iPhone Life magazine

Apps for Kids: How Can Indie Developers Make Money?

Kids love Apple. They embrace the iPad and dote on the iPhone. The intuitive design of iOS devices enables kids to simply pick up a device and start playing with it. The popularity of iPhone, iPad, and other smartphones and tablets has had a huge impact on how kids learn and how they interact with the world.

The App Store offers thousands of educational apps and games. Families and moms are conceptualizing apps for their kids and the Federal Trade Commission is formulating privacy laws for apps targeting children. Writers now have an audience for articles that give guidelines of mobile use for kids and help conquer the problem of kids making unauthorized in-app purchases.

iPhone Application Development for Kids

Considering the popularity of the iPhone among kids, you would think there was money to be had in iPhone application development for kids. But, sadly, that is not the case. The best apps for iPhone and iPad don't do that well. In fact, the market is saturated with high-quality apps – every day, dozens of developers launch fantastic apps for kids, but many of them don't even generate any news. How can you, as a developer or an entrepreneur, ensure your app is not consigned to oblivion? The following facts should help you find the right path.

One-App Wonders are Rare

One-app windfall is a myth, focus on numbers

Dreams of developing one fantastic iPhone and iPad app for kids and living richly ever after are destined to remain unfulfilled. The fact is, most of the income for app developers comes through a number of apps. You need volume to become popular and you need a stream of revenue from a number of apps to finally break even and begin turning a profit.

I am not advising you to flood the App Store with lots of cheap, low-quality apps. But you can consider ideas such as reusing the code from an app, breaking an app into parts, or re-launching apps with newer features to help you save time and effort. If the users like one of your apps, they will naturally be ready to spend money on the apps that come next in the series.

Consider Partnering with Educationists

Rope in teachers and professors, let your kids app benefit from their experience

Many of the most successful educational iPhone and iPad apps are based on concepts by people who know what they want. While there are several educational apps on the app store, not many of them are of any real use in a classroom. Teachers and professors have first-hand experience of what works in the classroom, and they may have concepts for apps that most school and college students would be interested in downloading.

For instance, an amazing app that teaches students about our solar system will not sell as well as an app that enables students to take notes in the class, take tests and submit research work. There is a shortage of apps that can be successfully used in a classroom environment. Even with apps that are not targeting the classroom, it is a good idea to hire or collaborate with an expert – not only will this ensure that the content on your app is irreproachable, but it will also help you build trust and get a good press.

Marketing Makes a Big Difference

Social media, Internet marketing, email campaigns, and tech blog reviews help

While it may not be possible for independent developers to spend a lot of money on marketing, there is no way an app can make a big splash on the app stores without any kind of advertising. Thankfully, there are several things you can do without spending a cent. Talk to your peers about the app and tell them to spread the news. Post about the concept of your app while you are developing that app (don't do this if it so good that others would steal it and build an app themselves!), and talk about the progress of your app.

Once you are ready to place the app on the iTunes Store, send emails to schools or groups who may be interested in your app. Contact tech bloggers and education bloggers who would be interested in the kind of app you are building, and request them to review your app. All this will help you popularize your app on the Internet. If enough people like the app, you can get a lot of downloads on the first day and get featured on the iTunes App Store!

In summary, marketing, getting help from educationists, and building apps in numbers are helpful tactics only when you build quality apps. In order to make huge profits from iPhone apps for kids you must hit upon a winning concept and develop high-performance apps. In an ideal world, building a good app should have been enough, but when the app store has more than 800,000 apps, many great apps are buried beneath the clutter. Don't let this happen to you!

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Carlos Wilson's picture
Carlos works for MyFirstMobileApp.com, a leading Mobile Application Development Company providing custom mobile app solutions for various platforms like iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows phone. He is a water person, loves underwater diving, and also enjoys reading science journals. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.