“Six Figure Downloads: Marketing Tactics of the most successful apps in the world. How to get 100,000+ Downloads of your iPhone app.”
Today we’re discussing a topic specifically relevant to those looking to build an iPhone application or for those who have one but aren’t making many sales. The world is becoming increasingly digital… EVERYONE nowadays has a mobile device… and apps are becoming more and more profitable.
Therein lies the problem. The market is there for the taking, but getting to the buyers isn’t easy. How do you not only have them find your app, but convince them it’s worth buying? How do you know how much to price it at to make people actually buy it? How do you make them such happy buyers that they tell their friends about it and months or years down the road buy your next app? How do you get your app talked about in popular online blogs such as TechCrunch and Engadget? All of these questions and more will be explored by the end of this article. Don’t miss out on the important tips at the end that will help increase your sales greatly!
The first step is turning your leads into buyers; your potential buyers into actual ones.
It’s not easy. There’s no doubt about it. People’s money is scarce (except for that 1%) and there’s no doubt that people don’t like throwing it away. Unless an app is absolutely going to better their life, they’re bound to pass it up… even it’s a mere $1.99! To put things into perspective, the average price of an iPhone app is $1.87. What can that buy nowadays… a bottle of Coca-Cola?
You also have to realize that someone who may purchase the app at some point in time may not do so immediately. It may take them a month or longer to “pull the trigger”, so to speak. In that time you want to be able to communicate with them… but how?
One option is to have them opt-in to some sort of subscriber’s list by email. This way you can reach out to them when you have promotions going on or otherwise. Another option is letting them download a base or trial version of your app. Perhaps it has limited features. This way they can check it out without buying it… then to unlock better or more advanced features, they have to purchase it. Help solve their problems in the free version but be sure to leave out a hugely helpful part of it as well. After all, you do want to make money!
How do you price your app accordingly? There’s a fine line between too cheap and too expensive, especially for frugal buyers.
Apps in general range from $.99 to $100 if they’re not completely free. Though it fluctuates, around 30% of all iPhone apps are free for the user. This makes it hard, when the free app is extremely good, to offer a paid app that does virtually the same thing. The cheaper ones generally have basic functionality whereas more expensive ones could be more complex and solve more of an individual’s problems… but this is FAR from the case for every app. The truth is there are SO many exceptions. Some of the best apps out there are extremely cheap whereas some of the worst ones are very pricey – go figure.
If someone were to heavily underprice their app – for example, if it’s absolutely incredible but only $.99 – there are several reasons why this “strategy” might be used. The seller may have no previous buyers… no reputation… and the person wants a lot of people to buy their app, start talking about it, and so on. If an app is priced highly (even if it’s, again, “absolutely incredible”), convincing someone to buy it for a high price when no one knows who you are… well, to say the least, it won’t be easy. In the large majority of cases the result will be failure.
On the other hand, a lot of people will also choose to overprice their app. These sellers generally think short-term. They realize that a couple bucks isn’t going to buy them a Ferrari. Fewer buyers will be lining up for the app and in the long-run you’ll find yourself having fewer followers and fewer people talking about the app. The whole concept of something going viral, in this case an app, is a TON of people surging the internet with a discussion on the same topic.
What I mean by all of this viral talk is that if 100,000 people buy an app for $.99, the impact will be much greater than 1,000 paying $99. While you end up making the same amount of money in these two cases, you ABSOLUTELY want more buyers than fewer (this may sound like a given – but a lot of people, believe it or not, think otherwise).
Now… as I said… you desperately want your buyers to talk about your app after purchasing it. You want them to stick around and buy the next app you release.
This isn’t easy and you want the chatter to be genuine. You don’t want to incentivize your buyers to talk about the app, but rather want them to do so because they WANT to. I promise… PROMISE that your app won’t take off and hit 100,000 downloads without a ton of people talking about your app everywhere. By everywhere I mean forums, blogs, by email, on social networks…
Think of it as free promotion. How awesome would it be not having to pay to promote your app but rather having it done while you’re sleeping by thousands of real users… for free? Trust me – it’s very awesome. The one way to ensure the possibility of it happening is to have a fast-loading, perfected, 100% working app. One that people could have no complaints about. If your app is sub-par, has some parts missing, crashes, or is overloaded with ads… it will NOT have the potential of taking off like a rocket ship.
There are some sites out there that exist TO review iPhone apps. These are the reviewers that you need to impress. People are much more likely to trust their opinion than the opinion of a “random person”. Some of these sites include DownloadSquad.com, TUAW.com, iLounge.com, and TouchArcade.com.
Remember – it’s not just about having the buyer make the purchase. It’s about having them come back for more and more when you release new apps. There’s no easy road to go with this matter either. It is however attainable to keep your buyers happy and so unbelievably important. The trick is keeping up with the times in regards to updates… providing top-notch support… and months, even years down the road, ensuring that the app is still working as flawlessly as the first day it launched.
