a subscription.
There are many twists and turns to monetization and we’ve barely touched the surface of the various strategies here. If you’d like to know more, drop us a line and get a free business consultation with our Marketing Director.
4. Good Design is Good Business
App design is something that we talk about a lot. Part of this is that it is a somewhat nebulous concept that can be hard to pin down, especially for those from outside the industry. However, without a good design, the app won’t get used and will likely develop a bad reputation – one that is hard to overcome.
flows from screen to screen (or action to action) logically and simply;
prevents eye stress and fatigue, which can lead to drop off in usage patterns;
creates and promotes an experience that is pleasing, engaging and just fun.
There is far more to design than just these four points. Really, this just touches the surface. If you would like to read more about the importance of design read this post here.
5. Hire the Experts
I would be telling you this even if I didn’t work for SDI – hire someone who knows what they are doing! As I told my brother shortly before his unfortunate hospital trip: it’s probably better to hire an expert to replace your roof. While building an app on your own is unlikely to result in a nail in your foot, the point stands. We know what we’re doing – we have too.