Competing Against Free Apps

One of the more challenging aspects Android app developers are coming up against from a pricing perspective is competing against free apps. Many developers get discouraged thinking that their apps may not fare so well against competing free apps. However, if your app truly has functionality that goes beyond what a free app can do, you should not worry...as much. In fact, free apps (whether your own or others) might even help drive sales of your app because the users find that "free" will only take them so far, and they have to pay to gain additional functionality. If you think creating a free app is for you, then be sure to read Chapter 14 on how to develop a free version of your app. Consumers want a deal, and the word "free" is programmed into everyone's brains at birth! Nevertheless, we also know that in many cases we get what we pay for.

Don't be intimidated by free. If you have developed a unique app, use your app's unique features as your marketing angle.

Consumers have also learned that free apps could mean risky software with a clumsy interface that does not really solve their problem. They also know that free may mean lots of advertisements that sometimes get in the way of a useful app. So how can you effectively position your paid app to compete against free apps? The following sections provide a few ideas that will help you out.

There are really only two ways to be found: on the Android Market (or other Android app site) and on your own product website. As discussed in greater detail in other parts of this book, you should use care in selecting keywords in your web content to describe your app. You want to make sure you are maximizing your use of keywords that are going to help people locate your app site when they do an Internet search. Make sure your app's icon is catchy and colorful. Icons without a lot of sizzle will be scanned over and ignored during a search on the Android Market.

Make sure your app appears in the top listings of search engine results if possible. Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make sure your website will rank higher than those of competing free applications. This takes time to achieve this ranking, and you must have a website that showcases your app extremely well by utilizing key phrases and keywords for maximum effect. One of the other keys to high search rankings is to get many other sites link to your site. Establish a relationship with other sites that are complementary to yours and exchange links on each other's site. Additionally, a carefully placed article that you have written about your app or a press release announcing your will app will help bloggers and other sites to link to your website, thus raising your website in search engine rankings.

This should go without saying, but your app must provide greater functionality, better graphics, and more features than a free app. Many free products are often

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