Tale Of A Top-10 App, Part 2: Marketing And Launch

Advertisement

Our anticipation was building. Between defining our language translation app, sketching it out, obsessively designing and iterating, and juggling other projects — all covered in the first part of our case study1 — we had been working on Languages for close to a year. It was finally go time.

Even the coolest app in the world is doomed to swiftly descend into the abyss of obscurity if no one knows about it. So, part two of our journey is all about marketing. It turns out that you don’t need a huge marketing budget to get into the top 10 in the App Store.

Seriously, Marketing?

I never thought of myself as a marketer. To me, “marketing” sounded like a dirty word. But when I was building my first app, Grades, I actively watched the indie developers who were consistently building hit apps, and sure enough, along with factors such as delightful design and amazing execution, a key factor to consistent success was great marketing.

getting-in-top-ten-of-apps_500_mini2

The cool part is that, as I found out, marketing doesn’t have to be about spam, meaningless buzzwords or sleazy Twitter follower generators, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. If your product is great, marketing can be genuine, fun and free. Ultimately, it becomes a part of everything you do, without your even realizing it.

Marketing Starts From Day 1

We often have the misconception that marketing is what you do once you’ve launched a product. Too many people have come up to me after a talk or after reading one of my articles and said, “We just launched our app and got a few small blogs to write reviews, but those have generated only a few sales. What’s the magic trick that gets an app on The Verge or featured by Apple?”

Sorry, no magic tricks here. Just a lot of hard work, and that takes a long time. The good news is that it’s completely achievable, but you can’t wait until your app is ready to launch to get started.

Do It Yourself

You would think that the ideal situation is to have a boatload of cash and hire a public relations (PR) firm.

Wrong.

You — the designer, the developer, the founder — are the very best person to market the app.

Why?

  1. The press love to hear directly from the folks in the trenches.
  2. A lot of PR agencies don’t get the nuances of app marketing.
  3. Relationships with journalists is the currency of PR. Even if a PR firm landed you some great articles, they would take those relationships with them, leaving you with no long-term benefits. If you do it yourself, you will be cultivating those relationships, making future launches a lot easier.

do-it-yourself-marketing_500_mini3

There are definitely some exceptions. I know some marketers who really understand the space and who deliver results. But in general, doing it yourself is better, especially if you are in this game for the long haul.

Make Friends

Later in this post, we’ll talk about marketing tactics — crafting our pitch, drawing lists of blogs and so forth — but those tactics don’t mean a whole lot unless you understand something very fundamental about grassroots marketing: It’s all about the people.

The problem is that we view big websites like The Verge as monolithic black boxes into which we insert a pitch and hope for the best. But who runs The Verge? Real people with flesh and bones. Who runs the App Store? People. How do you get featured? By winning the hearts of those people.

make-friends_500_mini4

These days, getting my apps featured isn’t that difficult. Why? Because over the past four years, I have made friends with people at almost every major venue that features apps, including Apple. Now, whenever I release a product, I can direct message a few people on Twitter and send a few emails and, assuming my product is at the caliber that my friends have come to expect from me, be fairly confident that launch day will go pretty well. That’s the power of people-focused marketing.

Remember that just a few years ago, I was an obscure college freshman, starting at ground zero. No apps. No friends. Not even any connections. So, if I can do it, anyone can.

How did I do it?

  • List influential people.
    It started by making a list of influential folks in the iOS industry: app designers and developers (David Barnard5, Phill Ryu6, etc.), technology journalists who cover apps, folks at Apple. Limiting this list to tech journalists would have been a huge mistake. In the app world, the top players know each other, so a connection with one influential app developer could very well lead to a connection with Apple or the press — and the iOS community is chockfull of great people who love to share their experiences. I’ve compiled Twitter lists for top app makers7, app journalists8, and Apple employees9.
  • Actively monitor.
    I actively watched what these people were doing, looking for opportunities to connect in tasteful ways. Suppose Phill Ryu had a question on Twitter that I could answer, or Ellis Hamburger wrote an article on The Verge that I really enjoyed — I took those opportunities to engage with folks on their turf. I never spammed them with my apps or my blog — once someone likes you, they’ll naturally check out your stuff.
  • Go where they are.
    Everyone is on Twitter, so I made sure that my profile there looked interesting and I got active. I went to conferences such as the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and South by Southwest and actively got out of my shell to meet the people around me and the people on my lists. Because I was a designer, I also hung out in communities like Dribbble2110 and Forrst11 to connect with other designers. Finally, I occasionally emailed influential people — I didn’t spam them, but I would say something nice about an article they wrote or ask a close-ended question about something they were interested in (close-ended because you are not likely to hear back on questions that require long answers).
  • Do cool stuff.
    If you aren’t building cool apps that are innovative and well designed, then gaining respect in the app community will be tough, and respect is a pillar of friendship. You don’t necessarily need to have apps in the App Store, though. I made a lot of my connections before my first app ever launched. A big reason for that is that I blogged and tweeted about what I was learning from app developers about making successful apps, and I posted very introspective thoughts about developing my first app. That caught people’s attention, and doing that well is a great way to gain respect before you’ve actually “made it” in the industry. This is important, because if you’ve gotten someone’s attention by talking to them at a conference or by engaging them on Twitter, then you need to gain their respect in order for them to take the leap of following you on Twitter (which, as weird as it sounds, can be a big deal in establishing a lasting friendship).
  • Cultivate long-term friendships.
    Once I established a connection with someone, I cultivated it by discussing issues on Twitter, in email and at conferences, giving them beta access to my apps, requesting feedback on projects (especially high-profile ones), and saying something nice about them once in a while — I don’t know one human being who doesn’t have at least a smidgen of ego.

