So over the last year I’ve launched three successful apps on to the App Store. As of today, those three apps have grossed $149,000.
Now I didn’t just wake up in February 2015 and decide that “oh, I think I’m going to launch an app”. No.
I’ve been doing it for years. It’s taken years and literally hundreds of app launches to learn these lessons. I’ve definitely learned the hard way, multiple times.
Some of you reading this are planning to launch an app, or you might have already launched your app, and I know you’re going to make these mistakes. I see it time and time again, everybody makes the same mistakes. If you want to get ahead and make money on your first launch, you need to avoid making these same mistakes.
If you haven’t already found this because you haven’t launched your first app yes, let me first tell you two key points before we begin…
- Apple is not going to feature your app on the home page.
- Thousands of new apps get approved and go live on the App Store every single day. Even on the weekends. They’re mostly copycat games.
The most important thing to know is that you can’t make money without having an audience of people who are ready to buy.
You can’t make money without having an audience of people who are ready to buy.
How do you make them “ready to buy”? Make them care.
What if I told you there is a tried-and-tested way to launch an app and guarantee you’ll sell hundreds if not thousands of copies on the day you launch it? There is, I’ve done it. I’ve done it three times. But you can’t make money without having an audience of people who are ready to buy.
If you’re not already building an audience, you need to start now.
The most important thing you will ever do, is build an audience. Your audience is more valuable than any product you’ll ever produce. Your audience is who will buy. And those of your audience who do buy, will buy again.
Here’s what you need to do…
Build your app, and launch it for free. Do not charge money for this app, do not use ads. This will eventually become the free basic version of your paid app. Sometimes we call this a ‘lite’ version, you’ve probably seen them on the App Store.
You should offer users an incentive for signing up to your email list. You can offer some extra feature, or offer to automatically send them something valuable that relates to your app. Make it worth their time, and make it relate to your product.
If it’s a cooking app, offer to send a PDF of cooking tips or recipes. If it’s a photography or image editing app, offer to unlock extra filters or editing tools when they sign up for your list.
Here’s why that’s going to work for you…
You know that everyone in your audience has a compatible device. There’s no use having a huge audience of 10,000 subscribers, if only a handful of them happen to own the right device for your app. And are all of those people even capable of installing an app? Do they even know where the App Store is on their device?
You know that everyone in your audience cares about what you’re going to offer. You know this because they’ve already installed your app and you’ve offered a relevant incentive.
You can start to engage with everyone who joins. Email signups are, by a huge margin, the most engaging platform to have your audience join. Forget Facebook likes or Twitter followers.
If you’re not already building an audience, you need to start now. If you’re really focused on making money when you launch your app, you need to start building an audience right now.
The next thing you need to do is make your audience care enough to buy.
There’s a couple of mistakes I see people making even when they do have a modest audience. The wrong way to make your audience care is to try to convince your audience that your product or app is worth caring about.
I’m a big fan of the seanwes podcast, and Sean always does this thing where he says “Me, me me!! Care about my thing!”. That’s what you’re going to look like. Don’t do that.
If you look like you’re advertising, desperate, trying to grab attention, your audience won’t care. They’ll dismiss you as just another advert, they’ll unsubscribe, they won’t care.
Here’s what you need to do…
Start a conversation with everyone who joins your list. Everybody.
Open your email app and write an email to the last person who signed up. Ask them questions, see if they enjoyed using your free app. Do this for everyone.
Another thing you can do is create an automatic campaign that goes out as soon as someone subscribes. It’s sometimes called a “drip campaign”. Invite your subscribers to ask questions and offer their opinion about your free app.
Soon, you’ll be having a ton of conversations with your audience, and you’ll start to spot patterns.
What’s that one thing everyone asks about in the app? What’s that thing that your users are always trying to accomplish? What are the really serious users trying to do?
Identify a common goal that lots of your users are trying to reach. Maybe they’re trying to save some time, maybe they wish that your camera app could record in slow motion.
Guess what, this is what your audience cares about. Solve one of these problems. They already care about this problem, solve it for them and build the “no-brainer” solution for them.
If you solve their problem, they will care about your app and your launch, and they will buy.
You need to be specific. The more specific you are, the more you’ll matter to the people you’re trying to help.
If your app solves two problems, it’s not specific enough. You should feel like you’re being too specific. Matter more to fewer people.
Let’s say you make a camera app. It’s called “Super Camera”, it lets you take photos, do timelapse videos, you can do slow motion videos, you can set a timer, it has filters. It’s too much.
You might have this one guy, he wants to record some really nice slow-motion footage using his iPhone. Guess what? He stopped reading after “you can do timelapse videos”, he doesn’t want filters, and he’s not going to pay $9.99 if he only wants to use one out of the 30 features that you’ve built in. He’s not even convinced it can do slow motion video in just the way he needs to. The same goes for that girl who told you she wanted a great app for recording timelapse video. You’re watering down the value.
Make your app just for those people who want to record slow motion video. Yes, you’re leaving a lot of people out, but you’ll matter more to those people who’s problem you’re solving.
Now all of a sudden, $9.99 for a professional app, specifically designed for slow-motion video, that lets you set all of the custom controls and timings, you can set the frame rate, set the aspect ratio, lock the exposure. It seems like a no-brainer.
He’d pay $29.99. After all, this is the best solution for what I want to do.
Be the best solution for one thing. Being a solution for 10 different things isn’t good enough.
Now, you’re in a great position. You have something that some of your audience already cares about.
You should let your audience know about what you’re launching well in advance. You’ll get some great questions, and it’s going to really help you tailor the launch to answer people’s concerns or queries before they buy.
If you want to get ahead, you should be telling your audience even before you’ve even finished building the app. You might find you can make some valuable tweaks to some very specific features.
Use urgency to sell hundreds of units on launch day.
You should have a definitive launch date well in advance, and let your audience know exactly when this will be. This lets them plan ahead, builds anticipation and gives you an excuse to talk again about your product.
You should already by planning a high price of your app. This gives you a great opportunity to offer your early buyers a special launch price. I normally like to run a 48-hour launch offer for everyone who’s interested in the app. This will be a nice reward for your early buyers, and give them a reason to buy that app now, rather than just check it out on the store and maybe buy later.
If you ever have any questions, head to joeallenpro.com/ask where you can ask my anything, I do read them all. If there’s anything at all you want to ask, questions don’t have to be related to this show or even to launching apps, just ask away.