Do you have an idea for the next big app? How do you know if it's a good idea? Iversoft breaks down the basics of App Idea Validation in this new blog.
So, you have a great app idea — congratulations! Inspiration has struck and now you're eager to dive head-first into development.
A mobile application is a significant investment. Launching a successful app takes planning, research, and time (not to mention money).
An app can be a great addition to your existing business ecosystem, but not all ideas are created equal. Before you hit the ground running, make sure that you take the time to research your target audience, size up your competition, and determine how you'll make your app stand out in an already crowded market. In this article, we'll outline 6 steps you can take to determine if your idea is worth pursuing.
1. Deep Dive Into Your Idea
First, take a serious look at who is going to use your app and what you hope it will bring to your business. It may sound basic, but considering your target audience and why you want to create an app in the first place is an important first step to determining your project's validity.
Ask the important questions.
What problem is your app going to solve, and who are your target users? What do they want or need? How will your app help them get it?
Size up your competition.
Consider how potential customers are already solving the problem. There may be non-app solutions already available, such as life-hacks or traditional methods. Ideally, your app should offer something that existing solutions don't.
Add up the dollars and cents.
Even if you aren't looking to get rich, developing an app costs money. Thinking about monetization options (such as advertising, in-app purchases, or subscriptions) early on can help you determine whether your idea is financially feasible.
Consider your success criteria.
Typically, success criteria are associated with cost savings, task reductions, and revenue - but it's okay to think outside the box! It can be as simple as a set of users taking whatever you consider to be important in-app actions. Decide what actions you want users to take and establish a set of measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) to track them, so you'll know if you're on track to meet your goals.
As you dig into your idea, it's a good idea to make a business plan that you can use to keep track of your project and share with others. A super simple free template can help you get started.
2. Conduct Market & Competitor Research
Now that you have a business plan and a clear idea of your app's purpose, it's time to assess the competition. Market and competitor research lets you know what else is on the market and how your idea measures up. You'll want to build a competitive analysis spreadsheet to keep track of your findings. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make your app stand out!
- Be sure to consider the following areas in your analysis:
- Your competition's online presence and App Store listings
- Competitors' content marketing strategies
- Indirect competition (such as analogue solutions)
- Direct user research
- Industry reports
It's also a good idea to attend industry conferences and talk with business experts. Remember that your competition can, and will, change. To keep up, it's essential to make research an ongoing practice.
3. Talk to Potential Users (and Critics)
This step is an important one, so don't skip it! Learning more about your potential users and hearing from people who dislike your idea offers valuable insight.
Set aside your solution for a moment and run an idea validation experiment to determine what people really want and need. Go into these interviews in “discovery mode” and keep an open mind. The aim is to learn as much as possible about the problem without pushing your own ideas. Repeat your investigation as many times as you need to until you no longer get new or surprising answers, or until you get a signal that tells you you're on to something.
Though it can be tempting to dismiss those who don't agree with you, it's always important to talk to people who aren't enthused about your solution. Find out why. Is there a problem with your idea that you haven't noticed, or an aspect of the problem you've overlooked? It isn't easy to listen to critics, but their insight can make your final product stronger.
4. Make a Prototype
It is hard to sell an idea based on a description alone. A list of features is never as compelling as being able to touch and see the real things. Create a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) so potential users, and investors, can grasp the functionality of your product.
An MVP is a product that has enough features and functionality to be used by early customers (or potential investors) without the bells and whistles of a finished product. Your MVP should address the problem you want to solve and demonstrates the core value of your app. Think small and manageable. A slide presentation, dialogue box, or landing page can often be built in just a few days.
Don't forget to include a landing page. Create a teaser or promotional page that highlights what your app is all about. Ask for email addresses so potential customers can stay updated about the development progress and launch date. The number of email subscribers you get can help you predict how many people are interested in using your app and what future download numbers might look like.
Create a Google Adwords and Facebook marketing campaign to direct potential users toward your landing page and get the word out!
5. Money Talks
It's easy to get swept up in a great idea, but don't forget about the dollars and cents! Make sure to estimate how much it will cost to build and maintain the app of your dreams.
There are many ways to monetize your app, from in-app purchases to subscriptions. Before you set your prices, it's important to get a realistic picture of how much your users are willing to pay. Take a look at your competitors. How are they monetized and what are their prices? Decide how you will differentiate your app to stand out.
When you have a price in mind, reach out to prospective users and ask if they would use your app right now at that price point. Soliciting feedback from people already interested in your product is a good way to find out if your users think your app is a good deal, or if your pricing is a bit too ambitious.
Of course, you want to be sure that your pricing isn't too low either. Calculate your expected net profit so you don't accidentally sell yourself short.
6. Talk to a Development Team
You've done your research and crunched the numbers, now it's time to take your idea to the next level. The best way to know for sure if your app idea is viable is to talk to a development team!
If your project is small and you have the resources, you could think about developing your app internally. However, thanks to economies of scale, hiring a development agency is usually more cost effective.
At Iversoft, we live and breathe mobile technology. Our expertise is your ultimate resource, so don't hesitate to put it to use!
Chatting with a development company will give you a better idea of how much it will cost to create (and maintain) your app, as well as how long it will take to build. They can also talk you through the finer points of bringing your idea to life, like scalability and user experience.
What looks great on paper doesn't always translate to functionality. Taking the time to consider your competition, talk to potential users, and create a minimum viable product is a good way to determine if you should move forward with development.
Got a great idea, but not sure where to start? Let us know! Our team of experts can help you navigate the ins and outs of building an app that you (and your users) will love. Contact us today for an estimate.