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Finding The Right Business

Why Your Mobile App Sucks And Will Never Sell

Why Your Mobile App Sucks And Will Never Sell
Image credit: tabtimes.com

Peter Drucker once wrote: "because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two -- and only two -- functions: marketing and innovation."

These words hold true for any business, including mobile apps. If you're building a mobile app to become a successful business, you have to do two things right: innovate and reach out to customers effectively for your story to be bought into.

There are many deal-breakers, but these six mistakes are a sign your app will have a hard time selling:

1. Assuming there is a need.
Just how many people start building an app, spending thousands of dollars to create features and functionalities based on a feeling that it's what their customers want? I'd say, a conservative 99 percent.

Most apps fail because entrepreneurs do not validate their product with actual customers who would be willing to pay.

If you have an app idea, go out and validate it. Put it out on crowdsourcing platforms to see how many people want it, make a landing page highlighting the benefits of the app and get interested people to give you their email addresses so you can contact them when the app launches, build a prototype and sell it to your potential customers.

2. Not putting ease of use first.
A wireframe that you draw for your app defines how the app will be experienced. But does that mean it is going to be simple for your customer to use? Probably not.

Invest the necessary time into making an app that is insanely simple to use. Think Google for Make thesearch. What is the core concept of your app? What is the core value it intends to offer? Simply laying that out up-front and making it easier for people to experience will make a huge difference to your app's success.

3. Skimping on graphics.
If you want people to connect with your app, it needs to be attractive. Colors influence moods, and there's history and science backing this. Depending on the nature of your app, you can decide on the colors you want your graphics to capture.

The aesthetic of your app is a big determinant of whether people love or are turned off by it. For example, Dots, the latest craze in mobile games has done a fantastic job on both usability and design combined.

4. Thinking analytics is for analysts.
You need to know how your customers are actually using the app, which is often very different from what you expect. Set goals to track how your customers use the app and how engaged they are with certain features.

The data you get can define your next move for increasing traction for the app. There are specific analytics softwares available for different types of apps, so don't make the mistake of implementing the first one you hear about.

5. Trying to go global on day one.
Trying to build the world's greatest wall on day one often means failure. To build the world's greatest wall, you must first perfect the way the first brick is laid then move to the next one and so on and so forth.

The same goes for customer acquisition. You need to start small, perfect your product with your local market and make all the mistakes there. Once you've done that, you can easily replicate your successes in other cities and countries.

You cannot sell your product by sitting in your office. You need to go out, meet your customers and understand first-hand how they experience your product.

6. Giving up too soon or holding on for too long.
You can't be pursuing a business that is just not gaining traction. You either need to alter your course, or drop it and move on. Knowing when to do that is the most crucial aspect of any business.

When you launch your app, devote at least six months to selling and developing it before you call it a failure. But in those six months, give it all you've got, to the extent that you have no regrets looking back.

Don't hold on beyond that. If you cannot gain traction in that time, you probably won't see success beyond that period. "Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what's not working," writes Derek Sivers in his latest book, Anything You Want.

Remember: While your idea itself may be great, it's not a business until it is executed well.
 

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea LLC, a company committed to helping entrepreneurs and businesses build, market and monetize their mobile apps, with offices in San Jose and Pune. Email Rahul to discuss your app idea.

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