My totally transparent iPhone app marketing efforts part 1

Wow guys.

What a painful first phase. After spending 6 months scouring the internet for independent developers who were disclosing their marketing secrets and their iPhone app sales numbers I came up with one. So I pledged to add Marble Jar to the general pool of info, which is really more puddle sized.

The app went live in the app store on June 23rd.

In the six months before launch I interviewed several ad networks who place download links for your app within other apps. They use fancy algorithms and promise a .29 cost per click. Or some such. Once I decided to price my app at 2.99 by throwing a dart at the wall. No, there was thought behind it, but that is another post. The return on investment went so far down that they wouldn’t even give me any stats. None. If there is an ad  network out there who can offer stats I would love to interview you, because I am totally open to paying for my success. (In ways other than I am paying for it now.)

So that left grass roots social media efforts pre-launch. Here are my prelaunch efforts. I am defining this time as April 15- June 23rd.

I built a splash page for $1,000. From April 15- June 23rd I had 460 visitors. That’s $2.17/ visitor. Which includes my mom. So probably more like $2.25.

I paid $2,500/ month for PR starting in mid April so that was $6,250 by launch time. In that time we drafted messaging and a press release. No way to calculate an ROI on that yet.

I spent three hours a day five days a week tweeting, RTing, linking to relevant stories from my google reader.

If I give myself a $50/hr rate (lower than I would like but this is Vermont after all) that is $7500 in social media effort in ten weeks for a return of 170 facebook likers and 325 twitter followers. If you assume zero overlap (which is impossible, but it is not worth my $50/hr to figure that out) that is a cost of $15.15/friend. Stats on the value of facebook “likers” change but $3 is about right. So I am off by 5x. Go ahead. Go like the page. I will wait.

During that time I also ran a few facebook test ads. Mostly to determine marketing wording. I budgeted $30/day for 4 days for $120. They resulted in 22 of the above likers which makes those “my time in social media numbers” slightly wrong. So these 22 strangers cost $5.45 each to have on my page. Fixing the above numbers…lets use nine weeks to be consistent. That eliminates 64 likers the 22 from the ad campaign and the 42 I had prior to April 15th. so the fresh numbers are $15.61/ liker from my efforts. I guess advertising pays.

Moving on I decided to sponsor the Type A conference. I felt that the parent bloggers there would be my target audience and it would be fun to launch the app in public. Between sponsorship, mini notepads, plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc etc the conference cost $5000. The ROI is tough to determine.

While I was at the conference the app launched. Which takes us to the next marketing phase. I’ll call that the soft launch 6/23-7/12. I’ll cover that in the next post.



Dinner Date

The president just asked me to dinner.

What? you too?

For those of you not on his mailing list, Barack is offering 4 seats at a “casual supper among friends” for supporters who give $5 or more. He will pay your airfare, and you get to rub elbows with some big names.

This is a brilliant fundraising strategy. He is building the bottom of his pyramid. Those of us who have raised money for a living know that it all starts from the bottom. Once our pyramid has a stable base we can move donors up a level by “engaging them” and showing the effects of their money at work.

Those of you who are interested in marketing…Obama just got you to PAY to join his email list. This dinner invite will get forwarded along and $5 is a low risk high reward proposition. Me+Barack+other powerful people. This is really voting with my wallet!

It is time to rethink exclusivity in favor of expansiveness. Create the same go big or go home experience, but broaden your guest list. Find ways, through lottery, raffle, or hometown hero nomination forms, to get MORE people involved. Use our technical connectedness to grow your base.

Let your big names and big donors take a night off- invite them to send an assistant, mentee, or grandchild in their stead. New energy, new ideas, this is the benefit of 0ffering a seat (or four) at the table.

winwinner Wednesday: Office Squared

Late last year, our friend Jen Mincar founded Office Squared (“02” for short), a coworking space in Burlington, VT for  freelancers and telecommuters seeking a collaborative workspace.

Not only has 02 been a great space for people to work (we’ve spent most of our time at 02 during the development and lanch of winwinapps), but Jen has also hosted a number of successful business events there.

On May 4, for instance, Office Squared will be hosting an on online display advertising workshop.

winwin apps' setup at 02.

Conducted by digital marketing expert Greg Stobb, this session will teach attendees how to cost-effectively target prospects on the web through proper strategy and effective measurement. Partial proceeds from the event will benefit Save Our Strays of Vermont.

Office Squared is using winwin apps to register attendees for the event (tickets are $15 and can be purchased on 02’s winwin webstack).

Also, the winwin apps team has partnered up with Lara Dickson of Deep Dish Creative to help 02 out even further on upcoming stuff, so stay tuned for more…

In the meantime, you can visit the Office Squared website, check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and see event photos on Flickr.