Episode #13: Anish Dalal


Anish Dalal is one of those people that, even if you don’t know his name, it’s likely you’ve interacted with some of his work already. CEO and co-founder of Sapphire Apps, he’s built more than five hundred iOS apps and is in control of an influencer network that reaches more than 250 million users. His marketing strategy combines app store optimization and influencer marketing campaigns to amplify brand engagement. Working with the likes of Lindsay Lohan, and Alesso, to name a few, Anish’s work ethic and advice is useful to anyone looking to start their own business.

You look at Anish and know that even after only three years in the business, he is going to be around for a good long while, and he is only going to become more influential in the world. Beyond being inspirational for his intelligence and drive, Anish is a wealth of information on how what he does can be extrapolated out into helping any potential entrepreneur with figuring out how to start marketing themselves.

First off, what is “influencer marketing” – what are you trying to do?

Our goal for [the influencer] is to make full, branded apps - where their hardcore fans can go into that experience, and truly get the content from the celebrity that they’re looking for.

So, where did you get your start?

When I started working in the app store…I learned that someone comes to the app store to look for games that they had been marketed to about. So, someone would search Clash of Clans, because Clash of Clans spends millions of dollars in advertising. Instead of just making some random games that I thought were cool, I was one of the first people to make game guides for app games. So if you searched Clash of Clans back in the day, the second app would be Clash of Clans Cheats, which would be how to beat all the levels, which would be by me. That’s where I got a lot of my downloads from, just kind of playing off other people’s popularity.

Forbes mentioned Sapphire apps in their article about emojis in May and how to use them in order to grow your business…

So, the whole ‘emoji game’ is really interesting. We do emoji apps for celebrities, and we’ve done them for brands as well. The cool thing about emojis is…that they gamifies the experience for anybody. If you’re a celebrity and you have an emoji, it’s a cool way to connect with your fans. And when your fan uses it, it’s a one-on-one engagement with that fan. For example, there’s no way an advertisement can appear if I send you a text message. But with a third-party branded emoji, now this external advertisement has appeared, but you’re still actively using it. It makes hardcore fans feel closer to their favorite celebrity and increases engagement across the board.

What about Linkedin? This is how I found you, Thomas, and even Kaspar. What should we be doing on Linkedin?

Share your journey – if you don’t, then no one’s going to know you exist. Customers, big companies, if they don’t know you exist, they won’t reach out to you, they won’t know you who you are. A good way to use Linkedin is to document your journey. Whether it’s a startup, or whatever it is you’re doing. Give out advice, or talk about the process. Don’t do anything sales-y…It’s a really good way to get to know people that you don’t know personally. Not a lot of people use Linkedin to communicate, so when you reach out to someone, they’re more likely to respond. Talk about your passions, bring value to people and build trust with them.

So, at the end of all this, what’s your advice to people who want to become an entrepreneur?

When you have an idea, don’t go off thinking that you have to make the entire thing perfect before you release it. Whenever I have an idea, I try and make the most MVP version of it – the most Minimal Viable Product. And when you put that out, you feel a sense of accomplishment, which is good. Make something the simplest, cheapest way you can, put it out there, see what the market things, see what customers think, and keep making iterations. The market feedback is so much better than the feedback you have in your head. Just go ahead and do it.