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ASK RAHUL All About Apps: Mobile Product & Marketing Strategy




As a part of our ASK RODINHOODERS series, may we present Rahul Varshneya. Rahul is one of our key contributors on trhs. If you haven’t read his articles, first READ ALL OF THEM NOW! Rahul is synonymous with anything to do with Apps and is always ready to answer any questions you throw at him!



Meet Rahul… 




“Everyone wants to build an app today, but this wasn’t the case when I started in this space 5 years back. We spent time getting inroads into the tech heartland – Silicon Valley and worked with numerous startups that were early adopters of the mobile ecosystem.


We’ve been working with customers across enterprises such as Novo Nordisk, Warner Bros and Dubai Duty Free as well as successful entrepreneurs from across the globe.


Such is our experience in working with startups that have failed and some that were spectacularly successful. That experience and insight helps us build better products for our customers.


I’ve personally been mentoring mobile-first startups for the last four years through Clarity and personal meetings and am on the board of three mobile-first startups.


I’ve been featured in Bloomberg TV as well as a book (Boss Maker) helping people startup, written by a UK-based author. I write columns on mobile product and marketing strategy at the international editions of the following publications: The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Inc, The Next Web and you can also find my writings in VentureBeat, Forbes, Business Insider and Fox Business.


I’m the co-founder of Arkenea LLC, America’s premier mobile app consultancy helping startups in mobile product strategy and development.



Hit me up for anything related to: 


    • Product strategy


    • Customer engagement and retention


    • Building viral loops


    • Marketing strategy


    • Marketing stack for pre-launch, launch and post-launch







Mistakes I could help entrepreneur avoid making 


There are several mistakes that many app entrepreneurs make at various stages of their startup, but none of them come close to the gravest of them all – assuming they’ve got a bad product at hand when they fail to get traction.


Most apps are not bad products. They may have just failed to capture the fancy of their audience in its current state. To build a successful mobile app business, you have to listen to your customers, analyze what their challenges are and how your app is or isn’t helping them.


Based on that feedback, continue to iterate, which will help you build a product that resonates with your audience.


To be able to get that level of quality feedback from the right audience (your app’s target audience), app developers should focus on distribution right from the get go. Only when you have significant traction will you have enough data to support what’s working and what isn’t.


Engaging an audience from the beginning also helps app developers establish a connect with them. I would any day opt to build my product with customer traction than in a silo with a focus group.”





Rahul is following this page – so just go ahead and ask him everything you wanted to know about apps in the comments below!




Follow him on twitter @rahulvarshneya








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  1. Profile photo of Amit Shroff

    Hey Rahul,

    We are looking for partners for mobile apps, since we don’t have in-house capabilities. Do you have any recommendation. I would prefer someone from Delhi NCR.


  2. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Amit,

    Don’t know anyone in Delhi, but if you’re fine with a team in Pune, I’d be happy to talk to you. 

  3. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Excited to be a part of this and thanks Asha for putting it up! 🙂

    Happy to help any appreneur in growth or scaling up and aspiring ones with any questions they may have. 

    So shoot! 🙂

  4. Profile photo of Amit Shroff

    I will be fine as long as we can work as a team instead of working as client and vendor.. the major problem I see is no body is ready to work as team.. we would like to build a partner and grow. We are not Digitas, Webchutney etc that we can pay hefty charges.. but we do pay decent FEE.

    Let me know if you would be interested..

  5. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Sure, email me the details at first name at arkenea dot com.

  6. Profile photo of Vimlesh Gautam

    Hi Rahul,

    We are working on building a platform for mobile applications usability testing. Our platform will help UI/UX experts and developers provide a visual & audio feedback of what challenges customers are facing when they use their mobile apps. Our platform will help to test prototypes, newly launched apps, new design changes & new games to be tested in the wild or with beta users.

    We need guidance on the development of our platform as we don’t carry internal expertise and are also open to outsourcing our product development. Could you help us out in this area.

    Thank you


  7. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Sure Vimlesh, would be happy to help. Can you send me an email at first name at arkenea dot com.

  8. Profile photo of Vimlesh Gautam

    Thanks Rahul for the encouraging words. Will write back to you shortly.

  9. Profile photo of asha chaudhry

    hi vimlesh,

    since we are trying to make every ASK page a resource page for the entire community, it would be nice if you could try and ask some specific q’s that rahul could answer right here as well. for anything confidential or difficult to ask here you could then trouble rahul; but pls be mindful of the time & energy available at his end. 


  10. Profile photo of Pranay Sanghavi

    Hello Rahul,

    Nice to know about your interesting profile. thanks to Rodinhood community leaders to invite you aboard.

    Your observation, that the app is not bad [if it solves a problem] even for the lack of early traction, is interesting.

    I’d like to request your guidance on the customer engagement, viral loop and retention strategy for my just launched app FamiJoy. Do we start changing the app on the initial early-user’s feedback right away? We’re around 500 users in 1 week of Android app launch, and need your valuable expertise on the next steps.

  11. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Pranay,

    This is of course the toughest question to address – when to start incorporating user feedback and to what extent do you need to do so. 

    With a limited team, divide your time between enhancements to existing features and new feature launches. However, 1 week may be too short a time to get the right feedback. You typically want to assess engagement from the RELEVANT target audience, which may not be all of the 500 users (assuming not all are engaged consistently).

    I would advice you to hold off until at least a month and look for patterns in usage (instead of individual user feedback) versus the user feedback. Users shouldn’t determine what features you should build – how to solve a problem is your domain. You should simply try and understand their problems in using the app. The patterns emerge over a period of time. 

    I hope this helps. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to send them my way!

  12. Profile photo of Prateek Gupta

    Hi Rahul sir,

    My question is a little out of discussion here but I really need your guidance on this.

