Today, we’ll take some time to expand upon the 5 Benefits of Multi-Store Distribution. The focus here is increasing accessibility to your app. There are widespread indications that most developers do not engage in marketing their app which translates to few developers actually making money on their app. Where 90% of apps are available for free download, being exclusively available on just one store, though it may be the largest, does not serve any developer’s interest.
It is understandable that most developers do not engage in marketing simply because they are first and foremost, developers. Most tech guys are not actively involved in the selling of products they create. Most businesses have people specifically for the marketing side of operations. That’s not the case for the small developer company or solo developer. Thus, either someone has to step up to the plate and voluntarily take on some components of marketing or consideration should be given to outsourcing its promotion. Again, in previous articles, we’ve discussed networking with other businesses to achieve this.
Getting a physical product on a physical store shelf is often a very involved process, especially for small companies and start-ups. Large established businesses with new products have an almost guaranteed place on physical store shelves, and usually the best shelf or display space, at that. Most small businesses with new products, however, must convince either a distributor or each retailer, one by one, to feature their products. That means setting up meetings and providing samples to secure a trial – to see if your product will move and how fast. It is a lot of effort. It is one reason why some companies instead of dealing direct with retailers simply work with distributors even though that significantly reduces profits owing to the distributor’s share of sales.
Online, with Opera Mobile Store, adding your app to the store is free and fast. You just need to register, upload your add, and be patient for one of Opera’s in-house content managers to authenticate it. Terms and conditions are there for premium apps, too — you take 70% and Opera takes 30% — a common standard across the industry for paid apps.
Spending just 1 hour a week finding and adding your app to new online venues or other promotional activities is an excellent step forward if you have not engaged marketing and distribution at all. Four hours per week would probably be optimal for a solo developer — get you out from behind the app on your screen to see what else is out there — and provide you a better opportunity to make your app icons and promotional materials more graphically distinctive when placed alongside your competition.
But let me take a little side step here and make a comparison between App Marketing and Distribution to playing an MMORPG. True, this is not something you are going to see every day. Most app developers are probably familiar with more than a few MMO’s — like character equipment. There’s the common gear, the uncommon greens, the rare blues, epic purples and so forth. Sometimes, the stats between a rare and epic item may seem trivial. Yet, players trying to optimize their character will spend hour after hour trying to pick up every +1 and +2 upgrade they can find. Now, that’s entertainment.
Some stores will generate more end users for you than others. They all add up. What is a 10% increase in users worth to you? In the world of contracting, many companies take on development projects for “cost +x%” — where x is often 3 – 5%. A 10% increase in users can easily be the difference between profit and loss.
So, within these comparisons, a little extra effort can go a long way to helping you meet and exceed the goals you have with your app. If you are a gamer, you know what you’re willing to do to get a 10% edge over other players. Applying just a little bit of that initiative to your work should be even more gratifying in the long-term… and that’s even before we start discussing “cascade effects” — which we will leave for later.
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If you are needing to bootstrap your mobile apps, the following articles can provide you additional tips and perspectives to help you maximize your efforts:
Happy Holidays to Everyone! And Happy Festivus to the Rest of Us… On behalf of the entire OMS Team, I wish you and your family all the best over this holiday season and the year ahead!
The long-term. Most of the successful app developers have been designing apps for five or more years. The point is obvious and applies to everything, the longer you work at something – the better you get at it. While all of the world seems to be in a rush, and there is something to be said about being “first to market”, ultimately those who apply to the long-haul benefit the most. Lots of tech companies from the 1990’s and 2000’s went bankrupt despite enormous investments.
The point of everything that you do now should be directed to “building the future” – a future that you never stop building:
1. You develop mobile apps because YOU CAN and you keep developing them, your design skills, your marketing skills as a means and an end.
2. You establish a web site and you keep it going with periodic updates, at least once per month even when you are too busy with other things to be working on an app.
3. You keep building your social and professional network – friends and colleagues, industry contacts, tech minded people in other fields and in other countries, media contacts, bloggers, journalists, etc.
