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Thinking about starting a startup?

Or maybe you’re looking to work for a startup?

 

In both cases, you may be wondering what that means. A startup is a newly established business. Starting from scratch and building their way up.

Startups provide a different culture and experience to a traditional job. It’s exciting, it’s different and it’s rapidly changing.

However, there may be some obstacles along the way. From our startup to yours. Here are some tips we found.

Cover Image Source: tagove.com

No Market Need

Image Source: linkedin.com

 

What do all successful startups have in common?

 

Their product or service solves a consumer problem or fills a consumer need.

 

So you have to ask yourself, what problem does my startup solve?

Really, what need does it fill?

 

This can’t be you convincing yourself it does this thing for a certain person. Your assumption could be a problem for your company.

 

So how do you fix that?

 

Do your research, go out there and survey people. Find out if this is something that they would be interested in. Something they would use. It doesn’t have to be stopping people on the street. It can be asking friends and family. Or creating online surveys and polls.

 

Get out of the building and test your assumption!

Financial Problems

Image Source: ginsberg-gingras.com

 

You might be rolling your eyes at this one. Obviously, this is a common reason why startup companies fail. If a company runs out of cash, they are done. Thanks, Captain Obvious!

 

But let’s look at why companies run out of cash?

 

Bad planning is often the biggest reason. Because of not accurately estimating your company runway. Runway being your current cash position divided by your monthly cash burn.

 

Or your burn rate has increased due to reckless spending. Both for the business and outside of it.  Yes, you’ve worked hard, but your trip to Las Vegas might have to go on hold.

 

Many companies are underfunded.  This may be because they didn’t receive financial assistance. So get out there and make your pitch to everyone that will listen!

Competition

Image Source: lawtechnologytoday.org

 

Creating something that someone else is making?

 

Or maybe you’re not first to market?

 

You are going to get competition. Competition is always hard. It means you’re likely going to have to spend more money.

 

Especially if they are a bigger or more established company. These companies may have bigger budgets to throw at their research and development.

 

Bigger budgets for customer service and marketing. And likely a brand name that people know, or have bought from. That means they are more likely to buy from them again.

 

To compete you have to make sure your product quality remains high. Selling a cheap product to undercut prices, may turn off customers. Word gets around through the internet. Because today, online reviews are a standard.

 

So don’t ruin your idea!

 

Sell them on your idea, sell them on your vision.

 

Align your wants and needs to the customers. Sell them on the journey.

 

If a customer feels as if this product aligns with them, they are more likely to buy it. Or they may see the journey you have been through, with the hard work. That might make them buy from you.

Pricing issues

Image Source: elegantthemes.com

 

Choosing the price to sell your product is tough. If you set the price too high, it won’t be affordable to some. Set the price too low and you might not make enough revenue.

 

If the price is set too high it might be seen as a premium product. If it’s set too low it might be seen as cheap.

 

It seems like you can’t win!

 

The only way you’ll know is with research. See what the competitors charge for their similar product. Survey and talk to your prospective consumers. See what they would be willing to pay for your product.

 

Pricing can change over time too. Price it low at the start, if it’s popular or successful, raise the price. If the product is not doing well, lower the price.

Poor Product

Image Source: pinterest.com

 

The product idea might be brilliant. It could be the next Facebook. But that won’t matter if the app isn’t properly bug tested. Bugs in apps frustrate and annoy users.

 

Some bugs users can put up with.

 

But bugs that close or make the app not usable will make users uninstall it. Make sure to properly bug test the app. If hiring the bug testers is too expensive, send out a beta version of the app. Incentivise beta users to give feedback on the problems they are finding.

 

Another reason it could be a poor product is that it was just poorly designed. Again, it could be the best idea, but if it doesn’t make sense to use, it won’t succeed.

 

Make sure the app flows. Make sure that the app makes logical sense.

Where is everyone?

Image Source: metro.co.uk

 

Imagine you’ve made your product or app. But you haven’t gone any further than just making it.

You’ve just thought “build it and they will come”. But they won’t always come. It might be the perfect app, but if no one knows, it likely won’t take off.

 

The app needs to be marketed. Create awareness for your product!

 

You’ve worked so hard on it, so don’t skip the marketing.

 

Be creative with your marketing, try something new like viral or guerrilla campaigns.

 

Doing something that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Lack of passion

Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

 

If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to be rough. I mean, starting a startup is usually rough anyway. It’s a lot of work. But you do it because you believe in the idea. You are passionate about your product or app.

 

You want to make the best product you can because it’s yours.

 

But if you are you here for the money, there isn’t that drive. There isn’t that passion. I’m not saying it’s impossible because it isn’t.

