Simon Bacher has always had a passion for languages, but when he decided to learn Thai to communicate better with his wife’s family, he realized there weren’t a lot of options available. So he built his own.
One thing led to another, and he ended up creating Ling, a gamified language-learning app with more than 60 different language courses.
Simon feels equally passionate about app development and connecting people through language, which has helped drive his success.
Not only has he doubled his revenue every year since he created it, but he’s also built up a massively popular blog to build awareness of the app.
Keep reading to find out:
- Why and how he created Ling
- How the app works
- How revenue has grown over time
- Simon’s views on SEO
- His content creation strategy
- How he approaches keyword research
- The resources that have helped him grow
- His top 3 tools
- The main challenge he’s faced
- His greatest accomplishment
- The biggest mistake he’s made
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Simon Bacher
My name is Simon, and I’m originally from Germany, but I’ve been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with my wife and fellow business partner for the last six years.
I got my IT and business degree from the University of Münster, where I met my wife. Following graduation, I worked as a consultant and developer in Germany for 2.5 years before moving to Thailand.
I’m multilingual and have a passion for languages and the unique culture attached to each language. I would love to pass my love for languages on to as many people as possible since I know firsthand how much value it has added to my life.
How and Why He Created Ling
Since my wife is originally from northeastern Thailand, and I have a love for learning languages, I wanted to learn Thai to connect better with her friends and family.
But, back in 2017, there weren’t a lot of Thai learning materials available. That’s when we decided to work together to create a language app that focused primarily on the Thai language.
I worked on the development, and my wife handled the design and content when we had extra time on the weekends. Luckily, that idea resonated with many other people and landed us where we are now.
Ling is an education app that offers 60+ language courses. We offer “mainstream languages,” like Spanish and Korean, and lesser-spoken languages, predominantly Southeast Asian and Eastern European languages. Each language course has over 200 high-quality lessons, all made in collaboration with native language experts.
Here’s how it works: The learner can choose their native language and which language they’d like to learn. After that, they’ll see a list of fifty topics, ranging from beginner to advanced. Each topic has four lessons.
The lessons are as follows:
- Introduction to new vocabulary (vocabulary word + corresponding image + example sentence)
- Retention exercises (ex. match the picture with the vocabulary word, choose the correct word based on what you hear from the speaker, translate the sentence, sort the sentence)
- Dialogue between two people, usually between 10 – 20 lines
- Fill-in-the-blank dialogue exercise
- Lesson complete
We also offer individual lessons entirely devoted to developing writing and speaking skills.
How Much Money Simon Bacher’s Earning
I can share that our revenue has doubled every year, which is a big reason why we’ve been able to invest more in our marketing strategy than ever before. From our initial team of five in 2017 to 30 in 2022, not to mention our huge network of freelancers and part-timers, Ling continues to grow daily.
Ling is about forging connections with others, so I’m grateful that our team has expanded to encompass many people from different countries and cultures.
His Top Marketing Strategy: SEO
Ling uses a mix of marketing strategies, from influencer to email marketing. But one of our most successful strategies has been through SEO! Thanks to SEO, our blog receives around 1 million visits per month!
SEO is a fundamental marketing strategy for our business. To really hone in on our SEO strategy, we recently split up our content marketing team from our central marketing team.
That way, our content marketing lead can focus on building their team and the Ling language blog full-time, leading to even more visibility and visitors.
We perform keyword research every two weeks for our Ling iOS and Android apps and use separate dashboards to track the keywords for each app.
We then use various tools to check our current keyword rankings and gather new keyword ideas.
After the research is complete, we make any changes to our store listings that we think will increase our rankings and wait two weeks before rechecking our store listing performance.
Link building is an essential part of any business that has a website, and, in this day and age, that’s how people are most likely to find you.
Link building will give your site a higher authority, domain rating, and, as a result, increased traffic.
Our goal is to create high-quality content, whether in-app, on our blog, or in promotional emails. And that high-quality content is what draws other websites to us and why they want to feature us on their site.
The Content Creation Process
We always try to stay on top of trends. If we see a trend, we want to create content around that trend as soon as possible.
For our blog, we regularly research which keywords have the highest search volume and then create content around those keywords. Then, hopefully, we’ll end up either getting a featured snippet or ranking in the top five spots on Google! Currently, we have over 500 featured snippets!
Simon Bacher’s Email List
Ling has an email list with most recipients coming from the blog or our app.
We have a form on our blog where people can sign up for downloadable learning materials or receive language tips via email.
Since our blog is growing every day, we’re always getting more sign-ups to our email list.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
We first launched our app in 2017, so you could say it’s been five years in the making. If you’re an entrepreneur, don’t lose hope. Some months will be better than others, but you should eventually reach a stable revenue medium.
Simon Bacher’s Favorite Resources
Khwan and I host the App Life Podcast, where we cover “everything apps.” From app marketing to the foundations of how to build a good working environment.
Apart from our podcast, an excellent book recommendation is:
Continuous Discovery Habits: Discover Products That Create Customer Value and Business Value by Teresa Torres
By integrating the methods in this book into our daily lives, we were able to change how fast we could draft and implement features that users wanted.
His Top 3 Tools
The 3 most useful tools I use as an entrepreneur are:
- Trello: For organizing and managing my own as well as others’ tasks
- Dropbox: For storing SOPs and other important company documents
- Slack: For communicating effectively with team members despite their location
Since I use these tools daily, this is an easy question to answer! If you’re an entrepreneur looking to organize your business, keep track of your company files, or communicate with your employees all at the same time, these 3 tools will save your life.
The Biggest Challenge He’s Faced
My main challenge has been to best accommodate the massive growth.
Ling really took off last year, especially after the App Store featured us. Of course, that’s what every entrepreneur wants to hear, but growth also comes with more responsibility, expense, expectation, and more.
Having your own business means there’s always something to do, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Simon Bacher’s Greatest Accomplishment
My greatest accomplishment is helping change the lives of people.
As an owner of an education app, it would be my privilege to add quality to people’s lives, no matter how little. Speaking Thai has undoubtedly brought me closer to so many people. I want to help others experience that connection because it’s truly invaluable.
This also applies to the fantastic Ling team.
That’s why I’m constantly striving to help my team grow every day, whether it’s hosting workshops, funding learning courses, or simply listening and allowing them to try new things.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
Don’t wait to launch the perfect product. If it wasn’t for my wife and business partner, Khwan, I might’ve waited to launch one or even two years later. That’s because I wanted to make our app, content, design, and store listing perfect before launching.
In hindsight, launching when we did was the best decision we ever made. That first round of feedback is not only what gave us ideas on what to improve but the motivation to do so.
His Main Mistake
After we launched Ling in 2017, we had a lot of ideas. So, we started creating and launching app after app. Today we have everything from party game apps to yoga apps on the App Store.
While these apps were fun to build and launch, they took time away from Ling, our most successful app even back then. I wish we had initially focused all our energy on improving and marketing Ling. If so, we could’ve been one or even two years ahead of where we are now.
Simon Bacher’s Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Don’t underestimate the power of a good team.
Just because you identify as an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you stay an entrepreneur for the entire lifetime of your business. Once you have the financial stability to hire additional team members, do it.
Remember that achieving as a team is more rewarding than achieving alone.