4. You have something like a newsletter, even if you only send something out once a year. But you keep building your mailing list for the day you will need it.
5. Every time you complete an app, you get it into venue you can — especially when it is free to do so. Make sure to add links to your web site of all the actual URL’s of the sites and specific pages your app is available.
6. Develop a focal point and niche – get to know as many businesses and community leaders in that niche as you can – discover their needs and develop for them. In time you will be THE Specialist for that niche, the one who people turn to when they need something done — the one who businesses turn to when they want to share in the market you have developed.
7. Make a financial commitment. Many small businesses remain small because they consume their profits as “wages”. Some treat all of their profits (if they have any) as wages. Sometimes, you have to. Do your best to either reinvest your profits or set them aside as your future marketing fund.
8. If you have apps that are sitting dormant, consider leasing them out or selling rights to them outright to others. Similarly, if you see other apps out there that show promise and that you know you can improve upon, relatively quickly – consider acquiring the license to them. The same goes for seeking opportunities to localize other people’s apps in cooperative efforts and joint ventures.
9. When you don’t have enough time to do it yourself, find help – consider a partnership, or if you have a name already, consider getting a college student or intern to do some work for you in exchange for providing them training, instruction and hands-on opportunity. By being a mentor for others, you open up opportunities to collaborate on their future projects.
10. Understand that opportunities are almost always created – they rarely happen by themselves. Everything you do can be an opportunity for something more. Above and beyond your apps, a web site is a 24 hour/365 day a year public representative of what you do, the apps you make.
If you introduce yourself to one new person a week, over a year you will have 52 new, relevant – likely professional contacts. In five years, that’360 – and they will likely help introduce you to more along the way. Leverage all of these things – starting NOW, so that next year this time, you will look back and say… “Things are going pretty good… it’s a Festivus Miracle!”
If you intend to market globally, it helps to understand it is comprised of many different markets and almost every one of them is different. Applying dynamics specific to the North American Market won’t work very well in Southeast Asia or South America. Localization covers a lot of the topics inherent to international marketing. Localized pricing is the focal point of this article.
The cost of tailoring an app to a specific market usually runs a fraction of the overall cost of producing an app.
In the North American and European markets, average income is dramatically higher than many developing markets – Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East and North Africa. Overall population by mobile device and platform, income distribution and local market nuances all play a role in finding optimal pricing.
Pricing Segmentation is an approach to customize the price of a product to a specific market for maximum gain. What is affordable in one country may not be affordable in another. The Big Mac Index is a really good example of price segmentation. In 2012, the price of a Big Mac in Norway was $9.63, but only $2.44 in China. Profit margins on each product vary from store to store.
Electronic downloads largely bypass costs of packaging, storage, shipping and more. The cost of development and production of software, including mobile apps, does not radically differ whether you produce just one copy or millions of copies (vs. physical production).
Another factor that must be considered is the relative ease of doing business in the mobile app market. Getting your product on the shelf is far less of an issue in mobile than in a software store or supermarket. As a developer, you can add your product to Opera Mobile Store in a matter of minutes.
Of course, for an app to be profitable requires recovering all of the costs involved with its initial research, design, development, testing, and other overhead. There is also a development and marketing cost for each localization effort. Finally, there is the cost of distribution via different advertising models. Each of these expenses needs defined so that you know your breakeven point for the main product, each localization effort and per install within each market segment.
These points considered, localized marketing efforts need to recover the cost of your localization work and advertising costs per install.
One point frequently heard is that the profit margin in developing markets is lower. Yes, that is usually true – but your ROI per market is tied more to the cost per localization than the overall app. More importantly is whether you see your app as an end unto itself or as the means to further ends? Are you mainly trying to sell apps or win customers?
Cost and effectiveness of advertising varies by ad network, by region and by app genre. It is a mistake to ignore developing markets just as it is to enter a market without researching it. Every app is not going to fit every market equally. Some may not fit at all.
