Remember the days when children wanted to become astronauts and parents wanted them to study law or medicine? Well, those days are over. Today’s hottest professional prospect is to become an entrepreneur, both for kids and parents. I’m not talking about the old-style entrepreneur; I mean a new kind of businessperson: the appreneur or mobile application entrepreneur.
Maybe you haven’t heard this word before, but I’m sure you are aware of one of the fastest growing industries: the business of apps. Yes, you guessed it: an appreneur is an app entrepreneur or, in the words of Wikipedia, “an entrepreneur who works in the mobile device application industry, as well as in the emerging micropayment economy.”
Can you become an appreneur?
Smile! Anybody can become an appreneur. You don’t need to be a developer to create an app. You can make money from apps whatever your professional background is. Everyone from teenagers to retirees and, of course, professional developers, can make money from the app store. You can find amazing stories of successful appreneurs: indie devs that became millionaires within 48 hours and brand new app entrepreneurs that are breaking through to the top of the app store. Truly inspiring stuff.
However, despite the high profitability of the app market, becoming an appreneur is not all peaches and cream; you must work hard and find your luck. Fortunately, we are here to help. We’ve done our research from the thousands of appreneurs here at Chupamobile, and have created the top 10 steps to become a successful appreneur.
10 do’s to become a successful appreneur
#1 – Become a master of the app stores
iTunes and Google Play are your new home, so make yourself comfortable. Get familiar with the app and game categories, the trends, the most successful publishers, and the short- and long-lived top apps. Analyze the characteristics of the best apps and publishers and replicate them in your portfolio.
If you want to make the difference, start to study App Store Optimization–ASO–best practices. This will make it easier for your potential users to discover your apps. We have packed a free downloadable App Store Optimization guide that is an amazing starting point.
#2 – Learn from the worst to become the best
Study the light side of the app stores, but also their dark side. When you build an app, you must be clear about what not to do. Have a look at the bottom of the charts and try to understand what they are doing wrong. What are the constant differences between the bottom and the top apps? Graphics quality? Description? Concept? Gameplay? App Reviews? Once you have a clear idea about what not to do, it’s easy: don’t do it.
When you build an app, you must be clear about what not to do. >> Click to tweet
#3 – Find your amazing way to build amazing apps
Since you started reading, you were probably wondering, “How do I create an app?” There are many ways, and you must find the one that works for you. You can learn app development and build your own apps–which is awesome but also a long and difficult process–or you can focus on marketing and data analysis. This is usually the best approach.
When you choose the marketer route, you have two options to build your apps: you can hire a freelance team to work on your project or you can customize ready-made app templates. If you have enough time and money, strong leadership skills, and are able to properly manage a remote team, hiring external freelancers on Freelancer or Upwork can be a good option. If you want to save time, money, and headaches without compromising your apps’ quality, use the app template + customization combo, such as the one offered by Chupamobile.
#4 – Keep it simple
The most successful apps are those that focus on performing a single task perfectly; on the gaming side, the top chart positions are always occupied by simple casual games. Just think about Flappy Bird or have a look at the Ketchapp app portfolio; what can be simpler than those games? But people love them and they always top the app charts. As a result, they are very successful appreneurs.
The most successful apps are those that focus on performing a single task perfectly. >> Click to tweet
So embrace simplicity! Do not try to create a multifunction app or a super complicated game. This would require a lot of resources and decrease your chances of success. Instead, create simple and easy-to-use applications–a win-win!
#5 – Get the right tools
Here you must do some exhaustive research. Do not settle for average; find the best tools.
You are going to need analytics SDKs, ad networks and rating tools. For Analytics we suggest you check out Appsee and Flurry. Regarding monetization tools, we have selected the 7 best ad networks to maximize your revenues. Furthermore, if some of your apps require a server-side integration, look for a good BaaS like Parse or Kii.
Once you’ve integrated the correct tracking and monetization tools, you will need good ASO resources like App Annie or Sensor Tower. They will help you optimize your positioning on the app stores by finding the right keywords to use, the best categories to list your app within and, of course, the ability to track your apps and those of your competitors.
Speaking of App Store Optimization, we have packed a full ASO free guide that includes all the tricks to help you optimize your positioning on the stores and boost your app downloads. Download it for free here.
#6 – Focus on data analysis
This point is critical to achieve success and, more importantly, to maintain it. Make sure to place a lot of effort into analyzing and benchmarking your data. . Of course, I’m taking for granted that you have followed the previous point to perfection so that your app is integrated with the best analytics tools. If so, let the party begin!
Check your apps’ insights daily and create weekly and monthly reports. Try to discover positive patterns and trends, and then replicate them. Correlate your data with your app’s performance through platforms like App Annie, which will also be helpful in keeping an eye on your competitors.
If you allocate enough time to this task, you will soon become a master of data benchmarking and will see the results on your app’s pirate metrics – Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. AARRR!
#7 – Cross-promote your apps
Once again, learn from the big ones. Can you guess the Ketchapp and King business model? Right–cross-promotion. By cross-promoting your apps, each piece of the puzzle is important. If one of your apps gets a good ranking it will help your other titles climb positions.
Choosing this model makes it essential to build an app portfolio. You need a solid ensemble of apps that share a similar target. And here we go back to point #3: you cannot spend months building one single app, you must be fast.
#8 – Go viral
Choosing the right tools (point #5), means choosing the best social-sharing add-ons for your app. Make it easy and awesome for your users to share their results if it’s a game, or other data and images if it’s an app. This will drive their friends to download and try the application, even without investing one cent in advertising or PR.
One of the newest methods is acquiring and engaging users through video. Kamcord and Everyplay are a couple of great tools that allow users to record their game replays and share them with their friends on social networks. If you don’t believe this is a brilliant idea, have a look at their growing communities.
Another good idea to boost engagement, and so virality, is to provide exclusive bonuses and prizes to your most loyal users. They are your best ambassadors so give them the treatment they deserve–They will pay you back!
#9 – Use bloggers and influencers
This is a different way to go viral. Get familiar with the main review websites (like 148apps), bloggers, and influencers of the app and game industry. Develop a nice story around your app and send it to them. If you are good at storytelling, you have a good chance to get your app featured on these websites. This is incredibly helpful in getting publicity and generating downloads.
Are you focused on gaming? Don’t miss this one: last week, the (awesome) guys of Product Hunt launched the beta version of their first standalone category: games. Can you imagine the buzz of getting your game featured on Product Hunt Games? Based on our own experience, I can tell you it’s huge!
Define and schedule a complete ‘launch plan’ that leverages media and influencers. This can result in an initial boost in downloads that will hopefully drive your app to one of the top positions. Then you will only have to work on maintaining that positive trend.
#10 – Practice, practice, practice
Like in school, the best way to improve is to try stuff, test and repeat. You will spend tons of hours reading blogs, analyzing data, learning marketing skills, testing new ideas, trying new tools and so on. This will help you upgrade your method step by step.
Like in school, on the app business the best way to improve is to try stuff, test and repeat. >> Click to tweet
You will (probably) fail and then will have to stand up again. You will (probably) not succeed on your first try, but don’t become desperate! It has happened to the best of us. Keep calm. You will (probably) rise from the ashes. In the meantime, keep trying stuff, testing and repeating. You never know how close you are to success!
As in every other industry, it’s not easy to get to the top of the app business. But I can tell you that it can be done, and the end result is worth the fight. Then, if you still want to be an astronaut, feel free to book a spaceflight. You will (probably) have enough money for it.