This might sound a bit manipulative when broken down like that, but it’s really just about being a friendly, interesting person and going out of your shell a bit to meet the great folks at the top of our industry.

I like how David Barnard put it:

“There are some really cool people in this industry. If all you do is beg for coverage, you’re missing out on getting to know some great folks.”

If you follow this advice, then the advice below will produce great results. If not, I can’t guarantee a whole lot of fruit from the more tactical stuff.

Launch Plan: Concentrated Blast

The App Store is not the Web. On the Web, you can launch softly, get some articles here and there, and build your user base over time.

If you are trying to sell a mass-market app for $0.99, then scattered marketing doesn’t work. To get hundreds of thousands of downloads, you need to make an effort and get the app to “chart,” to blast up the App Store’s sales charts. Once your ranking is high enough, you will experience a snowball effect because the charts are where most people look for apps.

With that in mind, we prepared as much as we could before the launch in order to make the blast as concentrated as possible.

Building Buzz

A couple months before the launch, we started building anticipation. The goal was to collect email addresses, Twitter and Facebook accounts that we could reach come launch day.

Blogging

writing-blog-posts_500_mini12

We started by writing blog posts about the making of Languages. We posted our UX mapping process13, progress reports14, rants on gestures15, among other things. Blogging played a large role in building our brand and credibility with previous apps, but a lesser role for this launch. It was probably still worth it, though, because continuing to build your blog’s readership is always good.

Twitter

Tweetbot, my Twitter client of choice.16

I like to use my personal Twitter account (@jerols17) most of the time, but we decided to create a @languagesapp18 Twitter account to make it easy for us and others to refer to the app without having to link to it (“Putting the final touches on @languagesapp”). My followers could then click the Twitter user name to find out more information about it. While it was hard to remember to post consistently to the @languagesapp account, I posted a teaser screenshot once in a while and retweeted it from my personal and company accounts, giving the @languagesapp account more exposure.

With fairly minimal effort, we were able to garner about 500 followers for the account.

Facebook

Setting up a facebook page.19

I’m honestly not a Facebook marketing expert and didn’t spend a lot of time experimenting with it, but I did set up a page and post screenshots and status updates once in a while. It got about 50 likes, half of which were friends. I could have experimented more and gotten a lot more likes, but it didn’t seem like the most effective use of my time.

Dribbble

Post mockups on dribble.20

As a designer, it was only natural to post my UI mockups to Dribbble2110, a design community in which you can get great feedback and sometimes get viral sharing of your designs. I’m not a Dribbble pro, and my designs have never made it to Dribbble’s famous front page, but I did get some valuable feedback and a few thousands views to boot.

Teaser Website

Build a teaser website.22

We always build a teaser website23 a month or two before launch to collect email addresses of people who would like to know when the app launches. About 200 folks subscribed. Not something to write home about, but every little bit helps. Some of the subscribers were influencers in the industry, which is always good.

Pitching The Press

Two weeks to go. Pitch time. I was fortunate enough to have been able to show an early build to some of my journalist friends at the WWDC, so I already had some really hot doors to knock on.

Warm Calls

Warm calls24

Most of the journalists I knew personally already followed me on Twitter, so, in most cases, the best way to initiate the pitch was to send them a direct message on Twitter, teasing them with a screenshot and asking whether they wanted to play with a prerelease build. These guys are super-busy, so I didn’t hear back from all of them, but many of them were on board.

We used TestFlight25 to send out prerelease builds to the press. Most of them had TestFlight accounts already, so getting a build to them was pretty easy. Later on, once the app was finalized and approved by Apple, we replaced TestFlight with promo codes in our pitches, which are more convenient. (Promo codes are valid after the app is approved by Apple but before it is available to the public.)

After sending out the builds, I sent the journalists personalized thank-you notes, which also communicated the basic pitch and hinted at some advanced features to check out.

Our programming partner, Sonico, also had some great connections. So, they contacted the journalists with whom they had the strongest relationships, and we contacted ours.

Cold Calls

Cold calls26

While warm calls are ideal, I’ve had some success with cold calls — i.e. pitching journalists and individuals with whom I don’t already have a strong connection. I created a spreadsheet with all of the websites I wanted to pitch and prioritized them by how influential I perceived them to be. For the really big websites, I identified the best individual journalists to contact and sent them a personalized pitch. For the smaller websites, I generally just wrote to their tips@ email address and only personalized the “Hey, [website’s name] team” greeting.

As expected, we got only a few responses from the cold calls, but it was still worth it.

