Marketing your App

marketing

Building the greatest app in the world means very little if nobody can find it. Marketing considerations are a critical aspect of any app launch. This is true now more than ever, as the app store becomes more and more competitive.

Most developers have processes and checklists around app development prior to go live, like testing on multiple devices. What about a checklist for app marketing prior to go live? Below is an App Marketing & Go Live Checklist (courtesy of AppReporting.com) that we like to go through before we launch an app.

Marketing Checklist:

  • Include Social Media Integration Within the app. Allow users to share via Facebook, Twitter etc
  • Include Email Share features. Word of Mouth Marketing! Allow your users to email their friends about your app.
  • Include direct feedback option. Allow users to submit feedback and comments within the app. Getting negative reviews hurts! Reduce the odds of negative comments by allowing your users to provide feedback directly to you with your app.
  • Promote and entice ratings within your app. Ratings are a form of marketing for your app, a very important form. Getting positive ratings is critical. Ask user to rate and review your app, within your app. I posted about this here: How to Get More (& Positive) App Reviews and Ratings
  • Online Marketing- create a dedicated website for your app. These days hosting is inexpensive. With most major hosts you can do a one click install of WordPress and using a free (and responsive, so it plays well on mobile) theme you can be up and running in little time. A website is key because you can link your Press Releases back to your website and App Review Requests. Your website will earn links and eventually rank in Google and other search engines for search queries related to your app. This form of online marketing will help your app get more installs by driving search traffic from the search engines.
  • Social Media- create a Facebook page for your app. Create a Twitter account for your app. Publicize your social media accounts on your dedicated app website.
  • Optimize Your App Description. Using keyword research (Google Keyword Planner) create a strategy for your app. Ensure your app title, description and keywords are optimized for a strategic keyword. Once your app page is optimized focus attention to optimizing your dedicated app website.
  • Design an amazing app icon and screenshots. This is the most overlooked by app publishers. Your potential app users are very design focused… both app stores and centered mainly on app icon images. Remember someone looking for your app is really looking at your app icon first, along side dozens of your competitors icons. If your icon doesn’t stand out, they will simply click on your competitors icon. I have seen so many truly great apps that fail because the icon is poorly designed. Look at your app icon next to your competitors icon before you launch your app and see if it stands out well, ask yourself “would I click on my icon or one of the others?”
  • Create a Press Release for your app. Post it on your dedicated app website.. and post it to press release sites.
  • Create a short video demo of your app. Post it to YouTube. Share it in your Press Release.. share it when you request app reviews.
  • Prepare for app review requests. There are hundreds of websites that review apps.. many for free. Once your app is live- submit it to these sites to get reviews and links to your app. Include your press release and video url with your request. Our team can do this work for you and submit your app to over 155 iPhone app Review Sites or over 115 Android App Review Sites.
  • Research related blogs to your app. Every App has an audience and for every audience there are blogs. Research blogs that are on the same topic of your app. Find the related site, contact details, Facebook profiles. When your app is ready you can reach out and network with these sites to help market and promote your app. You can share your Press Release and YouTube Video and you can kindly request a review of your app. You can also offer to guest post on their blog in return for a link back. You can do this work yourself, or have our team assist by researching 100 related blogs to your app.

The Care & Feeding of Your Developer

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You have decided that your business needs an app, so what is the best way to ensure that you get what you want?

Well you could follow the App Happening four step framework:

  • Concept, Marketing & Viability
  • Design & Specs
  • Build & Approve
  • Launch & Support

This is a best in class solution for getting the app you want, at the lowest cost, in the shortest possible time. App Happening provides free marketing tips, app concept templates, strategy guides, development timelines and even an eBook on creating a successful app (http://www.apphappening.com/ah/appbuildingguides). So why does (almost) nobody use these? I suspect the reason is a combination of, “too hard”, “why bother” and “I just want to get started”!

