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Can You Really Achieve The App Store Success Dream?


We all have that one amazing app idea.

The one app idea that no one has ever thought of. App Store success is guaranteed.

Or is it?

We open up the open up the App Store with excitement and a dash of cold sweat. Searching to see if a similar app to our idea already exists.

You type in “bar nightlife” or “personal trainer” or “toilet finder” and hope for the best.

Next one of two things will happen:

  1. You will find zero relevant results.
  2. You will find 30 relevant results, 10 of which are exactly what your brilliant idea was.

Although you think option 1 means you’re going to be rich, it’s a much worse of a sign than option 2.

“Toilet Finder” App Store search results include: “Places I’ve Pooped”, “SitOrSquat”, “iPee” and “Where to Wee.”

If option 1 occurs. And you find that there isn’t a single app on App Store/Google Play which does what your amazing app ideas I supposed to do. It’s because:

  1. You search for the wrong thing or used the wrong term.
  2. It’s either a horrible idea or extremely hard to execute for reasons you’re not yet aware of.
  3. You found the one app no one has ever thought of yet and you’re a genius.

We all want to believe its number 3. It’s never number 3.

The problem is that when we see those 30 mediocre apps glaring at us, we immediately get scared.

Someone already did it. Moving on.

But should we move on?

The App Store is filled with “pretty decent” apps. These apps perform their basic functionality well.

“Pretty decent” doesn’t cut it anymore

Developing a “pretty decent” app isn’t that challenging anymore. And technology makes it easier every day.

If all you plan to do is add just another “inspirational quotes” app don’t bother. There are dozens of those already.

To reach the top, and achieve App Store success without being Kim Kardashian you have to create something truly remarkable.

Something that stands out in the crowd. A purple cow.

What makes an app truly remarkable?

Now we’re starting to ask the right questions.

There’s no one answer to this question. Everyone agrees on where to start though.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your users is the number one key to any successful app.

Who are they? Why did they come? What are they looking for? What makes them come back? What are they missing?

These are just a few of the questions you need to answer before can understand your audience.

In the beginning, there is no “they”. There is only you. That’s why when building an app it’s always better to be a part of your target audience.

Always be your own customer

By being your own customer you can get key insights early on regarding what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to “guess”, you “know”.

When you are your own audience, it’s easier to connect and understand your users. App Store success will be one step closer.

Experience Over Function

The other major pillar of remarkable apps is Experience. The moment potential users see your listing in the App Store is the moment they start experiencing your app. Make it count.

Your app only has to do one thing well. That’s what expected of you. You will not win any fans if your app is a “post scheduler” which successfully schedules posts.

You will win fans by providing the best “post scheduling” experience out there. By understanding exactly what a post scheduling user needs. By successfully guiding your users through your app experience.

How do you know when you get it right?

An “amazing experience” is an abstract term. There is no “5 step blueprint” that will take care of everything. Iterating until you get it right is the only way.

“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There is a way however, to know when you do get things right. And it’s pretty simple. When users react emotionally to your app,you know you have a winner. Forget 1 to 5-star ratings. When people write “I LOVE this app”, “This app is the best thing that happened to me this week”, “Really amazing app!” that’s when you know you have a winner.

Your app isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok.

Your app should never appeal to as many people as possible. The exact opposite is true. An app that appeals to everyone appeals to no one.

It doesn’t matter if some people leave bad reviews. Your app isn’t for them. Your app should appeal to the smallest reasonable group of people possible.

App Store success will come from your raving fans. From those who cared enough to share. Your app is for them and them alone.

Figuring out who “them” are, that’s the hard part.

What you’re saying sounds like a pretty tall order

Well, it is. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

All of what I’ve said doesn’t mean your app has to achieve greatness in day 1. In fact, I can guarantee it won’t.

Your first version will be generally received with little fanfare. Anywhere from “nice idea” to “meh”. But then it’s time to iterate and learn.

And at some point, without even noticing, you will create something truly remarkable.

App Store Success: Taking the plunge

This is the first post in the App Store Saga series. Where I develop an app from scratch and share my experiences as they occur. I will test everything I say/think/do here along the way.

I might fail. This is my first App Store adventure and the statistics don’t look promising. But I’m going to share my experiences, and hopefully you and I will both learn something new.

You’re more than welcomed to join me for the ride.