When Personalization Goes Wrong

I generally personalize the greeting and first sentence of my emails, especially for journalists whom I know. Unfortunately, this time, I had a “brilliant” idea: to refer to the journalist’s website in the middle of the email, to make it even more personal!

Bad idea. I forgot about that reference in one of my pitches and left in the name of a competing website. Talk about embarrassing and unprofessional. From then on, I decided to keep it simple. Don’t include personalized references anywhere but at the beginning of the email, and always double-check before sending! Thankfully, the journalist was a friend and took it well.

The Pitch

Rather than talk about what I think makes for a good pitch, I’ll just show you mine.

Hey [journalist’s name],

[Personalized message to the journalist and introduction to the pitch.]

Launching in a week, Languages is the fastest, most reliable and most affordable offline translation app to hit the App Store. Most translation apps break down when you need them most: traveling without an Internet connection. Languages gives you the peace of mind that you’ll never be stuck without reliable translation. While other offline translators charge $5 to $20 for a single language, Languages packs 12 common language pairs into one app for $0.99.

  • Price: $0.99
  • Launch Date: Next Thursday, October 25
  • Video Demo: http://vimeo.com/51481324
  • Website: http://www.languagesapp.com
  • Press Kit: http://www.languagesapp.com/LanguagesPressKit.zip
  • Promo Code: WJ9HXJNAPL73

Please let me know if you would be interested in doing a review, and I would be happy to provide more information or answer any questions.

Thanks,
Jeremy Olson
Tapity – Founder
704.421.8242
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@jerols
Website: http://www.tapity.com

It certainly wasn’t perfect (if you want to learn how to make a perfect pitch, you should probably read Pitch Perfect27 by Erica Sadun and Steve Sande), but it was pretty short, gave the basic value proposition pretty quickly, and provided the key information that journalists like. It also included the press kit, a folder full of screenshots, the app icon at various sizes, and a press release.

Video or No?

A lot of great apps launch with an amazing launch video. It’s a great idea if you can afford to hire a video producer or can shoot it yourself well… like, really well. But whether you make a video for the public or not, definitely make a short one for the press. Journalists would rather spend 30 seconds watching your app in action than spend a few minutes trying to “get it” for themselves on their phones.

In our case, we didn’t have time to shoot a professional video, so we just made a short video28 for the press, showing off all of the features. It was pretty rough, but it did the job.

Go Time

Launching day29

“Sorry, can’t talk right now. I’m super-busy launching Languages.” That was typical launch-day conversation. You would think that launching an app is a pretty good excuse to do nothing. It’s not. While I might have responded to some urgent questions from journalists or taken an emergency call with Apple here and there, this was really a day to kick back and watch all of our hard work pay off.

The majority of the day consisted of one activity: refreshing. Refreshing Twitter search for “Languages app” to see who was talking about it. Refreshing my “mentions” feed to see who was saying “Congrats!” Refreshing Google’s “past hour” search results for “languages” to uncover any new reviews.

Most of all, launch day can be characterized quite accurately as one of desperate and incessant refreshing of the App Store to see where Languages stood in the infamous top charts. It is the ultimate stroke of the ego after a year of blood, sweat and tears. This, folks, is what dreams are made of.

Results

Aside from a few blunders on my part from miscommunications about when journalists could start posting reviews, the launch went even better than I expected.

Reviews30

We got some amazing reviews from some of my favorite journalists.

Number 1 reference31

We blasted the announcement to Sonico’s substantial mailing list, the Languages mailing list, our blog and social media channels, resulting in a lot of buzz on Twitter and a swift climb up the App Store’s charts. Before long, we reached the number one spot in the “Reference” category.

Apple

Getting featured by Apple.32

Our relationship with Apple is one of my company’s greatest assets and one that took time to cultivate. Getting featured prominently by Apple is one of the best things that can happen to your app. It will usually get you far more downloads than any coverage from the press.

When people ask me how I’ve gotten all of my apps to be featured by Apple, I usually recommend a big marketing push during launch in order to get Apple’s attention. This time, though, we were fortunate enough to have piqued Apple’s interest a few months before Languages launched. We were fairly certain that Apple would feature us, but were pleasantly surprised to be featured as the “Editor’s Choice” in many countries and very prominently in the “New & Noteworthy” section in others.

Blast Off!

Blast off33

Concentrating all of our marketing on launch day really paid off. With over a dozen press reviews, thousands of tweets and retweets, a blast to our mailing lists, and an important feature from Apple, Languages blasted into the top-25 overall paid apps on launch day. The snowball effect kicked in, and by day two, Languages peaked at number 5 in the US.

French App Store34

Results from the other countries were staggering, with the app hitting the number one spot in France and a few other European countries. Over 70% of our sales came from outside the US. Suffice it to say, app localization, the App Store description, and the screenshots that showed most of the major European languages paid off.

Whew, what a ride! I could finally check off one of my life goals: beating all incarnations of Angry Birds in the charts, if only for a short period of time.

