If you are in business as a developer, particularly a mobile developer – odds are you are fairly young (30’ish) and working in a fairly young company. One or both of you will be around for a while. You depend upon results – sales revenue to keep your company going and to keep food on your table. A little bit of consideration for the long-term, a bit of strategic planning, can go a long way for you. While we continue to focus on the subscription service model for premium apps, more or less the same consideration applies to all internet models, and even some brick-n-mortar business models, too.
Product vs. People. Some companies are so focused on their products that they ignore the market – that is the people serviced by those products. The US automotive industry is a particularly good example of this – effectively a bail out worth $60 Billion across Ford, GM and Chrysler, continuing to produce vehicles that people weren’t buying, long after they stopped buying. Fundamentally, the people who buy your product are more important than your products – without them, you will be out of business. It is that simple as we live in a world where your competition is one click away.
It pays to be in tune with your customer’s interests. This extends directly to your “potential customer’s interests”, too. The competitive reciprocal is that you can also be just one click away from your competition.
Mailing Lists. When you have a digital product, software or mobile apps, which requires or actively encourages registration you get a direct line to your customer. With this you can run a newsletter or offer monthly specials. Whether you release a new app once every quarter or once every other year, your customer mailings are likely to be of much greater value than you realize. The point here is that you are not limited to promoting your own apps. Between reseller or commission arrangements with other developers, businesses or affiliate programs – you have several additional options for revenue. The main issue is to focus only on things that will be of interest to your customers.
Segmenting your mailing lists. You don’t want to lump all of your email addresses into one huge mailing list. The rise of crowdfunding has underscored just how important it is to do your best to segment all of your customers into sub-groups for more personalized and customized marketing – because it does have much better conversion rates.
As discussed previously (here and here), the Opera Mobile Store Subscription Service is able to reach customers using specific mobile carriers in specific countries, in specific languages. You have a direct mail channel plus the social networking channels, but what else?
Community volunteers, affiliates and even interns – Taking everything just one step further involves finding just one person, more if you like, willing to volunteer in representing your company in their market area. This is especially relevant where language barriers are involved. If you wanted to be especially creative, your business could go so far as to develop an internship program to attract college students. This can be tied to a commission program, monthly stipend, or any of a variety of compensation models. Such community based efforts help develop long-term relationships.
Growth – There is a major difference between getting the maximum for your product vs. getting the maximum for your business. The production cost of a digital product is very nearly the same whether you only sell one copy or millions (compared to physical products). Within a digital environment, volume of distribution trumps product price in every case but one — knowingly producing a bad app.
The world’s population is growing, more people are using mobile devices, more apps are developed, more apps are downloaded. Virtually every prong of analysis substantiates that mobile is growing – even if the rate of growth fluctuates.
Per the Law of 72, if mobile is growing at 8% annually, the number of mobile users will double in 9 years!
Income expressed in purchasing power parity for most developing markets is doing the same thing!
The developer that is best able to understand what this means and applies to it won’t have to worry about the price of an individual copy of their app.