I decided to create an app.
What was the idea?
A Reverse Caller ID App.
What is that?
It retrieves names of people and businesses by phone numbers. So, if someone calls and you don’t know who it is, you type in the number, and you gain the information First Name, Last Name, Address, Line Type, and anything that the internet provides for free.
So, this was not a revolutionary problem anyone in particular had. In fact, there are over 75+ products just like this, including huge Brand names that have been around for decades. However, I thought I had a unique approach, so I thought I would give it a try.
Let’s go down in history on the design and development process of gaining users organically.
Starting to research what was already out there, I created wireframes to replicate the UX/UI that already exists on other apps. Most apps were white, so I decided to use purple and orange style guides for it to stand out a bit.
Getting a quick logo on fiverr for $25 and I was able to get some designs going.
The “not so unique” approach was star rating to validate the authenticity of the data rated by the user. However, I eventually removed it because I would have to create logins. That’s another story, but in short, it was technical debt for a minor feature.
Eight weeks later, from start to finish, I launched on Google Play Store and the Apple Store.
But, it only got 79 downloads the first year.
I shared it with friends, but it didn’t take off right away. There were so many glitches getting bad reviews on the low number of downloads. It took a few months to get a seamless product and get all the bugs out.
Mostly because I did not have time as I was working full-time.
A year later, I hopped back on the bandwagon to dive deeper into the product because I had a bit more time.
The first thing I did was continually test the app. This may be assumed already, but there are tons of apps that have glitches, especially mine. The app would shut down upon launch, the information would not showcase. I can see why my retention rate was terrible, I did not do a thorough enough Quality Assurance (QA).
I was being a bit cheap and lazy. I should have hired testers either humans or platform systems, but I was very excited and just pushed it out anyways.
There are many QA testers out there for you to use and I suggest using them to test on all versions of the Iphone and Android.
I hired a QA team and used Beta Testing. Now the app is seamless. I relaunched the app.
My First 1000
Upgrading the App Store Optimization (ASO)
Content and copy is important for marketing and selling a product. Though I had some content, it was not exactly strategic to be optimized. I double down with content writers and copywriter specialists to grasp keywords that optimize searches on Apple and Android.
Apple and Android provide enough space to write extended paragraphs to sell your product.
Thesaurus to expand my vocabulary and try not to reuse the same words.
Keyword Magic Tool to find important keywords.
Within 6 months I received over 1000 downloads organically.
Apple does offer paid search ads, but the application was free with ads running for now. The app did not make enough money to supplement the payment for ads. I wanted to upgrade the app’s features and charge a monthly subscription. Once I did that, I would revisit paying for ads on App Stores.
The First 5,000
One of the most important things to understand about any product is understanding who your audience you are specifically targeting.
I doubled down on who receives unwanted phone calls constantly that would need to verify the identity.
I had a list of names, but the final audience I picked included:
People that don’t pay bills on time
Private Mobile Masseuses
Single Women On Dating Apps
Yes, kind of weird and specific, but I thought this list was just the beginning. I honed into the Private Masseuses only because most use a personal phone or VOIP phone number to receive calls to make an appointment. It would be hard to find a database to figure out if we paid bills or didn’t. And Single Women on Dating Apps would require a different marketing approach.
I gained a list of thousands of Independent Private Mobile Masseuses by web scraping, directories, and lead generation brokers and sent a simple text to download the app with Opt-out options.
25% Responded with a Thanks.
30% Requested to be removed from the list.
45% Did not respond.
The Next 10,000
Upgrade UX from Feedback & Reviews
At this point, the reviews were subpar, and the design looked amateur and dated compared to the competing apps. There were requests and recommendations from users, so I knew I had to do an upgrade.
With the rebrand, I restarted with more engaging colors.
I upgraded the logo and a new color theme, adding some cool gradients to make it look like a social media platform that would easily pop out on phone screens.
Creating new wireframes, I expanded from one feature to five.
- Google Extended Search
- Update Contacts
It took about four weeks to go through the new prototypes seamlessly for development.
Then through development, we had to upgrade the additional features that took about four more weeks.
I was also running into issues:
- Robots were spamming the app, running up the API bill with false searches.
- Reports that were being spammed needed to be monitored or removed.
After fixing these glitches, I relaunched the app.
At the moment, there are about 7000+ downloads, testing, and upgrading any issues before the 10K Milestone. I am currently working on the final features, including app blocking on cell phones.
The Next 50,000
The app will have no issues and have all the upgraded solutions for new and existing users. With the fee of $3.99 per month and ads for unpaying users, the monies made would supplement additional marketing.
Indeed, users usually download the first app on the search results. This app is in the top 20 for most searches, with the highest being #2, but never number one. Search ads provide an opportunity to reach the next 50,000 users.
The Next 100,000
Social Media Marketing & Ads
The application is currently running on organic searches with minimal social media. I added subscription fees of $3.99 Monthly, so the unit downloads are lowered compared to some free apps.
However, since I upgraded the UX with additional features, the goal is to gain specific users who value the information provided through our systems.
This brings me to marketing outside of the app by using social media. My goal would go back to the audiences and create content (photo, video, animation), ads, and posts dedicated to these audiences and paid placements on popular pages on Instagram and TikTok only.
I would use these same ads for Google Adwords to gain more traction.
- Learn and understand App Store Optimization
- Hone into a specific Audience to market directly to them
- Use Feedback For App Upgrades and Features
- Use App Search Ads to land on page one of Searches
- Use Social Media Marketing, Influencers, & Google Ads to market to your audience
Moreover, I learned a lot from building this app and had some twists and turns during the process, but I would have to say it was pretty fun. I am not sure if I will keep it or not, but for now, I love solving this problem.