The Top 5 Reasons Why Your App Isn’t Selling

Logos of App Stores where you can sell your apps.

Can’t seem to crack the magic code that leads to sales in the iOS and Android App stores? Can’t figure out why everyone else seems to be making a mint off of apps but you’re swimming in debt? Here are the top five reasons you may be floundering, and if you’re already avoiding all these pitfalls then you may just be saddled with the world’s worst luck.

5. You aren’t marketing your app

There are a lot of folks out there who think that they have such a great app that all they need to do is share it with the world and the money will come rolling in. That is decidedly not the case, as the sheer volume of content released every day for smartphones and tablets overwhelms most users. Even though you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad, there are still ways to effectively showcase your hot new app and get it the attention it deserves. Partner with other companies to create mutual promotion, do a big sale or giveaway to prime the pump and get people talking about your app or take out a Facebook ad to try and try a few of the 800 million eyeballs from that site. Speaking of social media…

4. You aren’t effectively leveraging social media or you don’t understand how it works

The first thing you need to know about sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is that they aren’t sales channels and they aren’t meant to be just another way for you to blast out advertising. The primary objective of social media is to build a community of devoted fans who will in turn become your grassroots sales team. If you’re actively engaging with your Facebook community then those folks will be the first to buy your products and tell your friends how great they are because they already have a relationship with your company. Using Twitter to act as first-response customer service and to engage with the wider community positions you as a reliable authority and a company that understands how to communicate with today’s market.

3. You aren’t getting reviewed

For iOS developers the best thing that can possibly happen to your app is to have it featured by Apple. While there is no magic formula for determining who will get the vaunted seal of approval, it’s pretty clear that apps which are reviewed often tend to draw a lot of Apple attention. There are numerous review sites out there but you definitely want to hit big ones such as TiPb, 148Apps and TouchArcade (games only). Even if the reviews aren’t necessarily glowing you’ll still benefit from the increased exposure and attention. User reviews on iTunes also provide a lift, so consider building an in-app reminder for users to rate your product and provide a review.

2. You didn’t pay attention to design

You may have created the world’s must useful app, but if it’s cumbersome, has a clunky interface or just plain looks bad you’ll be hard-pressed to get anyone to use it. We’ve developed the mantra of “design-led engineering” as a reminder that first and foremost users want something beautiful, elegant and easy to use. You want every aspect of every screen of your app to be pixel perfect, and refusing to fix something that doesn’t look right because it would be to time-consuming is a surefire road to failure. If you don’t have an eye for design then hire someone who does because there are far too many sob stories of awesome apps that never got off the ground because they were the ugly duckling in a room full of swans.

1. You made a bad app

There is a chance that the app you crafted, that you spent years of your life and thousands of dollars crafting, just isn’t very good. It’s a painful truth to admit, but when you consider just how many apps are released every single day you’re faced with the fact that honestly most of them just aren’t that great and consumers are typically smart enough that they can separate the wheat from the chaff. Before you even start development ask yourself two critical questions; “What problem does my app solve?” and “Are there any other apps out there already doing a perfect job?” Maybe you’ve come up with an awesome tip calculator, but there are so many apps like that already available there’s no reason for you to add yours to the pile unless it totally revolutionizes the concept. And let’s be honest, does it really? Also, can we all agree no more farting or burping apps? No one needs one of those let alone hundreds.