While in college Zach built Hashtag Expert
, an app for finding top-performing hashtags. After growing it organically for a bit, he started doing paid acquisition and quickly scaled it to hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue. You can see exactly how much Zach spent to grow Hashtag Expert to that level because he publishes an interactive dashboard
that shows the past couple years of income and expenses. Zach is now writing an email newsletter
on his process of building a new app business with the goal of earning $100k in profit within the first 6 months.
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
(7:58) Reporting in Facebook ads
; Zach’s ad strategy as a bootstrapped app company.
(41:11) The status of the $100k app challenge 3 months in.
“[Hashtag Expert] definitely changed how I think about branding an app. If you make an app, it should have one really good functionality. And then if you want to build another piece of functionality that’s similar but not exactly part of it, then separating it out into its own app can be another way to get way more users because you have a whole new set of organic traffic to get.” - Zach
“If you get somebody on a subscription, you know that they’re willing to pay, and so then you can push those to all your other subscription apps. It’s a smart strategy.” - David
“[With paid ads] you’re basically building a money-printing machine. Even if you’re at break-even, if I pay $10 to get somebody and they spend $10 and I don’t profit immediately, the next year or the year after, I could make money. And that just allows you to build a substantial revenue monster.” - Zach
“If you had a machine where you could literally put in one dollar and get back two, how much money would you put into it? Literally every dollar you had! Once that clicked in my head, I started spending on ads a lot.” - Zach
“Something about showing the product as like, ‘Hey, this costs money; this isn’t a free product’ — that changes how people view it. It’s like, “Oh, OK, I have to pay for this.” - Zach
“Meeting people where they’re at and giving them more options to pay, I think, is compelling.” - David
“The narrative that subscriptions in general are a way to trick users into paying more money is, I think, more and more not becoming the case.” - Jacob
“That’s a really savvy thing, I mean, outside of app businesses in general. Validate — just get some validation, some heat.” - Jacob
“I think sometimes entrepreneurs can get caught up in themselves and believe some demand exists for something because they care about it — but you really have to take that extra step to be like, ‘Are there 10 other people I can find that also care?’” - Jacob
“There are dozens of different use cases for every app, and if you’re at scale advertising and you hit a ceiling and you’re trying to unlock additional channels for revenue, then [multi-channel optimization] is naturally the next point.” - Zach
“I never saw somebody being super, ultra-transparent about how they’re doing things — like literally documenting exactly how they named their app and exactly how they think about an app idea. There’s a lot of high-level advice out there but not a ton of micro, super focused, super transparent advice.” - Zach
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