5 Ways to Make Money With iPhone Apps

Here are five ways to build, market and make money from your first iPhone app. Also works for Google Android.

When your 11 year old son creates his first iPhone app, you know there is no excuse not to build your own. The advantage I (may?) have over my son is 20 years of marketing experience. So, I should be able to make money from this iPhone app, right? Here’s the plan to monetize, market, and promote my first iPhone app.

How to build your First iPhone or Android app

Before you start… spend some time researching best practices before defining your Business Plan for building iPhone and Android apps. For example, as Apple does not support Adobe Flash do make sure your designer creates animation that works or can be exported to different systems.
Depending on how you build your mobile application, you can use the same material to create an application that works on both the Apple iPhone and the Google powered Android.
Why do I need to know this?
You want to get the best return on your investment.

  • Instead of building a mobile app that is limited to an iPhone develop the materials so you can export them to other platforms.
  • Create the source materials, for example, images, in formats that work on both systems.
  • Develop the app so that you can also use parts of it for your website and/or blog. Use screens and animations from the app to build short movies – to market on YouTube – and for lead generation on your site.

In other words, before starting the development process, scope out where and how you can use the content to increase your reach.
The last thing you want to do is build an app…. and then have to build more material for your blog. YouTube account, and media kit.

Making Money From iPhone & Android apps

The app I’m building is about education. It’s designed to teach business folks how to speak 100 Chinese phrases they can use in business meetings in China.
There are – at least – five ways we can monetize it.

  1. Free – create sufficient interest in the product so that others download it for free. You can make money once you get enough traffic from the online advertising. So advertising is where you plan to make the money. The attraction here is that there is no upfront costs. The downside is that it’s not easy to get the critical mass to justify this approach.
  2. Paid – if the product get good reviews (more on that later) and is recognized as ‘best in class’ in its respective category, then you can explore charging. The default is usually .99 cents at least on the ITunes marketplace.
  3. Subscription – This means that you charge customers a recurring fee, for example, every month, for using the product. This works very well for certain business models. Education is one of these, which is why we’re focussing here.
  4. Add-ons – The Angry Birds app has sold 10 million copies at .99 cents each. One way they’ve increased their sales has been by offering other add-ons, usually for .99 cents that give you more skills or powers in the game. This is an effective way to offer a product at a low price and then tempt customers with other products as they use the game more.
  5. Physical Products – You can further expand your sales efforts by developing offline products. For example, the Angry Birds will soon be available as a board game. We’ll be selling the Chinese education materials as ebooks and flashcards you can print out.

Market your iPhone & Android apps

Next week, we’ll look into this a little more but for now, here are some ideas:

Get Reviews

  • Team up with a set of like-minded bloggers.
  • Send them free copies of your application
  • Ask them to review the application and send a link back to your site.
  • Encourage friends to comment on the reviews (positively of course) and generate as much excitement as possible.

Pre Launch

Before you launch the product:

  • Use your blog to discuss what you plan to do with the application.
  • Ask your readers for ideas on how you can build the application. They idea is to get them involved in the brain storming process and then share the excitement with them
  • Continue this process for at least one month.
  • Start to use the same strategy on Twitter, Facebook and other channels. For example, you could ‘seed’ questions on LinkedIn to generate curiosity.
  • Share screenshots on the prototype app with your readers. Again, ask for more feedback.
  • Connect with others who’ve develop similar (but not competing apps) and ask for advice. Remember to thank these folks (repeatedly) when you launch the product and in post launch blog posts.
  • Thank everyone who responds by email.
  • Give special discounts to early buyers. Use this to get referrals, which is critical for getting more credibility. See John Jantsch’s book, The Referral Engine, on how to do this right.

Product Launch

When you launch the product:

  • Countdown to the product launch on Twitter and your blog.
  • Develop a Twitter Plan.
  • Choose your keywords wisely.
  • Share this Twitter Plan with your affiliates and business friends.
  • Get your friends to send out the same message on Twitter the same day. It has to be the same day. Use the same message and send folks to the correct landing page.
  • Generate as much buzz as possible for 2-3 days. Drop everything else and focus on this.
  • Write a series of blog posts that discuss the new product. Schedule these in quick succession.
  • Get your network to leave as many comments as possible.
  • Do the Retweets and Facebook likes to drive more traffic to the blog.
  • Where appropriate, send folks to the Apple ITunes store or to eJunkie if you’re selling it online. We plan to use eJunkie.
  • Thank everyone!

Post Launch

The final step is to:

  • Automate the sales process so you can move to the next projects.
  • Fix any errors that were encountered by customers when using the product.
  • Reply to everyone who helped you get there.
  • Share more on Twitter on how well the product launch went well. This is where you give as much credit as possible to your network. Don’t forget to spread the message on their Facebook pages as well.
  • Use Google Analytics to examine the sales and landing pages. Creates goals in GA and observe these very closely.
  • Begin to look at the feedback and see what type of products you can upsell. You’ll only know this once the product goes live and you engage with customers.
  • Return to all the LinkedIn groups and remind folks of the product, thank them for their help and ‘share’ the sales page where they can see the end result.

