1. anon(1049620)'s Avatar
    A big hello to all the app developers out there (or those considering developing an app)! As a new Playbook owner, and the owner of several Blackberry phones in the past, I wanted to share some of my experiences and thoughts with you on the current state of the App World marketplace and how you can better market your apps and encourage sales.

    I've been working as a marketer with a focus on the web for several years now, I have a background in design and development and a degree in Marketing. I'm certainly not the end-all and be-all when it comes to selling mobile apps, but I have learned a few things that I hope will help you make a bit more money (and in turn will make for a better app ecosystem for us all). Anyone interested in chiming in with your thoughts or things I might have missed, please chime in!

    1. Offer a Trial version.
    I don't want to pay for your app unless it has incredible reviews across the board and there are multiple screenshots that shows me what it does (as well as a long description). Still, I'm MUCH more likely to buy and be satisfied if I can try it first, than I am to buy it for a couple of bucks and hate it (plus I'll leave you a negative review if it doesn't do what you say it does). I also encourage time-limited trials with full functionality (or, for games, a certain number of levels free), though the exact route you take will depend on your app, its features/benefits/value, and so forth.

    2. Write a complete, clear description, and include multiple screenshots
    Don't skimp on the descriptive information. Make sure it's clear and concise, with an introduction and a list of the top features that differentiate your app from others in the same category. Throw up plenty of screenshots that show all the different views in your app (e.g. main page, settings, article view, level selector, gameplay, etc.)

    3. Provide a link to a dedicated website for the app
    This is important. Show me that you, the developer, exists and is there in case I need something, support, I have a question, whatever. Also provide large screenshots and, if possible, videos that demo your app.

    4. CHANGELOG. Tell us what's new and when it was updated.
    This is also very important. I want to know you're working on the app on a regular basis and that my money won't go to waste. Tell users what's planned in future updates, and what was added in recent updates. You don't have to rewrite the app description each time, just write "for a complete list of recent updates, as well as plans for the future, and to offer your suggestions and feedback, visit www.oursite.com." Get people involved, ultimately they will sell your app with good reviews and word of mouth.

    5. Get social.
    Okay, so this may not be absolutely necessary, but if you can spare the time and effort, get onto Facebook, Twitter, and forums everywhere and talk about and promote your app. Run a contest with sites like Crackberry to give away free copies. Expand awareness. Talk to bloggers. Get the word out, and you will be rewarded.

    6. MOST IMPORTANT: Don't sell garbage.
    Alright, so you want to know the secret to selling? Sell something worth buying. Don't launch your app if it's not ready yet. If you have plans to add features in the next month, add them now and launch in a month. Look at the Playbook launch as a good example -- think of how many people didn't buy because it wasn't ready, and look at all the poor reviews! Once you have 3 stars, it's a lot harder to get to 4 or 5!!!

    That's all for now. If anyone would like a free consultation (because I am passionate about marketing and design) to discuss their current app or how to enhance an app they're working on, please don't hesitate to post right here in this thread (or contact me by PM, I will keep everything confidential if you say so). I can provide my insight and experience with regards to the interface, overall design, branding, functionality, and help you zero in on your target market and create some selling strategies.

    Here's to Playbook 2.0 and the NDK, hopefully we start to see all of you developers really excel and start to shine over the next few months and well into the future! You have the support of all of us!
    Last edited by supraking; 10-13-11 at 10:48 PM.
    10-13-11 03:34 PM
  2. BBThemes's Avatar
    you do raise some good points, but i do have some observations on your comments.

    1) not everyone will offer a free trial, maybe for a more expensive app then yes, but for a $1 app im not sure its even worth the time to write the app twice, also imo trial versions without features working just get reviews of `this bit doesnt work` so sometimes it can be more negative than positive, even before you look at the `upgrade to full version` conversion rates.

    2) totally agree, iv never purchased an app that doesnt have screenshots and there seem to be quite a few that dont.
    also to add to this section, DO NOT include square screenshots (gameloft apps spring to mind here, purely because they got front page of cb earlier this week), you can upload screenshots in a rectangle, just because it says `max 660px by 660px doesnt mean you should make your pic as such, for my app (plus alot of others i must add) all we`ve done is scaled down a screencap, and it looks miles better, sim city is a perfect example, as this is in the top25 paid with a rectangular pic that fits the image box.

    sorry, we`ll end that mini rant there lol

    3) its benifical, but by no means nessecary. firstly, the website for said app is (for the most part) gonna have the exact same content and images as are in appworld, which seems self defeating from that view (although web presence is a good thing of course). also a website takes time and effort to maintain. should you need to contact the developer for support, then click the `support` tab in the top right of appworld. thats why its there.

