Rico Rauch, Founder at Fortnight Studio, shares his top tips on how to ensure your business’s app is successful from the get-go.
Creating A Successful App-centric Business
App-centric businesses have made billionaires of founders like Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd, and have enabled companies like Simba Sleep and Peleton to build engaged communities and new customers.
Mobile apps are amongst the top three most profitable startup types, alongside e-commerce and Chrome extensions, but they can go wrong.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this when developing your app. I’ve outlined the four key areas to consider to increase your chances of app success:
1. Get the right product-market fit
Thousands of new apps go live every day but that means intense competition. Roughly one in every two apps gets uninstalled within 30 days and this is often due to poor product-market fit.
A good product-market fit is when your app targets the right market and can fulfil the specific needs of the end-users. Take Fortnight Studios’ client, Bumble. In the world of dating apps, pre-Bumble men typically made the first move, which often made women feel uncomfortable. Bumble solved this by ensuring only women could make the first move and as a result, increased the chances of dating success for both parties.
2. Start small and iterate frequently
Many startups have a vision for where the product will end up, and it’s usually the most fully-featured version. But starting with a huge and costly fully-realised product can be deadly if it doesn’t solve the user problem or need. To be successful, it’s better to start small and understand the market response, then adapt for the next step.
For Fortnight Studio’s client Simba Sleep, after establishing the core functionality of the app would need to be tracking sleep, we quickly moved into creating wireframes, user journeys and app flows. Every stage was done in fortnightly timeframes and at every iteration step, we could solve small problems faster than with a full-blown app to ensure that the launch version would be successful.
3. Prioritise user value
I’d go as far as to say never build products with monetisation in mind…at first. Instead, focus on building a product that people love and then figure out how to monetise it.
I’m a huge fan of freemium models, like Spotify, as they allow users to experience the
product whilst offering the paid upgrade to premium features allows you to maximise engagement.
So, before you think about turning your users into cash cows, first grow your herd by optimising a good user experience, high retention rate, and good engagement. Monetising will then come easier.
4. Focus on long term thinking
The relative ease of starting an app project comes with an unwanted side effect of making projects easy to drop. Apple and other platforms don’t like this and even remove apps that have not been updated or fail to meet a minimal download threshold.
Commitment pays dividends. For our client Simba Sleep, the app made it into the top 20 in the health & fitness category with a 4.8/5 score and over 10,000 downloads within just six weeks. Job done, right? Wrong.
My team and I continually improve the app to keep winning over a long period of time. This helps to drive around 15,000 monthly downloads, and keep users engaged, measured by monthly active sessions. 46% track their sleep every night using the app, and its daily retention rate is a large 52%.
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