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updated 5/26/2013 10:17:14 AM ET 2013-05-26T14:17:14

The app economy is thriving with an estimated annual revenue of $25 billion and over a million apps across app stores. But while the number of apps hitting the market increasing every month, the question is, how many are getting noticed and ultimately making money?

One in four downloaded mobile apps is never used and discarded, according to a  study  by Localytics, thus making download rates, to an extent, misleading. After all, there are only a handful of apps that every person uses on a daily basis.

Consumers launched 7.9 apps per day in 2012 according to Flurry analytics. So how does one get their app among the top eight apps that most users use?

The answer lies in great execution. Here are four key ingredients that will determine the success of your app:

1. Solve a problem.
Every successful product solves a problem that a great number of people experience. We all know that vitamins have a positive impact if you take them regularly. Yet, if you miss a dose, there's no harm done. However, if you've got a bad headache, an Aspirin becomes a must have product, without which, you'd suffer far longer.

Your app needs to be the Aspirin that people need.

There are two ways to look at problems that can be solved. You can solve either the intrinsic problems (think the Flashlight app) or the ones that are enhancements (think Solar, a weather app with a sleek user-friendly interface). Each of these approaches works equally well as long as it satisfies a need for consumers.

2. Make it intuitive.
Are you making life simpler for your user? Is your mobile app intuitive? Can people figure out how to use your app within seconds to minutes without any guidance?

You want to offer users a fantastic experience. Take for instance, Clear app, which entered the hugely competitive market of to-do list apps. Coupling a great concept with fantastic usability is what made it a big hit in the app store.

A great user experience also means making sure your app is free of bugs and crashes. According to a report by Compuware, only 16 percent of users will try a failing app more than twice.

3. Start marketing in advance.
Don't make the mistake of starting your marketing plan once your app is developed. Successful apps are promoted way before they even hit the app store.

Let's talk about the Clear app again. This app started to get tech blog coverage based on demos, previews and teaser videos even before it went to market. Within nine days of its launch, 350,000 copies sold.

Divide your marketing plan into three phases: pre-launch campaign, launch campaign and post-launch campaign. Create banner images that will go up on your app store profile page. Use absolutely stunning screenshots of your app in the app store description. Write a fantastic app description and use the right keywords. These are just a few examples of all that you can do to gain visibility among your target audience.

4. Be strategic about distribution.
With the many distribution channels available for apps today, you have to choose a combination of those that work best for your target audience.

Being featured in Apple's What's Hot, New & Noteworthy, Top 25 or 100 apps lists, for example, is a strategy that will get your app noticed. One way to get Apple to notice you is to generate press coverage around the launch of the app. Apple takes note of positive coverage in the media, which could get you an entry to the New & Noteworthy list.

How you make your app available in terms of pricing is also a big driver. Offering a free basic app to hook a user and then selling premium content is a popular way to increase traction. Some other ways: choosing the right PR tools, launching app giveaways and running contests.

Make sure that your app is noticed and favored by customers. Most failures happen when one of these key ingredients is ignored.
 

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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