No one wants to build a mobile app that gets one thousand downloads and capsizes into the app store abyss. You want to create a winning product that’s adopted by millions of users. This is why you need to understand the harsh realities of pre-launch, and come to know the pre-launch strategies for success that this article reveals.
To gain a clear understanding of how mainstream mobile app teams think about building successful mobile apps, try asking a mobile app developer or mobile “appreneur” this simple question: “What do you think is the best advantage that a mobile app can have?”
Most people will respond by saying, “having the best product in your niche,” or “being ranked at the top of your category” is the biggest advantage you can have. And, many others are convinced that “passion” or “working hard” are the keys to unlocking app store riches.
These are all fair answers. Apps have sold for millions of dollars because teams of developers were passionate about building products that people enjoy using. But, much more commonly, apps are given massive multi-million dollar valuations because of something else. The truly biggest advantage that one can have in the mobile app economy blows all of these answers out of the water.
The truth is that a team of mobile app developers who successfully identify a “hungry” audience that isn’t getting a particular need or needs met will almost always have a much more successful business going forward. And, what do hungry audiences want, you might be wondering? Well they are hungry in the first place because they demand something that the current marketplace isn’t offering. This could be a pain that they want to solve, a problem that they want to fix, or a biological urge that they need to have fulfilled (this one is usually the most powerful).
The best business models always begin with a hungry audience. In fact, the mobile app platform isn’t much different from an ordinary business model in that mobile app users are normal human beings in search of real solutions to their problems.
It is crucial to keep this thought in mind during ideation and pre-launch, since you have to make sure that your mobile app is going to satisfy a real need that your audience can’t currently solve on their own. It’s no longer 2008. People aren’t downloading mobile apps just because they offer an exciting and convenient new platform to play with.
To determine if your mobile app concept will satisfy a real market need of users, be sure to ask yourself and your team the following questions inspired by Adobe’s digital marketing team:
- “Does this audience need a mobile app?”
- “Will this group of people be able to take away more value from our app than they can currently get anywhere else?”
- “Can we influence customers to download this app?”
When you’re in the earliest inception phases of building a mobile app, you ultimately have to make sure that you’re asking yourself and your team these types of questions.
But, once you have narrowed down an idea that “works” with those questions, you still have to maximize the odds of your mobile app idea being a successful one. To help you accomplish this, the Appsee team gathered some strategies from TheNextWeb and put a special twist on them. Our version of these strategies will help you create a pre-launch concept that solves real problems in the mobile app economy today. Here are the strategies that you need to know about:
1. Improve Existing Solutions
Successful appreneurs openly admit that copying what works and putting your own useful spin on it is one of the most effective ways to building a winning brand. This is because if an existing solution is already successful, then a market demand has already been validated for you. In other words, teams have already spent thousands of dollars and performed rigorous market testing to give you ideas that you can copy and improve on.
Of course, the trickiest part of copying what works involves identifying the “value add” – how you’re going to solve an audience’s needs better than your existing competitors. Plus, there are some other factors to take into consideration like current market share, switching costs, and barriers to entry. But, for the most part, improving existing solutions is one of the ‘safest’ methods for solving real human problems and developing a winning product.
For example, just consider the level of competition in the mobile app industry today. App creators scour through app store categories in search of poor-performing apps that can be replicated and improved. Some even argue that there are no new ideas left, and that every new app release is an improvement of some previous product or a combination thereof. Because at the end of the day, if you can build a UX that satisfies pains or delivers a range of emotions better than a product currently on the market, you will have created an app worthy of releasing.
2. Transfer existing solutions cross-country
Transferring existing solutions across states, countries, or even continents is one of the most effective methods of capitalizing on a market deficiency. The deficiencies that can be found through this strategy will probably be most obvious to those who speak multiple languages. This is because just about every multilingual creative has considered copying a popular foreign app, and localizing it for their home country’s market, or vise versa.
For example, a man once translated the Bible for a Spanish-speaking mobile audience, and eventually sold his app for 5x revenue (not bad).
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to be multilingual to transfer solutions to new markets, as the Austrian founder of Red Bull built his entire brand based off a tasty beverage that he tried while traveling through Thailand. The drink was already popular in Thailand, but Dietrich Mateschitz simply marketed the drink to a European audience, and eventually the world.
3. Apply existing solutions to the mobile app industry
The mobile app platform provides a unique edge for meeting human needs largely because of how extremely convenient it is for consumers to access. Can you think of any existing products from any industry that can be improved by simply existing in a mobile app format? If so, then you can develop a winning mobile app concept because you will have created powerful “ease of use” for end users. Making it easy for consumers to solve their pains is one of the biggest advantages that mobile app teams hold.
This is exactly what popular fitness and travel apps have done. These brands have taken existing solutions, such as visiting with a dietitian, or hiring a travel agent, and adapted these solutions to the mobile app economy. People now press a few buttons to track calories or book vacations, rather than spend time in traffic. Problem solved.
Almost any existing product or service that helps you track, purchase, book, or access something (whether that be information or a physical good) has the potential be improved in a mobile app format. And, this is a major part of the reason why mobile apps beat out products from competing industries. As long as you are actually able to improve an existing solution, mobile apps offer a big-time advantage in this respect. Now is your opportunity to find what works elsewhere, and bring it to the mobile app industry.
4. Address market pain points
Many mobile app organizations have received funding for products in pre-launch simply because they addressed a highly-specific market pain that no one else was addressing. This is why it’s crucial to speak with persistent app users, and chat with them about the everyday pains that they face in life. If you can think about market pain points as opportunities to help people solve their problems, you will have developed one of the most potent strategies for building winning mobile app concepts.
Some people like to find market pain points by searching social media for unhappy customers. It’s fairly easy to find people all over the world who are unhappy with products or services that they’ve received. So, if you can start paying attention to why people become upset with products, and begin writing down the various different ways that you can solve their problems, you can easily build a massive Google Doc or swipe file full of mobile app opportunities.
For added inspiration, you can see how some users from Quora responded when they were asked questions like, “What everyday problems do people wish an app could solve?”
Here are two special responses:
Chandra Kalle wrote:
“Slack for Families” – an app that shows automatic notifications from family phones (location, activity), home devices (alarm, nest, etc.) all in one place. So without anyone texting each other, everyone automatically knows each others’ location and status. Examples:
- John just left home
- No one is at home, alarm ‘on’, nest ‘away’
- Jessica arrived at work
Paul is at Safeway
Mary is running at 5mph on <street>
Creed Erickson answered:
In a word, “Discovery.” While Google and its ilk do a good job for many things, I keep encountering scenarios where we are faced with a plethora of choices/articles/records. While any single one may suffice, there are not sufficient tools for optimizing the choice. There is also the issue of finding new things I would be interested in. How do I discover that there is a new resource to help me with ‘X’? How do I find a new gadget I would love?
Interesting right? There’s a lot more where that came from. Alternatively, you can hop on Quora yourself, and start asking people questions about the problems that users face in a particular niche that interests you. We are sure you will gather a slew of information.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while addressing a problem is a crucial part of the pre-launch phase, it’s not the end-all. You still have to accompany your product with a stellar UX, which involves in-depth, ongoing qualitative analysis. Solving a genuine user problem is important, but to truly separate your brand from the masses, you want to have a distinct UX to compliment your solution.
Overall, when you can shift your vision from chasing dreams (inward-looking) to solving human needs (giving value), this is the point when mobile app users start itching to use your product.