By: Dave Farber
has found success by selling its financial wellness app through employers. Lead generation models or structures that generate indirect value (e.g., getting your customers to buy more of another product) might be good ways to go. Consider all of the options that might work in your space, explore how they fit with consumer expectations, and determine what your preferred model means for the design of your app.
Identify a foothold market to target. With the number of apps that are out there, you can’t just launch a new one and hope that people will be drawn to it. For new apps, the biggest drivers of traffic / downloads tend to be advertising and word of mouth. Given how quickly advertising costs can add up, whatever you can do to drive word-of-mouth conversions could be what ends up saving your app from failure. By focusing your early efforts on a narrow foothold market, you make it easier for users to learn about your app, try it out, and refer it to others in your target group.
Keep in mind that a good foothold market isn’t necessarily the same as the ideal target for your app. Your ideal eventual user, for example, may not be an early adopter, or they may not have a large network to whom they could refer your app. The best foothold consumers meet four criteria.
Start simple and expand once it’s viable. One of the biggest mistakes I see in this space is that teams devote seemingly endless hours incorporating features that add more harm than value. At the end of the day, people are going to hire an app that helps them get a job done. The more features you add to an app, the more chances you add for something to go wrong. Moreover, the added complexity muddles your marketing messaging, complicates the user experience, and challenges your product team as it seeks to maintain the app.
Rather than trying to do more, make sure you’re doing things right. Your first user research is generally broad and exploratory. You may better understand the jobs that consumers are trying to get done, but you may not fully understand the success criteria by which they determine whether an app helps accomplish that job. Your follow-on research should put real concepts and wireframes in front of consumers so that you can get reactions, iterate, and launch a truly great app.
Apps involve a lot more than a great idea and some code. You’ll only succeed if you develop a deep understanding of your users and how the satisfaction of a job can translate into revenue. At the same time, successful launches avoid adding unnecessary complexity. Start with a simple solution for a defined foothold market. Once you’ve mastered that, you can develop a distinct strategy for how to scale.
is a strategy and innovation consultant at New Markets Advisors. He helps companies understand customer needs, build innovation capabilities, and develop plans for growth. He is a co-author of the award-winning book .
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