Aftermath

Languages managed to stay in the top 100 for a couple weeks, and then slowly but surely made its inevitable descent down, down, down into the App Store abyss. Fortunately, Languages found a pretty comfortable resting spot around number 30 (and then later number 50) in the “Reference” category’s top-100 list.

Aftermath35

We were pretty happy with the few hundred downloads it was getting per day. It wasn’t going to make us millionaires, but most of the money you make from these kinds of hit-based apps will be from major launches — i.e. major updates, the iPad version, etc. — so, the decent consistent sales are a bonus.

Support

Support doesn’t just mean updating the app with new features. One of the most time-consuming parts of making a popular app is addressing all of the bugs, feature requests and comments you receive via email and Twitter every day. During launch week, we were getting hundreds of emails a day. No joke.

Thankfully, the comments were mainly positive, asking for new languages and features.

I tried to respond to a lot of the emails, but pretty soon we realized that support was a full-time job, so we shifted responsibility to one of Sonico’s support guys. That being said, we did look through the emails to find recurring bugs reports and feature requests so that we could address them in the next version.

I expected users to ask for things like voice support and conjugation, but it turns out the most popular feature request was to be able to customize the bookshelf and to hide dictionaries not being used. That blew my mind, but we made sure to include that in the next version.

The most negative feedback was from users who said that, while the interface was great, they couldn’t find certain words in the dictionary. We learned from the Apple Maps fiasco that the robustness of an app’s content can easily overshadow the beauty of the interface. While our content wasn’t perfect, it was pretty decent, so fortunately we didn’t reenact the Apple Maps disaster, but we did need to work on it going forward.

Raising the Price

We decided to go for the mass market at launch and set the app at $0.99. If you are trying to hit the top charts, the app needs to be an impulse buy.

Raising the price.36

Having gone with a launch-sale approach, we raised the price to $2.99 once the app fell out of the top 100. Raising the price when the app is falling out of the charts might seem counterintuitive, but you actually make more money that way. The only reason we ever set it at $0.99 was to get the app to the top charts and to keep it there as long as possible. Once it falls out of the charts, the people who will find it are not impulse shoppers; they will have to actively look for it and will be willing to pay a higher price for it. This has worked out well for us.

Conclusion

Wow, that was quite a journey. If you’ve scrolled to the end for a reader’s digest, you’re in luck. The big lessons to take away are these:

  1. Yes, marketing matters! Start way before your app launches.
  2. Do it yourself by making friends in the industry.
  3. Build buzz through social media.
  4. Concentrate the marketing in blasts.
  5. Spend time getting your pitch right.

The App Store is certainly not easy street. Building a hit app takes a ton of hard work, and there are never any guarantees. That being said, it sure is a fun ride, and there is still plenty of opportunity for those who are willing to work at it. So, get out there and build something great!

(al) (il)

↑ Back to topShare on Twitter

Jeremy Olson (@jerols) is founder and lead designer at Tapity, a tiny Apple Design Award winning app company. His latest app, Languages, launched to much acclaim from Apple and the press, and peaked as the fifth top paid app on the App Store.

  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Very helpful!

    4
  2. 2

    While I appreciate the writeup, it comes down to the same ol’ connections, connections, connections – it’s all who you know :-). Problem comes when you dont have the funds or time to go to conferences and aren’t in a field like design that allows for easy following, that’s a writeup I want to see.

    A true Joe Blow that’s in a much smaller and less social environment, with very little funds and no connections, and how they did it. If I ever make it, I’ll certainly write it up, but would love to hear more experiences like that.

    5
    • 3

      Are you building an app? If so, I think all this still applies. When I started out, I had a marketing budget of zero and no connections whatsoever. I also was juggling school, a part-time job, a life, etc., etc.

      And you don’t have to be in Silicon Valley either. I’m based out of Charlotte, NC and couldn’t afford to go to conferences for years.

      While I’ve developed my network over the years, I think I started out just about as Joe Schmoe as it gets. No excuses :)

      3
  3. 4

    This is the most informative article on marketing (along with practical steps) I ever read, usually posts like this comes down to: “you know, you should be blogging”, like the blog would be ultimate answer to all marketing questions :).

    15
  4. 6

    A very insightful post. I’m not even an app developer and I thought it was incredibly interesting to learn about. Both parts were really well done.

    1
  5. 7

    Another pleasant read!

    1
  6. 8

    Great article, time to start things up.
    BTW, “Sonico’s substantial mailing list?” is that Argentina’s Sonico? Thanks for sharing your experience.

    0
  7. 10

    Thank you for sharing your first-hand experiences. To program an app is easy, but to publish a sucessful app it apears to be an obscure art. I’ve learned a lot reading your two introspective articles. PS. I promisse not to spam

    0
  8. 11

    Interesting and informative article. Building a network of contacts obviously takes a lot of time and effort, but is ultimately very worthwhile.

    0
  9. 12

    Thanks for both these articles. I’m in the process of getting my app coded and it’s mostly been a personal project to help my church with events but after reading all this I think I might try to push it out to the masses after it’s done. I’m not afraid of the hard work and I’m truly inspired by this two part piece. THANKS!

