iPhone App Marketing

by Brook Lenox on September 22, 2010

iphone app marketing takes brainsiPhone App Marketing is both a science and an art.  In this post we’ll discuss the right side of the brain of iPhone app marketing. Here are 7 different ways you need to use creativity to effectively market iPhone apps.

iPhone App Marketing – 7 Ways You’ll Need Creativity

  1. Dreaming up a new app
  2. Best possible user experience
  3. Stunning visuals
  4. Describing with words
  5. Building a crowd (with no $$$!)
  6. Creating ads
  7. Adding features

Dreaming Up A New App

Great apps don’t happen. They’ve got to be “dreamed up“. Creative types are crucial to the app creation process, especially when there are so many apps currently in the market.

The dreamer/creator will come up with unique answers to these questions:

What will this app do?
Will it be fun or more of a utility?
What will make people want to use it?
What will keep people coming back again and again?
What will make this app so special?

I’ve always thought Faces iMake was one of the most creative apps.

Use your creative side to dream up a GREAT app.

Best Possible User Experience

Apps with a poor user experience either fail out of the gate or have very short life spans.

Don’t cause users to feel this when in your apps:

  • Confusion – “ah…what do I do next?”
  • Frustration – “argh…this doesn’t seem to work”
  • Boredom – “ok…so why did I download this?”
  • Jipped – “no way…is this all I get?”

You want them instead to feel sure of themselves, intrigued, and wowed by the whole experience.

I encourage you to go and try 4-5 free apps and examine their user experiences. Find one that WOWs you and write down why.

Stunning Visuals

I’ve mentioned this before. You’ve got a tiny screen and less than 5 seconds to be noticed as someone scans for new apps. That’s why you’ve got to be visually superior to apps next to you. The icon, the screen shots, and the app itself need to be:

  • clean
  • professional
  • capture the user’s attention
  • make someone want to check them out!

Admit it…you probably can’t do this yourself. You need to spend some money to make some GREAT visuals.

app marketing icons

Look at the different between Xenome at #114 and Epic Pet Wars at #111. Xenome’s icon (and the rest of the game for that matter) is clean, professional, and makes me want to find out more. Epic Pet Wars Ultimate’s looks very rough and unprofessional to me. That’s just my opinion of course.

Describing with Words

When someone takes the time to get to your app description or even moreso into your app, you better be ready!

Here are a few ways I’ve seen app developers use words to underwhelm audiences:

  • Say too much – sentences and descriptions that go on forever
  • Say too little – leaving users with a bunch of unanswered questions
  • Not clear – the title, the first line, and so on should be simple and clear

Building a Crowd (with no $$$)

This one is really tough. I’ll be honest. Having a top 100 app is nearly impossible without a marketing budget. But there are some things you can do to be creative.

Here are a few I’ve seen work:

  • Find non competitive apps to cross promote
  • Get noticed by Apple or Techcrunch
  • Getting a rave review by a YouTube reviewer
  • Be patient and build a slow, steady user base over time with great features (but don’t quit your day job)

You might also take a look at my Free iPhone App Marketing post to learn more.

Creating Ads

Let’s say you have a few dollars to spend on marketing your app. I suggest one place to spend it is doing a test with Admob.

But here’s the challenge. You’ve got just 35 characters to describe your app. That’s it!

You better user top notch creativity to grab the user’s attention without encouraging just anyone to click (since you pay per click).

Make sure you:

  • Use your own visually stunning icon (not Admob’s)
  • Simply, creatively describe your app (rather than using a phrase to encourage a click)
  • Think about who your users are (iPhone or iPod touch? US or Worldwide?)

By spending some creative cycles when creating ads, you’ll have  a MUCH better chance of hitting your cost per download goal.

Adding Features

You could be one creative feature away from a real hit.

With Doodle Buddy (originally Chalk Talk), it was actually 3 small changes that made all the difference:

  • New icon
  • New name
  • Paid ($2.99) to free

If you’ve got a stagnating app, what one change could you make to cause it to take off?

In Summary

Creativity is a HUGE part of iPhone app marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and get thinking. Best of luck!

Photo credit: Shockadelic