From fun project to profitable side hustle: Taking your app to the Marketplace

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Building apps can be a great way to improve your skills, stretch yourself creatively, help solve problems for others, and achieve success that can become a career cornerstone.

Whether you turbo-boosted your process during Atlassian's Codegeist in October, or you're just building an app for yourself or your team, soon you'll be ready to take it to the next level. You've done a lot of hard work so far and we want you to have the most positive, frictionless experience during the last mile.

In this blog, we'll touch on some things to consider to make your app a success – both for you, and your future users.

Deciding to put an app in the Marketplace

By putting your app in the Marketplace and taking on the responsibility of paying customers, you're starting a small business, which is a decision worth exploring. You'll need to be sure you can dedicate the time and resources to testing your app, building a brand, and potentially customer service too.

The good news is that Atlassian is here to help. There are a lot of people like you who have made the same decision – in fact, we have a whole collection of case studies and success stories to inspire you! All of these apps started from where you are now.

There are also definite benefits to running a business on the Marketplace. As well as improving your existing technical skills, you'll generate your own revenue stream, add to your professional portfolio, and experience product management first hand.

There's no "I" in user, but there is a "U"

Before looking at all the amazing things your app can bring to others, let's first consider how it relates to you.

You'll be your first user – testing the app and ironing out bugs. This step requires a significant time investment, but means you'll get to explore quality assurance and beta testing thoroughly, making a robust app you can be proud of.

It's also an opportunity to grow your empathy as a technically-minded entrepreneur, and understand how to build an app that genuinely appeals to users. You likely built your app to solve a problem that you encountered – and now you're paying it forward by building that solution for other people. 

You share that user experience with your users, which is a powerful insight – but if you want a refresher, check out Appealing to Customers: What Admins Care About for the inside scoop! Once you list your first Paid via Atlassian app, you'll also get access to even more customer insights to help you succeed on the Marketplace.

Your app could be amazing technically, but if it doesn't meet users' needs, they won't love it, and it won't be a success. This concept of having an app that's exactly the right-shaped "peg" for a user need "hole" is called product-market fit – and you can learn more about how to think in product terms in How To Think Like a Product Manager.

Confirm the nitty-gritty details

There are some specifics it's best to work through methodically so you can be confident you're ticking all the right boxes. For starters, carefully read our security requirements for Cloud apps so you can be sure your app properly protects customer data.

Following this, you can start looking into researching the pricing of your app. You'll want to make sure that your app is competitively priced compared to the rest of the market, and attracts users without underselling its value. It's a good idea to look over the pricing and packaging guidelines, and understand how to move potential customers from "try" to "buy" with pricing promotions. 

Next comes the super fun part – naming your app! Similar to gauging pricing, naming is an exercise in looking around and understanding the market for your app. A name should be distinct, nor too similar to anyone else's, and not misleading or confusing for users – luckily, we’ve created a resource on naming and brand guidelines to support you.

Finally, all apps in the Atlassian Marketplace need to meet the legal and compliance requirements laid out in the Marketplace Partner Agreement, plus any additional legal requirements depending on where and how you do business. Going through this process is a universal experience for anyone wanting to put an app into the Marketplace, and we created an ebook to help guide you: Cover your legal bases: A resource for Marketplace Partners.

Get creative and build a brand around your app

Creating the best end-to-end user experience begins as soon as a user visits your app's Marketplace listing page – so you'll need to make sure the page showcases the value of your app clearly and succinctly.

As a technically-minded person, marketing might not initially feel like your strongest suit, but we've got you covered with guides and advice from marketing experts and peers. Adding these skills to your toolbox will make you a well-rounded startup founder in future, able to think about a technical product from a variety of angles.

Remember, how you talk about and sell your app is as important as how performant and robust it is. If people don't know your app exists and aren't quickly convinced it's the right one for them, they won't be interested – which would be a missed opportunity!

Here are three tips for beyond-the-code marketing:

  1. Create a product demo to quickly show users the value of your app. Take tips from demo maestro Nikki Zavadaska in her blog Creating a Strong Product Demo for Customers
  2. Make sure your app and brand makes sense to new users, and create winning customer experiences, by reading our Branding 101 for Marketplace Partners
  3. Don't break the bank! Keep growth sustainable with our guide, Market Your App on a Budget

Lastly, take five for yourself and reflect on all the hard work you've put in so far. Getting an app to the Marketplace for the first time can be a lot of new things to think about. If you need a pep talk, we've got options for you!

  • Check out these words of wisdom from longtime Atlassian community member Daniel Wester on building and growing Marketplace apps
  • Reflect on Vincent Coval's experience. Vincent and his team won Codegeist 2021 with their app Office Manager (now Marketplace-listed) and he encourages you to lean into your uniqueness and creativity rather than create traditional branding

Ready for takeoff? Let's go!

We're thrilled you've got this far, and we're all rooting for you!

The community is also a huge area of support. It's a friendly space to find answers, gain inspiration, and continue to grow. You can also check out our Developer Showcase to see some Marketplace app success stories from devs just like you! Ready to get started?