    I am a first year MBA student and really want to work with a Mobile app start-up for my Internship. I still have about 10 months for my internship. Can you please suggest some skills I could gain during this time to make my prospects bright for this?

    Thanks 🙂

  13. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    A startup can do with additional help with any skills that can add value to them. Go by what interests you and pitch that to them – typically, marketing/growth is of immense value to startups. 

  14. Profile photo of Prateek Gupta

    Thank you sir. I’m working on social media marketing and Google analytics.
    Will pitch this. 🙂

  15. Profile photo of Sridhar Kurapati

    Hi Rahul,

    We are located in Pune and looking for a mobile app company/developer to built a mobile app for our website a hyperlocal groceries store operated in Pune. 

    Could you please direct us to good team/developer in Pune? 

    We are just a startup company, what would you suggest, hire a app developer or partner with external company?

    Thank you,


  16. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    If you’re already in business with the website, hire an in-house developer. If not, outsource to get your first version up and running and then you might want to bring it in-house if you achieve product/market fit.

    My suggestion on product strategy: don’t build for two platforms one day one until you’ve proven your model works – have initial traction. Let one platform lead and build for others as a value add. 

  17. Profile photo of Sridhar Kurapati

    Thank You Rahul.

    We are still building the website, thought of developing mobile app along with website and launch both together.

    Now most retail e-comm companies going mobile only model, no website. Is it good model (mobile only) for hyperlocal groceries store?



  18. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    No product needs to be on multiple platforms on Day One. Build lean and launch with just one until you’ve got enough traction to invest in building for more.

    Also, no point following what others do – they have their own reasons to do so. You have to have your own strategy based on an insight into your customers and when they’re more likely to buy from you. Hope this helps. I don’t think a mobile would add much value in the experience as a starting point, but I could be wrong. Do a bit of research into consumer’s current buying habits on other online products and you can take some cues. End of the day, go with your intuition.

  19. Profile photo of Sridhar Kurapati

    Thanks Rahul. Great insights. I will keep a tab on these points. 

  20. Profile photo of Kumar Arayan

    Hey Rahul,

    Believe you are doing well ! 

    Our friend is working on a mobile app for shopping :… 

    The App would connect buyer buyer and seller in real time, request share your feedback on the concept

    The team is now working on explainer video for App , should we explain in like Gig Town ( user side ) or WebEngage ( Business Side ) 

    Would be really great if you could please mentor the team 



  21. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Arayan,

    If you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to address.

    You should be asking your target segment a feedback on the concept and study their behaviour while using the app on whether they’re lying or speaking the truth. It is not for me or anyone else to comment on that is not a target customer. 

  22. Profile photo of Manav Shankar

    Nice Read. 

  23. Profile photo of Ruchika

    Hi Rahul,
    Glad to find you at TRHS and being able to ask questions that would help us.

    We are about to launch our app called Voola. Voola is a live streaming app. We are trying to reach out to the world for beta invites. TRHS is a great place to find early adopters.

    What are the other great ways to reach out for beta invites. Our target audience apart from early adoptors are millennials.

    Thank you,

  24. Profile photo of Ankush Gupta

    Hi Rahul,

    I am founder of TruePal app (TruePal LLC.) which i launched in USA last year. I got good response and small Angel Funding. Now i am planning to launch my app in India and exploring options what is the right channel to do marketing. Is it facebook or FM. I need quick downloads due to the nature of my app. Else, it would be hard for me to retain my users. I want to launch app initially only in two cities – Delhi and Bangalore and want to get at least 10K installs each city. Please suggest.

    Thank you so much.


  25. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Ankush,

    It depends on what your product is, what problem you’re solving and who your customers are. If you can share that piece of information along with your goals for the next 6-12 months, it would help.

    If you’re looking for really quick wins in terms of downloads, Facebook advertising may be a good idea, however, the CAC may be higher. But again, I don’t know what your business goals are along with the above requested details. 

  26. Profile photo of Ankush Gupta

    Hi Rahul,

    Please watch this small intro video about my app.

    It is available for download (free) in ios and android app stores in India.

    I want to target my app first in age group of 25 to 45. I am looking for options to acquire 10K users in one city with max budget of Rs5L in next 2 months. I believe if we have that many users, we will see lot of activity on the app which can help me get first round of funding in next 6 months.



  27. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Ankush,

    Sorry for the delay. Yes, you’d have to look at paid marketing for quick wins. Within this space, I believe Facebook ads offer the maximum RoI. However, you may want to connect with someone who specialises in paid marketing.

  28. Profile photo of Manish Sisodia

    Hi Rahul,

    It’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to engage with you.

    I am a bootstrapped start up working on a unique astrology project.

    I want to outsource the development of the mobile app. I saw you mentioned a team in Pune. Can you help me connect to them?


  29. Profile photo of Ankush Gupta

    Thanks Rahul for the advise.

  30. Profile photo of Ankush Gupta

    Hi Manish,

    I am into my second startup – TruePal which is a mobile app. I outsourced to and quite happy with their work. Please download the app and check the quality. Let me know if i can help you in any way. Good luck with your startup.


  31. Profile photo of Manish Sisodia

    Hey Ankush,Thanks for your inputs. Will definitely try both.

    All the best.



  32. Profile photo of Rahul Varshneya

    Hi Manish,

    Sure. Why don’t you drop me an email at first name at arkenea dot com and we can get the conversation started?

  33. Profile photo of Manish Sisodia

    Thanks Rahul,

    Will do.

    Best Regards


  34. Profile photo of Ankush Gupta

    Do you know anyone who is good in publishing blogs and running facebook campaigns. Thanks

  35. Profile photo of asha chaudhry

    ankush – why don’t you ASK ABEY this q? he is the internet marketing expert on trh…

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