Build a Free App, Build A Following
Another way to gain more exposure for your app is to make it free and look for other ways to generate revenue. There are many reasons to build a free app, most notably so that you can build a following for your apps. Your goal can be to build a following with downloads or try to make money by selling ads.
Building a free app has a number of benefits and considerations including the following, which you'll want to consider as you build your company:
- Build a free app to sell ads.
- Build a free app to showcase your development skills.
- Build a free app for future sales.
- Build a free app to support other products.
The trick with selling ads on your app is that the app must be incredibly successful with hundreds of thousands of downloads. This means that you have to write a great app that becomes extremely popular.
With huge numbers of downloads, you will sell lots of ads and generate revenue from ads versus selling the app. Review the most popular free apps in your category to help you determine the winning traits that you might incorporate into your app.
If your goal is to develop apps for other people, as a contractor you can use a free app to demonstrate your skills to potential clients. You can create a free app that you can post to the Android Market and other markets such as your own web site and you'll gain experience building the app.
When potentials client want to see a sample of your work, you direct them to your site or the Android Market to download a copy and try it out. An app that has many downloads will help convince clients to use you to develop their apps.
Many developers build a free app first with the intention of charging for the app after they have built up a following. However, in certain studies of app sales, a free app that gets changed to a paid app often sees a significant decline in sales after switching to a paid app.
Other studies have indicated that even if the app developer moves the app back to free after trying to charge for it, the damage has been done and the number of free downloads is still impacted even though they set the price back to free. It appears that the momentum is broken at that point when a free app is altered in any way.
It is probably best to develop a free app and leave it as free and then create another app that is paid after you monitor the downloads and level of interest around the free app. This will allow people to download your free app without risk and then purchase your paid app if they like what they see or want to obtain additional functionality.
Perhaps you are selling another product that can benefit from building an Android and iPad app. You can develop a free app that can either be used to complement your other product or help you to strengthen your brand.
Gaining exposure for your Android app is still a little more difficult than gaining exposure for an iPhone app because the Android Market is newer and does not have the advantage of an iTunes-like store that sells multiple products.
Android Market is improving. but you should look at other outside means to market your app as well. This can work to your advantage if you are willing to build your own site (or post your app to another app market site), employ some services to help you fulfill sales, and do some marketing to gain exposure for your app.