    4+6) in 4 you say ` Tell users what's planned in future updates` but in 6 you say `If you have plans to add features in the next month, add them now and launch in a month`
    which kinda contradicts itself. from personal experience, id say to say what update HAVE been done, but not whats coming, as its all about expectation management.
    if you tell me somethings coming, and you have issues and its not there for a while/late, then im not gonna be impressed, best case example i can give you is the PIM for playbook.


    now my own tip - the icon. its THE first thing a user sees in appworld, and what they`ll see on their device, it HAS to look good. like they say, first impressions count, and your icon is that very first impression of your app.


    like i say, you do raise some worthy points, thats jus my take on some that my opinion differs with you on, doesnt make either of us wrong tho
    Last edited by BBThemes; 10-13-11 at 05:06 PM.
    Michelle Haag likes this.
    10-13-11 05:03 PM
  3. Innovatology's Avatar
    I agree with 90% of the above. As for the cost of a website: a simple site can be set up in minutes. Use a template, WordPress or Blogger if needed. Add a little something that's not in App World, even if it's just your twitter stream.

    Here's my tip:

    If your app contains important details, use a camera to make a screenshot of that detail, and/or crop a screenshot to emphesize the detail. The tiny screenshots in App World are often too small to read buttons or text, and only give an impression of the overall visual style, or lack of style.

    Check out the screenshots for Files & Folders. We've zoomed in on aspects like Dropbox, file conversion via Google Docs, folder management, thumbnails, icon view etc.
    Michelle Haag likes this.
    10-13-11 07:26 PM
  4. BBThemes's Avatar
    Here's my tip:

    If your app contains important details, use a camera to make a screenshot of that detail, and/or crop a screenshot to emphesize the detail. The tiny screenshots in App World are often too small to read buttons or text, and only give an impression of the overall visual style, or lack of style.

    Check out the screenshots for Files & Folders. We've zoomed in on aspects like Dropbox, file conversion via Google Docs, folder management, thumbnails, icon view etc.
    thats a very good tip, even zooming in on a screenshot would work, but the perspective effect (ya know what i mean, that ent the right word for it lol) from your pics does look cool.

    personally i would LOVE to see appworld updated in OS2.0, to include the same functionality as appworld 3.0 for phones, what i mean is this, firstly, the ability to upload fullsize images, then when ya tap the image it expands to that size on the screen. its a great feature on the phones appworld, so lets hope they bring it to the playbook too.
    10-13-11 07:50 PM
  5. prez87's Avatar
    Another tip for developers is: Get some good logo's and graphics going. Setup a sweet website. If you need support with doing this, check out hiretheworld.com.
    10-14-11 12:10 AM
  6. tinyhack's Avatar
    5. Get social.
    Run a contest with sites like Crackberry to give away free copies. Expand awareness. Talk to bloggers. Get the word out, and you will be rewarded.
    For a small app developer, how do you run contest with Crackberry? the only link I see to contact is trough the "Advertise" link, where you will see a form with a field called "Monthly Ad Budget" and the options are "less than 5k", "5-10k", and "over 10k". Looking at the numbers, it doesn't seem good for small developers.

    FYI, currently I have several apps written for Blackberry, mostly freewares. Two of my freewares in appworld is TinyMeter and Bible Plus, and the rest you can see at my website Applications for Blackberry.

    I am currently trying to sell my first shareware TinyController, and I think I've done most of what you suggested (Free Trial, my own domain, lower price compared to competitors, etc), but the sales is still quite low. Any other suggestions?
    10-14-11 03:58 AM
  7. russnash's Avatar
    The best way to get your apps and themes promoted through CrackBerry is to email editorial@crackberry.com, this method has always resulted in a main page review for myself. For themes, you can do same or email the theme roundup.

    Trial versions are a definite plus, I personally don't see the need for two versions of an app. For SpeedNotes I simply coded the licensing part of the app to allow full use for seven days unless a license key was entered. This makes it more convenient for the users too as they don't need to reinstall if they purchase.

    The biggest tip I can give to app and theme devs from my own experience is this: listen to your customers and encourage their input. Dedicated, quick, polite and quality customer service is where it is at.

    Russ.

    Gray Matter Themes & Apps

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    10-14-11 08:31 AM
  8. anon(1049620)'s Avatar
    I am currently trying to sell my first shareware TinyController, and I think I've done most of what you suggested (Free Trial, my own domain, lower price compared to competitors, etc), but the sales is still quite low. Any other suggestions?
    Hi,

    It looks like the only thing you need to do now is get the word out! I've personally never heard of Tiny Controller but it looks interesting. To be honest, I'm not sure what kind of demand there is for an app hat controls your phone from your PC. It seems that logically, the phone is mobile and compact so that's always easy to have with you. Your sales may be lower than expected due to low demand, plain and simple.

    Do some promoting on Facebook, forums, etc. and contact the guys at Crackberry about running a promotion of some kind, you never know until you ask. But really the most logical and first step would be for you to be pushing it more and getting the word out. I mean you don't even have it in your signature!
    10-14-11 10:04 AM
  9. anon(1049620)'s Avatar

    4+6) in 4 you say ` Tell users what's planned in future updates` but in 6 you say `If you have plans to add features in the next month, add them now and launch in a month`
    which kinda contradicts itself. from personal experience, id say to say what update HAVE been done, but not whats coming, as its all about expectation management.
    if you tell me somethings coming, and you have issues and its not there for a while/late, then im not gonna be impressed, best case example i can give you is the PIM for playbook.