    0
  10. 13

    Artjoms Krizanovskis

    July 12, 2013 7:57 am

    Thank you! Definitely one of the most useful posts that I’ve read so far. Tho thumbs up!

    0
  11. 14

    Very encouraging considering I am in the same boat you were a couple years ago. I’m glad to hear someone else doesn’t like spending time making facebook pages too :)

    Thank you for sharing.

    0
  12. 15

    Kevin Dahlhausen

    July 12, 2013 8:03 am

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s easy to fall into the “market it after launch” mindset and your article is a good reminder to avoid that strategy. I learned the most from your description of your approach to using Twitter.

    0
  13. 16

    Hey Jeremy,

    This was a very well-written story. It was like a book I couldn’t put down. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Sean

    0
  14. 18

    Great article. I’ve always wondered what the best resource to find all journalists and bloggers related to your vertical beyond visiting each major site individually (as far as a paid service for small business and not PR professionals pricing above $1k). Any thoughts and did you ever look into this when you launched previous apps?

    0
  15. 20

    Excellent! Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest.

    0
  16. 21

    Very helpful article. Both parts are insightful and well written. Thanks for sharing.

    0
  17. 22

    That’s one of the most useful article I’ve ever read about App Marketing…it’s more of a practical journey than a bunch of theories. Thanks for those great write-ups and those screenshots are more valuable too.

    Sure, I’m going to use most of these tips and see if my @islamgramapp can pick some steam, it has all the metrics for a great app on that niche!

    0
  18. 23

    I don’t mean to be critical, but it mostly sounds like it’s just a “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” situation when it comes to launching an app successfully.

    0
    • 24

      There is actually a lot of truth to that. The thing is, though, that getting to know people is all about doing great work, being involved in the community, and things like that so it’s not about being privileged, it is still about working hard.

      1
  19. 25

    Awesome read, a lot of your principles can be effective in more than just the app world

    3
  20. 26

    Hailey Friedman

    July 12, 2013 3:34 pm

    As a first time app founder, this article was very relatable and a great source of motivation. App marketing is exactly the grey area that needed some definition.

    0
  21. 27

    Hi Jeremy,

    Marketing efforts behind “Languages” was interesting and useful read at the same time. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1
  22. 28

    The biggest thing in my experience is Localization. Using SmoothLocalize.com to localize to 21 languages TRIPLED my revenue. And it was so cheap (4c/word for human translation, 0.1c/word for Google Translate which I used for smaller languages). I dont know why people dont just do this immediately when publishing an app.

    2
  23. 29

    Jeremy, I have to raise my glass and salute you for your cunning.. It must have been tough to go the DIY lane where marketing is concerned. I guess, the hardest part is sending in that pitch to media folks. I believe that what worked for you is treating marketing as a means of capturing qualified leads and nurturing relationships. Besides, marketing is not selling – there’s a big difference. Thanks for sharing these tips & more success!

    1
  24. 30

    Hi Jeremy

    you went a long way since your first app. I remember when you came finalist at our App Star Awards! Remember?

    By the way this is an extra tip to give readers > participate in app contest > get Free exposure/better teasing

    I am also wondering if you ever used paid marketing? what is/was your experience with that as a paid app

    best

    Ouriel Ohayon
    Appsfire.com

    1
    • 31

      Been quite a journey! Yep, any free exposure is great and if you are making an app video any way… it’s a no brainer!

      I’ve tried ads a few times but unless you sell a premium app, it’s hard to make it worth your while.

      1
      • 32

        Well isn’t your app a “premium” app, i mean by that a high quality, well crafted app? What did you try and in which range of budget?

        Did you try to drop the price for 24h or so as apple does with some selected Apps?

        1
  25. 33

    Great article and applicable to so many areas of our work.

    1
  26. 34

    thanks for all this great info – very inspiring and helpful.

    Couple of thoughts – will your app be coming to android?
    will you be expanding the language selection? (Norwegian specifically :))

    idea: stage 2/2nd app – compete with Anki – when someone searches a word they can ‘add to learning’ and get phased repetition to help them actually learn the word not just know it for the next 5 min
    create user database to link words to images to help strongly reinforce learning

    -1
    • 35

      Android: we don’t have any current plans for that. From what we’ve heard it’s a lot hard to monetize Android apps and we don’t use Android devices ourselves so it’s harder to design for them.

      Expanding language selection: we hope to, yes. I can’t guarantee anything because that is more on our partner’s side of things.

      Love the idea of helping folks actually learn the words. It’s actually what I would use the app for the most if I had it. I’ve definitely been thinking along those lines and would love to eventually do that.

      0
  27. 36

    The one thing I’ve learned when promoting your app/startup at BIG websites.
    You need to pay for it – no one will cover your app for free.

    -2
    • 37

      Are you kidding? I don’t know what sites you are talking to but if I were to learn a site was doing that, I wouldn’t bother with them at all.

      1
  28. 38

    Very inspiring, Jeremy! Thanks for the insight. My main struggle would be how to retain an income during development of an app. Have to figure that out and once done, I’ll definitely use your articles again as inspiration. Cheers!

