Background : I used to work for a software consulting firm. For obvious reasons, one thing that was critical to both our company and our customers was keeping track of the time spent on specific tasks. The trouble was it was a huge pain to enter them into our project management system. People therefore resorted to writing things down on paper, and entering their hours at a later point. As you can imagine that lead to other problems (people losing their sheets in the middle of the day, forgetting to write things down, forgetting to enter time sheets, etc.). We had the idea that if keeping track of time were easier, we would do it more and that would alleviate most of the pain.
It turned out to be an interesting side-project, so I started hacking on a web application that would make time tracking dead simple and easy. I'm close to a viable version 1 (something that would have solved my initial problems) that has almost no features - I've made it a point to invest as little as possible so far.
Problem : While in its current form, it is borderline silly, I'm curious whether this app would be useful to others as well. I want to take a conservative route of:
I'd like to get advice on how to do number 1.
If you're curious, the current version is deployed here. It's free, but you will need a Google account to log in. Also, please bear with the design - like I said, I have not invested anything I did not have to.
I'm skeptical about the viability of the idea. However, there's probably something unique about your app that I don't get yet. Thus, here's a quick howto to answer your question:
This will give you an idea about your potential market segments (or target audiences). For example, you're likely to find "Freelance Web Designers" as a potential segment. But there are probably more out there. Theoretically, you may want to figure out what segments are profitable by estimating their size, willingness-to-pay, etc. Often, this is nearly impossible. Use your intuition if you can't find hard numbers.
With a set of market segments, you need to to check whether they are accessible and actionable. Here, this means finding out whether there's are places (on the web or in real life), your market segment frequents, so you can reach out for them. Usually, there are media of some sorts (magazines, journals, blogs, social media, etc.). If you checked, who links to your substitutes and complements, you should have a rather large list, already. But you can also use a behavioral approach by searching for keywords they may use. Another way is looking for existing organizations; many businesses (ie. segments) are organized in some sort of organization. Yet another way is collaborating with complement suppliers.
At this stage, you should know who to reach and how.
To get them to use the app, you need to make an compelling offer. An offer is compelling if something in the deal is unique and/or relevant to the market segment. This may be a really low price, a guarantee, special functionality, etc. Make sure your visitors get this in a few seconds when visiting your main sales channel (probably your web page) and how they profit (ie. their benefit).
If you find your segment doesn't get it (ie. your conversion rate is too low), learn what went wrong and try to change that. This may be the segment you've chosen or any variable in your marketing policy (ie. your product, your price, your promotion, or your place of selling the product).
Hope this helps.
The idea behind making time-entry as simple as possible is a good idea, but it is what is done with the time entry data that is key. Think it through. Why do people have to enter time? How can I get these data into:
Time entry is easy, its all the meta data we have to attach to the time: client, matter/project, bill period, Activity Type/ Grouping (Oh, and we like a drop-down list.), supervisor review/approval, etc.
Many applications make it easy to export/query their data, but lack importing data (Especially when they provide time entry and see no reason why you wouldn't do it directly inside their application.).
Your users may be happy just to get it into a spreadsheet (Attract as many of those as you can!).
Be careful. There are a lot of time tracking apps available. And there are some really good Web 2.0 ones already up there with good followings. That is your competition.
See for example: "Five Best Time-Tracking Applications "
Normally, you need an App that is in a general category (time tracking is a good one), but it needs to have at least one special thing that it does that it's competition doesn't do, for it to have any chance of succeeding. That one thing must be something that people will benefit from (save time, money, convenience, etc).
So the question back to answer your question is: What is the special benefit that your program provides that the others don't?
That benefit is what you have to promote. That is what you have to advertise.