We’re witnessing thousands of apps submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store every day. As successful entrepreneurs we want our mobile app to be popular in the long term, generate revenue and have the love of users. The first step would seem to be actually starting to build an app without any initial research, but that’s like driving a car at night with the lights turned off.
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Instead, try to validate your idea. This simple technique will help to save time and money before you actually build an app. In this article we will lead you through the basic steps of validating your mobile app idea.
Start with a little market research:
Top mobile apps worldwide, Dec 2015. Image Credit: App Annie Intelligence
Look for similar or analogous solutions that already exist on the market. Start with a list of keywords and phrases that will likely describe your mobile app. Then go to search engines to see how popular those search results are and then make a leaderboard. Researching the Apple AppStore and Google Play will give you the list of potential competitors; their performance through the comments, ratings, updates history; and their marketing strategy through pictures, keywords, number of downloads, etc. Such tools as AppAnnie and TopAppCharts.com can be used for research and analysis, building your ASO (app store optimization) strategy and deciding the future steps on how to make your mobile app successful.
After you’re done with researching existing apps, try pitching your idea to family and friends. Be specific. Here’s a list of questions to help:
Would you use an app like this? Why?
Why wouldn’t you use an app like this?
Do you use a similar app already?
Tools for App Research:
Google Trends – type the keywords that describe the topic or a problem your app is going to solve and see whether it is trending that month or year.
MobileAction – see the most comprehensive App Store analytics, keywords, downloads, and rankings for free.
Create a landing page.
Can I start building my app? Not really. Before developing a massive piece of software, try something simple, like a landing page. The important thing to do is to define your metrics, so you need to describe what about your landing page will be a success. Will it be lots of email subscribers or 1000 people who complete your mobile app idea survey?
Tracking basic metrics is easy–just connect your landing page or microsite to Google Analytics or MixPanel. Don’t forget to mark your links through URL-builder and Bitly; you will know exactly how many times the specific link was clicked and what the sources were (you’ll see the sources in Google Analytics).
Metrics are important, but a solid landing page should have a certain amount of basic elements:
Short pitch of your app – describe your mobile app in a few sentences that would make your target audience excited
Basic screenshots or mockups will give your first users a basic understanding of the functionality of your mobile app
Email subscription form – channel through which you’ll let your users know about new updates and features. Try Mailchimp.
Tools for Creating a Landing Page:
Unbounce – can help you to create a landing page without spending a dime, an optimised user experience for testing new ideas.
Launchrock – service for creating landing pages, and they offer pre-built templates with images.
LanderApp – landing page in one hour with optimised templates.
Promote a landing page.
There’s free and paid ways to let the world know about your app:
Friends and family are the first to start with.
Find an organic and polite way to post in relevant subreddits or forums, social media and twitter.
Have blogger friends who are writing something similar to your topic? Ask them to share your idea with their community! One way to get feedback at every stage is to build a short survey and to distribute it. SurveyMonkey or Google Forms can handle this.
Facebook ads and Google Adwords are basic paid tools. These days we have Kickstarter to validate the ideas of hardware products and Product Hunt for both hardware and software ideas validation.
Prepare your Product Hunt campaign launch and you’ll get lot’s of people testing your landing page. When doing all the above try to keep the focus on goals and metrics you described before.
HackerNews (ShowHN category) will be a great place to post your app idea and if it is interesting enough, the community will lyft it!
Another and more “old school” way to get users to spread the word about your app, get press, and make all your app dreams come true is to go to local Tech community events. Go to Meetup, especially in the Tech section, create a buzz and engage.
Don’t rush building your app. There are millions of abandoned apps because people don’t want or don’t understand how to use them. Be passionate and critical during the entire mobile app idea validation cycle. Seeing the weak points will evolve your app idea before you build an app. Good luck!