What does mobile app development have over making a web application? The resulting product is in people's pockets and right at their fingertips.
And if you think you need an existing business to link your app to, Jarrod Robinson of The App Match is here to change your mind. He and James delve into a great way of making extra income that's open to anyone with some content and an idea.
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James calls him his tech sniffer (affectionately), his go-to for most things tech-related. In this appearance, he takes on a topic James has seen a lot of on Instagram – standalone apps as a business. Jarrod tells him it’s the ultimate low-hanging fruit, and James wants to hear more.
The low-hanging fruit that is standalone apps
In several episodes, Jarrod has spoken of apps in connection to a membership, something James himself has benefited from. But Jarrod has also leveraged standalone apps for years.
Standalone apps are in themselves a product, not necessarily connected to a membership. They may attract the same audience, but they spring from the idea of taking content you already have, and repackaging it as an app. This you can sell as a one-off purchase, or as maybe a sort of in-app subscription.
It just seems like the ultimate low-hanging fruit, says Jarrod, to take content you’ve already got and give it new life in app form. He can’t imagine, for instance, how much content James has produced over the years of his membership.
What sort of content can you give new life?
Now when Jarrod says content, asks James, what does that content look like?
Obviously, says Jarrod, it could be any sort of training content. It might be in video form, PDF format, or things that we typically associate with internet marketing or content production. Stuff like that could have way more utility interactively in an app. Another example would be blog posts that you could package in a searchable manner as an app.
Jarrod can think of a couple of people he’s helped. They took their free blog material, recipes they posted weekly, packaged them nicely, added a search function, and made it a $5 app. It’s become a nice revenue stream for them.
Jarrod suggests contacting him and asking what could be done with a PDF, a video, an audio series or what have you. There could be scope there for a nice app experience.
James is thinking of his adult kids while recording this. Mightn’t they, or someone else listening, figure this is probably an easier business model than other options out there? It certainly seems more accessible than an Amazon store or agency.
All about the payment system
Now how does the payment work? Who collects the money and how? What percentages are we talking about? And what kind of income might this business model achieve?
James emphasizes, they’re not making income claims or guarantees. Ultimately, a lot of it’s going to come down to the quality of the idea, the ability to execute, and maybe even a little bit of luck. What they are talking about is a micro play that might make a big or a small difference in your life, depending on what you already do and how easy this business model might be for you.
In the app space, says Jarrod, you’re mostly integrating with Apple or Google in their payment gateways. People will often think that’s a negative, but Jarrod asserts it’s also a positive, because it gives millions of people the one-click ability to buy your product.
The only catch is that the platforms do take commission. It used to be 30 percent. Now it’s 15 percent, which, for businesses under a million dollars in revenue, is a pretty good margin.
It doesn’t sound terrible, says James, compared to 30 percent, and considering the convenience of the system that handles all the processing.
Is the Apple-Google thing really just whether it’s iPhone or Android?
Yeah, says Jarrod, though it doesn’t make much sense these days to pick just one. And it’s easy now to build on both.
Examples that’ll give you a better picture
Now James would like some specific examples of standalone apps.
The genesis for Jarrod came from his success with one app in the PE teacher space. They had PDF drawings that they used to send as a ebook. All they did was package it into a better user experience, which is really what it comes down to. You’ve got content, how can you make it more usable, have better utility.
It was so simple that they built it in a weekend, using simple tools. They sold the app for $2.99, and it went on to do over 100,000 downloads in the first year. Now take out the 30 percent commission.
A six-figure profit, says James.
The app is called Balance It, and it’s still on the App Store, still a really, really strong download from Jarrod’s audience. It shows that it’s really not about building the next Facebook. They just took existing content, packaged it and gave it to their audience who thought it was valuable.
For some people, says James, the extra income could help out with groceries, or cover a car lease, or help pay the mortgage – a life-changing difference for a good proportion of listeners. Granted, some listeners make over $100,000 a year, according to James’s research.
An app as a product add-on
Has Jarrod seen use cases where people add this to an existing business?
Definitely, says Jarrod. One very successful business has added a smoothie app as an additional product. It creates self-sustaining revenue, where the app development is far, far more affordable than what it can generate.
Plus they create a lot of nice mind share for their audience, and can build out their other services on top of it. So for people with existing businesses, an app can be like a lead magnet (though he knows James doesn’t like that word).
Tripwire, corrects James. He doesn’t mind lead magnet.
That’s the one, says Jarrod.
In some ways, an app can be the first entry point. So if you’ve got a bigger business, it’s still a valuable use case.
A starter product, says James. Much like his book. You can buy Work Less Make More on Amazon or Audible, but it’s not going to make him rich. And at the same time he gives it away at SuperFastResults.com/book. But that’s okay, because it’s the product that introduces people to James and lets them decide if his coaching programs are a good fit.
Moving people from the app to your ecosystem
Now are there ways to move a user into your sphere of influence? Can you, for example, collect an email address?
Of course, says Jarrod. You can collect sign-ups.
James has heaps of apps asking for his email to send updates. Some require activation via email to work.
“You get to leverage the biggest company on earth for distribution.”
And then the great thing, says Jarrod, is that Apple becomes the launchpad for what might be an even bigger endeavor in the future. You get to leverage the biggest company on earth for distribution. It’s a big, big thing for him.
Just how much does it cost?
Considering the advantages a standalone app offers, James imagines it would be expensive to deploy.
Once upon a time it was, says Jarrod. The path would have involved great cost, developers and chaos. You can still do that, he says, but you don’t need to.
We still hear about $50,000 or $100,000 web build quotes for an app.
You can do it way cheaper than you probably have heard without development, says Jarrod. About $1400 per year to have the entire product managed, built from the ground up and delivered. And that’s really quite sustainable, because the revenue streams can cover app development these days, much more affordably.
“The only question becomes, is this a business model you want to try?”
So for less than 1500 bucks annually, says James, you’ll get an iOS and Android app, and Jarrod’s team will build it out from content provided by the customer. The only question becomes, is this a business model you want to try? Do you already have content or not? And if you don’t, do you want them created?
Your mobile app development go-to
Do you think you could make back $1500 or more from doing this business model? And if you want to do that, where do you go?
Jarrod recommends theappmatch.com/match. It’s a quick survey, you can just put in your details about what you have, your type of content and so forth. And the part Jarrod and his team love is reading them and finding out how best people can deploy this type of stuff in their business.
Says James, the reason he and Jarrod talk is because Jarrod’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to. He’s lived 10 lifetimes as a product creator, and James helped him create theappmatch.com to harness that superpower. He’s referred people to Jarrod for years, and gotten the most amazing feedback. He has no doubt, if you want a self-contained app, it’s a simple and effective way to go.
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