There is ample guidance available simply by looking at where and how “big companies” do business in countries you might ordinarily dismiss.
As a developer of apps, you may not place a lot of attention on content development. Still, content is very important and the aim here is to maximize the effectiveness of what you do produce. Treat your content as if it is your inventory, your real – intellectual, property. Newspapers do. Hollywood does. Your content plays a significant role in your business, it is to you what Windows is to Microsoft. It is that important.
1. Record everything. Keep a central file of all of your content and periodically make backups of it. Keep every article you write, every brochure you make, every newsletter, keep everything on record for potential future use and re-use.
2. Store your back-ups in a different physical location than your computer. If you lose your computer, or your site gets hacked, you have a backup and can restore it all a lot faster than reproducing it from scratch.
3. Assign a version to your content even if it is a time stamp so you know the most recent version. This also factors into content cycles.
4. If you run a blog or newsletter, regulate your publishing schedule according to your content production. It is better to be conservative with your official schedule and provide “extras” to exceed expectations than to be ambitious and not meet your reader’s expectations.
5. Actively seek out guest article opportunities on other sites for the sake of backlinks. Welcome guest articles.. Give them credits, give them nice backlinks, make others want to be published by you. This helps your content production, it also helps cultivate authority alliances which are useful in other marketing activities.
6. Make sure you are using Google Analytics on your web site. Google Analytics make it much easier to track the performance of each page. You want to use these metrics to prioritize content improvement.
7. Content Cycles. A more complex point. Pages that are regularly updated perform better with search engines (especially Google) than pages that are not. Some pages are very important to your business and deserve frequent, periodic improvement – perhaps weekly or monthly, possibly according to defined sample groups. Other pages might be updated every 3 or 6 months, some only once per year.
8. Content or Page performance should be measured in relation to desired outcomes — things you want your visitors/customers to do when they reach that page. This may be registering as a member, signing up for a newsletter, buying something, providing you feedback/comments, sharing your page to others in their social network, etc. Desired outcomes should be prioritized, too – relative to their value to your business. A/B and multivariate testing can go a long ways to optimizing your site performance.
It is often easier to describe something than to give it a name. The name of your application may involve just one or two words. Those few words, however, can have a major impact on your application’s success. Here we examine the process of naming your application in three parts – defining your objectives, generating names and choosing a final name.
You have a lot to accomplish in a name with just one or two words:
The key factor is naming your product is achieving a product name that resonates with your market. These are real dangers for freelancers and small companies who may not have a dedicated marketing team or experience.
The process of generating a name is easy. It is the final selection that is hardest. There are two basic phases involved in generating a name – defining a keyword cloud and wordplay. You can run this as a naming contest in your company or your web page, too. Typically the more people who you can involve, the better.
Your Keyword Cloud – quite simply is a list of everything and anything that you can come up with that is related to your application. Who will use it? What does it do? How does it help them? Who created it? Where was it created? Use specific terms and list everything that comes to mind. Try to include others in this process.
Wordplay – Once you have a keyword cloud you can start on some word play. You have many wordplay methods at your disposal. Here are just some wordplay techniques:
Personification: Create or use the name of a central character.
Mimetrics: Use different spellings to replicate different sounds, (i.e. EZ).
Omission: Remove a letter from a word to make it distinctive, (i.e. Xtra).
Your research may turn up other types of wordplay, too. These two steps should provide a good, long list.
Choosing a final name for your product is the last and hardest step in the process. This stage typically involves a process of elimination to reach something like a top 10 list of prospective names. A good name should fit your goals and avoid the following pitfalls:
Refrain from choosing a name simply because you like it or what you think your market will like. Once you have a short list of “safe” names, proceed to validate which ones resonate best. Consider a survey with the largest sample group you can get – online or offline. To be safe, measure twice, cut once. Validate final results for consistency across two different groups of people.
Just as a great name can help make your app a success, so also can a bad name send it to an early grave. This article is far from comprehensive, but it will put you on the right track for doing more of your own research.