Last year, Tiktok earned almost $10 billion in revenue. It’s staggering when you consider that this app has only been around for seven years. It shows that it’s never too late to launch an app that makes money.
If you want to explore apps as a business model, read on.
This guide will show you how to create an app and make money from it. Discover the steps to create a successful app and explore some revenue models that could work for you.
Decide on a Niche
The digital world is vast, and you have a potential global audience of billions. So, it’s vital that you narrow your target down to something that will help you stand out. That begins with niche selection.
A niche will help you tap into a corner of the app market without competing with the most famous brands.
Start with some market research. Look at trending niches or ones where you can spot some gaps in the market. Consider whether you have an interest or a talent in that field. It could help you create a competitive advantage.
When you have a shortlist of niches, begin weighing up each market’s pros and cons.
Look for what opportunities they offer and what competition already exists. Is there room to create something entirely different from existing apps in the market?
Don’t be afraid to go for a somewhat narrow niche. Even an obscure topic can capture the attention of a surprisingly high audience and still make a profit.
For example, iLivestock provides farmers with an app to record information on sheep and cattle. It’s a highly specialist field but in a potentially profitable industry.
Develop Your Idea
Once you know your niche, it’s time to fine-tune your idea and business model for an app. In this stage, you’ll begin exploring those opportunities you spotted in your niche in more detail.
An original and viable idea doesn’t have to be the next Facebook, Amazon, or a ground-breaking invention. Profitable app ideas are often more subtle than this.
Meeting a need with a new app can be something as simple as a different customer experience in an already established market. Uber is the perfect example of that approach in action.
A need can also be how you approach a problem rather than solving one.
Take education, for example. Education is an old and well-established industry. Yet app developers have approached education from an entirely different angle.
Platforms like Duolingo have enabled people to learn in their own time at the touch of a button rather than in a traditional classroom.
Design Your Interface
Next, it’s time to sketch out your user interface.
You can use tools to do this, like Adobe XD, or map out your idea on paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you must use this opportunity to develop a seamless and enjoyable user interface for your customers.
People rarely return to an app unless it’s intuitive, easy to use, and engaging. Spotify, for example, became a household name by creating a fun and engaging app.
They enticed users with their personalization features, like music recommendations. They made their music offering an immersive and enjoyable experience and added value wherever they could.
Usability needs to be your priority during the design stage. Keep things simple at this early phase of your development.
Don’t overcomplicate your design with too many features. You can always add them later.
Choose Your Tech Stack
A successful app always rests on having a solid foundation. Before you begin your development, you’ll need to choose your tech stack.
A stack refers to the technology you use to build and host your app. It will include software, languages, and frameworks. It will also include things like your app security.
You’ll need developer input for this phase to ensure you choose a solution that will give you excellent performance and future scalability.
That is crucial because you want to ensure your app will work equally well whether you have ten early adopters or millions of active daily users.
At this point, it’s worth running some projections for your app based on the market demand and your strategy. That will help your developer team understand what you need to support your app best.
Develop Your App
When you build your app, it’s vital that you adhere to development best practices. That will help ensure a stable and robust app you can rely on as your business grows.
Ensure you have a team that will take a disciplined and systematic approach to your app development. That includes regular code reviews and ongoing testing.
Don’t leave your app testing until you’ve finished the product – start testing as soon as possible.
You also want to check the app as you go to ensure it’s as user-friendly as you’d hoped. Sometimes, a design on paper doesn’t work quite right when you put an app together, and you’ll need to allow time to make some adjustments.
Use an efficient communication channel for your development team to ensure no hold-ups or misunderstandings. Many developers like a platform such as Slack.
Finally, make sure you spend time documenting your development. That’s important so future teams can pick up the code and update it when you need it.
You’ll test your app throughout the development. But before you release the app to the wider world, you’ll also need a formal quality assurance phase.
This phase is usually carried out by a separate QA team responsible for ensuring the app is ready for release to the app store. It’s a deep dive that goes beyond bug spotting.
It also focuses on more extensive problems that could impact the app’s success, like compatibility, speed, and security.
After the QA process, you should also run a beta release. This beta is usually a small invite-only app release to a small group of customers.
You can typically gather this beta group by creating an email list of people interested in your app. Use social media or paid advertising to invite users to sign up.
The QA and beta testing process is also an opportunity to identify future design improvements for your app. It will give you a roadmap if you choose to release further updates after you launch.
How to Make Money With Your App
You can design the perfect app and the most beautiful interface. But it isn’t a success unless you can find a way to make money.
Fortunately, there are plenty of monetization models that work for apps. Your business strategy will depend on your niche and what you offer.
A freemium model is free with premium add-ons. It offers users the chance to use the core features of your app. Dedicated users can pay for more advanced features. X (previously Twitter) currently uses this revenue model.
It’s worth noting that they also get most of their revenue from ads. So, you can use a model that combines different revenue sources.
A subscription model requires a monthly fee to use the app. It’s a recurring fee, and you’ll continue to get paid until the customer cancels. The mindfulness app Headspace uses this model.
You can still make money from a free app by using advertising for revenue. That is a popular option for many games. You can also get money via affiliate links, a more popular choice in the B2B niche.
Launching Your App
When you release your app, you need enough momentum from day one that you see a healthy growth rate.
To do that, carefully plan your launch from start to finish. It requires precise planning, clever timing, and a well-thought-out marketing strategy.
Creating a buzz before you launch will ensure you get some early adopters. That’s important as these are the people who will likely provide reviews and tell others about your app.
Use paid advertising to get the word out about your launch date, with some teasers of your app in video clips.
Consider Using Influencers
Promoting an app is hard if you don’t already have a massive audience. The best way to counter that is to pay to use someone else’s. You can pay prominent influencers to appear on their feed via a social media post.
The app Calm used this effectively to create a high-profile launch using celebrities to promote their brand. If you use this tactic, select an influencer with an established link to your niche.
Optimize Your App Store Listing
You should ensure your app gets discovered on the app store. Optimise keywords and titles so they appear in relevant searches, just as you would if you were doing SEO.
Ensure your app has high-quality screenshots and videos, and encourage your beta users to leave reviews.
How to Create an App and Make Money: Wrapping Up
We’ve gone through the steps of how to create an app and make money. It’s now over to you to make it happen. The key to success is a high-quality app, a clear demand, and a savvy marketing strategy.
If you want expert help with your app project, get in touch with our team at Synaptech. You can do that by booking a free consultation.