As a Developer, I’m not too worried about whether your app is going to sell well or deliver on your business case. My job is to deliver the app you specified at the cost I bid and within the agreed time frame. If you have reached the stage of hiring a Developer, I assume that you have already worked out that the cost and effort is worthwhile. If not, then I suggest that you go and have a look at the Concept, Marketing & Viability section (http://www.apphappening.com/ah/conceptmarketingviability) of the web site.

I’m also assuming that you have a clear idea of what your app will do, because if you don’t, explaining the concept to me will be difficult. I don’t need a complete Functional Description and fully laid out screen shots initially but I need enough to be able to provide you a price and how long the development process will take. Before going into the bare minimum specification requirements, I would like to discuss why the specification step is important.

How to spend a lot of Money and NOT get what you want!

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If you have ever renovated a house you will know that the cheapest time to modify the design is before construction start. It is exactly the same for app development. You want to have a very good idea of the outcome before you start. Sooner or later you will need to make decisions about what the app will do and what it will look like. Given this fact, doesn’t it make sense to do it at the beginning? I guarantee that if you do, it will save you money and reduce frustration.

There are generally two ways that you can engage a Developer:

1. Fixed price; or
2. Hourly rate.

If you choose to go the hourly rate route then you could just make it up as you go along (some people call this AGILE development) but it can become expensive. If you select the fixed price approach, it is much more important that you get the definition phase correct. Do not assume that a feature that you want is included in the design, if it hasn’t been explicitly specified then your developer hasn’t costed it and it is unlikely to end up in the final product. Assumptions in the design phase of fixed price contracts lead to disputes, which waste everyones time and energy.

design

I have enough stress in my life…

If the specification of your app consists of something like “i need a game built in 1 week for a fixed price of $100″, don’t be surprised if no developers bid on it (what game? what platform? what device? what???). The level of design specification required depends on where you are in the development cycle. If you just want indicative pricing to plug into your business model then simple dot points which describe the objective, functionality and target platform (e.g. iOS or Android) are probably sufficient – just be up front with the Developer.

If you are committed to building an app then I’m afraid that I’m going to direct you back to the App Happening website page (http://www.apphappening.com/ah/designspec) on Design and Specification. It is in your interests to specify the app as fully as possible. You should include the Developer in this process if possible. Start with your simple dot point functional specification. Your Developer can tell you what is technically possible on a particular platform and what is possible but difficult (i.e. expensive). Once you have a good idea of app functionality, sketch up some indicative screen shots (wire frames), pen and paper is fine. Alternately get the Developer to suggest something. You want these wire frames to be low fidelity so that people are comfortable playing around with the design and changing them. The combination of the Functional Spec and the Wireframes will give you a flow diagram or flow map which describes how users will move around your app. Make sure that key functional screens are at the top of your navigation stack.

If your Functional Spec is detailed enough, the data base design (if required) will fall out of this. For a people based app, you may want to save information like name, address, phone, favourite colour, etc. Consider whether you think the data model will change in the future, if the ability to update and migrate data models isn’t built into the original design it can be expensive to retrofit it.

If you follow the above suggestions, your Developer will be in the best possible position to assure you get what you want, when you want it.

Why Your Business Needs An App

innovation

What are five ways that you can harness the power of mobile apps?

If you decide to have an app built for your business, it’s important to be clear about your objectives from the start and strategise around them:

1. To disrupt a market (or prevent you from being disrupted).

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation), disruptive innovations are those that “improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.” Experience has shown that you want to be the one doing the disrupting (just ask Kodak or Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/21530920) estimates that there will be 20 billion mobile connected devices by 2020, this provides app developers with direct access to most of your customers. You could consider mobile devices as viruses infecting your customers and apps are the payload. Uber (https://www.uber.com/) is an example of an app which is disrupting the limousine/taxi business. It provides a better service (the app knows where you are and you can see where your vehicle is in real time) and creates customer stickiness. Uber knows who the customers are and manages payment (taking their percentage off the top), the Limousine Companies no longer own the relationship which is the beginning of the end. Could someone do this to your business?

