My engineering days definitely familiarized me with the term noise. Random, chaotic data that cloaks any desirable output or recognizable patten. There is a TON of noise in the app ecosystem. So a while ago, I asked myself if apps are dead. Are apps that aren't pushed by major powerhouse companies, don't receive large scale media from tech influencers, and aren't featured by the App Store doomed to relish in app purgatory? Are they stuck in a infinite loop that has no end?
The crazy part is that the answer seems to be yes. People are just tired of new apps. They don't want to download them. They don't want to learn to use them. They are happy with their current 40 apps (they probably only use maybe 5-10 daily). It's a simple supply and demand problem. There is too much supply and not enough demand. Thus the desire and need to find new apps is lower. And apple isn't reducing search frictions for finding obscure apps, so it won't ostensibly get any easier. So what to do?
I don't know. Currently, I have been thinking about this since some of our current companies are mobile only and because I have tried to create my own app (sad story for another day). These tips are based on having a functional product with product-market fit. You need to break the rules. Create a hack that pushes it to tons of people. Anonymously email "acquired" email lists. Do whatever is necessary to market you app. People have to know about it and find it. If they don't....you lose. You could try buying Google and Facebook ads, but with all of the click bots and costs of clicks, you will go broke. It's easier to become friends with Apple and get featured. This is no easy task. This is where you leverage your personal network and PR to get into the right doors. If you don't...you lose. Highly incentivize your user base to share your app. This is where social apps are better because they innately incentivize us to get your friends to use it with you. This must happen. Seth Godin talks about normal distribution curves. You need to get your product from being used just by nerds (fashion nerds, music nerds, nerd nerds) aka enthusiasts by making the other 80% want to aspire to be like the early adopters. If you don't do this...you lose. Get back to grassroots, guerilla marketing. Knock on doors, give out fliers, hang up posters. You need a cheap, "in your face method" to get customers. Online channels are noisy. If you don't do this...you lose. Lastly have a app that can be quickly learned and used by the masses. People want to hear about something cool and then easily be able to use it. Otherwise, as you already know...you lose.
I'll have to flush out this mental dump more. I'm no expert but these are some tactics that I've seen or heard work. It's like dating in NYC, you better stand out. Maybe this will help me in the future with my own company.