How to-market-iphone-apps

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How to-market-iphone-apps

  1. 1. How to Market iPhone Apps
  2. 2. Copyright Notice No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying or recording. All copyrights are reserved. Disclaimer The author does not promise, guarantee, or imply that you will improve your revenue. You should not view this eBook as responsible for any success or failure of your apps or business. The author does not accept any liabilities or damages, real or perceived, resulting from the use of this information.How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 2 of 49
  3. 3. Table of Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 4 So you want to sell iPhone apps? ............................................................................................................. 4 GURU not! .............................................................................................................................................. 4 My Background ......................................................................................................................................... 5 –Section #1 Making a Great App ..................................................................................................... 6 Ten Questions You Should Ask Before You Start ...................................................................................... 6 Keep Your Concept Really Simple ............................................................................................................. 7 App Title, Keywords and Descriptions ...................................................................................................... 9 Create a Top Notch Visual Experience .................................................................................................... 12 Pricing Strategies Free, Paid, or Both? ................................................................................................. 14 Other Options for Generating Revenue .................................................................................................. 16 –Section #2 Marketing Your App ................................................................................................... 19 iPhone App Marketing 101 ..................................................................................................................... 19 Three Different Approaches (the tortoise, the hare, and the eagle) ...................................................... 21 How to Market Your iPhone App ............................................................................................................ 24Section #3 Resources ........................................................................................................................ 33 How to set up an Admob Test ................................................................................................................ 33 My Favorite App Ranking Tools .............................................................................................................. 46 App Review Websites ............................................................................................................................. 47 Other Resources ...................................................................................................................................... 48 How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 3 of 49
  4. 4. Introduction Hi there. Brook Lenox here from beautiful Missoula, Montana. My goal in writing this eBook is that you’ll get much, muchmore than $29.95 worth of value in what you find here. This eBook will give iPhone app developers clear direction on both to become iPhone app marketers. and how to think what to do So you want to sell iPhone apps? I’ve spent the last year and a half working for Pinger and anumber of other clients helping them create and market their iPhone apps. This eBook will give you at least three things: What to consider when creating your app How to market your appAdditional resources My goal is to give you lots of , but also very practical . HOW TO’S KNOWLEDGE GURU not! – I think it is funny (actually annoying too) when someone calls themselves a GURU about iPhone app marketing in the past year and want I am not a guru, but someone who has learned ! tons. This is to share what I’ve learned not just conceptual . On any given day I’m sweating to get or keep apps inthe top 100. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 4 of 49
  5. 5. My BackgroundSome things you should know about me: Since 1994 I’ve been working in online marketing, mostly for small companies In 2008 I started mobile marketing which led me to iPhone app marketing apps into the top 100 free/paid I’ve been a part of team that’s launched over 11check the numbers on Christmas morning type of guy On the personal side: type A I’m a “ ” I live in Montana with my beautiful wife Kelly & two daughters (Sierra & Shelby) These things describe me: Husband, Father, Christian, Ski & NFL Football fanatic t who has not perfected how to change that. I’m a perfectionis How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 5 of 49