 

Many people have done it. Many will create a product or service just to make a profit. But they won’t have the same experience as someone creating for passion.

 

These are the reasons we found were most prevalent when start-ups fail.

 

There are much more, these are just a generalisation. But still, I hope you take this advice and go and start your start-up!

 

Like I said, it’s weird, it’s stressful, it’s a lot of work. However, it’s going to feel less like work, as it’s not your standard job.

 

So if you’d like to take your first step, contact the Launchpad quote page. We at Launchpad specialise in creating apps for small start-up companies. Let us take this journey with you!

 

Have you heard of Design Thinking? It’s consumer-centric design process. Curious about it and how it can be applied to your business?

 

Please read our blog, here.

 

4 Key Elements to Write Blogs for Your App Startup

Photo Source: Essential App Marketing

Entrepreneurs need to market their App startups. When it comes to marketing an App offering online, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to spread the word about your App and position yourself as an industry expert. But an effective blog post is not the same as churning out written content.

Effective content marketing is about telling really great stories that connect with your target audience. To write a great blog that attracts clicks, reads and shares from your target market, there are key elements that need to be incorporated.

As part of my blog writing practices for Launchpad App Development and our clients, I have researched the methodology applied by Online Marketing expert Neil Patel and formatted the key app marketing elements to accomplish the writing goals of successful App Entrepreneurs.

So, without further ado, here are the four key elements of a successful blog posts when marketing your app.

 

The Title

The headline is vitally important to a blog post’s success, as it is the first piece of content your audience will read. You may have put a substantial amount of time and effort into writing the blog, but if no one clicks it because the headline is boring, you might as well have not written anything to promote your app.

Research from Copyblogger found that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, while approximately only 2 out of 10 will continue on to read the blog post.

So how do you create a title that has the power to draw eyes and clicks?

Use the following practices to create your blog headline:

Give yourself at least 30 minutes to generate a great headline

Do not rush the key element to grabbing the initial attention of your target market. Instead, apply a different kind of R&R once you have written the blog content: Research & Review.

Research articles that cover similar topics to your app product, as well as the titles of those that received a high-volume of shares and comments from readers. How were the headlines effective in getting the online audience to read the article?

Review the content you have prepared for your blog. More specifically, assess the keywords you have applied throughout your writing. This will help to understand the point you want to communicate in the headline and the keywords that will advance your audience to be engaged, read on and, in turn, download your app.

Include numbers to catch the eye of readers

Research has shown that including numbers in a title directly leads to more clicks and shares of the written content. Along with a subtitle of how long a blog will take to read (E.g. Read in 5 minutes), this technique helps the reader to know exactly what to expect, timewise. If a title includes that the blog is comprised of ‘5 tips’, no more and no less, than the audience can instantaneously make a decision on whether they have the time to read on.

Example: The title for Launchpad’s ‘Naming Your App’ Blog

✗   How to Name An App – Overused phrase in ‘How to’ with no keywords that express the blog’s benefits or prompt action from the reader.

✓   A 3 Step Guide to Naming Your App – Clearly states what to expect from reading on (‘3 Step Guide’) and engages the reader to do so (‘Your App’).

 

The Structure

So your title has persuaded people to click on your blog post. Now your content needs to sell your app.

Here’s some proof why content sells: In one study, 71% of B2B marketers  used content marketing to generate leads, and content marketing generated three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but cost 62% less.

If you want potential customers to read on and engage with the content, you need to organise the layout of your blog. Organising the flow of the blog into easily digestible content will determine whether readers leave your page without care or stick around to get the most out of your app offering.

Here’s the model you should follow to engage readers with your blog content:

Introduction – Set the stage for your discussion

After the title, this is the next step to hooking the interest of your audience. Therefore, you’ve got to have a hook within your introduction. The hook of your introduction is where you truly grab the attention of the reader and is preferably achieved by presenting a problem that your reader desperately wants solved.

So what constitutes a hook?

A question is one of the most effective techniques to draw people in. Once a question is posed, our natural response is to look for an answer. Another technique is to tell a story. Depending on your particular audience, a story that readers can relate to is quickest way to grab the attention of your target audience.

Example: The hook in ‘How To Make Your App A Money Maker

  • How can you be sure that you are moving forward with the best monetisation strategy for your app concept? We examine the ideal business models available to help you generate the most revenue.

  ✓ Presents a premise that any App Entepreneur can relate to.

  ✓ Poses a question to prompt the action to read on and find out the answer.

Body – Make your points and explain them

Your planned blog is made up of any number of tips, steps, ideas or any other particular way to itemise your written content. Each of these points make up the body of your blog post. Therefore, each point must be something that your readers can latch onto by solving the problem you have presented to them in the premise.

