How to push an iPhone app?
January 28, 2011 1:25 AM   Subscribe

My company iPhone app is now live. What do I need to make sure I don't forget when it comes to getting the right people to know about it?

If you were publicizing an iPhone app release, who would you approach and how would you go about it?
posted by man down under to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is hard if not impossible to answer without some context. What kind of company is it? What functions does the app perform? Is it intended to be used by the general public? Your existing customers? Future customers? Your employees? Vendors? Janitors? Is it relevant to a specific city or region? Would it appeal to certain demographics more than others? Is it relevant to a specific industry? How does the app in some way improve people's lives by helping them do something?

If your app helps architects select the right toilets for public restrooms, you'd talk to publications like "Fixtures Monthly" (if it existed) and try to get yourself recommended in the Toto newsletter. If your app is an online shoe store, talking to these people would be a complete waste of everyone's time.

Without any information, all we can recommend is: market your product to potential new users through PR, your existing communication channels, advertising, and other tactics. Not a very useful answer, but it's really all we can say without some context.
posted by zachlipton at 2:05 AM on January 28, 2011

Response by poster: I was trying to be discrete because I've seen a fair few 'questions' that were really just plugs.

To answer your questions:
We're a group buying discount aggregator;
the app collates all the deals for various cities and delivers them to one place;
it's for the general public;
it's for existing customers, but also trying to bring in new customers too;
employees are fairly typical for a self-funded start-up...

As for contacting publications...there isn't a 'Group Buying Weekly', but I take your point...I'm sure there are some publications out there I could approach if I was a bit more lateral. If anybody knows of some Aussie publications that might be interested I'd love to hear of them.
posted by man down under at 2:23 AM on January 28, 2011

Best answer: There's a lot of discussion of iphone app promotional techniques in the marketing forum at iPhoneDevSDK Forums. People occasionally post lists of bloggers and websites to target for reviews, there's discussion of other social marketing approaches, references to PR contractors who can do promotion for you, etc.

I refer you there as a way of saying that there's no short answer to your question. Sure, it would be great if there were a 'Group Buying Weekly' so you could get all your marketing done with one e-mail message. But that's not how it works. The reality is that you have to put a lot of work into marketing and PR.

This work consists of scouring the web for websites, bloggers, tweeters, publications, etc that might have an interest in your app. They could be interested either from the iPhone side of things or from the group buying side of things.

Since you wrote this app, I presume that you care about group buying and have an interest in the topic. What websites do *you* read? Who do you follow on Twitter?

As you identify targets, you write to them and ask them to review your app. If it's a paid app you can offer them a promo code for a free copy; that's a nice inducement for potential reviewers. If it's a free app it might be harder to get reviews --- you'll really need to be doing something groundbreaking.

Identification and outreach to potential reviewers is an ongoing process. A good marketing/pr person will become part of the world their trying to reach out to. Get to know people. When you find a good tweeter follow them, and see how they follow and then follow some of those people.

The general rule of thumb is that marketing done properly requires just as much time, effort, and financial investment as application development. Most small shops don't follow that rule -- they can't afford to or they don't have the proper expertise. But it does provide a useful reality check. This is a long slog. It's about building visibility for app one little review at a time.
posted by alms at 6:17 AM on January 28, 2011

I believe the OP is talking about this.

I have a similar thing installed though I've never found it particularly useful. I stumbled upon it while googling for something in my area (don't remember what it is) so that's of no help.

The only thing I can think of is that you're trying to reach people who do a lot of shopping and dining out in specific cities so advertise to them while they're doing it. Hand out flyers in major shopping areas. 2 people at a time in matching orange T-shirts and white caps with the company logo. Leave flyers in shops that allow for that.

If there are restaurants that sell ad space on their menus then buy some space or trade directly (space on their menu for a slot in your app) so when people are staring at the menu waiting for a dining companion to make a decision they see "Get great deals in this restaurant and other shops in Melbourne--download this app now!" and then they have an excuse to fiddle with their phone to kill the time.
posted by K.P. at 6:31 AM on January 28, 2011

Best answer: A guy I know from my local Apple User Group runs an iPhone development shop, and wrote a free guide (PDF) about development, launch, and marketing called App Store Success. It might be worth a read.
posted by Wild_Eep at 7:40 AM on January 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks guys...some good links there about getting noticed.

As for approaching industry contacts and trawling the blogosphere, we've got that covered...really I just wanted to make sure there wasn't a glaringly obvious avenue I was forgetting!
posted by man down under at 9:39 AM on January 28, 2011

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