Giving Away an App Can Lead to Long Term Growth


They say if you’re good at something, never give it away for free; but what if I told you that free apps aren’t free?

You’re not giving away an app out of the goodness of your heart (unless you’d like to). Instead, by building an app for free, you’re creating an opportunity for new revenue streams and clients. Never give away an app without knowing exactly what you’re getting back in return. Monthly recurring revenue, sponsorship, referrals and lead generation are all acceptable forms of return. Let’s run through what to expect from your giveaway.

Foot In The Door

Whether it’s referrals or lead generation, the benefits are worth the cost of the app. But it’s good to remember that the bigger you are, the higher your app’s perceived value. For instance, if you’re just starting out, it’s best to give an app away in exchange for referrals. The client may be wary of the fact that it’s free, but you need to assure them that the app holds plenty of value—you simply want to spread the word since you’re just starting out. They’ll be much more willing to help when you’re honest upfront.

Lead generation is much bigger when you’re more established. Chris Yano of RYNO Solutions understood this, and it inspired him to donate an app to a local charity golf tournament auction. He traded the app for a booth, where he networked with attendees and leveraged those relationships into 4-6 more deals.

Just do it

There’s nothing preventing you from offering a free app. Remember: it’s about the value of the app to the client and your business. One app can easily become 4-6 in a short amount of time. It’s all about hitting your long-term goals, even if that means sacrificing short-term revenue.

A friendly reminder: there’s no right or wrong way to do this. You can give the app away entirely or just build it for free but continue to charge a recurring fee. The most important thing is getting a return on your investment.

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Comments (4)

  • Radical App Designs Nov 25, 2015 at 08:11 AM

    Great post! I believe schools, junior and high school sports are a good place to sell in app sponsorships.

  • WeDigTech Nov 25, 2015 at 14:11 PM

    Its simple and to the point. Thumbs up!!!
    Very important topic indeed and very informative article on it.
    thank you .

    • A scott Nov 26, 2015 at 13:11 PM

      What’s an in app sponsor, and how does it work?

      • Patrick Schock Dec 01, 2015 at 00:12 AM

        The in-app sponsors are local businesses that buy “ads” within the apps, in info tabs or other tabs. They pay to have their logo/information included in the app build.

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