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.