2. Apps provide another channel into your business. 

Mobile is quickly becoming the preferred e-commerce channel. 7 out of 10 online consumers access multi-channel retailers through one or more digital channels. In addition, there is a growing trend towards self service. Most call centres are experiencing year on year 20-30% decreases in phone calls, as customers move their enquiries to other channels (e.g. web and mobile). People expect to be able to change their preferences or order a goods or service no matter where they are or what time it is. If you don’t provide this capability, your competitors will.

3. An app can help build brand strength. 

Intuit have built an app called Mint (https://www.mint.com/what-is-mint/) that aggregates your financial life in one place. The Banks need to be careful that they don’t become a commodity. Any time someone gets between you and your customer, you have lost control of the relationship and of the customer experience. This makes it very easy for you to be replaced by someone else. Conversely, Domino’s have built an app which gives you a pizza store in your pocket. It allows you to browse through all the products on their menu, customise your own pizza (1.8 billion pizza combinations!), design your order, choose pick up or delivery and best of all track exactly when your order is ready in store or when it’s going to arrive at your front door. This app creates customer loyalty.

4. To deliver additional revenue.

If the preceding reasons haven’t convinced you then perhaps a business case will. How can a business be confident that the financial return justifies the initial investment and ongoing expenses? I’m afraid that only you can put together that business case but the 900,000 apps on iTunes and a similar number on Google Play suggest there is something there. Some factors to consider, when building your business case:
Increased sales by having a one to one relationship with customers;
Elimination of inbound calls through customer self service;
Reduced handling time and mistakes through automated process; and
Increased revenue through advertising5. It allows you to compete with anyone anywhere.

The last reason for you to build an app is that it provides you with a force multiplier. This is a concern for large established business and an opportunity for new start ups. In the new digital world, you don’t need expensive property in the main street of town to be successful. Anyone can develop a professional app which is a window to your services. Apps (and web sites) are the great equalisers. More and more goods and services are being procured and fulfilled electronically. Your business needs to embrace this trend.
This blog was first posted on the App Happening web site (http://blog.apphappening.com/5-reasons-business-needs-app/)

Apps

Reefwing Apps

Reefwing Software are the creators of Life Goals, Life Audit, Life Movie, Personality Profile, Ink Blot Profile, Message Mate & Number Converter. They have over 150,000 app downloads. The following is a summary of the apps produced by Reefwing. If required, you can find more detail on the Apps page.

Message Mate

Scheduling emails, messages, tweets and status updates for Facebook can come in very handy for remembering important birthdays and anniversaries. Organising regular team activities becomes simple with pre-prepared messages. It also isn’t bad for making people think that you are hard at work late at night and on weekends…

Message Mate allows you to do this and more. You can compose a message and schedule it for delivery at a designated date and time. Delivery services supported are:

  • Email;
  • SMS (i.e. Message);
  • Twitter;
  • Facebook;
  • Weibo (in China);
  • Print; and
  • Copy.

Life Movie

What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve”. This is the philosophy of Napoleon Hill, one of the greatest motivators of all time and author of the best selling book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Regularly visualising your goals using Life Movie will cause your sub conscious mind to start working on how they may be achieved.

Personality Profile

Reefwing Personality Profile is a FREE iPhone App and can be used to gain insight into your character. Answer just a few quick questions and you will be provided with a description of your personality traits. The App allows you to email the results, so you can share them with your friends. The results are based on extensive research but are not meant to be taken too seriously.

Ink Blot Test

The Rorschach Ink Blot Test measures both perception and association. It will provide you with insight into your personality characteristics and emotional functioning. You can purchase as a stand alone App or as an in-App purchase from Personality Profile.

Life Audit

By answering just a few questions, our free App Life Audit will give you a graphical representation of your Life Balance. As the pace of life increases at an exponential rate we sometimes forget to focus on what is important as opposed to what is urgent. Using Life Audit you will quickly be able to see the areas of your life that are getting the most focus and more importantly, the areas that you are neglecting.