Next Steps

Building a successful IPhone/Android application involves more than developing the product itself. Most folks focus too much on the app and overlook the marketing plan.
This means that they end up with a wonderful product but never find the customers. They also don’t build the network is critical to generate the necessary buzz and, more critically, gets your product in front of their customers.
Those are five ways to make money with an app. What else would you add?

How To Find New Ideas For Your Web Business

I don’t know about you but I don’t look for new business ideas in garden centers. Which is interesting for two reasons. First: I associate garden centers with functional activities (not creative ones). Secondly: I had a fixed ideas on where to find creative inspiration. On both counts I was wrong.

I don’t know about you but I don’t look for new business ideas in garden centers. Interesting for two reasons. First: I associate garden centers with functional activities (not creative ones). Secondly:  I had a fixed idea on where to find creative inspiration. On both counts I was wrong.

Why New Business Ideas Are Everywhere

You can develop products (not sure about services) in R&D departments and then try to launch them but something is missing… people.
The seeds for new business ideas are found where you find people.

  • The idea for the walkman was made when a Sony designer saw teenagers skating on the boardwalk and wondered how could they listen to their radios.
  • The idea for designer watches – think Swatch – was to connect customers love of jewelry with the opportunity to collect the entire range. No one bought a swatch because it kept better time than other watches.
  • The idea for perfume arose to mask the stench from the aristocracy who didn’t bathe. It wasn’t the done thing so they lashed on oddles of perfume instead.

New business can be generated:

  • By looking for twists on existing products: think boots and dogs and you get booties for pampered Chihuahuas. What’s the next animal you could design clothes for? Hats for dogs? Bracelets for kittens?
  • By making it more exclusive the other similar products: think the IPad which is very limited compared to laptops but, due to its high price point, makes it very exclusive.
  • By looking for ways to frighten customers into feeling the product is a necessity: how many parents have bought mobile phones to keep in touch with their kids ‘just in case’ something happened.

How to Find New Business Ideas

You’ve read that innovation is key to creating great new products, right?
The dilemma is that it’s hard to pull new ideas out of thin air.
My experience is that new killer products are usually an ‘incremental’ improvement of an existing product, usually with a nice marketing twist.
There are exceptions, of course. It’s hard to think of what precluded the web browser, but the concept of the PC, for example, had been around for decades.
So, how do you find new business ideas?
Here’s a suggested approach:

  1. Visit your local garden center.
  2. Select some products that you can experiment with.
  3. Examine the product and see where you can add one new feature that would improve the product design.
  4. Then see how you could position this so it would appeal to the current buyers or
  5. How you could position it so new customers would be attracted.

If you don’t have the time or budge to do this, here’s an alternative, especially if you’re selling services.

  • Visit your local shopping center.
  • Wander around one of the shops and observe how the staff interact with customers.
  • Identify three ways staff could assist customers. I bet you’ll identify at least five.

If you develop this habit of observation, especially where customers and staff interact, you’ll see many areas where services could be improved, customers could be up-sold more products, and business process could be refined.
Most folks see the flaws in the system – complaining why checkout lines are so slow – but never ask the obvious question. Why? And then see how the process can be improved.
It’s all about ‘looking for clues’ that identify the gaps and then finding practical solutions.

The Motivation For Changing Perception

What I learnt is that creativity is everywhere if you take the effort to find it.
Or, to flip it around, if you place yourself in the shoes of the product designer, then the most mundane activities can be immensely rewarding. Instead of being stuck in the local DIY center, you can see it as a ‘shopping expedition’ for new ideas.
If the idea of starting a business appeals to you or – are was the case with me – you feel frustrated in your current job and want to setup a new business (but not sure where), then start developing the habit of looking at existing business ideas and seeing where they could be improved.
Sometimes, it’s very simple. For example, I was looking for a new mobile phone last week. All I wanted was an inexpensive phone to make calls with web surfing thrown in.
What phone did they try to sell me? Yes, the most expensive. Their strategy was to go for bust with each customer.
Rather than trying to sell me ‘any’ phone and get me into their sales database (and all the upsells down the line) they lost me within five minutes. Forever.
A little tweaking with their sales strategy would have made a huge difference.
More customers = More sales.
But not everyone gets it. And that’s the opportunity for you.

From Business Idea to Business Plan

The idea of starting a new business – and writing a business plan – is pretty intimidating for most of us. Where I went wrong was assuming it would be more than I could handle. So, I avoided it until my mid-30s. My mistake.
Once I started, and armed myself with the best business planning tools on the market, what had seemed impossible slowly began to bear fruit. And that’s where business ideas morph into successful business plans. It’s an iterative process. Every effort takes you one step closer.
Where do you find inspiration for new business ideas? And where do others go wrong?

