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firewood
Jul 18, 2012, 01:12 PM
Anyone here willing to discuss marketing methods that actually work? (...and that are legal according to Apple's dev agreement.)

The only one I've heard where the payoff can be positive for small developers is prmac.

Apple mentions that having an attractive icon and app web site helps.

How does one get the attention of the top blogs and review sites with a new app? (Is there a hidden under-the-table-payola button somewhere? ;)



Greencardman
Jul 18, 2012, 01:59 PM
We used PRMac and saw a momentary increase in downloads and page views. We didn't get picked up by any major blogs or websites from it. We will probably do it again next month when our second issue comes out. They're very professional over there and for $25 it's a great way to at least get in front of major websites.

I also emailed app review websites to solicit reviews. I emailed about 30, got responses from about three or four and got one positive review. We didn't use any of the paid services, just the free ones.
I made an Excel spreadsheet with all the contact info for the review sites I contacted that I will try and post to my website today if anyone is interested. It may need some input from the community to weed out the dead links as the sites go defunct often.
EDIT: put the spreadsheet up, you can find the thread here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1406609).

dacapo
Jul 18, 2012, 02:02 PM
Anyone here willing to discuss marketing methods that actually work? (...and that are legal according to Apple's dev agreement.)

The only one I've heard where the payoff can be positive for small developers is prmac.

Apple mentions that having an attractive icon and app web site helps.

How does one get the attention of the top blogs and review sites with a new app? (Is there a hidden under-the-table-payola button somewhere? ;)

I think someone like bignoggins will definitely have great advice, but from what I recall from the old iPhoneDevSDK forum, you have to think of the App Store itself as your best marketing tool as a general rule of thumb. Of course, if you have a big advertising budget, you can muscle your way into mainstream media or what-not.

But in the case of most smaller indie devs, having effective keywords and cross-promoting your own apps effectively seem to work best. These are done within the iTunes app store itself.

Of course, it's hard to craft good keywords for games, so keywords work much better with utility type apps.

Having good artwork (icons, screenshots) and having universal apps seem to help.

I for one have not had much success with prmac, although it seems to be the most cost-effective way to get word about your app out to the general public. With the exception of the few apps that go viral in the general public, a more sound strategy would be to target your audience to a specific interest group or some user-base that's already there.

dejo
Jul 18, 2012, 04:57 PM
One of my biggest issues with the App Store is they don't have any, what I'll refer to as, referral-tracking. When someone finally gets to your app, you have no way of finding out how they got there. Did they just stumble upon it by browsing the App Store, did they get to the App Store via an advertised link, via your website, some other way, what? This makes it much harder to judge the effectiveness of various marketing techniques.

Greencardman
Jul 18, 2012, 05:27 PM
@dejo, You might want to check out TapStream (https://tapstream.com/). They're trying to solve this problem. I'm waiting until they implement a privacy policy before giving it a go, but it definitely looks promising.

mochibits
Jul 19, 2012, 04:52 AM
My marketing checklist:
- Polished niche app for a targeted audience
- Nice icon
- Nice screenshots
- Relevant keywords
- Cross promotion with our own apps
- Email blast from our own newsletter

We don't have the kind of marketing budget like the big boys, so we'd rather buy a nice dinner for ourselves.

Getting featured or getting covered by the popular blogs is not guaranteed so you have to plan for the longtail. That means keep coding, keep delivering and get on as many platforms as possible.

Oh, also regarding the expensive marketing services... the only thing guaranteed about those is the big red number in your bank account. Save your money, use it to get a designer first if you have to.

firewood
Jul 19, 2012, 12:25 PM
My specialty niche app does seem to be selling itself in small but fairly continuous quantities from, as my best guess, keyword searches and possibly user word-of-mouth. (I do zero advertising, and the app's web site does not get that many hits.)

But this app does get a nice pop in sales every now and then, which seems to strongly correlate with a mention or a review in a forum or blog somewhere. It would be nice to find a way to encourage or incentivize more of those reviews and mentions, as the "pops" in sales can be more than the price of a nice dinner or three.

