Friends and family like to ask me, “I have an app idea. Do you have any advice on the best approach?”. There are a number of ways to get from point A to point B. I’ve had a few rough experiences going through the growing pains of developing my first app. Those experiences saved me a lot of time and money in the future. I’m here to share with you my top 5 tips to successfully make app passive income.
1. Check your idea. Will it make money?
First, ask yourself if your app idea is feasible. Will it make money? This information is completely free and available on every single app store. Browse the “Top Grossing” section of any category. Check the rankings. These rankings show you the market demand. It’s not rocket science, but this isn’t the first step that most people take. Do you already see your app idea? Don’t be discouraged if you do. This is the best way to see and know if that idea is making money. If your app idea is ranked in the top grossing, even better. Do you see less than 5 version of that app idea? Then you have a good shot in this market!
Let’s take a look at a smaller and more niche category for the sake of our discussion. We’ll look at “Food & Drink” on the iOS app store. Less big companies and less noise in these smaller categories. You can see the top grossing app is eMeals. A meal planning and grocery shopping list app. Number 5 is another meal planning app. Even has the same green icon. See a trend here? You’ll also see that 16 out of the top 24 grossing apps are “freemium” apps. Meaning, their business model is to give an app away for free and up-sell upgrades.
Next, make sure to know the difference between “Top Grossing” and “Top Paid”. They are both very different rankings. “Top Grossing” is what you use to study what is making the most money. “Top Paid” is more so for trending. More downloads doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue. Personally, I study both. However, “Top Grossing” is better at giving you an idea of revenue potential.
2. Build a better mousetrap.
Okay, now you know your idea has some potential to make app passive income. Start doing some homework. Download the app and use it. Get familiar with it. This is where you put on your creative thinking app. It’s not your app idea that has to be completely innovative. It’s the execution of it. A great idea will most likely already have a few versions of it. Read the customer reviews. See what they like. More importantly, see what they are complaining about. This will give you essential information on your target audience. It’s almost as if you’re skipping version 1 and going straight to version 2 of your idea.
Open up the app store and click on your competing app. Sort by “Most Critical”. See what customers have to say. Here’s an example. The top 2 complaints are about syncing issues and ipad compatibility. Those would be the first items you would consider when creating your version. Don’t fall in the trap of copying another app. Also it’s not about copying anything or anyone. Don’t get this mixed up. It’s rare that anyone invents something that is completely revolutionary. It’s usually taking an existing idea and improving it. Our example is taking a meal planning and grocery shopping and porting it to a convenient app. There is already a version on the web and the developer released it on a different platform. The mobile platform.
3. Map out a MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Next, you’ll want to design the simplest form of your app. The minimum viable product. The bare bones version with only the essentials. This is key for successfully creating app passive income. First, start with creating a wireframe. This is just a blueprint of your app’s features. The first screen will be the opening screen or home screen of your app. From here, you will branch out to the different screens and features of your app. Remember, be very descriptive. This is what you are going to give to your graphic designer and development team.
Secondly, analyze all of the features of your app. Is there anything you can remove? Is this the most simplified version of your initial app idea? Chances are that you can still remove some features. Leave only the essential features of the app. This is very important. You will get your app out to market faster. Which means you will get feedback for your app earlier to improve it and tweak it to meet customer needs. Also, development will be cheaper. It’s better to keep costs down, since you don’t know if your app will be a hit yet.
4. Sales model for app passive income
Finally, figure out which sales model you want for the maximum potential of generating app passive income. There’s a few options. Do you want to go paid? Do you want to go the freemium route? What kind of freemium model? Here are some options.
This is simple. Do your research and choose a paid price point. Once your app is released you can tweak your pricing to find the optimal value. From personal experience, I’ve noticed I generally make more money when choosing to go the premium route vs the budget route. Meaning, I price the app higher than my competitors to let them know they are purchasing a more premium product. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes the $0.99 apps do better since they generate more downloads and climb the app rankings easier. Higher app ranking means more visibility.
There’s a few different free routes you can take. You can release both a paid and free app and have your free app up-sell your paid app. This gives you visibility in both paid and free categories. More eyes could potentially mean more downloads and more revenue. The most popular route is the freemium version with in-app purchases. You give out the most essential functions of the app for free and up-sell your users to more features they might want. This usually converts better than up-selling to a paid app, since the user will never have to leave your app to make a purchase.
It’s up to you to discover the most optimal route for generating maximum app passive income. Do your due diligence and you will be fine.
5. Find the right team to create your app
Lastly, you’ll need someone to help you create your product. Unless you decide to do this yourself, you’ll need to choose wisely. There are a lot of different choices for finding a graphic designer. Fiverr.com is a cheap option for having someone create a basic icon or other graphic needs starting at $5. 99designs.com is another great option if you want to have multiple graphic designers compete against one another to pitch you their best versions of your idea. 99designs also offers a 100% money back guarantee (which I’ve used), so you have nothing to lose! Upwork.com is good for finding just about everything. You can find graphic designers, app developers, and even marketers. I would stick to a simple graphic designer and app developer. Some teams do both graphic designs and app development, but I personally like to keep those separate. From experience, I’ve gotten better content when I don’t use one-stop-shops.
Finding an outstanding development team is critical for success. Don’t just go for the lowest and cheapest price. You need a balance of budget and quality. From personal experience, I’ve had the best luck with developers from Romania. That is my number one pick. When you post a job on Upwork.com, everyone will be promising you world. Do not fall for a development team that does not have good feedback and return clients. Return clients are one of the most important. This means their client was willing to return to them for more work after their job finished! That says something.
6. *Bonus* Set yourself up for success with analytics and feedback
You will get a good gauge of the market when you release your app. It’s analogous to going fishing. You have to cast your app out to see if anything bites. Once you get a few bites, you can start adding a few new features to improve your app passive income. A couple bells and whistles. Finally, start paying attention to feedback. The best way to set yourself up for success with both analytics and feedback are to integrate them both before releasing your app.
For analytics, I recommend using flurry.com or fabric.io. Both are free and give you live stats on your apps. You can see daily active users, device versions, operating system versions, crash reports, and everything else you could ever need for improving your app passive income.
You’ll also want to include some sort of “Rate Me” system. This is where after the user has used your app, you give them a popup to rate your app. This allows your app to generate more ratings and reviews which help with the app store algorithm (ASO) ranking. Another popular tactic is to funnel positive feedback to your ratings and negative feedback to emailing you directly. Not only does this improve your overall rating, but it gives you quicker and more direct feedback from emails. Allowing you to respond to them instantly and help them resolve their issues.
Now that you have all the tools you need to get started, go out and execute on your app idea to generate app passive income! Start small with an MVP, go fishing, and optimize. Good luck!
Do you have an app idea? Have you executed on it yet? If not, what has been your barrier?
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