The Mel Brooks Guide to Super Strong Passwords

How strong are your passwords? I attended a course in London last year and one of the topics covered security. In Mel Brook’s movie SpaceBalls, the password to all the earth’s natural resources was…12345. It’s a comedy but you get the idea. All those efforts to control the planet and the password is child’s play. Here are some ways to strengthen your passwords and also how to show others the mistakes to avoid.

Continue reading “The Mel Brooks Guide to Super Strong Passwords”

Ten Steps To Benchmark Your Marketing Plans

One way to address this is to use a set of benchmarks. I use benchmarks in different ways to judge my performance and also how my products are selling. I sell digital products on the web and look for ways to judge my performance (not only sales) against my competitors. Why? Benchmarks help me see things with greater clarity.


How to take your ego out of the business? Tricky at the best of times. For me, benchmarks are one of the most reliable ways to judge my true abilities against someone else’s.
You see this in sports all the time.
Maybe you have a friend that thinks they are pretty handy on the golf course. And maybe they are. Compared against those they know they can beat, of course.
But what happens when someone new joins the club?
Ever notice the way these loudmouths slink away and make their excuses. Suddenly the bravado is gone.
They adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy.
If the guy (or girl?) is really good, they’ll steer clear. If they know they have a chance, they’ll come bouncing back. You know the type, I’m sure.
This is fine on the golf course.
But, in business, you don’t have the same luxury. The pressure is on. You need to gauge how successful your product, service, or customer satisfaction is and adjust accordingly.
You can’t afford a ‘wait and see’ policy. Time lost is money lost.

Ten Step Benchmarking Model

One way to address this is to use a set of benchmarks. I use benchmarks in different ways to judge my performance and also how my products are selling. I sell digital products on the web and look for ways to judge my performance (not only sales) against my competitors.
Why? Benchmarks help me see things with greater clarity.
Instead of leading with my heart, which most small business owners do, the benchmarks allow me to assess things objectively.
It takes me out of the picture.
Here are ten steps to benchmarking your business.

Plan

1.  Identify the benchmark target – highlight the product, service or activity you want to improve. Start with one benchmark and learn from this. Don’t complicate things by defining multiple benchmarks at once.

2. Identify benchmark partners – look at competitors you want to compare yourself against, for example, similar size SMEs or startups with a similar market presence. Be realistic.
3. Collect data using a combination of web tools and excel spreadsheets. Google provides some excellent tools for monitoring firms and brands. You can compliment this by developing surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups to glean more information.

Analyze

4. Determine the gap – look at the market research findings, clean the data, and look at the difference in performance, sales, or customer satisfaction  between you and the benchmark you’re working against.

5. Project future performance – set a target of what you want to achieve and timeframes for getting there. Again, be realistic and allow some leeway if this is the first time you’ve benchmarked your products.

Integrate

6.  Share results – one way to keep the team motivated (and in unison) is to share this information. This also helps set the standard and show the team what’s expected of them from here on.

7.  Establish goals for each person – be specific about each person’s targets. The more you refine the targets, the greater the chance of them reaching their goals.
Action
8.  Develop Action Plans – armed with the information from the market research, develop an Action Plan that works with the goals and timelines you’ve established for your team. Use the Action Plan to clarify to each member of the team what’s expected of them and the critical success factors associated with these targets.
9.  Implement plans and monitor results – hold a workshop or team meeting and kick off the project. Assign a project manager to lead the activity and agree on how status reports should be delivered. Reduce misunderstandings by sharing examples of status reports, action plans and other deliverables. Monitor the results as per the action plan.
10.  Recalibrate benchmarks – look at the feedback and tweak the benchmarks where necessary. Don’t change things just to keep your team on their toes. Instead, encourage them on their work to progress and show how their contributions help the company move forward. Celebrate major milestones to boast morale.

Do benchmarks work?

I’ve used benchmarks in companies for different reasons.
Sometimes we’ve wanted to see how our customer service compared with another firm.That makes sense.
Other times it was to take people’s ego out of the equation. Benchmarks are neutral. They don’t take sides.
If your department or project is struggling and you can’t get a handle on where to move next, let’s say you can’t reduce the number of customer complaints:

  • Work with the team to setup benchmarks.
  • Show them that you have nothing personal against under-performing team members. These are the industry averages and we need to get there.
  • Then examine why we (we’re all in this together right?) have not hit this target yet.
  • Build consensus. Show that this is the best way forward. Take other suggestions but be careful with those who are trying to undermine you.
  • Create a Project Plan, assign tasks, and deadlines.
  • Create an Action Plan and walk each person through what’s expected of them.

