Plymouth, Michigan – Creating, developing and selling iPhone apps is one of the hottest entrepreneurial opportunities out there. By the latest count, there are 200,000 iPhone applications alone available for sale at Apple’s App Store since its June 2007 debut. This equates to an astounding pace of 182 new apps a day. Experts now conclude the explosive popularity of iPhone and iPad will dramatically expand this number even more in the years to come.
“For every iPhone developer who surges to success, there are thousands with their apps who do little more than gather ‘digital dust’ on Apple App shelves,” says Scott Lorenz President of Westwind Communications iPhone app marketing firm.
“These developers need to rise above the clutter and get noticed. To get an idea of the depth, width and height of that clutter, just go to the Apple App Store and see all the apps available. Pay particular attention to competitor’s apps and take some time to dig into the options the App Store offers to promote your product,” says Lorenz.
“Some developers rely upon word of mouth to market their apps. Word of mouth is a great tool but you need PR to fuel up word of mouth. What is really needed is a PR plan that reaches both the end users – the consumers – and the media who can reach those buyers,” adds Lorenz.
“Developers of technology of any kind tend to speak to other tech people in their own world. And that makes sense. They trade ideas, swap insight, discuss roadblocks, and share code. But to market and ultimately sell their iPhone apps, developers must reach out to the people who talk to their end users. They need to reach non-technical journalists who can mention an app on a TV newscast, write a newspaper column that reaches a few hundred thousand readers or a syndicated radio show with 100,000-plus listeners across the United States,” stresses Lorenz.
“A public relations firm or publicist has an extensive list of media contacts with whom he has developed a professional relationship and history that can be pitched. The contacts and relationships a PR specialist has are 1000 percent more apt to gain a radio interview or inclusion in a newspaper column than the technology developer who cannot be expected to have these kinds of contacts. That’s why an iPhone app developer needs to invest time and resources with the publicist best equipped to make the app well enough known in the right places that it will become a popular seller,” says Lorenz.
iPhone App Reviews
When Lorenz works with an app developer, he begins by assessing what he thinks the media potential is for the app and asks these questions. “Would the media even be interested? Is it a niche app or is it an app that would be of wide consumer interest?” Then he determines which journalists, columnists, television, bloggers, and radio and TV producers would be interested in that app and pitch them.
“We’ll also go beyond traditional media and include product reviewers at major media outlets as well as bloggers and those with large followings on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. We’ll start to create a buzz on the Internet and generate traffic to the developer’s website or and the iPhone App Store. If appropriate, I’d get celebrities to use my client’s app and then get a testimonial from the celebrity to talk about how great the app is and its use. With one recent iPhone app promotion our YouTube views increased by 13,500 from 11pm to 6am after an interview on Wall Street Journal Radio and a couple of highly trafficked review sites. Reviews matter. PR matters,” says Lorenz.
iPhone App Marketing
Lorenz suggests that iPhone app developers use Google ad words (PPC) to drive people to their website where users can find a link to an online demo that clearly shows what the app is all about. He also says developers need to have a YouTube video that can capture consumers looking on YouTube for a new app or who stumble upon it while looking for something else. Lorenz states make certain the URL to the YouTube video and the URL to the website demo link both be used in all promotional materials to drive sales and traffic.
Lorenz shares a pitch he made for a client that illustrates how he caught the attention of busy columnists and TV-radio pros. The pitch reads:
“A new prize-winning iPhone App that places power in the hands of the people is on pace for 25,000 annual downloads. It’s remarkable because it’s a California ONLY App but could go national. The new App also won second place in the 2009 University of Southern California Student Innovator Showcase. The press release below has more information. If you would like to speak to the 25 year old developer, please contact me.”
“The release, early on put forth links to the developer’s website and to a YouTube video for a demo. It was on a very fast download pace and in fact was ahead of the Bible for downloads on the iTunes Store,” says Lorenz.
Going Viral with Your iPhone App
Lorenz conducted a similar campaign for a musician/teacher who created educational rap music to be used in the classroom. Press releases included links to where the music could be downloaded free, to YouTube videos and to his website, MrDuey dot com. “We created buzz on YouTube and other Internet hotspots that drove sales and pushed him above all other videos on TeacherTube (like YouTube but primarily for teachers and students). At last check we were approaching 1.5 Million Views of his “Fractions” video making it the most popular video on TeacherTube,” said Lorenz.
In another online campaign Lorenz helped Angel Acres make it to the “Top 10″ in a $1 Million shelter makeover contest sponsored by Zootoo.com, a website for animal and pet lovers. As part of the effort, he enlisted a talented musician to write and record a song to be used in an online video and for public service announcements. “It was a cool way to get some extra attention by using music,” says Lorenz.
iPhone App Public Relations
“The bottom line,” says Lorenz, “Hire a publicist to cut through the clutter and reach into the niche market that will place your app in the middle of shoppers, buyers, and highly curious end users. Developing the app was, I hate to say it … the easy part.”
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Check out Lorenz’s article “52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App.” Visit the author’s web site to learn more about Westwind Communications’ iPhone app promotion services. Copyright (C) 2010 Westwind Communications. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.