Greencardman
Jul 19, 2012, 01:38 PM
@firewood - Do you do PR efforts to get blog mentions, like sending out emails, or do they just happen because people with blogs found your app?

If you know of any places that have reviewed you, I'm keeping a list (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1406609) for indie developers.

dacapo
Jul 23, 2012, 03:46 PM
Just to follow up on my previous post, I tried prmac again. It gave me a little pop in sales, but the pop lasted only a couple of days. So, it does work, but doesn't seem to be a long term strategy.

dejo
Jul 23, 2012, 03:52 PM
Just to follow up on my previous post, I tried prmac again. It gave me a little pop in sales, but the pop lasted only a couple of days. So, it does work, but doesn't seem to be a long term strategy.

When you say "pop", how many more sales / percentage-increase are we talking about here (taking into account how much info you're willing to disclose, that is).

Greencardman
Jul 23, 2012, 04:12 PM
Also, how do you separate out your marketing efforts to measure them?

samdev
Jul 23, 2012, 06:45 PM
We used PRMac and saw a momentary increase in downloads and page views. We didn't get picked up by any major blogs or websites from it. We will probably do it again next month when our second issue comes out. They're very professional over there and for $25 it's a great way to at least get in front of major websites.

I also emailed app review websites to solicit reviews. I emailed about 30, got responses from about three or four and got one positive review. We didn't use any of the paid services, just the free ones.
I made an Excel spreadsheet with all the contact info for the review sites I contacted that I will try and post to my website today if anyone is interested. It may need some input from the community to weed out the dead links as the sites go defunct often.
EDIT: put the spreadsheet up, you can find the thread here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1406609).

Do sites like that post your press release information to various sites and that's it?
If so, how long does that marketing effect last? A couple days?

In other words, would you say these sites are good for short-term or long-term sales?

Because I don't see how any marketing can be effective if it's not constantly promoted.
With so many apps out there, it's very easy for a new app to drop off into obscurity after it's released.

dacapo
Jul 24, 2012, 09:06 AM
When you say "pop", how many more sales / percentage-increase are we talking about here (taking into account how much info you're willing to disclose, that is).

By "pop", I mean that it did more than pay for the cost of the prmac press release, but not by much. Of course, there has been a bit of continued exposure so some additional sales dribbling in in subsequent days. But yes, the temporary spike was both pronounced and temporary.

To be sure, the keyword search algorithm on the app store seems to have been changing lately, so until I figure out what the best way to adapt to the new search algorithm is, I suppose I'll use prmac with any new app releases. But I don't like writing press releases, so I'd rather not, unless I have to. ;-)

Greencardman
Jul 24, 2012, 09:32 AM
Do sites like that post your press release information to various sites and that's it?
If so, how long does that marketing effect last? A couple days?

In other words, would you say these sites are good for short-term or long-term sales?


Yes. PR Mac sends out your press release to mac related sites. That's one of the reasons why its useful for iOS developers. The effect might be large if you get picked up by a blog, or pretty small, but it usually doesn't last too long. A lot of it depends on how well your press release catches the attention of editors.

A lot of the benefits to these sorts of things are good old fashioned SEO. Mentions, reviews, links, they all add up to making your new app seem legit. For example, we're an iPad travel magazine, and one interview with us from a travel blogger comes up in the top results in Google (at least on my computer). The top result is one of our free competitors (TRVL - they're great by the way, check them out), and they're mentioned four times in the top ten results in the snippets alone, they might be mentioned even more in the actual articles. I know they're a small operation like us, so they're doing something right. Our iTunes link comes up at the bottom of the second page, and our website is on the bottom of the third. Even our announcement in the iPad apps section of Macrumors beats our website, which shows you how powerful the forums at MR are.

So yeah, the overall marketing effect of PR Mac might be small, but its one of the many things you do to keep your name out there, along with emailing bloggers and review sites, managing your App Store keywords and description and timing your downloads.

dejo
Jul 24, 2012, 10:32 AM
Oh, by the way, iPhone Life has a vendor network (http://www.iphonelife.com/vendor), which includes free press releases.