Many different components have to come together for an app to take off. Timing, ideation, and execution must align perfectly, so much so that it seems as if most success stories are just extreme cases of blind luck.
The truth, however, is that luck doesn’t land an app on the front page of the App Store. There are a few key ideas to keep in mind when building and marketing a new app that can help ensure you find fame instead of a flop.
1. Foster Creativity
Every successful product starts with a great idea. We all know that. But the problem with the app market is that it’s flooded with many, many iterations of the same great idea. A developer sees the success of a popular app and thinks, “Hey, I can do better than that!”
The notion of improving upon something is nice, but here’s the crux of the issue: that first app is popular for a reason. The developers got it right on the first try (hence the 10 million downloads), so there’s little else to bring to the table. Instead, focus on something wholly unique and reflective of your own brand.
Copying trends stifles creativity and does great injustice to your team and its future. You want to show the world what you can do, and you want them to like it. When developing an app, forget about building on what’s hot. Set the temperature yourself.
2. Know Your Audience
When you’ve thought of The Next Big Thing, it’s time to decide who you’re developing for. Who is most likely to download your app, and what are their needs?
The content you create for your app should cater to the customer. That part seems obvious, but it’s easy to let personal taste and bias drive development when it shouldn’t. It’s all about your target audience. Maybe you think those big buttons with huge font look clunky, but if you’re developing an app for smartphone users over 60, your preferences should take a backseat.
3. Nail the Design
Bottom line: Users won’t think twice about deleting your app if it doesn’t make sense to them. Ease of use makes or breaks an app. The interface should be self-explanatory, clean, and maybe a little less flashy than you’d like.
You have so many good ideas! They’re so good that each of them deserves their own screen. Unfortunately, that’s not going to fly. Rein in those ideas and do some editing. Strip your app down to the bare minimum, only keeping what is necessary for cohesive functionality.
After you’ve got your UI all cleaned up, try focusing on striking visuals and sounds. You don’t need to overwhelm users with complex graphics and constant noises. Instead, use a delicate hand to craft elegant, clean layouts and pleasant sounds that make users look forward to engaging with your product.
4. Test, Test, and Retest
Test early and test often. While you probably won’t work out every single bug before launching your app, the major kinks should be taken care of. If something is clearly wrong, like regular crashing or unresponsiveness, you can bet users won’t hesitate to toss your app aside.
5. Become a Marketing Genius
Launch a marketing campaign as soon as you’ve nailed down a concept. Many developers wait until after an app is finished to start spreading the word, but that’s a huge mistake.
App ranking systems determine whether your app gets seen by a large audience. To get ranked, you need to have a following at launch, otherwise, your app won’t even be a blip on users’ radars. Build a buzz around your product as you’re working on it so, when you’re ready for release, you’ll already have downloads lined up to propel you up those charts.
Word of mouth, knowing the right people, and focused marketing will take you a long way. For example, you know that many people have phone plans from T-Mobile. Talk up how well your app functions on their data network.
Success, of course, is never guaranteed. However, when you begin developing an app, it’s important to have a game plan in place. A little luck never hurt anyone, but your innovation, determination, and attention to detail will get you a lot further in the long run.