    2
  29. 41

    tuna çağlar gümüş

    July 17, 2013 11:40 am

    can you share the numbers of your app?
    Thank you

    1
  30. 42

    I’m just starting in the big world of applications development and this inspired me like no other article(well, there’s another one but it’s just two out of the dozens i red).

    I’m a “no one” too, i have a simple idea for a nice yet simple to code app and i’m reading around how to start off.

    If i’ll ever made it into the App Store with a decent product..well, let me thank you in advance :)

    1
  31. 43

    Hey Jeremy,

    Thank you for sharing your experience!! I am in the process of developing my first app and your article on marketing was just what I needed!! I do have one question though, when submitting an app to Apple for review and not knowing how long the process will take, how would one go about creating an effective plan for launch day? In your example pitch you wrote that your app will be available on a certain day but what if Apple takes longer to review the app?

    Best Regards

    1
  32. 44

    Hi Jeremy–

    Great post! You mentioned localization–do you have a company that you recommend?

    0
  33. 46

    Hey Jeremy,

    That was an inspiring post. I would use the word inspiring, as it has got me all excited about our next launch. There are some great tips that I can surely improve on. :)
    Keep posting. I understand the importance of a before launch well designed landing page. Our landing page got 10k hits, and 2k converted to downloads.
    http://bit.ly/167PyYi

    0
  34. 47

    Great article!

    Couldn’t have come at a better time, we are busy developing our first app and right in the middle out laying out or marketing strategy. With all the unknowns and new challenges this presents us with, articles like this provide us with an invaluable guide to walk in the footstep of those who have made the journey and come out winning on the other side.

    Thanks for the great read!

    0
  35. 48

    chandra dekeyser

    July 26, 2013 9:07 am

    hats off to Jeremy
    I could not agree more: do it yourself, engage genuinely with the experts, influencers, journalists etc.
    It takes a huge amount of time but it builds lasting connections

    Muito bom!
    you put me in the good #moodme :)
    Chandra

    0
  36. 49

    Hi Jeremy,

    I hope you are well!
    This article is very intersting and an inspiring post too. One question regarding your marketing strategy, did you ever try to cooperate with an mobile affiliate marketing network? If yes, what was the outcome?

    Cheers from Germany!

    Marcel

    0
  37. 50

    Working for a company in the process of creating some new apps. I will be assuming the marketing role and I found this article incredibly helpful.

    Thanks Jeremy!

    0
  38. 51

    Part 2 is also very interesting. Thanks for sharing such an amazing info. Its very useful for app developers and business promoters.

    0
  39. 52

    It seems like everyone these days has their faces glued to their iPhone screens. Everyone is always talking about the latest application or downloading the latest application, which has caught the attention of many companies. Developing iPhone apps is an innovative way to improve a company’s reputation among its customers and increase its customer base, as well as its revenue. These apps are available from ConvoSpark, a leading development company based in San Francisco, California.

    0
  40. 53

    ConvoSpark is a leading iPhone app development company that has a reputation for creating the best applications in the industry. They have worked with the likes of Taco Bell, BNSF, and shoe company Zumies. They are more than able to create an application that exceed the expectations and requirements of every client.

    0
  41. 54

    Wow that was a lot to digest. I’m so not a tech head but got loads from your article and clicked almost every link. I’m launching my first app for posture and boy I’m glad I read this article as we were just going to jump in with our great ideas.

    I’m not the designer (I’m the doc) but I want to be heavily involved. I do have a very large YouTube following so this will be an excellent source for feedback and momentum.

    My question is this – do I need to cultivate relationships within the app industry – all my relations and conferences are within health. My designers are not running the marketing campaign – I am. So when I’m blogging about the build, it will be fairly non tech talk. Is that a problem?

    So much to do and I already spend a zillion hours on posture but I’m up for this game!! Oh and how many months should I allow for the lead up to launch ideally. Sorry I squeezed in 3 wee questions but I’m super hyped after that read.

    Thank you!

    0
  42. 55

    Dimitris Tsirikos

    August 14, 2013 2:04 am

    Great article Jeremy!

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your experiences with so much detail. It’s clear and up to the point, full of real life examples. A must read.
    I sincerely hope Languages, Hours and Grades do great and that you keep on creating such wonderful apps.

    0
  43. 56

    Hello Jeremy
    A really nice article about app marketing the “easy” way.
    Personally, I am not into marketing but your way sounds to me the right way. Being proactive and step-by-step getting the app known in the community.
    However, we will do the best for our own app.
    As Paula mentioned above, that she is not a designer, me and my partners are not designers as well as marketers either.
    I just have a question; Who should we involve in the marketing while our designer is kinda not into any social marketing ways, too?
    We try to do the marketing ourselves at the moment but we would need somebody really creative.

    OK, got to go to read the Part1 and other articles you recommended
    Thank you

    0
  44. 57

    This was a very well written and engaging journey. Thank you for that!

    0
  45. 58

    Every marketer is looking for a better and an improved way to market their products no matter the part of the world. Now the app technology has tried to make it simple following the buzz around the press talking about the new app called VIBZ and they are calling it the marketer’s dream social app because with its features, just being a member is already enough marketing to take you to the next step.

