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User acquisition on IOS?

We're a bootstrapped startup that just launched an Iphone app. Any tips on how to (inexpensively) market the app and acquire users?

I've heard some tips where you can sell your app for a high price, like $19.99, and then make it free, causing app discount sites to write about the sudden discounted deal (does this work?). I've also heard that paying for Youtube app reviews can get you app downloads in the hundreds.

Any tips or suggestions?

7 Replies

Zuhairah Scott Washington
6
0
General Manager at Uber
Hi Tania,

It really depends on the type of app you have. I've heard that the "drop the price" approach does work if you have an app that you can actually sell for $19.99 realistically thereafter but if your app is free or .99 like most - then this may not be as an effective strategy. I also haven't tried the paid Youtube app review strategy. Can you tell us more about your app? What category is it in? Is it paid or free? Who is your target customer/end user?

Kissmetrics posted a great piece on their blog about Marketing Mobile Apps. Most of the things they recommend require money though but here are some of the most effective CHEAP things Ive seen work with our app.

1. SEO:One tactic not mentioned in the blog post that has worked well for us isSEO. While this is still a relatively new concept for iOS there are a few startups tackling this issue.SearchMan SEOis the one we use. It basically monitors the keywords of your competitors and makes suggestions for keywords you can use to boost your ranking in the app store.This is an effective and consistent way for us to get a steady flow of new downloads for FREE!

2. Guest Blogging/Press - This works moderately well for big spikes in downloads. Not a sustainable way to grow your business though. Submit your site to app review sites and sites that discuss new startups/apps. Launchbit has a whole list of sites that focus on startups on their blog. Also Help A Reporter Out is a great tool for connecting with journalist who are looking to cover your industry, product.

3. Get Reviews from Power Users: We ask our users to review our app after they've used the product for some time. This impacts SEO/app rankings as well and also allows us to look credible to those considering downloading the app.

4. Integrate Twilio on your landing page: We spent a lot of time creating an awesome landing page but then forgot to do the most important part. Make it easier for new users to get the app. We saw an increase in app downloads after integrating Twilio on our landing page and making it seamless for people viewing the site online to get the app on their phone immediately. Twilio allows users to type in their phone numbers and get the app texted to their phone so they can start using it right away. Golden!

5. The Basics: Never underestimate these, they should be a given before launch: choose the right app category for your app (research how many downloads are needed to rank in a category, weigh pros and cons of each category i.e. lifestyle vs. social networking), pick a great name (tip: its great if you can include a keyword in your title), have a great icon, have a landing page optimized for conversion (Kissmetrics has resources for this as well on their blog), have great screenshots that show off your apps unique value.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
**pls excuse any typos. :)


ZUHAIRAH S. WASHINGTON

FOUNDER & CEO| KAHNOODLE

[removed to protect privacy]

http://www.kahnoodle.com

TWITTER|LINKEDIN

We're featured inUSA Today!

Like us onFacebook!Downloadthe app!





Dan Grover
1
0
Dan Grover Entrepreneur
I gave a talk on this topic last year:http://dangrover.com/2012/06/13/slides-from-launching-your-indie-app/

In short, do everything you would do to promote anything, but with much better timing, and with the aim of using the ranking lists to your advantage, and trying to start a feedback loop.


Tania Rojas
0
0
Tania Rojas Entrepreneur
Sr. Product Manager. Global E-Commerce at GoDaddy
Hi Zuhairah and Dan,

Wow I'm impressed by the dialogue and suggestions! These are great!

Just to give you a little more info, our app Emotofoto (http://www.emotofotoapp.com/) , helps you share your thoughts and feelings with creative commonspictures (sort of like emoticons on steroids). We are in the social networking category and are free. Our target customer are men and women in their teens looking to find an easier way to express themselves, though I must admit our demographic of users is all over the board right (friends of mine who are men in their early thirties are using it very frequently, go figure).

I can already see there's some low-hanging fruit for me to try now (Twilio integration!) so thanks a lot for the thorough responses.




Derek Bugley
0
0
Derek Bugley Entrepreneur
Founder at Buggl
Tania,

Congratulations on your app being launched and I wish you great succes and luck in the future. I don't want to be a downer on these forums because we all should be giving each other feedback, but I just wanted to add my two cents:

Customer acquisition is something you should have and should continue to think about. It's at the heart of your product. You should have users right now you're speaking with who could help - ask them "where would you look for something like us?" Keep talking with those first group of users.

Look at the competition - what are they doing; social shares on networks, incentives, where they put their apps, etc.

I think the power user reviews is critical - if this is in the hands of people who are early adopters and love it, give them ways to use, promote and share the app.

Finally - a price drop or similar strategy won't work in my opinion - it's gimmicky and you shouldn't build a customer acquisition strategy around price.

In closing - you should be thinking about ways to acquire customers meaningfully, but you shouldn't be throwing 100 darts hoping they all will stick - Guy Kawasaki has a great podcast and speech about firing a cannon and adjusting - you're a small bootstrapped team, identify a few strategies that may work and target the top one and go down from there - you certainly cannot be doing 10 various things all at once.
Jessica Alter
0
0
Jessica Alter Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur & Advisor
Already a related thread on this here:http://members.founderdating.com/discuss/337
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Rob Phillips
0
0
Rob Phillips Entrepreneur
iOS & web engineer, product designer, startup enthusiast/advisor
I think the most important point that many people miss is:Make your app something that people would pay money for. If they are willing to pay money for it, then it solves a real pain point in their life and it's something that they would be willing to share with family and friends. I've made the mistake of fooling myself into solving problems that ended up not even being a real problem to my target audience. When I finally solved a real pain point, people downloaded my app in the thousands per day without me having to advertise or market it at all.
I've been working in the iOS and Android app stores for almost 4 years now and although some marketing ploys might generate a small boost in your downloads, almost none of those are sustainable without investing a lot of money (which most startups don't have).


Dan Hopwood
1
0
Dan Hopwood Entrepreneur
Something new (travel space) – currently raising a pre-seed & looking for a Web flavoured CTO. Previously CPO at MSTY.
http://www.quora.com/Mobile-Applications/What-are-good-ways-to-market-an-iPhone-app
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