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Are you an entrepreneur or creative who’s considered creating an app?
Studies show that over half of all millennial-owned businesses have an app and about 42% of small businesses do too. You might be considering an app for a number of reasons. You may be a fitness or yoga instructor who’s looking for a more interactive way to sell your tutorials. You may be a coach or consultant who wants to find a more lucrative way to do group coaching and consulting sessions. Or, you might just be someone who wants more control and ownership of your access to your audience.
As someone who has launched a self-help app, here are four important lessons I learned along the way.
1. Development can be expensive
If you go the traditional route of having your app custom built by a developer, it can cost multiple thousands. When looking to build your app, it’d behoove you to research whether you want a native (Apple or Android), hybrid (think of places that have a website but also an app that looks just like their website: Walmart) or a web app. Also consider whether you can get what you need from a white-label app developer versus a custom-build app developer.
Do your research: White-label apps are native apps that are built by a third-party but are offered under your own brand. They typically have app templates already created, which means you have the ability to enter your content and brand the app with your theme, pictures and brand colors. You have less control of app functionality with white-label apps than you do with those custom-made from scratch. Because of this, going the white-label route can be less expensive upfront. Research which routes best suit your needs.
Related: Facebook vs Google and the Future of App Development
2. A rock-solid marketing plan is essential
This marketing plan needs to include pre-and-post-launch tactics for your app. If you are on a low budget but still want to get knowledge of your app out to the masses, your email list and social media are great places to start to introduce your app to people. If you are in the self-help or personal-growth and -development sector, posting in those niche groups on your chosen social-media platform can be a great way to get the word out.
Pitching your app and its benefits to writers, journalists and influencers can also be effective if done correctly. After all, who wouldn’t be more interested in downloading an app that was mentioned online, in press or by a favorite influencer? The key is approaching people whose “sector” you fit in. If you are going to pitch your app to the press or influencers as part of your marketing strategy, make sure you are pitching people that would be passionate about your app. For example, if you have a self-help app, then ideally you’d be pitching your app to influencers that have built a brand around self-help or personal development. The same thing goes with pitching media: You’d find the writers that write for the personal-growth and -development or self-help sections.
Related: Did You Forget the Ketchup in Your Marketing Strategy?
Also, if you are looking to drive more engagement to your app offer, it helps to offer an incentive. In niche groups where you may be surrounded by other professionals in the same field, in order to get more eyes on your app, creating a “resource” section may be a good way to go. Informing these individuals that you have a “resource” section that lists the products and services of companies that complement your offer may be helpful. For example, if you are in the self-help or personal-development sector and offer life-coaching services, it wouldn’t hurt to add therapists, relationship experts or financial advisors to the “resources” section of your app. They do not take away from what you are offering; they complement your services well. Doing this can be an incentive for those individuals to raise awareness about your app.
Utilizing your free resources and offering incentives goes a long way when looking to increase the engagement around your app offer. But, if it’s in your budget, running paid ads can also be of benefit if you go about it correctly.
3. Don’t delay the launch in pursuit of perfection
You can’t keep tweaking that app draft forever. Release it already! You don’t have to have the full app you envisioned uploaded in your first go. You can update the app as you go and add new features as your budget and creativity allow. As long as what you currently have is something that you are proud of, release it (publish it to the App or Google Play store) and let people know what they can expect with the next update. Think of it this way: Apple has been holding out on certain features that we have been asking for for years, but when they finally release it, we are still excited. They focused on making the things they were willing to offer us at the time top quality and then added features as they saw fit. Allowing yourself room for growth keeps your audience excited for what could come next.
4. Stick with it when things get tough
Don’t get discouraged if it seems like no one is interested in your app. Think of a new entertainer, food or show you just discovered. Did those things “suck” because you hadn’t heard of them until now? No. So think of your app the same way. It doesn’t always mean you “suck” if your app isn’t yet hitting hundreds of downloads and accumulating rave reviews. Do you review every single new thing you use? Do you sometimes buy something and then forget you have it? The same goes for our apps. That’s why we do our best to appeal to the audience the app is meant for and market to and infiltrate as many places our audience frequents as possible.
Related: 5 Ways to Master the Persistence That Makes a Great Entrepreneur
From one app creator to another, you’ve got this! Don’t wait — get started today.