    0
  46. 59

    Hi Jeremy,

    Another grateful reader….thank you for being so candid. :0)

    Like most others posting, I’m not far off launching an app (with my wife)… and we’re still together too…(just)…

    It will be English speaking only to start with… does your language app help convert app text into foreign languages? I’d pay a lot for that. ;0)

    All the best… Steve

    0
  47. 60

    Hi Jeremy

    Wow. I wish I had of been able to read this post BEFORE I launched my photo assignmet apps.
    This is such a great roadmap for anyone working on an app, and huge plus to you for sharing your story.

    I’m not a programmer/developer, I’m a photographer, but I have to say the app developer community is for the most part a really awesome group of people who seem to not mind helping each other out!

    I started my own blog documenting my newb app developer adventures to talk about my experiences, and more importantly, help others avoid the stupid mistakes I’ve made…
    http://www.learnphoto.ca/newbappdeveloper (i hope you don’t mind me sharing it!)

    Anyone who thinks that just having a great idea and put putting it on the app store is all it takes, is going to be extremely disappointed! Marketing your app is a whole other phase of being an app developer. It’s hard work, and if you aren’t ready to do the hard work, I wish you luck.

    I think the key is making a huge splash at launch(which involves all the pre-launch work you mention, making connections, teasing, sending out beta versions to testers) and keeping the momentum going. I’m one year in almost, and I had a pretty good launch, but it fell off quick and one that happens, it’s extremely difficult to get that going again.

    Thanks again for this post.

    Noel

    0
  48. 61

    As an aspiring indie app developer, this article has some helpful nuggets in it! Very interesting insight into the price increase once the initial launch hype is over. I’ve practiced the same thing myself! Good article and good luck with your apps!

    0
  49. 62

    so, it’s 7.25am in Italy. I’v been reading this article already twice this morning. super thanks Jeremy. I totally agree with your strategy. we’re releasing our beta app in the next few days, at thelivablestyle.com it’s all about people and values, hope one day you’ll be joining the community of great people we are building! still thanks for your suggestions, best, Sarah

    0
  50. 63

    I think single person can’t handle this all strategy in proper manner so development agency is right way to make app better and also they doing marketing in right way check below link it helpful for you app marketing and development.

    http://www.whatech.com/members-news/mobile/16500-bdc-announced-10-best-mobile-app-development-companies-of-september-2013

    0
  51. 64

    Jeremy,

    Thanks for the easy read and honest account of your app to launch adventure. We have just built a great product and are now at the “So now what?” stage! I will certainly heed your direction and insight. Thanks for paving a trail!

    Scott

    0
  52. 65

    I have been doing my research on how to market an application successfully and without a doubt this is one of the finest blogs I’ve come across.

    It was extremely helpful!

    Thank you.

    0
  53. 66

    Thanks Jeremy! As a marketing profession I thoroughly enjoyed your article and got a new insight to look towards app marketing. I’m already following you on twitter.

    I would be very glad to get guidance for beta testing and pro beta testing.

    Karon

    0
  54. 67

    great article Jeremy, packed with useful tips and examples. I wish I’d been able to read it 6 months ago, rather than 2 days before launch of my app, but as a sole developer I feel as if I’ve spent the past year in stackoverflow.com! Having taken the DIY approach for my build I shall follow your advice & DIY marketing also.

    many thanks for sharing your wisdom

    0
  55. 68

    Great read. Only wish I’d read it sooner!

    We are in the early stages post launch and reassuringly we did instinctively pursue some of your key suggestions but being a small team and focussed so heavily on the development, I do wish we’d spent more time in the buildup on marketing.

    0
  56. 69

    Great sharing, Jeremy! This is the most comprehensive article about app marketing I have ever read. Anyway, I’m also working in a mobile app company in Malaysia, in marketing role as well. Wondering if your strategies do work for developers out of U.S. Making friends with popular journalists and Apple’s people seems difficult for me. What would you recommend for developers in the rest of the word?

    0
  57. 70

    Thanks a lot for sharing this! Really helpful and informative stuff! :)

    0
  58. 71

    Hey Jeremy,

    Fantastic article! greatly appreciated

    With making new connections, what was the first step for you? in terms of approach and getting to know/tweeting/speaking with great people?

    Many thanks!

    0
  59. 72

    Hi Jeremy,

    I posted back in September (pre launch) and thought it fair and reasonable to share my own experience too. The app is called My Shape Stylist and launched mid November (globally). Our office is based in the United Kingdom.

    NETWORKING WITH APPLE – Difficult! Perhaps not helped by our location. We tried to get on the invite list to their UK roadshow but spaces were limited, so we were not the lucky few. Neither does Apple share Editor related details so emails via the Developer account have not triggered anything to date. For example, we’ve just had our first major piece of US publicity but had nobody to tell at Apple (US or UK). We jumped into top 100 on App Store Lifestyle in UK and top 200 in US.