  6. 6. Section #1 Making a Great App Chapter 1 Ten Questions You Should Ask Before You Start Get a BIG cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and find a quiet place lly high level before you get to deep into iPhone app development and marketing. . It’s important to think this through at a rea I’ve talked to many developers who “just want to make a great iPhone app”, but have not taken the time to think it all the way through. It gets quite frustrating in the middle of development when you 1. haven’t charted your course clearly from the beginning. What is my goal here (and can I verbalize it or even better write it down)? 2. Is this a hobby or am I starting a company? 3. How much time with it take to do this right? 4. Do I have that kind of time? 5. Can I really make money doing this (have I run the numbers)? 6. Can I make a great app (one that is functionally and visually appealing)? 7. Will I have money to market my app when it is done? 8. Should I do this alone or do I need to bring in help? 9. What resources will help me? 10. Do I have a unique idea here? I’m sure I haven’t hit EVERY key question here. My goal is to get you to stop,think, and evaluate what you are trying to do. This is much less important if this is just a hobby, but my guess i f you’re reading this, it’s not! Next Step : Write out the answers to these questions and a mission statement. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 6 of 49
  7. 7. Chapter 2 Keep Your Concept Really Simple When we created our first app at Pinger calledwe “ learned a tremendous amount that helped us to go on to create Pinger Phone ” 11 apps that have now been in the top 100 . Four important things we learned: Create a simple app Make sure people will “get it ” at a glance Don’t go overboard developing version one App has to make money was an app that combined social networking feeds and IM capability. Sounds good, right? But there were three problems with that. Pinger Phone , it was too complicated. First Here’s how we overcomplicated it: It had a log in process (which way lowered conversion rates) It had two BIG features IM and social feeds Secondly , the icon and name weren’t simple. What is a “Pinger Phone”? Can I make phone calls with it (no)? So . The concept was not simple the icon a store that what do I do? And by the way,enough in was a phone gives you a tiny icon and title to show off what you’ve got. Clear = Good.Thirdly great features (and they were great) only confused things. More was not more. It was less. , two How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 7 of 49
  8. 8. It actually did a bit too much . Once people got into the a pp, it wasn’t completelyclear where to go, how to use it, and what the features were., Fourthly not a clear path to us making money. It turned out users used a feature in the app constantly where there was no way to monetize. there was Next Step : Walk through the 4 examples above. A sk…is my app simple enough?How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 8 of 49
  9. 9. Chapter 3 App Title, Keywords and Descriptions In this chapter we’ll cover the importance of words as it relates to creating your app. There are three places in the iTunes app store where WORDS matter: Your app title Keywords Description Let’s go through each of them.The App Title How do you choose your title? Should you choose a really cool app title like “iFitness” or a more keyword rich name like: “Fitness King – Healthy Exercise? Guide” Although t have appeared to hurt iFitness tremendously (they are ranked 18 it doesn’ th overall as I write this) , I’m sure it has had an impact . Just type the word “fitness” or “exercise” into your app store search and the suggestions don’t list iFitness till you actually get to the results. I’m fairly certain if they added “fitness” or “ ” to their app title they’d do exercise better in that particular result. be aware when you choose a title that the name does matter. So… How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 9 of 49
  10. 10. Keywords Understand How App Store Keywords Work – When you submit an app in iTunes Connect you are forced to enter keywords. Here are some key things to remember: You get 100 characters to enter keywords including spaces Once entered, you CAN NOT change keywords till you do an update Spaces after commas are not necessary You don’t need to add your app name Plurals matter (i.e. “fitness guide” is different from “fitness guides” ) ) I mention these keys to get youWord order doesn’t matter (“ thinking. Make sure to test them out for yourself. fitness guide ” is the same as “ guide fitness ” Keywords - Choose Wisely I encourage you to do at least 4 things before adding keywords to your app listing: 1) Type some of the keywords that describe your app into Google’s Keyword ToolThis will give you two things: . a) How many searches are occurring for those words as well as b) Other relevant words. 2) Type your keywords into the app store search. Do you fit there? 3)Type keywords separated by commas into excel (keyword1,keyword2, etc) and use =len(a1) in the next cell to the right to help you count characters. 4) Bounce your keyword list off someone. Monitor Results When you add or change keywords, watch your results. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 10 of 49