Life Goals

Life Goals (rated 9/10 at the iPhone App Review site) can help you design the life you want. If Life Audit has indicated deficiencies, then Life Goals can help you correct them. By categorising your goals and rating the impact and effort required, Life Goals will automatically prioritise your tasks and tell you what your next best steps are. This way you focus on doing what will have the greatest impact on your life.

Number Converter

NumCon is the FREE version of NumCon Pro and allows you to convert numbers into different bases and ASCII. Simply enter a number and the application will show you the corresponding number in the other bases.

Number Converter Pro

NumCon Pro) is a calculator designed for programmers. It converts numbers between binary, octal, decimal and hexadecimal. In addition, you can perform the following operations on any combination of these bases:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • AND
  • OR
  • XOR
  • 1′s Complement
  • Shift Left
  • Shift Right

Quotes

quotes

In addition to developing in house apps, Reefwing Software provides out sourced app development services. As members of the App Happening Advisory Panel, we have extensive experience in taking an app from idea to commercialisation on the app store.

By filling in a few fields fields on our Quote Screen you will provide us with a good initial description of the app that you want to develop. Don’t worry if you can’t fill in all the fields at this stage, we understand that development is an iterative process. We may need to come back to you with some questions before providing a quote if your description is too vague, so be as detailed as you can. Comparison with an existing app can help communicate your design and explain the look and feel that you are after. Another great way to explain what you want in more detail is to send us wire frames (rough sketches) of each of the app screens and explain how the user moves from one screen to another.

Notes

  1. We will use the latest frameworks and software to produce the app. The app will be optimised for the display sizes and resolutions specified.
  2. If this is a free app it can be published under our Developer account. For iOS apps, if it is a paid app then we will transfer it to your account upon approval by Apple (Client will need to provide the relevant account details – Team ID and the Apple ID for your Team Agent).
  3. If there are any specific images that you want us to use (e.g. a Company logo), then please provide those in png format with a width of at least 640 pixels.
  4. We will use TestFlight (www.testflightapp.com) to alpha and beta test iOS apps and TestFairy (www.testfairy.com) for Android apps. This will allow us to push out interim builds directly to your device, and provides a much better indication of progress than just screenshots. You will need to provide us an email address which can be accessed from your device and for iOS apps we will have to register your device with Apple (to allow you to receive ad hoc builds).

Other Considerations

There is other information that we will require for submission of the app but which isn’t needed for our initial quote. For example, if you are building an iOS app and want to get the app approved by Apple for sale via iTunes then you will need to provide the following:

  1. What app stores (i.e. countries) do you want the app available from?
  2. A description of the app to be displayed in iTunes, detailing features and functionality. Descriptions cannot be longer than 4000 characters.
  3. One or more keywords that describe the app. When users search the App Store, the terms they enter are matched with keywords to return more accurate results. Separate multiple keywords with commas. Total keyword list cannot be longer than 100 characters.
  4. A URL that provides support for the app you are adding. This will be visible to customers on the App Store. We can use the Reefwing Software site or you can supply one.
  5. Marketing URL (this is optional) - A URL with information about the app. If provided, this will be visible to customers on the App Store.
  6. Privacy Policy URL (this is optional) - A URL that links to your company’s privacy policy. Privacy policies are recommended for all apps collecting user or device related data, and required for apps that offer auto-renewable or are designed for kids. or free subscriptions, or as otherwise required by law.

Requirements for Android Google Play submissions are similar.

Mobile Application Development

David Such wordpress

Reefwing Software specialises in iOS (iPhone and iPad), OSX and Android Software Development.

They are a full stack software development house with experience in visual design, usability testing, user centred design, program management, coding, server integration, payment gateways, social networking and maintenance.

Reefwing Software is a registered trade mark (No. 1569973) of Kintarla Pty Ltd.