    Hey, great points throughout your post. What I wrote serves as a general guideline and my own opinions as opposed to a very strict guide to selling apps that applies 100% of the time. So it's good to have differing views so the developer can ultimately decide what's best for him/her.

    Just to clarify the point quoted above, what I meant to say in #4 is that being open and active as a developer is important, and showing people that you plan to continue supporting your app and your customers will help increase trust pre- and post-purchase.

    In #6 I refer to the quality of the app one is submitting. If it isn't ready, or if you can squeeze in something that will really help it shine, then do so. It will be a plus in the longrun!
    10-14-11 10:13 AM
  10. tinyhack's Avatar
    The best way to get your apps and themes promoted through CrackBerry is to email editorial@crackberry.com, this method has always resulted in a main page review for myself. For themes, you can do same or email the theme roundup.

    Thank you for the information, I will try to contact them.
    10-14-11 11:29 AM
  11. tinyhack's Avatar
    Hi,

    It looks like the only thing you need to do now is get the word out! I've personally never heard of Tiny Controller but it looks interesting. To be honest, I'm not sure what kind of demand there is for an app hat controls your phone from your PC. It seems that logically, the phone is mobile and compact so that's always easy to have with you. Your sales may be lower than expected due to low demand, plain and simple.
    I think you are right, I need to do more promotion. Or may be my way of promoting is not "catchy" enough to attract buyers. I think most people don't immediately see whats the use of this app until I explain to them.

    Most things you can do in your BlackBerry, you can do in your Desktop. So when I go to my desktop, I will switch chatting Yahoo/GTalk to the PC Version, do my email on my browser, but you can't do that with BBM and SMS. Even though you have a large keyboard, you still need to grab your BlackBerry to type on the small keyboard when someone sent you a BBM message. TinyController tries to solve that problem.

    Actually I developed this app, because I don't think the existing app in the market is good enough. There are several apps already available, but the good ones (that can do USB connection to get decent speed) cost around ~35 USD, and the cheaper apps can only connect using WIFI (which can be very slow).

    Do some promoting on Facebook, forums, etc. and contact the guys at Crackberry about running a promotion of some kind, you never know until you ask. But really the most logical and first step would be for you to be pushing it more and getting the word out. I mean you don't even have it in your signature!
    I have it in my signature, I guess it's not catchy enough.
    10-14-11 11:42 AM
  12. BBThemes's Avatar
    I have it in my signature, I guess it's not catchy enough.
    enlarge the font a bit so it stands out, center it to make it that bit more prominent, but far more importantly, with only 16 posts currently, thats only 16 `impressions` so any effect is going to be low in that sense.
    10-14-11 10:55 PM
  13. anon(1049620)'s Avatar
    I have it in my signature, I guess it's not catchy enough.
    Strange, I couldn't see it this morning. Apologies.
    10-15-11 12:15 AM
  14. maminde's Avatar
    I agree with the tips, also the apps icon is important, but lots of user just download and try , little will buy or give review. could you give me some advice about my apps(show in signature). Thank you.
    11-06-11 12:44 AM
  15. Spiritinthesky's Avatar
    Some great points, raising the profile of any product is hard, you have to cover all areas, on-line, print, grass roots, radio, TV (if you can).
    11-08-11 06:31 AM
  16. Vinod Sanadhya's Avatar
    Some great points, raising the profile of any product is hard, you have to cover all areas, on-line, print, grass roots, radio, TV (if you can).
    You are absolutely correct and app developers put few good efforts for getting good result.
    03-12-14 02:41 AM
  17. KermEd's Avatar
    Some good points.

    I'm not a big fan of trial ware or making trial ware. Especially because blackberry has crippled this intentionally in appworld. Because of this I think my only trial app is on PlayBook.

    Regarding websites, if you can code. I seriously hope you can put up a small website.

    The problem with the above - is it is mostly best practices. In reality of you want to succeed:

    - Find an app people are dying for. Find necessary. Or are willing to take a risk and install at almost any cost.

    - Check who else is in the market. You are looking for apps that grossly over charge and have cornered the market. Or better, where you have no competition.

    - The simpler your app, the easier someone else can come along and just undercut you too. Aim for semi complex apps.

    - Build apps with a high demand, medium difficulty. Build better than others.

    - Join developer groups where you can work together. And you can also cross market.

    - Building a brand is important. Be unique. Stand out.

    - Finally show CB users respect. Not everyone is a super user. Helping people goes a long way.

    - Last is timing. You have a great idea for an app? Get it OUT and get it out before anyone else does. You will lose out if you come late to the game.

    Posted via CB from my LE
    03-16-14 04:04 PM
  18. Nemory Studios's Avatar
    I agree wit all the tips. Thanks much

    Posted via CB10
    03-19-14 08:24 AM
  19. LoganSix's Avatar
    Regarding websites, if you can code. I seriously hope you can put up a small website.

    Posted via CB from my LE
    And, possibly for now, setting up a BBM Channel would be more worth while then setting up a website. At least with the Channel, your users can easily contact you and provide feedback, as well as check for what you are doing on the app.
    03-25-14 02:07 PM
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