  11. 11. you added your keywords and note if downloads went up, stayed the same, or went down as a result. Keep track of whenNOTE #1: If keyword research is new to you, you may want to spend some time getting up to speed with my 3 articles series on How to do Keyword Research . NOTE #2: Keywords are not a magic bullet. The app store also uses number of downloads when it gives search results so apps that have lots of downloads appear first. You’ve got an uphill battle if you are a new app developer! Descriptionsis Beyond your icon and yourget to sell your app to potential users. the main place where you title, your Here are some obviously mistakes to avoid: app store description Writing a really, really long description Using terms your users will not understand Not breaking the description up into sections Not using CAPITALS (since you can’t bold things) to break up sections Making big changes to your description and not monitoring resultsa first pass at writing your description, compare it to the description of the top apps in your category. NOTE: After you’ve taken Follow Step:steps above to create a keyword rich app title, keywords, and description. Next the How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 11 of 49
  12. 12. Chapter 4 Create a Top Notch Visual Experience Do you need top notch graphics? a I’ll be honest…thethe top is free apps today, 12 apps have maybe. As I look at answer 100icons and bad really screenshots in my opinion. What do I mean by that? They are either: Washed out or fuzzy Look unprofessional Don’t convey any message Or all of the above If you matter? Yes. How much? That’s hobby, you opinion. You’ll have to decide. Does itare creating an iPhone app as a a matter ofmay about stellar visual images. I think iShoot not need to worrydid pretty well with just slightly above average images when it launched in October of 2008. That being said, the app store gets much more competitive every day. So you need to use everything to your advantage. If you look at your visuals and they are at the level you want them to be, skip to the next chapter. If not, read on. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 12 of 49
  13. 13. Are you a graphic designer?The answer is most likely no. You are probably a developer or iPhone entrepreneur. Start by admitting it is to make and you really hard amazing visuals not even everyone you’d hire is up to the task.Things to think about with your icon: Does your app icon stand out amongst others? Is it washed out or blurry? In combination with your title does it make someone want to learn more? Do the images in your app look created by your 14 year old (they shouldn’t!)? Possible Next Steps: Compare 5- 10 competitor’s icons Place (or have a designer) your icon/screenshots on the grey app store background Play with competitor’s free versions Consider hiring a designer who “gets” iPhone apps can take your visuals to a new level Don’t hire someone unless you think they How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 13 of 49
  14. 14. Chapter 5 Pricing Strategies Free, Paid, or Both? – I think too many developers price their apps at $.99 without much thought. They spend LOTS of time developing an app, but too LITTLE time considering what price to charge for it. How do you decide what you charge for your iPhone app? If you charge to little, you lose valuable revenue. If you charge too much, you might never gain the necessary momentum to move up the app store ranks. Here are some things you may want to consider: How to set your app price Free and paid strategy Free to paid strategy How to Set Your App Price Here is what I encourage you to do when determining the price for your app. 1. . What would you pay for it? 2. Evaluate your app. Step back and be honest for it. 3. Ask for input. Ask iPhone enthusiasts what they’d pay Research the competition. How are similar apps priced? Does your app offer more/better features? Is it more compelling in some way? 4. Run the numbers. How many downloads would you need at $.99 to generate more revenue than if you charged $2.99? 5. Don’t under price your app. It’s much easier to lower the price of an app than increase it.How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 14 of 49
  15. 15. Free and Paid Strategy . I’m a firm believer in having a free and a paid version when possible Here’s why: You get double the app store exposure (in paid & free categories) People like free stuff, especially in the app store A free version helps you build a user base It allows the user to see your app in action without paying Create the free version to be valuable in and of itself, but also to inspire upgrades. : There may not be a simple way to create a lite version. If so, go paid only. NOTE Free to Paid Strategy If you either don’t have the resources to build a lite and paid version or there just isn’t a compelling reason to have both, think about a free to paid strategy. An app called Ping! by Gary Fung did just that. He launched the app as free for a limited time in September of 2009 . I’m guessing he promoted the free version with mobile ads (although I don’t know for sure) and it soared up the charts to thein the United States. Then over a weekend, he made it $.99. After a week Ping! was still 28th paid overall. I estimate he made ~ $10k in that week alone by being in the top 30 paid.#2 free app overall I’d say this strategy has worked well for him. Next Steps: 2. Check out the competition ’s pricing strategy 1. Strongly consider having two apps: one free, one paid 3. Think about your long term pricing road map How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 15 of 49
