Marketing your iPhone game Part 2

Going into the unknown

In the previous article we looked at ways to make an app successful. Well, we looked at ways in which an app can become successful. Most of the ways mentioned rely on factors outside of the developers control. In this article we will be looking at techniques which can be used and utilised by a developer to increase initial market awareness leading to boosted sales.

Only the most successful apps make money?

There is an interesting difference in attitude of app developers to regular product developers. Often I talk to developers who look at the hugely successful apps and they say that a lot of the process is luck. Go viral and spread. But where did this misconception come from? Is it true in any other area? It is often assumed you either have a world renowned app or an unknown app that languishes on the web somewhere. This isn’t true. Though many apps do fail (they are bad, too similar or unlucky), a large number record good sales and make money without making headlines. These still make the developer money enough to continue developing.

When you go down the high street you will be drawn to brands you have seen on TV or that have been recommended to you by a friend. These aren't the only shops you shop at though. People enjoy shopping and seeing what is out there, being where they look is the important thing.

Strategic manipulation of your app

In this post I am going to be looking at three different strategies for gaining consumer interest and knowledge of your company and brand. These ideally should be used in conjunction with each other to build a strong user base to launch a new product or range from.

Going into the unknown

In the previous article we looked at ways to make an app successful. Well, we looked at ways in which an app can become successful. Most of the ways mentioned rely on factors outside of the developers control. In this article we will be looking at techniques which can be used and utilised by a developer to increase initial market awareness leading to boosted sales.

Only the most successful apps make money?

There is an interesting difference in attitude of app developers to regular product developers. Often I talk to developers who look at the hugely successful apps and they say that a lot of the process is luck. Go viral and spread. But where did this misconception come from? Is it true in any other area? It is often assumed you either have a world renowned app or an unknown app that languishes on the web somewhere. This isn’t true. Though many apps do fail (they are bad, too similar or unlucky), a large number record good sales and make money without making headlines. These still make the developer money enough to continue developing.

When you go down the high street you will be drawn to brands you have seen on TV or that have been recommended to you by a friend. These aren't the only shops you shop at though. People enjoy shopping and seeing what is out there, being where they look is the important thing.

Strategic manipulation of your app

In this post I am going to be looking at three different strategies for gaining consumer interest and knowledge of your company and brand. These ideally should be used in conjunction with each other to build a strong user base to launch a new product or range from.

PR

Improving the public relations of a company is an essential way to improve interest for a new product launch. PR agencies essentially promote companies or individuals using editorial coverage. This is a type of free media with stories appearing on websites, magazines, newspapers and blogs. If money isn’t an issue then hiring a PR agency to manage the release of a new product is normally a good bet. If money is an issue then there are lots of steps you can take, without being a PR professional, to take advantage of this “free” media.

Let’s look at how a product is normally launched:

A press release is written announcing the launch of the product

What does your app do? Why should any one care? How is it new and exciting?
A lot of time an app developer will think about these questions when designing an app but not when releasing it. So relived are they that the app is finally finished, they can finally sit back and release it into the app store. It will do well, or badly, depending on the fortunes of luck. Writing a press release is a skill that needs to be learnt like everything else. Taking the time to learn the structure and format is a good investment in time to increase sales in the long term.

Send this release to contacts in a field that the app is relevant to. This will encourage them to write about it

Who wants to use your app? Emailing appropriate magazines, blogs and websites will increase the chance of someone seeing it and understanding the value it has. Why advertise your app to the 90% of people who won’t use it. Put it in front of the 10%. Most of the people that aren’t buying it probably aren’t interested in it. Why not market it to the people it applies to?

Include a media pack with your press release

Remember the person you are sending this to will be receiving a number of press releases a day. You need to grab their attention. A media kit is like a resume for your company and product, it should contain articles, information, pictures, anything that will grab the attention and interest of the reader. If your app is a paid app then add a code to enable them to download it for free is also recommended. If you can get them using it and enjoying the experience you dramatically increase the chance of a mention.

The release of your product is mentioned in the media

Any publicity is good publicity. Getting it out into the world and getting people using it is the best way to get sales. If you send a press release to 100 carefully chosen email addresses then you only need a few of them to mention your app to put your app in front of a huge audience.

This approach is rarely taken by app developers. They release apps knowing a lot about app design but very little about penetrating the market. This is an incredibly powerful tool currently not utilised to its full extent.

Brand awareness

Spending time thinking about your brand image and the awareness of the public of your brand is very important. What does your company do and how does this reflect on the products that you produce? An up to date and aware brand positively effect your product sales. A stagnant, old and outdated brand can put people off immediately.

Twitter: Having an active Twitter account is an easy and effective way of advertising yourself to a huge pool of people. Regular posts that people will be interested in can build followers and increase awareness of your company. This folds back in to brand image. Tweeting interesting and relevant news on your company or your industry will attract and interest people who are more likely to be interested in your products.

Website: Having a modern and working website is very important for a company. Any interest generated in your app or company could eventually lead people back to your website and the impression they leave with has a huge impact on their future view of your company. Times were when a WordPress website would be enough but unfortunately those days are swiftly going. These days a website really reflects the feel and soul of a company.

Internet presence: This links in with the above two points but is subtly different from both. Maintaining a strong internet presence shows users that you are aware and interested in the changing market. Posting blog posts on your website, tweeting interesting stories found, contributing on other related websites, updating your app on a semi regular basis can all combine to let the user know you are there and doing something. This in turn will increase the chances of them interested in what you are doing and checking for new updates and news.

Putting it all together

When releasing an new app or product from your company I would adapt the following list to your company, due to its unique needs, to boost the awareness of the release.

  • Write a press release on the product being released
  • Research websites, magazines, blogs, TV shows that might be interested in the release - get a contact email address for each of these
  • Create a media pack to go along with your press release
  • Send out this pack to the media contacts with an appropriate cover letter individually written, or adapted, for each contact
  • Follow up if no reply is received

Along side this the following should have increased activity in the weeks leading up and after the product release

  • Increased social media activity
  • Increased website maintenance and updating

Conclusion

To conclude, there are lots of easy ways to greatly increase the initial and lasting interest in your products and brand as a whole. They skills are not easy learnt, if they were, everyone would have them. They are invaluable, though, to grow your company and increase your profits. These days it is not enough just to write great code, you have to find a way show people it's great. I'm sure there are many high quality apps buried in the app store, I wouldn't know as I don't have the time or impetus to look for them. There are also lots of apps making lots of money with buggy and badly written code. The difference between these two apps has nothing to do with content. The only difference is the time and effort their developers put into marketing and getting them in front of people and onto their phones.

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