(This is a guest post by Sam Chan From Wireless Industry Partnerships)
At WIP, we meet many developers during our travels, and we have seen some extremely talented people with very promising apps. Unfortunately, there are many times when it is the first and last we’ve heard of their idea. After all, a good idea is just the beginning. Below are three tips that we believe every developer must be doing with their app:
1. Have a Marketing Plan From Day One
According to a survey we did in 2011, only 63% of developers had a business plan and 37% got straight down to coding. If this sounds like you and your team, you’re definitely not alone, but it’s time to start thinking marketing now. One of the things we always tell developers to do is to sync their product development cycle with their marketing cycle. Marketing should not be the last step you and your team think about before shipping, but rather you should be thinking about how to reach to your customers every step of the way.
2. Identify Your Customers
Some developers will tell us – “our app is really for everybody”. Although that sounds nice, it is statistically unlikely. As part of your marketing plan, find your target market and find out what they like, dislike, prefer, eat, and even if they are dog or cat people. Market research is much more than just asking your customers what you should do, and the clearer the picture is, the easier your coding and future iterations of your apps will be.
3. Find out what ‘Word-of-Mouth’ looks like
“Our marketing plan is probably going to be mostly just word-of-mouth to start”. There is no doubt that Word of Mouth is extremely powerful, but ask yourselves what that will actually look like. Will it be literally be your friends and family telling their friends about your fresh new app and walking them through a download? Or will your evangelists be pointing them to a website? (in which case a website would need to made prior to launch).
How much will your word-of-mouth strategy rely on online social tools? Which ones? You need to make sure you have the human bandwidth to support all the tools you use because it is crucial to remain fresh and current when online. If your team is non-responsive, this will be reflected in your brand equity. It is better to be responsive on Twitter rather than being non-responsive and having a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr accounts.
As developers, thinking about distribution and reach may not be at the front of your mind, but it has to be. Your users will thank you for it.
Sam Chan is the Communications Coordinator at Wireless Industry Partnership and one of the editors of the Developer’s Guide to the Parallel Universe, a marketing guide compiled by experts in the mobile industry. You can reach him and his team @WIPJam.
Graphic courtesy of We Ever Media