10 money-making secrets of top apps (part 2)
Do best-selling apps have something in common? The experts on our Marketplace team think so.
In part one, I shared some of the lessons they learned from studying top apps across Marketplace. Here’s the rest of the list:
6. Be quick to market
As my colleague Todd Brix mentioned recently, we’re planning to open new Marketplace storefronts in more than 100 new markets this year. By making your app available in these new stores early, you increase your odds of getting noticed and gaining a toehold on the download charts.
Apps that show up first in newly-opened stores typically have an early advantage because there’s often less competition. Early download momentum can also help propel and keep your app on the charts even after a store gets more crowded.
7. Think global—and local
Being first in a new market is just one way to win over new customers. Another is by tailoring your app to local customs, preferences, and languages—processes often referred to as globalization and localization. As Microsoft’s Kim Cameron notes in her must-read post on the subject, these similar-sounding expressions mean two slightly different things.
Globalizing your app means making sure things like money, dates, and symbols are expressed correctly for a particular market. For example, making sure your financial app expresses money in Chinese yuan instead of U.S. dollars. Localizing an app means translating it into one or more new languages. Typical elements that get localized are the app’s user interface text, Marketplace description, and App list title. (Localizing the title requires building a C++ resource DLL. Check out the handy utility Microsoft MVP Patrick Getzmann created that makes this process much easier.)
Yes, all this can take some work, but it’s usually worth it. Globalizing and localizing your app increases the odds it might be featured and promoted in a local Marketplace, which can drive up downloads. Generally speaking, people also prefer apps that speak to them in a language they’re familiar with. (This can be less true for games, however.)
Besides Kim’s post, I also highly recommend How to Build a Globalized Application for Windows Phone and How to Build a Localized Application for Windows Phone to help get up to speed.
8. Optimize your app
Windows Phones come in a range of shapes, sizes, and prices. To help increase your downloads and ratings, try to ensure that your app works well on the widest number of devices, including lower-cost ones.
Mike Battista on the Windows Phone engineering team wrote an outstanding blog series that’s packed with advice on optimizing your app for lower-cost devices. It’s another must-read. For more perspective, watch Mike talk about these practices on Channel 9’s Inside Windows Phone.
9. Ask for reviews and ratings
Encouraging customers to tell you what they do and especially don’t love about your app is crucial to long-ter