Marketing Autograph This (Part I) – It Just has to be Listed in the App Store Right?

First a disclaimer: Autograph This is our first independently developed mobile application that we are solely responsible for marketing so look at this series as more of a journey to try and figure out how to market a new mobile app as opposed to a tutorial on how to market an app.

So in the early part of 2011 my wife had the idea to produce an iPhone app that would allow people to get celebrity or athlete autographs on a digital photo during meet and greets or after ballgames. I enlisted the help of a friend and co-worker who was also a mobile developer and we set out trying to create it. Over the course of several months we worked on it on weekends and evenings (setting it aside at one point for a few months to work on something else) and at some point realized we would actually finish the app coding. We enlisted the assistance of a friend of mine from college to do some design and we completed it in early November.

We have no grand delusions that this is going to make us millions of dollars or anything. It is an app with a specific purpose that does one thing albeit very well. Everyone involved was looking at it as a kind of learning experience. One of the first major decisions was how much to price the app. I was for $1.99 and my partner was leaning toward $.99. After looking at competing apps in the marketplace as well as reviews for apps that charged $1.99 we decided that $.99 was the way to go. We really were just looking for some exposure and didn’t want to open ourselves up for negative reviews based on the price. The other big question was how were we going to market the application to generate downloads. We’re just a couple of developers and so we weren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars on ad campaigns.

The application was approved by Apple on November 14th and so we immediately released it to the app store. We didn’t do a coordinated press release or any kind of pre-marketing. We barely got a website up. If we were better funded we probably could have spent some money doing these things but I was kind of curious how the first few days would go based solely on a presence on the main category page of iTunes and announcing it through our personal social network channels. The number of downloads didn’t exactly knock our socks off. I’m pretty sure at least half of the downloads are friends, family and promo codes.

So with basically no marketing being what we expected it to be we set out to find affordable channels to market the application.

Next up: Submitting to iPhone App Review Sites