How To Create An App Business
Chad Mureta Explains the Business of Apps
Chad Mureta is the author of App Empire, the founder of Empire Apps and co-founder of T3 Apps and Best Apps. His apps have been downloaded more than 35 million times.
Editor's Note: Additional comments from Online Business Expert Brian T. Edmondson in italics.
Bryan: How long does a typical app take to go from idea to launch?
Chad Mureta: It depends on a variety of things, especially the speed of your team.
I’ve done some that take as little as two weeks and as long as a couple months, but the latter is usually due to delays. Ideally, I like to get apps out as soon as possible.
Some apps can be as simple as loading your existing content from your website or blog and repurposing it into a mobile application for Android or iOS devices; while more complicated apps would involve something unique and built from the ground up. It would be hard to determine how long it would take to go from idea to launch without knowing exactly what's involved - but it's safe to say that you would go with one of those two extremes; something extremely simple or something more complex.
Bryan: Is a successful app launch possible without a supporting marketing campaign?
Chad Mureta: A standard marketing campaign, yes, but developers need to implement basic marketing strategies, such as icon design and advanced screenshots, as well as advanced marketing techniques, such as nag screens and language options, in order to gain the best visibility.
Other basic strategies would include assigning proper categories to your app, including appropriate keywords when describing your app, and having a team of beta users to help you launch the app.
Bryan: What role does social media play in your app marketing plan? Which networks work best?
Chad Mureta: The only “social media marketing” I use is including “share” options within an app.
I don’t use social media for app promoting or ads. Social media is best used when there is already a large network developed that you can promote your current app through. For instance, a popular website’s Facebook page promoting their new app. It’s definitely an option, I just haven’t used it for my apps.
You can also use paid advertising on networks like Facebook to directly promote your app to mobile users and get them to install your app.
Bryan: In your book, you primarily discuss Apple's App Store (apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod). What other platforms exist and are they worth developing apps for them?
Chad Mureta: There are app markets for Android and Windows, which are Apple’s main competitors. Android has 15 different phones with 15 different sizes and as a programmer, you have to develop the app per phone, so that takes more time and isn’t as seamless as developing for Apple, which has one interface. I would like to develop for Android in the future, but right now I’m focusing on perfecting my iOS apps.
As mentioned above, if you're developing a more simple app; then building it for multiple devices and platforms should be easy; but if you are doing something more custom and unique you may only have the resources to focus on one platform. As Chad mentioned, if that's the case you may be best off focusing on the iOS marketplace.
See Also: 3 Email Marketing Mobile Best Practices
Bryan: How much customer service / backend support do you need to provide?
Chad Mureta: Most customers don’t send in service requests, especially when apps are free. They don’t see the point in saying anything. As for apps with a more expensive price sticker, think $9.99 apps and up, this would be more of an issue. I keep my apps in the average price range (free to $.99) so customer service is mainly expressed through the app’s reviews if at all.
The ability to provide customer service and tech support is something you will want to consider when determining the complexity of your app; the more complex will likely require more support.
Bryan: What app are you most proud of? What app has been most successful? What blogs are you reading?
Chad Mureta: My first app, Fingerprint Security Pro, did really well and hit the top 25 charts.
This is definitely the app I’m most proud of because this is how my app empire all began. As for blogs, I read a lot of Tim Ferriss articles for business advice, but also browse the major tech blogs. I don’t read blogs as much as I’d like to though.
Article updated by Online Business/Hosting Expert Brian T. Edmondson