Networking is a recurring topic of this blog in that it can help you build marketing and distribution channels, media relations and even develop your business model. This post aims to expand on the usefulness of networking and assert that it should be a consistent, long-term practice whether you are just starting out in the world of app development or on its lead edge.
Before getting into networking though, I would like to make another appeal to developers to spend a little less time developing and a little more time on other components of your app business. Unless you are paid to produce apps, developing them does not generate revenue without efforts in marketing, distribution and business development.
The Pareto Principle. Constantly underscored on the blog is the idea that 20% of your efforts will generate 80% of your revenue (roughly). This extends similarly to where 4% of your work is likely to be responsible for 64% of your revenue; and that over half will come from .8% of total effort. Practically speaking, you may spend months developing an app and get paid nothing; but adding it to stores (distribution) will take you a few minutes and provide you the opportunity to make some money. Simple.
The 1% Rule or 15 Minutes per Day. Fifteen minutes is roughly 1% of your day. The basic idea is to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something other than what you would normally do – and further, an hour or so (4-5%) on a few different things. My top 5 picks are:
If you are looking for traffic (and downloads) you need to be seen where the traffic is. Obviously, you can advertise – pay to have your app promoted where you like. Again, as most mobile app developers are not breaking even, it is appropriate to press on matters of networking as an extension of marketing to help developers generate the revenue needed to launch into advertising.
To this end, it useful to start with three operating principles which make networking useful:
Networking is about developing relationships, suffice that it is a natural process for everyone having common and overlapping interests. The goal, of course, is that networking will lead to something tangible – from being referenced in an article, having a well-placed link for others to download your app, or perhaps pave the way for you to meet with someone who can help your business in a profound way.
While networking for the sole purpose of developing relationships is good, unto itself – you are investing time in meeting with others. It is reasonable to expect a return on your investment on at least some of that time, so you want to network with a purpose. Your objectives might be directed to getting an interview, an app review or critique, having your app featured and played in a video on YouTube, or setting the stage whereby you can get a favorable, personal introduction to someone important.
We are talking about developing “relationships” and not one-time events. Thus, we are talking about forming the basis for “multiple opportunities” to create traffic for your endeavors. It’s not a one way street though, meaning that at the same time you are looking for ways that they can help you, you need to be looking for ways you can help them. This is where maintaining a regular blog can be useful, as you can always provide them links, comment on their discussions, etc.
Remember the first principle above, the inverse is that what you have to say about someone else is more important than what they have to say about themselves. If you already like and support what they are doing, promoting it in a meaningful manner is a good step toward getting a good start with them.
Every time you, your business or mobile app is referenced with a link can be said to have a monetary value, even if you received it for free or accrue no financial benefit from it. It is realistically measured by the time it took you to get that link, which is relative to your income. The point is, that if you are not making money and not engaged in marketing, distribution or networking, you will rarely have the basic possibility of making money.
If you committed to developing one relationship per week after a year, you will have over 50 relationships each with multiple opportunities toward mutually reciprocating, tangible benefit. It may eventually require more than 15 minutes a day, but you will see the benefit.
Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world you have to be known to people.Sonia Sotomayor – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,