Be sure to outline each point and explain them in a succinct manner with the use of subheadings, paragraph breaks and bullet points. Do this for each point you want to communicate to the reader. Solving your reader’s problem in this organised and clear manner will ultimately decides whether they respond to the call to action at the end of your blog or not.

 

The Visual Appeal

Reading text on a screen is a lot different than reading it on paper. Whereas a magazine article can feature long paragraphs and complex sentences, blogs need to be visually broken up in some way to help readers understand the content. Therefore, how you present your blog in terms of format, imagery and length is what will make the written content look professional and approachable to the reader.

Focus on the following details to improve the visual appeal of your blog:

Format – Use headings, subheadings and dot points

When reading online content, research has shown that Internet users gravitate towards shorter blocks of text that are broken up with space around and between lines. The reason for this is that many users often skim through online content in comparison to printed publications.

Therefore, you must format your blog in a way that allows the reader to easily speed-read through it, while still digesting the content and being prompted to your call to action. The best way to accomplish this is shorter sentences and paragraphs, subheadings for each point you are making, and dot points to communicate a concept in an efficient and effect manner.

Images – Use them to enhance the written content

First things first: The written content of your blog is the most important thing for search engine optimisation and to spread the word about your App. However, your blog will be more aesthetically appealing if it includes images that are complimentary to your written content. Therefore, you should have a goal to include 1 to 3 strategic images that help your readers and enhance your content.

Smartphones in the air

Content-relevant images enhance the aesthetic appeal of your Blog. Source: News Cred

Length – As long as it takes to say what you need to say

The ideal length for a blog post is a matter that remains under continuous debate. However, all the market research and data point to long-form content performing better in social sharing, search indexing, organic traffic and conversions.

Your aim should be to regularly create content that is in the 1,000 to 1,500-word range. As long as this written content is broken up into manageable blocks with strategically placed images, your blog will attract people based on visual appeal.

 

The Call to Action

The call to action is the way to achieve results from your blog post. The blog content has an eye-catching title, a clear structure and is visually appealing. Now that the reader is ready to respond, do, click and/or engage, you need a call to action.

What do you want the readers of your blog to do? Whether it’s capturing an email address, visiting another page or downloading an App, the call to action is the key to accomplishing this.

Truly effective calls to action begin and end with a strong, compelling conclusion to your blog post. The conclusion needs to feature an appeal – the reader should be invited to take the next step or do the next logical thing.

Example: The conclusion and call to action for this very blog!

Blog writing is one of the most effective content marketing methods for App Entrepreneurs to connect with their target audience.

In my experience, you need to carefully consider the Title, Structure, Visual Appeal and Call to Action of your blog to ensure that your potential app consumers engage with your content.

If you have an approach to app marketing that includes this blog writing methodology, you’ll start generate more traffic, build your startup and, most importantly, increase app downloads and user loyalty.

What other tips do you have for writing an app blog? Please share your thoughts and let other readers know!

✓ Strong and compelling in summarising the blog’s main points.

✓ Invites and guides the reader towards the next logical step.

 

How To Make Your App A Money Maker

How can you be sure that you are moving forward with the best monetisation strategy for your app concept? We examine the ideal business models available to help you generate the most revenue.

When entrepreneurs and start-ups decide to develop an app, they do so with a variety of goals they want to achieve. More than likely, one of those goals is to make money.

In March 2015, a survey from App Annie found that 70% of app developers had an objective to earn revenue within the App Store (E.g. In-app purchases, paid downloads), while more than 45% wanted to generate income through in-app advertising (E.g. Banner Ads).

So the clear favourite goal for developing an app is to earn revenue, but what is the best monetisation model to achieve this?

As part of our Rocketfuel Workshop, I have collaborated with entrepreneurs on a variety of app projects to answer that very question. From my experience, the most effective monetisation models have been implemented based on the conceptualised app idea, the user experience it provides and what works in the current app market.

To help you move forward with the right strategy, let’s examine the three main monetisation models you can choose to generate income from your app.

 

Freemium

The freemium model is considered to be the market-leading method for app monetisation. Under this strategy, the app is available as a free download with in-app purchases and/or subscription options for a defined price set by you.

From 2013 to 2014, app revenue generated from the freemium model grew by over 70% across both the App Store and Google Play. This substantial growth can be attributed to freemium’s appeal to a broader user base by eliminating up-front costs, while also creating ongoing revenue streams for entrepreneurs.