How do you get the heavy-hitters like TechCrunch and Engadget talking about your app?
There are some blogs out there such as TechCrunch and Engadget that get millions of visitors monthly and can take a “nobody app” that no one has ever heard of to an extremely popular, heavily-purchased one. Literally. These websites have huge authority and people trust them. Tens of thousands of people, if not more, will instantly see your app and what it’s about… people will tweet about it, re-tweet about it, “like” it… there will be insane buzz about it everywhere! But… how do these heavy-hitters find you? Sending them an email will certainly not instantly get you a spot on their site. It’s VERY hard to get in the spotlight.
There generally are two ways as a new app seller to get sponsored on these sorts of sites.
The first way is to do something extraordinary. Do something that hasn’t previously been done. Something that was definitely needed by a mass number of people, but for some reason, simply hasn’t been taken advantage of. For example… Angry Birds. Who knew so many people would want to throw birds at a bunch of pillars? Who knew the makers would become millionaires from the seemingly simplistic game? Well… it was ingenious. They’re happily accepting huge paychecks every week from downloads, and probably will for years to come.
The second way is to do something BETTER than previously done. It’s hard to find an untapped niche nowadays. You can think of the most random app and chances are it’s been made… perhaps even many times over. At this point there is no “being the first”… and you can’t be WORSE than the previously made version or else there’s no chance of success. You have to be the best to truly make a name for yourself. Perhaps you don’t have to do EVERYTHING the best but you most certainly have to do something better than all of the competition… and doing this is far from easy – trust me.
You’re still probably thinking… 100,000 downloads?! That’s SO MANY!!!
And it is. Achieving 100,000 for most people will never, ever happen. For some it may take many months – even years. On the other hand if you’ve previously put out other apps and have a huge reputation already, getting those downloads is a lot easier (well… not a LOT easier… but easier).
To help you achieve your wildest dreams and maximize the potential of your app… consider these tips. Don’t take them for granted.
1. When starting off as a new app seller, don’t overprice yourself. People don’t know you. You can’t charge a premium price. If anything underprice yourself so people that wouldn’t have purchased your app may consider doing so… then, if they’re happy, they’ll be a lifelong customer!
2. Don’t give up. Finding success won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen after a week and it won’t happen after a month. Creating apps is a long-term process (not just the creation of them). Remember that some people who have found huge success in their apps didn’t do well with their first app, second, even fifth! Then… all of a sudden, their sixth hits and takes off. Some people have created tons of apps and still haven’t had one “stick”!
3. Network, network, network. Talking with people in your niche – even your competitors – is advantageous. Perhaps they won’t be able to help you… but perhaps they’ll be of HUGE help. The potential of the case being the latter is worth it to simply send out a email saying hello. For all that you know they’ve been meaning to contact you and simply haven’t gotten around to it.
4. You have to spend money to make money. It may not be fun to spend money on paid advertising online. Some of it can be quite costly such as cost-per-click (i.e. Google AdWords). You don’t know what the return will be, and it may even be negative… BUT! You must try. It’s mandatory to get the word out there. Your buyers finding you won’t happen… you have to find them.
5. Always over-deliver. If your app is fantastic and lives up to expectations that’s wonderful. Chances are the buyers will come back for more in terms of updates and future products. If you over-deliver, the chances of them being return customers, promoting you (such as telling their friends), and loving your app for months and years to come becomes much more likely. Have your app be better than they could have ever imagined. Offer features not even talked about prior to them purchasing. It’ll pay off.
6. Answer your buyer’s questions. They may wonder how to use something or have difficulty with their download. Helping them with this matter, preferably within 48 hours, will make them VERY happy. They will be GREATLY appreciative. If you can’t offer the support yourself, perhaps you can find a means to outsource the customer support.
7. Don’t release it until it’s completely finished. You may get antsy and want to pull the trigger to release the app before it’s ready. It happens to the best of us. You just want to call it complete and start reeling in that dough! Unfortunately this will heavily backfire. Wait until the app is 100% done before launching it. Work out EVERY kink possible. If it’s released, people buy it, and find the kinks themselves, they won’t be very happy. You can also outsource this work if need be to quality assurance testers. There are plenty of places such as oDesk.com and Elance.com with capable workers.
So there you have it. An overview of taking off your app like a rocket ship, making it go viral, and tips to increase your chances of success… what else do you need? Remember one last thing: solve a problem. Think… why would someone want to buy your app? Will it TRULY help them? Would YOU buy it yourself? If you don’t believe in it, no one else will either. Offer huge quality… and I mean MASSIVE… and it’ll pay off. You might even reach 100,000 downloads.