#ProTip: How to get users in the habit of using your app

Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf fishing for ProTips. It’s a rich hunting ground — it’s the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

It sounds counterintuitive, but for many iOS developers, the easy part is getting people to download their app from the App Store. The hard part is getting people to use the app. Ideally, developers want them to use the app regularly. They want them to get into the habit of using it.

How do you do that? Sally Shepard, an app consultant who spent many years working with big publishers, has a great little tip.

How a 25-year-old dev made 600 apps without being able to code

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There's money to be made in them there App Stores. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
There's money to be made in them there App Stores. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

John Hayward-Mayhew is one of the most prolific iOS developers ever to peddle a blackjack game. Over the past four years, the 25-year-old entrepreneur flooded the App Store with an astonishing 600 separate apps — everything from endless runners such as Dangerous Caveman Bum Runner to dentistry games like Emergency Dentist Race — raking in close to $1 million in the process.

The most miraculous part of all? He can’t even code.

But by taking advantage of one of the App Store’s great weaknesses, and borrowing a game plan from one of Hollywood’s most unusual impresarios, he’s built a one-man gaming empire.

How a dev doubled his revenue with an April Fools’ joke

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This previously free app is making its developer some decent cash. Photo: Rob LeFebvre
This previously free book-cataloging app now makes its developer decent cash, thanks to some shrewd pricing moves. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

San Francisco-based developer Giacomo Balli doubled his take on his iPhone apps thanks to an April Fools’ Day joke. When he ratcheted up the price to an eye-popping $4.99 for an app that catalogs books, he got downloads instead of complaints.

The App Store lets devs change the sale price of their apps pretty much any time they like, but most folks take conventional routes: cutting prices during sales or dropping prices to free. Balli made his previously free apps premium with just a toggle.

“There weren’t any app updates, either,” he told Cult of Mac over the phone. “Just the price.”

iOS/Mobile Development Among The Most Sought After IT Skills

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Xcode joins a long list of new software from Apple today.
According to Dice, mobile app development is the second most sought after IT skill set.

Dice’s monthly report of the IT job market continues to show that developers remain the most in-demand jobs. Fully half of the top ten jobs listed are for various kinds of developers with mobile app development ranking as the second most in-demand skill.

That’s not too surprising all things considered. As we noted this morning, a recent Symantec study notes that 59% of companies are actively working to create mobile versions of their internal line of business. That doesn’t even take into account customer-facing apps, which are more and more seen as a requirement.

Other in-demand development skills include Java, Microsoft .NET, web, and the rather generic software developer. Java stole the number one slot. With one exception, development skills make up the top five skill sets. The one non-developer position was related to data and network security.