You built it. They’re coming. Now what?
Ok, I know it’s not that simple. But let’s suppose that it were. You’ve built a really cool app, poured your heart and soul into it and it does what it’s intended to do. Users love it, the reviews are great, people are heading to the app store in record numbers to grab a copy.
Maximize your revenue. Maximize your profit.
We’re not telling you to squeeze your users for the last dimes in their collective pockets, not by any means. There are companies that create and distribute apps purely for that purpose, along with some other shady reasons, but that’s not what we’re about. With that said, you did build a really cool app, you did pour your heart and soul into it and users want to use it. If you haven’t considered how you’re going to recoup your costs and refill the kitty to start on the next development project until now, it could be an uphill battle. The next time will be easier, we promise.
A good app design begins with not just the idea for an app that does something, but integrates the process of being compensated from the beginning. Just like designing a UI that encourages use, monetizing your app in a way that makes sense to the user’s wallet as well as their thumbs is a skill. No one wants to feel like they’re being nickel and dimed to death in order to use an app; but people will spend money on upgrades, in game purchases, additional themes, levels, and the like if they make sense in the context of the app.
Free, “freemium” or paid?
Determining the correct payment model and price point(s) for your app may take some revision and testing, unless you just happen to hit it right away (consider yourself lucky!), and don’t need the trial and error process.
What does your app do? Does it have a ‘base’ level of functionality with the ability to add more complex pieces and parts to it? Is it level or theme based, and will users purchase or work to acquire more options? Can you port the app to another platform and link it to the current one? Would it be smarter to sell the app as a standalone unit and then support it for ‘free’, while creating similar versions of the same app that can also be sold standalone with different themes? Would a trial period, with complete functionality followed by a limited functionality if the user doesn’t pay to continue using certain features, make sense? We’ll talk about cross merchandising your own apps in another post but that is another selling point to consider.
Ask your friends, fellow developers, app addicts, anyone you know that can give you valid input to consider your app and make a list of what they would pay for separately and what they would not. You might also ask them for a list of what they don’t see that they feel would make good additions to your app (thinking about monetizing with the next release before you’ve even started on it is good, provided you haven’t left yourself without a way to do it) in the next version.
Read your reviews! Carefully! Closely! Your current user base should be giving you feedback and if a considerable number of them are asking for additional features, new themes, or something expandable on your current configuration, that may be a starting point for future monetization.
Be prepared to back off. If you change the payment options on your app and the user engagement falls down the basement stairs, by all means, change it back, and quickly. If people complain that your price points are too high, have a sale. If the feeling of value for the money isn’t happening with users, give them more for the money (or have a sale) until you reach the equilibrium point and you’re being compensated for your work while your users are walking away believing they got their money’s worth.