EasyBiz Mileage Tracker & Vehicle Expense Log launched in January, 2014 for IOS & Android and since has accumulated over 37,000 downloads. I recently launched EasyBiz Plus (premium version), which was listed in the top paid business apps in its first day. The app also won Best Mobile Apps Platinum Award for “2014 Best User Interface” and is currently up for several others. Other app store mentions include Apple’s main banner, small banner, #1 business essentials, and best in travel and expense (530 areas in nearly 70 countries). I only list these accomplishments in the hindsight of how little I knew about mobile apps when I launched EasyBiz.
Here are some facts:
- Business apps hold the third largest weight (8.4%) in an infinitely large and growing global market (mobile apps).
- App stores run by Apple and Google Inc. offer more than 700,000 plus apps each.
- Consumers are estimated to spend on average two hours a day with apps.
- Global app revenue rose 62% in 2013 to $25 billion, with 22% of the world population owning smartphones (Business Insider, 2013).
- It is estimated that by the end of 2014 there will be 1.75 billion smartphone users worldwide hitting two billion by 2015.
- In 2013 Apple alone, approved nearly 20,000 apps per month.
- 59% of Apps will not break-even
- 12% will never break 50k in revenue.
This means if successful, you can capture an immensely large and growing global market. My advice is to treat your app like a business, after all, it is. If you think you will launch the next flappy bird by just getting it up on the App Store YOU ARE WRONG.
Where to start:
Choosing a company
Spend the time to price check and get quotes on the cost of your app. Do not choose cheap for cheap’s sake. A good developer will get you a good UI, user interface, which is half the battle. IOS loves apps that cater to its iOS software design which will help to get inside promotional help from Apple. Alternatively, expensive does not mean quality. I believe the best app development companies are not solely a team of developers. The companies that are best positioned to design a cost effective, quality app are vertically integrated with project managers, design teams, and developers. If you are going to spend the money, spend the time and do your research before you choose who you’re going to work with.
Design an app with layout and aesthetics in mind and work backwards towards functionality. I know that sounds wrong but millennials and a growing tech friendly consumer are looking for aesthetically attractive functional apps, not ugly functional apps. If they don’t like how it looks they will lose interest quickly.
Prepare a press release and marketing tools (cards, bumper stickers, videos, brochures etc.). Take the time to tap keyword analytics to maximize your APO and SEO (Google keywords is great and its FREE). Your keywords will set your app apart. With iOS there is no limit to your title as there is with Google Play. Do not blow this. For example “Zillow” is not “Zillow”, it’s “Zillow – Homes & Apartments, For Sale or Rent”. My app is listed as “EasyBiz Plus – Mileage Tracker & Vehicle Expense Log (IRS Business Tax Deductions)” this maximizes not just your “keywords” (which are capped) but your title which now acts as a APO keyword extension. Also select popular keywords but try and add in unique, medium search keywords to diversify your app. Translate your app description into popular languages (Chinese, Russian, Korean, French, Italian, German, Japanese, etc). Even if it’s Google Translate, you give your app some global attraction to people who don’t understand english.
GO CRAZY!!!. Act as if these first 48 hours are make or break with your app.
Step 1: Tap every resource you have to get reviews, friends, family, co workers. These reviews boost your presence especially as a new app.
- FREEMIUM MODEL: If free, you should shoot for minimum 50 reviews in 24 hours. Copy the URL and DIRECTLY reach out to contacts asking to take some time to review and rate your app (E.G. Hi, I just launched my app can you take a second and help me out by giving my a review/rating? URL LINK). Just posting it is not good enough, no one wants to take the time unless asked directly. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be linked on every social media listing you can find.
NOTICE: (Remember if an app is free with Android IT CANNOT BE CHANGED TO PAID!!! You must release a whole new app. With iOS you can update but all reviews gained with free apps will be lost when switched or updated):
- PAID: If paid, utilize your promo codes but keep in mind Apple has changed its policy to no longer accept reviews from promo downloads so use these to target innovators & adaptors, not to get attention from general populous. Fiverr.com allows you to pay people to review your app, this is somewhat frowned upon but it works. You won’t get much but you need to take reviews where you can get them, especially positive (5 stars offset those 1s and believe me someone who doesn’t like that your app is blue will gladly give you a 1).
TRICK: If you start with a paid version but are working on a new premium version, move the first to free after it has been listed “paid” for awhile, sometimes you will see a massive flux of downloads. Remember this is only for those who will be launching a separate app and moving the first from paid to free.
Step 2: REVIEW SITES!!!!! I believe the biggest mistake app launches make is not considering their long term marketing budget should be almost as expensive as the app itself. This doesn’t mean blow a bunch of money on useless reviews but companies like DailyAppShow, GreatApps, AppsZoom, AndroidAppReviews, etc. can’t get you great exposure for very reasonable packages (not to mention thousands of monthly visitors and followers). Here is a list of some highly ranked sites (http://maniacdev.com/2012/05/ios-app-review-sites), (http://spacechimpmedia.com/the-ultimate-list-of-app-review-websites/), (http://www.androidb.com/2013/07/android-review-sites-the-ultimate-list-to-help-market-your-app/).
Step 3: Awards. Best Mobile App Awards, Webby, Appy Awards, Mobile Premier, etc. These are great exposure tools. Even if you don’t win people will see your app and if you do then you have a great addition to your resume with even more exposure.
Step 4: Act like an Entrepreneur. Have a pitch figured out. Carry a quality card with QR links, brochures, a one pager, etc. Seek out networking events and opportunities to speak about your app (Chambers of Commerce for Example). Again, this is a company not just an app and you never know who will be what I call a exponential contact (1 person recommends 2, 2-4, 4-16 etc.).
Breakdown of musts:
Take the time to find the right company
Prep for launch-PR, Marketing Tools
Keywords, Translate Description
First 48 are Huge
Contacts are key, get reviews quickly (friends, family, workers)
Choose the right people for Promo Codes (create buzz, not give aways)
Get profession reviews from established sites
Submit your app for awards
Create a social media presence and maintain it
Conclusion: Ultimately what makes your app valuable is your user base. Yes, we all want to make money, but attacking this too early can be a fatal mistake. (Facebook versus MySpace). Grow a user base then look at raising prices or changing it to paid. Ad revenue is great but you need clicks, a lot of them (click per ad, 30 seconds running scroll ads, video ads) without frustrating the user to the point of un-installing the app. Not to mention acquisitions become more attractive with a large user base.