Marketers often make the mistake of thinking that the most important aspect of app development comes down to the numbers game and/or luck: ie., release as many apps as possible and hope for the best.
In actuality, what’s contained in the backend of your app – ie., after sales revenue generating opportunities – is what’s most important to short and long term profitability. In other instances, a good idea already exists on the market and just requires a little tweaking to make it wildly popular, and profitable.
While most of these 5 following ideas can be deployed after launch, it’s an even better idea to include them in your pre-development plan, if you can.
1. Keep the word “residual” in the back of your mind at all times
One-off app purchases aren’t likely to make you a millionaire. Recurring monthly subscriptions definitely can and will. There’s lots of great app ideas that are still yet to be discovered. Make sure your app is one that pays you month after month rather than hoping millions of new mobile users are going to keep paying $2.99 year after year for your app.
For instance, if you have an app focused on answering questions on a given topic or topics, limit the number of free answers a user can receive without paying an additional monthly (or even per-use) fee.
Keep the subscription fee in line with the service you’re giving: ie., $0.99 per month will add up more quickly than no added revenue at all. Low price points make it less likely they’ll unsubscribe too.
2. Consider merchandising possibilities
One needn’t look further than the Angry Birds franchise to see the limitless possibilities that one single app idea can create. This brand has hammered the nail straight on the head with their simple, yet highly profitable merchandising strategies: t-shirts, board games, books, etc. They even had to launch a retail store to sell all that swag!
Ask yourself this: If the app doesn’t have any major merchandising potential, and there’s no residual opportunities, is it really worth the time and money to build (or continue sinking money into)?
3. Can you propel your app ahead on the coattails of an established brand?
Look at the game app Hanging With Friends. Zynga took their existing popular game app (Words With Friends) and incorporated the age-old game Hangman into the mix for an entirely new spin on two completely different games.
The possibilities are endless, yet you have to be careful not to infringe on another brand’s trademark.
4. Improve on a popular, yet underdeveloped or overdeveloped app
Taking a popular product and making it even better is much easier than you might think. Improvements can include putting something in that’s missing such as features or device compatibility, or removing features that detract from the user experience.
Read the comments of popular apps and focus your attention on all the negative comments. Look for people who installed the free version and were turned off from buying the paid because of various issues. Scan for comments about product improvements that could sway mobile users into being a paid customer.
Why improve on another company’s ideas when you have a wealth of potential with your own app? If your current app is an even mildly popular seller, take the brand recognition that exists already and give users related apps to choose from.
This is really popular with child apps. Take a brand like Sesame Street: why just have a Big Bird and Friends app when you can have Mr. Snuffleupagus and Friends? Or resurrect Mr. Hooper to make a Mr. Hooper Store app where kids can shop as their favorite character in Mr. Hooper’s store (note: this is just an example, not to be used in practice as you’d be infringing on the Sesame Street brand’s character trademarks).
Nobody ever said creating the next big thing would be easy. Next time you’re feeling frustrated by your lack of app ideas, try using the simple strategies listed above rather than trying to over-complicate the conception process.