    Thankfully I am tenacious and will let you know if things change…

    APP REVIEW WEBSITES – My experience is that majority communicate an offer of free review, yet these are typically 2-3 months waiting lists. 2-3 months on, we have seen nothing. It appears simply a paid service. However few provide audited details of their reach and given our app is for women, it’s the kind of data that would help make our investment decision. We’ve also found very few women working for these sites, which I guess is just bad luck for us, as it’s not really something a guy can review!

    YOUTUBE – We were told that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. This motivated us to create some quality, professional video content. Not least to show off the app visually but to also provide some instructional support for the app too. OUTCOME is number of hits is very disappointing to date. We spent detailed time on Keywords etc. I suggest it ‘may’ only be effective if you promote (ie more advertising cost with Google). We have yet to try it…

    SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT
    TWITTER – Jury is out. Lot of endeavour for little return thus far… A lot of chaff to sort, to find the wheat… But useful for saying ‘thank you’ quick and easily.
    FACEBOOK – I think there is value here if you consider promoting the page, however Facebook do now place adverts on your page, which could be a direct competitor… if you are happy with that… it can work both ways!
    We are shortly to trial on INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST and GOOGLE +

    PR WEB (PAID)
    We pushed in both USA and UK but didn’t see return on investment. Analytics seemed to exaggerate the reach. I think the problem is you simply get fitted into a Newsfeed and hope that the right journalist sees it. My opinion is that unless you are already a major brand, you’re better investing your time trying to find the right journalist (via Twitter?) and making contact direct.

    The only benefit is that at least you do have a single ‘Launch’ summary posted on the web, that should remain there forever. An ongoing advert! This can be helpful to send as a single web link to a journalist, as your 140 character Tweet might not be enough. ;0) THEREFORE – I recommend to buy the cheapest PR launch pack so you have a professional PR release to direct links to, as and when needed.

    ANALYTICS
    Flurry and Distimo have proved to be useful tools. Which we intend to utilise further in due course. Recommended (although I am sure there are others).

    FINAL COMMENT & SUMMARY
    We put together a professional marketing website with videos to support the app.
    It’s had great reviews and testimonial from a major publisher. The app is bug free. We wrote to every major newspaper and continue to email too.

    Outcome – it remains a slog. Nobody said it would be easy! The performance is trending nicely despite such little publicity and analytics will help us create ideas for further development. Learning to share is that you need to also recognise that it may take a while. Consider for this (ie budget it) in your plans. By all means go for a major launch, but don’t count on it being successful. HAVE (at least) A PLAN B and be tenacious! Good luck to all. :0)

    0
  60. 73

    Hi,

    Wow, that’s quite a read. I’ve come up with an idea for an app and have just started approaching developers for quotes. I am currently a team of me, myself and I and have been reading your posts and realizing how much work is involved. I had viewed getting an app to market as more of a side business but I can see that even with support it can take over your time. This has been a really interesting read and food for thought so thank you for that. I’m glad I’ve read it now and not 6 months down the line. I am a complete newcomer to the app market and would appreciate any advice with regards to where to connect with individuals I might be able to begin to work with, I am based in the UK and would like to stick to people I could meet with face to face as opposed to outsourcing. Also, any advice as to ownership and potentailly sharing ownership of an app would be really interseting as without a partnership I don’t think I would be capable of getting it off the ground.

    Thanks again for taking the time.

    0
  61. 74

    Another great resource for the pre-launch phase is Prefundia, which helps you build a following before release, e.g. while still in development or during marketing preparation. Here’s the link: http://prefundia.com/

    0
  62. 75

    Hey Jeremy,

    I wanted to thank you for writing this article. I recently launched my own app and have been primarily focusing on grass roots marketing (limited marketing budget). Your article was extremely helpful and hopefully I can achieve similar success with these methods.

    Best,
    David

    0
  63. 76

    Awesome ass article Jeremy. I won’t know what to do with our app without this article. You’re the best!. Thanks alot.

    0
  64. 77

    Fantastic article.

    Articles like this really are priceless for new starters. The world of mobile apps has expanded into such a massive beast, getting any kind of recognition is incredibly daunting. However this article really is very encouraging, and provides an awful lot of good, practical advice.

    Thanks again.

    0
  65. 78

    Hi Jeremy,
    First of all great article. I am a teacher from Australia and my friend and I are just about to begin development on a fairly innovative travel app. So this article had fantastic insights for us.
    I would love some feedback on our concept from you, you did mention that you had some success with cold calling- so here is my attempt!
    Would love to hear from you mate, but understand that you are busy, so if not, I still learned a lot from this.
    All the best Jeremy and hope to hear from you.
    Ryan

    0
  66. 79

    Yes, an app’s success is depends on a infallible plan. You can get success with any product launch if you have a good strategy. Nice sharing. I have also read one more article please check it here http://source.sourcelysis.com/blog/launch-apple-10-ways-build-buzz-your-next-product-launch

    0
  67. 80

    Nicolas Hochard

    July 22, 2014 2:36 pm

    Nice articles! I am always looking for some like that as I am wondering how the hell people will know about my app!

    0

Leave a Comment

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or else it will be deleted. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation instead. Thanks for dropping by!

↑ Back to top