How To Sell An App Idea

Selling an App Idea

So you just had an app idea that will change the world and now you need to know how to sell an app idea to make your millions.  But first, lets get organized and think through some simple practical steps.

Make a Plan

If you have not done so all-ready, you will need to make a plan.

1.  Write Your App Idea Down. Open up your word editor and start writing down all the different features and functions.  Make sure you include some great 1-2 sentence write ups that describe exactly how this app works and what it can do for the user.

2.  Create a Mock-up.  This will allow you to visually see your app as it would look to a customer.  The goal here is to be able to present this to either a buyer or a developer to get your app idea across.

I personally like to use simple wire framing software to easily mock up an idea.  If you are artistic you could opt for a traditional pencil and paper drawing.

Below is a sample mockup of a Road Trip Game app I created a while ago.  The finished product:

Road Trip Games App

Road Trip Games App


3.  Write The Pitch.  These canned messages are what you will use to sell your app idea; without giving too much information away (more on that below).  Create a couple different pitches for different scenarios:

  • Phone Call Pitch.  Create 2-3 sentences that best describes what your app idea is and how it helps.  While you don’t want to sound a like a robot reading from a dictionary, being able to read your pitch off of paper instead of remembering from your head will help you sound more coherent, especially if you get nervous talking to strangers on the phone.
  • Email Pitch.  Write a 2-3 paragraph pitch with a little more detail. Make sure you write a couple good subject lines as well.  Send the email to yourself from as secondary email account to ensure it does not get caught in the spam filters.
  • Forum Pitch.  Write 1-2 paragraphs.  Should be short and too the point and try to sound casual and not sound like spam.  Always include a PST or “send me a personal message” note.
  • Blog Comment Pitch: Should be about 1 paragraph.  What ever commenting you are doing, always try to match your pitch with the context of the blog so you don’t sound like a spammer.

And remember, unless you are not worried about someone taking your app idea, let your pitch be just enough to rouse interest.   The goal is to not get copycatted, which is very prevalent in the App world.


Will The App Idea Work?

Once you have a basic plan outlined you will want to validate it.

1. Get Honest Opinions.  Present your current working app plan to some friends and family.  Ask them to be candid and honest.  Do not be afraid of constructive criticism.  Constructive criticisms can save you time and money in the long run.   The worst thing you can do is run with a bad app idea and this step is your first real filter to make sure it that does not happen.

2.  Conduct General Market Research.  Before you spend the time and money in selling an app idea, make sure the market exists for your app idea and that the market is not already completely saturated.

The App Market Analyzer has the ability to do app keyword research that will give you good marketing metrics that will tell you if this app idea has potential.

Keyword Research Facebook

Keyword Research Facebook


Another valuable tool is to do general app research using the App Insights tool.  Take a look at the current App Worth’s to decide if other people are making money with the same ideas.  This is a lot like when you are trying to buy or sell a house.  One of the big factors in determining a house’s worth is by looking at the general real estate comps in the neighborhood, which help you price your house relatively.

If your idea does exist, not to worry!  Innovate!  Steve Jobs did not invent the computer, but he sure knew how to innovate on it to make it better.  The rest is history.

As an example, let’s look at the app idea “Calorie Counter”.  After doing a general search in the AMA we can see that the top ten are loaded with apps that are pricing very well.  This could be a potential money-making app idea.

General App Research

General App Research


Selling an App Idea

It’s not easy to sell an idea without proof of the market potential.  You will need to create a marketing plan that showcases without a doubt this app will make money.  Once you have completed that it’s time to start trying to sell your app idea.

The biggest problem you are going to run into is trying to protect your idea from copycats.   Unfortunately the app markets are FULL of similar apps; once an idea is known to work many others will follow its example.  Flappy Bird, Temple Run, Tower Defense and Clash Of Clans are great examples of runaway success hits that were quickly followed by a wave of copy cats.

Protect yourself with an NDA (non disclosure agreement).   Once you get some bites from interested parties, have then sign a NDA before fully disclosing the entire app idea.  It may even behoove you to have a lawyer look over the contract to make sure it’s binding for your situation.

Plan A. Reaching Out

So where do you go to sell app ideas?  There are not many official places on the internet for things of this nature.  You will have to start fishing around on blogs, forums and maybe some subtle advertisements.  Remember you never want to put the full idea out, just dangle bits and pieces to get people interested.

You will want to make sure you have some pre-canned pitches ready to go, especially if you get a phone call from a potential buyer.  This is where properly documenting your idea, its functions and uses comes in handy.

Plan B. Crowd Funding

Sell your idea via a crowd funding platform!  While not as straight forward as simply selling the idea and then having nothing to do with it after that, you could trying to develop the app yourself.

Yes this does defeat the purpose of selling an app idea but may be better in the long run.  Having an app built is not as hard as you may think.  But you will need some capital to have it developed and marketed.

Sell the idea via or, if others believe in what you are trying to do, you may acquire enough capital to have the app built.  So in essence you are selling the app idea.


Selling a Complete App : Your Best Bet

You are going to find it’s more difficult to sell an app idea than it is to just have it built and THEN sell the finished product.  Once your app has been built there are numerous online markets available that specialize in this very concept.

Knowing how to sell an app idea is just the beginning, depending on the path you choose to take.  Selling app ideas is not very common, unless you are selling the idea to have it developed.  But it is possible and you will never know unless you try.

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