Finding a way through the App Store maze

Catalyst Centre tenant Safe In Sound Media are on a mission! Their mission is to stamp out unnecessary accidents and fatalities on the roads for school children. Unfortunately, one of the main causes of deaths on British roads is children not concentrating on road safety on their way to school, often due to listening to music on their headphones. Safe in Sound’s concept is to create a safety app designed for school children using the latest geo-fencing technology and they’re working hard to bring their product to market as soon as possible.

The Catalyst Centre has yet to spawn a safety app, so we asked the company’s Chukwuma Ogbobie to tell us about the process of bringing an app to market. “Our app is still in development but it’s been clear to us from the outset that validating the idea with our target market is absolutely the key to success so this is an important step that we can’t hurry. It’s all very well creating amazing technology but if children in year 7 through to year 10 up and down the country don’t like it, and subsequently don’t use it, it would’ve all been a waste of time,” he said.

Not only that, but it’s a tough landscape from a marketing perspective: within four years of Apple creating AppStore, there were over one million apps to be downloaded, and the same number again on GooglePlay. So, how do you go about creating an app that not only resonates with your target audience but also achieves cut-through in an overcrowded marketplace? There are three key phases: validating your idea through market research, beta testing the market and finally launching your app.

First, validate your app idea. A good tip is to see what the competitive landscape is like before you do anything. AppClover recommends leaving the idea well alone if one of the big app design studios have already launched something similar because it will be extremely hard for a budding entrepreneur to compete with a big player’s spending prowess.

However, if you’re up against other like-minded independent app creators, then it’s time to go to work and scrutinise their products closely. Analyse icons, names, descriptions, keywords, design, screenshots, features and user interfaces to look for areas of improvement and to identify differentiating features that your own app brings to the table. Read their reviews too. The 1 and 2 star ratings provide really valuable and actionable insight in terms of improvement areas that you can exploit. The higher rated reviews could give you important information about your target market’s pain points and what they like most about their experience so far. Think of these users as your unpaid focus group!

Once you think you’ve got a better product to bring to market than anything else that’s already out there, it’s time to beta test. The number of beta testers you need depends on a number of factors, such as your goals and length of the test, how much you are willing to spend on it and, of course, your target market. KISSmetric recommends TestFlight as a good platform for organising beta testing so it’s worth checking this out. It’s important to be engaging with your actual target market so look at all ways to reach them and actively engage with them to learn as much as you can; this stage is your first opportunity to get some unbiased first-hand feedback from those that will hopefully go on to buy your app.

Once you have a clearly validated idea and you’ve beta tested your product, you’ll be in a good place to start thinking about launching it. KISSmetric’s interesting blog at https://blog.kissmetrics.com/11-mobile-app-pitfalls/ has loads of good advice for would-be app entrepreneurs.

And if all this has got you thinking, you may want to check out Safe In Sound’s video to see how they’re going about finding their way through the app maze here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbzSLGl4Vtw&w=560&h=315]