With 182 New Apps Created Every Day, Developers Need to Rise Above the Digital Dust and Vigorously Promote Their Apps
By Scott Lorenz
There’s no question that creating, developing and selling iPhone apps is one of the hottest entrepreneurial opportunities out there. By the latest count, there are 200,000 iPhone applications alone available for sale at Apple’s App Store since its June 2007 debut. This equates to an astounding pace of 182 new apps a day! The explosive popularity of iPhone and iPod and iPad will dramatically expand this number even more in the years to come.
But for every iPhone developer who surges to success, there are thousands with their apps who do little more than gather digital dust on Apple App shelves. These developers need to rise above the clutter and get noticed. To get an idea of the depth, width and height of that clutter, just go to the Apple App Store and see all the apps available there. Pay particular attention to competitor’s apps and take some time to dig into the options the App Store offers to promote your product.
Some developers rely upon word of mouth to market their apps. Word of mouth is a great tool but you need PR to fuel up word of mouth. What is really needed is a PR plan that reaches both the end users the consumers and the media who can reach those buyers.
Developers of technology of any kind tend to speak to other tech people in their own world. And that makes sense. They trade ideas, swap insight, discuss roadblocks, and share code. But to market and ultimately sell their iPhone apps, developers must reach out to the people who talk to their end users. They need to reach non-technical journalists who can mention an app on a TV newscast, write a newspaper column that reaches a few hundred thousand readers or a syndicated radio show with 100,000-plus listeners across the U.S.
A public relations firm or publicist has an extensive list of media contacts with whom he has developed a professional relationship and history that can be pitched. The contacts and relationships a PR specialist has are 1000 percent more apt to gain a radio interview or inclusion in a newspaper column than the technology developer who cannot be expected to have these kinds of contacts. That’s why an iPhone app developer needs to invest time and resources with the publicist best equipped to make the app well enough known in the right places that it will become a popular seller.
iPhone App Reviews
When I work with an app developer, my beginning point is to assess what I think the media potential is for the app. Would the media even be interested? Is it a niche app or is it an app that would be of wide consumer interest? Then I’d determine which journalists, columnists, television, bloggers, and radio and TV producers would be interested in that app and pitch them. We’ll also go beyond traditional media and include product reviewers at major media outlets as well as bloggers and those with large followings on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. We’ll start to create a buzz on the Internet and generate traffic to the developer’s website or and the iPhone App Store. If appropriate, I’d get celebrities to use my client’s app and then get a testimonial from the celebrity to talk about how great the app is and its use.
With one recent iPhone app promotion our YouTube views increased by 13,500 from 11pm to 6am after an interview on Wall Street Journal Radio and a couple of highly trafficked review sites. Reviews matter. PR matters.
iPhone App Marketing
iPhone app developers should use Google ad words (PPC) to drive people to their website where users can find a link to an online demo that clearly shows what the app is all about. Developers also need to have a YouTube video that can capture consumers looking on YouTube for a new app or who stumble upon it while looking for something else. The URL to the YouTube video and the URL to the website demo link should then both be used in all promotional materials to drive sales and traffic.
Speaking of promotional materials, I’d like to share with my readers a pitch I made for a client that illustrates how you catch the attention of busy columnists and TV-radio pros. The pitch reads:
‘A new prize-winning iPhone App that places power in the hands of the people is on pace for 25,000 annual downloads. It’s remarkable because it’s a California ONLY App but could go national. The new App also won second place in the 2009 University of Southern California Student Innovator Showcase. The press release below has more information. If you would like to speak to the 25 year old developer please contact me.
The release, which early on put forth links to the developer’s website and to a YouTube video for a demo, It was on a very fast download pace and in fact was ahead of the Bible for downloads on the iTunes Store.
Going Viral with Your iPhone App
I conducted a similar campaign for a musician/teacher who created educational rap music to be used in the classroom. Press releases included links to where the music could be downloaded free, to YouTube videos and to his website,www.MrDuey.com We created buzz on YouTube and other Internet hotspots that drove sales and pushed him above all other videos on TeacherTube (like YouTube but primarily for teachers and students). At last check we were approaching 1.5 Million Views of his Fractions video making it the most popular video on TeacherTube.
I also used my Internet marketing skills to help Angel Acres make it to the Top 10 in a $1 Million shelter makeover contest sponsored by Zootoo.com, a website for animal and pet lovers. As part of the effort, I enlisted a talented artist, who along with being an award-winning columnist is an accomplished musician, to write and record a song to be used in an online video and for public service announcements. View it on YouTube. I believe it will become the new anthem for horse lovers in their fight to save homeless horses.
iPhone App Public Relations
These efforts are intended as illustrations of how a public relations professional, especially one with Internet marketing savvy, can move an App developer high above the clutter into the niche market arena that will place him in the middle of shoppers, buyers, and highly curious end users. For more ideas on promoting an iPhone app visit:www.WestWindCos.Com
About Scott Lorenz and iPhone app promotion
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Check out Lorenz’s article 52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App. Learn more about Westwind Communications iPhone app promotion at http://www.WestWindCos.Com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or by phone at 734-667-2090.