Why You Should Have an App in the App Store (Even If You Probably Won't Make Any Money)
Feb 28, 2011 22:55

On January 23rd, 2011, I gave a 45-minute talk at PodCamp Halifax about building and promoting my app Remembary: The Connected Diary For Your iPad.

I recently wrote it all out in a three-part series of long blog posts. I wanted to get down everything I wanted to say, but I'll admit that it's a lot of text to expect people to read. So here is a summary of the main points, with links back to the main content for those who want more details.

Lessons I Learned

  1. It's a Very Long Tail
    Just having an app isn't enough. In fact, the App Store is crowded with apps built by people who thought that simply getting an app into the store was enough.

  2. Sales Have Gravity
    The App Store obeys certain physical laws - for example, the law of gravity. Actually, this law of gravity is present in sales in general: all products will default to a 'state of rest' of no sales at all. That's right: by default, without any outside intervention, your app won't sell at all.

  3. Marketing Is Repetition
    It's tricky to balance the requirement to get news out to people while not annoying people. I've found that it's usually okay to duplicate tweets about twelve hours apart - usually once in the evening, and again in the mid-morning.

  4. Adwords Ads Don't Work for iPad Apps
    You may have noticed there aren't many adwords ads for iPhone and iPad apps. Do any search on Google for 'iPad' or, say, 'iPad Diary' and often the only ad is from Apple - and it's for the entire app store.

  5. Mailing Lists Can Work
    I created a set of daily (and then weekly) emails that go for a month after signup that provide little bits of helpful advice about starting and keeping a diary - along with a sidebar about the Remembary app and a link to the website. The really nice thing is I don't have to be constantly writing new content - it's "new to them".

  6. It's a Long Game
    It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the latest app you hear about is brand new and has instantly vaulted to fame and fortune - but most of the time this isn't the case. It turns out that most apps you've heard about have been around for a while - they only seem new because they're new to you. But even if the apps happen to be new, the developers usually aren't.

Reasons Why You Should Have an App in the App Store

  1. You Will Understand Your Clients Better
    As the app got closer to ready, I started asking myself many of the same panicky imponderables I had heard from many customers over the years. Do I make it perfect? Or do I get it out sooner? How polished is polished enough?

  2. It's a Great Career Move
    Many iOS developers have told me that the best way to make money in the App Store is to get other people to pay you to build apps for them.

  3. It's Product Business 101
    It's comparatively easy to get an app into the App Store and in front of a potential audience, sales and tracking move quickly, and you can get moving without spending a whole lot of money - but at the end of the day the App Store works just like any other product business. This makes it a great learning tool.

  4. It's a First Step to Success
    You can't get to version 3 without version 1. You can't get to app # 5 without doing app #1. You can't succeed until you've failed a few times.

  5. Creation is Great
    A diary is by its nature a personal, private thing that becomes part of your life. While a video game is something that someone plays with for a few hours and then discards, a diary is used a little bit every day, possibly for years or even decades. It's super satisfying to know something I built is being being used by even one person every day, to record and reflect on their life.

PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation - Part 3
Feb 25, 2011 13:52
How My iPad App Remembary Took Off
Mar 07, 2011 10:07
Other Blog Posts
My Expanded Twitter Thread about BurgerWeek 2021 This Is Nowhere: The Server Side Building a React Native App Without Tears - Part 3 Building a React Native App Without Tears - Part 2 Building a React Native App Without Tears (Mostly) This Is Nowhere: The Memento Edition This Is Nowhere: Aspects of Accessibility Presentations About NowHere This Is Nowhere: Head-First Into React Native This Is Nowhere: Bloomsday Halifax This Is Nowhere: Why an HTML/JavaScript Single-Page App With GPS Is A Bad Idea This Is Nowhere: GPS and Wayfinding and More UX This Is Nowhere: The Single-Button UX This Is Nowhere: Don’t Just Stand There! This Is Nowhere: Finding My Duck Finding Burgers Fast: My DIY Halifax Burger Week Site "This is Nowhere" at PodCamp Halifax 2018 The Diary Diaries: Fixing Remembary's Facebook Connection Special Leap Day Edition of "Some Weird Things About Time" What's Up With Remembary Can't get pg_dump To Work Now That Heroku Has Upgraded Postgresql to 9.4? The Best Thing I Ever Did To Promote My App If You Build It, They WON'T Come #deployaday, My Big Hairy Plan for 2015 Extracting Plain Text from an NSAttributedString My Year of "Hits" Part 2: Remembary Rolling My Year of "Hits" Part 1: Remembary Rises (and Stumbles) Handy Little Test Method to Check for Translations in Rails Apps My Suddenly Slow-Waking MacBook Air Indie App PR: Keeping Control of Your Tone A Quick Note on 'clone' in Rails 3.2 My eBook Apps 2: iOS, JavaScript, and Ruby My eBook Apps 1: Introduction Quick Tip: No Sound on Mountain Lion My Upcoming Talk at PodcampHFX 2012: My Year of "Hits" starshipsstarthere.ca: Building at the Speed of Funny Screencast Tips Remembary's Cool New Picture Support Indie App PR 2: Keeping On Top Of User Feedback Indie App PR 1: How to Handle an App Disaster Giles Bowkett Diary Project 2 Remembary Video Congratulations! Welcome to Your Nightmare! How My iPad App Remembary Took Off Why You Should Have an App in the App Store (Even If You Probably Won't Make Any Money) PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation - Part 3 How I Used MailChimp Autoresponders to Promote Remembary PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 2 PodCampHFX Remembary Presentation Part 1 Why AdWords Ads Don't Work for iPad Apps Remembary is Sponsoring PodcampHFX Why Can't I Resize my Views in Interface Builder? Momento and Remembary Concerning Remembary iPad-Friendly eBooks of Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom Project Report: PTOS2 A Quick Note on Encryption We're all LUsers Thoughts on HAML Friday Afternoon Hack - Getting Beyond the Basics Halifax Friday Hack and Back to Basics Quote from Wil Shipley FutureRuby Make Web Not War Busy Week I: Toronto Ruby Job Fair Employment.nil - the Toronto Ruby Job Fair Code Count: Ruby on Rails vs. C#/ASP.NET A Brief Note on Twitter The Hub Halifax and Mobile Tech for Social Change Deep Thoughts on Microsoft From The Accordion Guy The Two Kinds of Defensive Programming Presentation - Fixing Careerious: From C#/.NET to Ruby on Rails Enterprise! Presenting at Ruby on Rails Project Night - May 7th New Name and New Look for Careerious/Clearfit FutureRuby and More From Unspace Health Tips for Programmers This tables meme won't die Careerious - Ruby and Rails vs. C#/.NET Yeah I Use Tables For Layout, So Sue Me The Different Kinds of Done Giles Bowkett's RubyFringe presentation OfficeTime: Great Time-Tracking App for OS X Back With A New Look Non-DRY Feed torontorb Keeping Your Sanity With The Command Design Pattern shindigital Is All Grown Up! (according to the spambots) Startup Stars? I'm so bored! The Magic Words for RMagick Jennifer from Operations You see? Naming is HARD Business Software as Process Documentation Deployment note: 'execve failed' Steve Jobs on Market Research Why Canada Is Better for Entrepreneurs "Program first and blog second" Toronto Tech Collage The MacBook Air Is A Roadster RubyFringe! Quote of the Week: Steve Yegge Starting Up: Cards Great design tool: browsershots.org Starting Up: The Logo Quotes Of The Day: Hedge Fund Interview TSOT Ruby / Rails Presentation Night - Part 1 Moneyworks: Accounting Software for Canadians on OS X Starting Up: The Name Nice logo, but why is your site so bland? Welcome to shindigital.com