Advice to iPhone App Developer on Marketing the app


My app is out there... after 100 hours of hard work... I hardly find any people downloading it forget about using it. Honestly, I find marketing stuff pretty boring and dont really get motivated to do it myself. I tried hiring someone but realized I dont have enough budget to support the on going marketing effort. It may not be the best app out there but its better than most in its category. Really frustrating. My question is what advice would you give to a person who likes to code but not spend time marketing and does not have enough marketing budget (even .5k). Or even if I manage to raise 1k from my salary, how do I effectively use it?

Marketing Iphone Apps

asked Jun 28 '11 at 14:47
365 points
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  • "after 100 hours of hard work" - Wow! It must be very simplistic. "I find marketing stuff pretty boring" - Do you expect a rain of money or some other improbable event? My honest advice: Find another hobby this is not for you. – Ross 13 years ago
  • Side note: you web site shows "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded". You users probably cant see you site and buy you app. Find real hosting? – Ross 13 years ago
  • well.. I dont say I am an expert but my 100 hrs mean a lot of code and pretty decent app... I wouldnt be craying abt it if it was simplistic. "I find marketing stuff pretty boring" - its an honest feeling, why do have to be so rude about it? Regarding the website, its no where linked to the app. – Xoail 13 years ago
  • Sorry if it sounds rude. But real life software business is not like this "I spend 2 weeks in development and hate marketing, why I am not already rich?". – Ross 13 years ago
  • -1. Unrealistic expectations. 100 hours is minimal for a high quality app and without extensive emailing/website/contact building it is unlikely to ever hit. Seeding the blogosphere/magazines with reviews is one of the best approaches - doesn't take any money, but also takes more than 100 hours. – Chris Kluis 13 years ago
  • Why don't you put a link to your app here? I can't really give you any specific recommendations if I don't see the product. As for the question of the number of hours, aren't we told over and over again that is quality and NOT quantity that really matters? I say forget let's give him some credit and forget about the number of hours... for now. – A. Garcia 13 years ago

5 Answers


Your hitting on the key problem with most apps. People try to figure out how to market them AFTER they have made the product. You need to design into the app the very thing that makes others want to use it. How does it share its functionality outside of its use with others to encourage them to use it also.

Example. I make an app that puts hats on pictures taken of cats. Or I design an app that puts hats on pictures of cats, gets automatically added to your facebook wall and ask other users to suggest a hat for your cat and gets them to download to the app to give it a go.

If your just going to make an app that works on its own in isolation you need a lot of time, or budget for buzz to continuously keep it in the public eye.

The mobile app space is crowded and getting even more so fast.

answered Jun 28 '11 at 18:54
Long Winter
271 points


If you really don't care for marketing, your main opportunity to earn money from apps is by charging to write them.

And if you want to make money by writing apps, you need to learn to do marketing, even if you don't care for it. You've spent 100 hours developing. So now spend some hours seeing what people who have downloaded your app are saying about it. Spend some more hours reaching out to people in your network and getting their feedback. Get any learning you can, and then decide how to spend the balance of the next 100.

answered Jun 29 '11 at 01:03
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points


If you want to be successful as an independent software publisher, especially in the crowded apps space, you need to learn to love marketing. Spend as much time on your marketing as you do your application, and get started before you write a single line of code.

If you just build it they will not come. You need to create demand for your product. If you refuse to do your homework up front with marketing to determine if your product is viable you may build the wrong product (example: too many competitors, or no potential customers). If you fail to promote before and after launch then no one will know it exists or want it.

You need to either learn more about and get comfortable with marketing, or reconsider your desire to build your own apps. A lot of things can be done for free, don't think of this as just advertising, but they will take time. To paraphrase the poet Starr, you've got to pay your dues if you want to sell apps...

Being good at marketing is a competitive advantage. Being great at marketing is like having a license to print money. Just look at Apple! Awesome marketing, especially with the iPad, which are still selling like crazy months after launch. You don't have to have Apple's budget to be good at marketing.

Some books I recommend you get: Also check out: Lastly, treat marketing as a learning process that never ends, just like your programming skills. There is always more to learn, and the field evolves over time, so take your first steps today and start reading about marketing.

answered Jun 29 '11 at 19:10
61 points


You need to spend time doing marketing activities. Otherwise your app will remain forever in the App store blackhole: no one knows it's there.

You don't even have to spend money for marketing, you can invest your own time.

The next step depends on what your app is about. If it's for a very targeted audience (like doctors), you need to find ways to reach doctors. If it's a casual game for kids, it's an entirely different market. Generally speaking, without cash, you need to directly contact influencers in your market and pitch them your app. The app better be good, otherwise no one will care.

But if you haven't even sent emails to ~50 people in your space, you are not allowed to complain :-)

answered Jun 28 '11 at 16:31
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points


Like any business it is best to first
1. Identify a market by joining their community
2. Find their need
3. Create something that fixes their need
4. Collect information of the people with the problem (e.g. mailing list, help forum)
5. Become known in the market as the person with the answer
6. Sell the solution

It's how I create my apps. If you look at this one as the "dog pancake" where you got all the bugs of development out and can now focus on creating the next app that has a waiting market then you will have a better chance of selling (and having the market evangalise for you!)

answered Jul 22 '11 at 11:30
Allison Reynolds
394 points

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