When I had an ideas for mobile apps years ago, I just needed a computer to write those down. It took three years to get one old used MacBook and within few months to get several apps coded but I didn’t much figured out business models to them besides my Music Discover App which could make some revenues being Apple iTunes store affiliate.
Then I had need for $99 to pay Apple Developers fee so somehow thanks to generous people in my journey to Finland, I got that money. So, I paid the fee to got to the next problem. Every app needs at least an icon and preferably start-up image to be designed. So I had to hire a designer. My icon budget was $50 and eLance was a place to recruit a freelance graphic designer. Tips for using eLance. Never hire the Asian company. They may have professional work in their portfolio but this isn’t done by the person working for your project. And they promise to do you work within a day but it takes actually more than a week to accomplish anything. They have their holidays, etc. At least one young Spanish girl from Balerias delivered me a satisfied result in promised time.
So I decided that maybe I will let somebody to design my screen as well as I wasn’t satisfied with my music discovery app launch screen. But to my surprise, nobody wasn’t able to provide me XIB files and their offers where something $150-$250 for one screen. It’s was useless for me to get PSD files from designer as I have to redesign those bitmaps in xCode and for $150-$250 people write full apps nowadays.
So, when I will get some extra cash I will let someone to design background images rather than outsourcing UI design. Hopefully the price will be below $100. And Facebook app page needs header image as well so I could use the same theme there. So far the cost of getting app to market is around $250 if you know programming.
There is essential to test your app. I used Testflight to recruit testers. However from those thirty person signed to my test program, only one bothered to install my app and haven’t much used it either. Previously Apple account was limited to 100 devices so with this rate I would have run out the test devices soon without having much people testing my apps anyway. Nowadays you can use Apple services for testing as well and you could have up to 1000 testing devices so things are moving better. But to get people to test your app, maybe you should pay for them $10 for example? Anyway, I will try to market my apps more for prospective testers and let’s see. What I probably need is to join a community where app fans hanging around. So far I haven’t much found those in LinkedIn or Facebook.
Besides app Facebook page, you must have also webpage for your app. Again, if you are programmer and not designer I would recommend to buy ready made template. Template prices are usually $10-$25 and you could use the same background theme with it. So remember to specify your background image not only for iOS devices screens but also to be used as Facebook page header and for your website. Domain name could cost $10 per year extra. Basically I could run this mobile site in a subdomain but as I noticed, Google doesn’t like it a much.
And finally you need a video. If you want to make a professional commercial, this costs a lot. Technical team with DOP and Sound will cost at least $2000 per day. Actors minimum is $600 per day, for Post-Production you need at least FinalCut pro software ($290) and you have to license music as well. So your video budget could get easily over ten thousand.
But you could do it simple way. Just get yourself some photos to video application and then you have to license music only. If you have some musicians friends maybe you could ask them to help you out as your app could promo their music.
Before you app release, you should think your marketing plan. Facebook is a good source for app marketing but you can invite only your friends to like your app page. So join to related groups and ask people there to evaluate your app and write reviews. Of course, if you have some money you could run a Facebook campaign for your targeted audience. Your website doesn’t make visitors without some efforts as well. So you have to do site SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and start link building. If you know any bloggers, you should ask them to evaluate your app and write about it to their blog with link to your site.
So besides coding, releasing an app could cost at least $500 but possibly in thousands when you want to make it properly. And releasing it free doesn’t much make sense because you have to earn at least Apple Developers fee back. So you have to figure out some business model, preferably using inApp purchases.
That’s why writing a book makes much more sense to me. If your english isn’t good enough you should hire an editor for something $200-$300. Then you need artwork (cover) for something $100. And you can sell it for $2.99 in Amazon having room for 99c Special Offer. When you have sold thousand copies you are in winning side, while having thousand users for your app you still haven’t made much money out of it.