  16. 16. Chapter 6 Other Options for Generating Revenue When you are building your first app, you need to be really focused . You don’twant to try to do too much and build a crummy app in the process. So you may want to skim through these ideas and come back to them at a later time. Here are a couple of great ways to build additional revenue streams. ll I’cover 4 different options below: 1. Advertising. 2. Affiliate programs. 3. In app purchases. 4. Offers.AdvertisingOf the four, this is by far the most obvious. You place ads in your app. Done. I suggest advertising be a piece of your overall revenue. Here’s why: It’s a different type of revenue source. With free to paid you are reliant on the % of people that feel your app is upgrade worthy. With ad revenue, it is all about driving quality usage. You want lots of impressions and a highly retained user. I believe in some cases you can put ads in both your free & paid versions. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 16 of 49
  17. 17. More choices. A year ago you had to add mobile ad networks SDK to your app. Now you can build it yourself or integrate with one of the many ad network aggregators (Mobclix, AdWhirl, or TapJoy to name a few). The iTunes Affiliate ProgramThis one is pretty simple. You are sending people to the iTunes app store to get your app, right? You can earn a 5% commission onthey purchase in iTunes for the next 72 hours after they click on your link. anything: Someone links from your free app to your paid app. When they do so, they are redirected through an affiliate link to your iTunes app page. They end up purchasing your app for $.99, another app for $2.99, and 6 songs for $5.94 in the next 72 hours. You just earned $.50 = (($.99 + $2.99 + $5.94)*5%) in affiliate commissions on that Example , but it adds up quickly! user. Doesn’t sound huge In App PurchasesIn app purchases are yet another way to generate revenue.Someone buys your shoot em up app for $.99, but they only get five kinds of guns. For $.99 more, they can have some other nifty big/cooler weapons. Example: I’ve actually heard mixed things about in app purchases, so I encourage you to doyour research before jumping in it. Here are a few articles you may find interesting: TechCrunch TUAW In App Purchases: Bait & Switch – In App Purchases allow demo to paid – How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 17 of 49
  18. 18. OffersA fourth way to generate revenue is through offers. Example: Back to the shoot em up game. If a user wants a new weapon, rather than charging them for it, you can give it to them for “free” if they downloadthree other apps. You get paid by the app developer for those installs and it costs your user nothing but a few clicks. TapJoy offers offers (did I really just say “offers offers” ? ) like this and I’ve usedtheir system. The reason it works so well is the benefit everyone gets: The user gets a weapon for “free” You get paid for something that is a relatively easy sell The other app developer who gets the install will pay all day for this because it moves them up in app store rankings Next Steps: Rethink your app revenue strategy. Should you consider adding one of the above revenue sources? 2. 1. Do some more research on the one that most applies and run the numbers to make sure it really fits into your apps roadmap. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 18 of 49
  19. 19. Section #2 Marketing Your App Chapter 7 iPhone App Marketing 101 What is Marketing? If you’re a ma rketer, go ahead and move on to the next rechapter. If you’ need some basic marketing info) feel free to stick around. According to Wikipedia, marketing a developer (or is defined as: h “Marketingadvertise products is the process by whic companies (or advertising) or services to potential customers.” iPhone appinclude thingsall the1. It might marketing is like: “stuff” you do to drive downloads of your app. Creating a great app icon that catch the users attention, 2. 3. Compiling a list of app review sites to submit your app to, or Running numbers to see where to spend money. It’s all of that and more.YOU are a Marketer If you’re a single developer with little money to hire someone, YOU are a marketer. You have to be. Way, way back in 1994 I was the first employee of a small start up. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 19 of 49
  20. 20. I had a zillion roles like managing partners, customer service, and making runs to Pete’s coffee (that’s another story).marketing was by far my favorite thing to do. But even with those zillion roles,Why? Because of the results!!! working thegets into atoday…I love it when an app I’m 100 or even better, stays there for a long time It is on same rush top category spot or into the top . I’ve talked too many of you. You are in small companies with no dedicated marketing staff. You’ve got to develop a great app AND market it.So…become a student of iPhone app marketing. Next Step: Read on! How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 20 of 49