When applying the freemium model, there are a number of value propositions to consider so the model is aligned with the app and it’s user base:

  • Usage – The app offers limited usage, so the user pays to raise or remove those limits (E.g. Tinder).
  • Free Trial – The app offers full functionality for a limited amount of time, and then the user pays to continue using these functions after the time period is up (E.g. WhatsApp Messenger).
  • Functionality – The user pays for virtual items, content, add-ons, upgrades, services or capabilities (E.g. Clash of Clans).
  • User experience – The app that is ad-supported, so the user pays in-app to remove ads or through a separate paid download (E.g. Words With Friends).
  • Combination – The app applies two or more of the value propositions (E.g. Evernote – Functionality and Usage).

So what are the right value propositions to choose as part of your monetisation strategy?

Well, the most commonly used by freemium app developers are Functionality (55% of developers) and User Experience (43%). This makes sense when you consider that both can lead to ongoing in-app purchases from active users. However, Functionality and User Experience may not be applicable for certain app concepts and target audiences, so be sure to assess each value proposition in relation to your app idea and the market you’re entering.

Here are a few tips if you choose the freemium model for your app:

  • Choose your purchase options wisely – Provide the user with multiple features they can pay for, but don’t charge for every valuable function the app offers! The user needs to perceive value from the free app’s functions in order to spend money on enhancing their experience. Also, make sure that the purchase is optional and not a necessity. The user will be eased towards a buying decision if the purchase does not disturb their app experience.
  • Focus on WHY users should buy – By making the app free to download, the user has already been provided with their preference to ‘try before they buy’. This decision is based on emotions for the user, and so are their subsequent buying decisions within the app. So when determining which features to make available for purchase, focus on WHY they would spend money on it. Finding and presenting the emotional reason to buy a feature will guide the user towards purchasing it.

Freemium Mobile App Development

Freemium is the top monetisation strategy in most app categories. Source: Statista

 

Paid and Paidmium

Charging a fee to download is the most visible and easy-to-understand way of making money from apps. When applying this strategy, you can either do a once-off fee to download the full version of the app (E.g. Minecraft – Pocket Edition), or make it a paidmium app with additional in-app purchases (E.g. Card Wars).

The simplicity of this monetisation model might make it the most appealing, as it is the strategy that most closely resembles the traditional way of doing business. However, the success of paid apps is entirely dependent on the uniqueness of the product and the marketing of the product’s value.

Consider the psychology of the user when browsing the iOS App Store. Most people are not going to eagerly wait to pay even the small price of $1.29 for your iPhone app – unless they have a compelling reason to do so. The majority of apps are given away for free to create an audience and then generate revenue from them. Once you have that audience’s attention, you can find multiple ways to make money through in-app advertising, in app purchases etc.

Pay-per-download can be a good revenue source under the right circumstances, but for first-time app entrepreneurs who don’t have a proven track record and an eager audience of users, you’re better off giving away your app for free. Get users to download the app, and then make the money.

Mobile Game Apps

Almost 50% of the most popular games on Apple’s App Store are paid apps. Source: Apple

 

In-App Advertising

In-app advertising is a core strategy used to make additional income in conjunction with an applied monetisation model. It involves having ads (E.g. Banner ads, video ads etc.) displayed in certain places within the app. The advertiser then pays you a defined amount whenever users tap on the ad and are directed to a particular link set by the advertiser.

When utilised properly, in-app advertising can generate a profitable revenue stream for app developers. Research from market intelligence firm IDC found that 49% of developers used paid advertising within their apps in 2014, which was an increase of 7% from the year prior. This increase can be attributed to developers more recently focusing on app functionality and the user experience. Therefore, it is essential to find the right balance between monetising through the app stores and monetising through in-app advertising.

You need to be strategic in order to make your app stand out in the mobile app market. This makes picking the proper format/s a key to maximising in-app advertising revenue.

Static banner ads and static full screen ads are the highest earning formats for the majority of developers, with nearly 40% earning most of their revenue from banner ads and a subsequent 25% from full screen ads. These are the recommended formats to apply for in-app advertising as they are less likely to affect the user experience and, in turn, generate the most overall revenue.

In-App Advertising

In 2015, Facebook combined app installs with deep linking so a specific in-app purchase ad opens once the app downloads. Source TechCrunch

 

So what’s the right monetisation strategy for your app?

When choosing the business model to generate the most app revenue, you need to understand your app product first and foremost.

Find the underlying value of the conceptualised idea. Examine the user experience it provides to the target audience. Research the current market your app will be entering.

For our recent app products, the most effective monetisation models have been a combination of freemium and in-app advertising, but even this strategy may not be right for certain apps.

If you have a large consumer base that you know WILL buy your app when it’s launched, then you should charge a download fee for the value it provides!

The decision you make will ultimately affect the success of your app in terms of download traffic and generated income. Choose wisely.

What other monetisation strategies do you think are effective for apps? Please share them in the comments below.