You may or may not have heard of an Italian Economist called Vilfredo Pareto. He is noted as coming up with what is widely known as the 80-20 principle which states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes
This is a principle that, like it or not, can either make your app a total success or an utter failure in the app store. Why is this so?
Circling back to the 80-20 principle, lots of companies have verified the validity of the priinciple. An example is Microsoft who discovered that 80% of crashes were eliminated by fixing 20% of the most reported bugs
But in this case, I am not talking about fixing bugs in your application. Rather, I want to explain how focusing your time on activities that matter the least will make your app destined to fail.
What are these activities? Read on
Focusing on Development and Coding will make your app fail
Developing features and writing code is the activity that 80% of developers engage in but only constitutes to 20% of the app’s success. What! To a developer, that is blasphemy. I can already see tons of people with ropes ready to hang me.
As a developer myself, I struggled to come to terms with this too. I believed in writing the best app ever and of course a great app will sell itself, for sure. Well, we all know that is not true.
A tribute to this philosophy lies in the thousands of apps that have great functionality but are buried in the deepest of the deep positions in the App store rankings. Many developers will relate to the pain of seeing a really inferior app in their category sitting in the Top 100 and making tons of money in the App store.
So what is the activity that will give your app an 80% chance of success?
Focusing on Marketing your App will make it succeed
In this day and age where you have almost half a million apps to compete with, the Gold rush is officially over. Only useful apps with a careful and well-thought out marketing strategy will succeed.
The irony of this point is that most of us developers agree that marketing your app is important but all we do about it ends there. we simply agree but do nothing about it or at best do it half-heartedly.
The reason for the half-hearted approach to marketing is mostly because it doesn’t fall in our area of expertise. You want to spend your time writing code and not trying to generate Facebook fans or begging App review sites to review your app.
Sure, focusing on functionality and more features will make you keep your customers and increase word of mouth but if you have no customers in the first place, there is no one to tell their friends about your app. You need to get attention to your app and the harsh reality is that spending time marketing your app will get you that attention.
Two Low Hanging Fruits You Can Pluck Today
The good news is that marketing does not need to be that hard or painful. You can take a lesson from the book of the great company Apple by applying great design to your app. Apple is known for beautiful use interfaces that people love to interact with. This is one form of implicit marketing that is easy to implement and goes a long way in making your app stand out from the wannabee apps in your category.
Here are two quick tips.
- Get a magnetic icon and app title. This is the first encounter a prospect has with your app whether it be on the App Store or in a review post. Make it count, make it magnetic
- Invest in great app design. Your screenshots go a long way in making me decide if I want your app on my iPhone or iPad. After I install your app, the way your app makes me feel (Warm and Fuzzy or Ugh!) will determine if I open it up again or not.
A quote from Teehan+Lax, designers of the iPhone GUI PSD explains why
“You don’t notice this level of detail on a micro level, but you’re aware of it on a macro one. When you pick up your phone to send a tweet or check an email you’re seeing hundreds of these details a second. Those details add up to make the experience what it is” – Teehan
It all needs a mindset change
You need to decide. What are you? A business or a hobbyist.
If you are a hobbyist, like what most indie developers actually are (but will not accept), then spend your time coding and adding features that you think your users may need. Who knows you may be the one in a million that hits the jackpot.
If you are in a business, think like one. As an indie developer, you have limited resources and you must allocate them to the activities that have the most effect on your app’s success.
Sorry if this pill is hard to swallow but that is why it is called medicine. If a pill will heal my ailment, I will take it any day.