  21. 21. Chapter 8 Three Different Approaches (the tortoise, the hare, and the eagle) In this chapter before we dive into the “ ” stuff we’ll cover overall how-to marketing strategy. Tortoise, the Hare or the Eagle?The ou’ve heard of the story of ” The TortoiseY slow the Hare” and and steady , right? The tortoise isfast and wants to get to the finish line now! and the hare isThe lesson is that slow and steady wins the race. The hare naps, while the tortoise plods along and finishes in first place. In the iPhone app store, I think there are actually 3 different ways you can run the marketing race: the tortoise, the hare, or the e agle. Here’s how each of them works.The Hare Top 100 –This is the main strategy I see talked about. Run fast! Get into the top 100. Sell millions of copies and quit your job (i.e. iShooter guy ). It’s happened, but it’sgetting almost impossible to do without a significant marketing budget. The key to this strategy is. You can use an existing user base or spend money to get in front of users, but in the marketing to lots of people in a short time period end it’s got to be a big splash. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 21 of 49
  22. 22. The components to this strategy are as follows: Build a great app Test wisely Either spend $$$ or find some other way to expose your app to a crowd of people -$10,000 if you don’t have tensa of thousands of people when you launch, you should probably consider the other two strategies. But, or a way to reach at minimum $3,000The Tortoise No Marketing Budget – No money. You are working nights and weekends to create an app. You have little or no money to market it. Here are some keys to this strategy: Build a great app (once again) Not expecting success overnight No rest! Never stop using free app marketing Build an initially small, but faithful user baseRewarding that user base with updates and new apps over time This strategy will not typically generate big numbers of sales at least at first, unless you strike lightning in a bottle. But done with a it could generate more and more revenue as you go. tortoise like persistenceThe Eagle Precision – I picked an eagle for this strategy, because eagles have great eyes. The can target a mouse from a long ways away.You don’t have a huge budget, but you do have some money to spend. If you could make money along the way, you’d be fine. Your goal isn’t to “run” or “hop” into the top 100, it’s to be profitable and perhaps do well in a category. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 22 of 49
  23. 23. This strategy combines the following: Great app at a premium price ($2.99-$6.99) Lite and Paid versions and possibly in app purchases Ability to acquire customers through mobile ads < $1/free app Strong lite to paid conversion rates (15-30%)Understanding of how to test, test, and test again Your numbers on a mobile ad campaign might look like this: Did you just spend $100 in order to make $5 in profit? Yes in the short term, but (LTV) of the user. Will they stick around and create more revenue? NOTE: these numbers are just to get you thinking. with all three strategies you’ll need to look at the life time value Next Step: Choose your strategy and write down you’re the top 10 ways you’ll pursue it. How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 23 of 49
  24. 24. Chapter 9 How to Market Your iPhone App So how do you market an iPhone app? This is a long and important chapter, so grab a BIG cup of coffee and find a quiet place. , asIwell as from helpingof things I’ve learned at Pinger team and engineers are quite amazing. want to share some other clients. The Pinger product 11 top 100 apps (see 10 of them to the left). Textfree Unlimited has been a top 100 paid app for They’ve created , even though it’s priced over 1 year at $5.99. Here are 9 things to consider when marketing your iPhone app: 1. Build a great app 2. Have lite & paid versions 3. Find a crowd 4. Spend money (if you have some) 5. 6. Get free exposure (if you don’t have $) 7. Use “the right” keywords Test everything 8. Track everything 9. Listen, learn, and make changesHow to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 24 of 49
  25. 25. #1 Build a Great App It is really hard to get in and stay in the top 100, with a mediocre app (although it happens). Our first app, Pinger Phone, was in the top 100 free apps, for 15 days. It was a good app. Textfree on the other hand is a in the top 100 free apps for over a year. (I’m biased big time, I know). It has beengreat app Why? It’s easy to use. It works. It’s something people need. Reviews havefor the paid version. consistently been Just to be clear, great does not equal 3 1/2 stars for the lite version and 4 stars full of features. Almost all the “great” apps I use are very, very simple as I mentioned in Chapter 2.#2 Have a Lite & Paid Version Many developers I work with tend to lean towards a paid only strategy. They point towards successful paid only hits. I think there are paid only hits out there (Doodle Jump for example right now). Here are times when I think a paid only app makes sense: You’ve got a big user base/brand ( i.e. CNN) that you can leverage There is no simple way to create a lite version ve got lots of apps to cross promote traffic to your paid app ’ You Even so, I’m still convinced that it is much better to have both a lite and a paidversion. Here is why I like the lite / paid strategy: You will have twice the exposure in the app store For small companies, it is a great way to build user awareness & confidence How to Market iPhone Apps Brook Lenox Online Marketing Rant – Page 25 of 49

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