Revise, revise and repeat.
That’s one way to do it.
How can we improve upon this?
Pic credit:°Florian

Donald Trump’s Guide to Delivering Negative Business Messages

Ever watch the Apprentice? I enjoy waiting for Trump to pull the trigger and give it to them. ‘You’re fired!’ It’s nice to watch this from the safety of our sofas. We’re involved but also separate from it. And we can switch off.
In the real world, it’s not so cosy. Sometimes you’re the one that has to give the bad news, sometimes you’re the one that has to give negative appraisals. Sometimes you’re the one that has to fire people. In many respects, this may fall under the umbrella of your Communications Plan strategy.

Ever watch the Apprentice? I enjoy waiting for Trump to pull the trigger and give it to them. ‘You’re fired!’ It’s nice to watch this from the safety of our sofas. We’re involved but also separate from it. And we can switch off.
In the real world, it’s not so cosy. Sometimes you’re the one that has to give the bad news, sometimes you’re the one that has to give negative appraisals. Sometimes you’re the one that has to fire people. In many respects, this may fall under the umbrella of your Communications Plan strategy. Continue reading “Donald Trump’s Guide to Delivering Negative Business Messages”

9 Step Strategy for Writing Summaries That Intrigue Readers

This article is about writing headlines, summaries and abstracts. Before we start, what is an Abstract?
Philip Koopman, at Carnegie Mellon University, reminds us that, “Writing an efficient abstract is hard work, but will repay you with increased impact on the world by enticing people to read your publications. Make sure that all the components of a good abstract are included in the next one you write.”
This article is about writing headlines, summaries and abstracts. Before we start, what is an Abstract
Photo Credit Pjern

Why We read Abstracts and Summaries?

When you open your inbox every Monday morning and see a stream of emails crying for attention. Which do you choose? I’d guess it’s the ones with the snappiest headlines, like these:

  • Zen and the Art of Remarkable Blogging
  • A Simple Four-Step Strategy for Developing Content That Connects
  • The Benjamin Franklin Guide to Marketing Your Business Online
  • Five Common Headline Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Become a Master of Metaphor and Multiply Your Blogging Effectiveness
  • Metaphor, Simile and Analogy: What’s the Difference?

These are from CopyBlogger .com and show how smart headlines can tickle your fancy. So, when you read, ‘Are You Leaving Your Readers Out of the Conversation?’ you can’t help but start to answer the question in your mind. And when you do that, you open the article and start to read.
So, good headlines act like hooks bringing you into the story.
Abstracts are also important. We have an ever-increasing need for quick access to information we rely on abstracts and summaries to provide a snapshot of what’s in the article.
If you visualize it as a pyramid, on the top is headlines, then summaries, and then the body of the article. You can see how one leads to the other.

How To Write An Abstract

You have two options. Write it before you start on the main document or after you’ve finished writing, take a break and explore:

  • What is the main subject in this article?
  • What conclusion has the writer made?
  • What message does the writer want to convey?
  • What do you want the reader to do after reading the document?

Analyze this and define it in one sentence – this is your ‘topic’ sentence.
Write one topic sentence that covers the entire document, regardless of whether the document is a five page letter or a hundred page annual report.
1. Getting Ideas
Then, look at the recommendations, conclusions, summaries, and results in the final document. When abstracting a technical manual, look at the tutorials and see if these help form the topic sentence.
2. Don’t Use the Document’s Title
Avoid using the formal name of the document as this can be misleading and may not help you write the topic sentence. Chances are the ‘working title’ will be too vague. Parts of the title might serve as modifiers in your topic sentence, but you’ll probably need to go beyond the title.
3. Be Specific
Make the topic sentence as specific as possible.
Avoid writing

“This report describes [document title].”

Instead, write something like

“The results of this [subject] study show that [result].”

4. Use Supporting Sentences
After you identify your topic sentence, write supporting sentences. Make each of these supply specific details about the ideas in the topic sentence. Think of what supports the topic sentence.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How? and
  • How much?

Give statistics, results, conclusions, or recommendations that back up the topic sentence. Only use two or three major supporting ideas. Include the less important evidence as subordinate clauses and modifiers.
5. Use Transitions
Arrange the supporting sentences in a logical sequence after the topic sentence. Add whatever transition is needed to connect the supporting sentences to the topic sentence and to connect ideas within the sentences to each other.
Re-write the sentences to improve the connections.

10 Other Ways to Write a Better Abstract

  1. Write the abstract only when the document is finished. Abstracts written before then are just previews.
  2. If you are forced to write an abstract before the document is completed, think about its purpose and write a topic sentence. Keep in mind that you’ll need to rewrite the abstract when the document is finished because it will no longer accurately reflect the contents of the document.
  3. Before starting the abstract, list your thoughts on the document. Group related items together.
  4. Prioritize the list and put the most important group first. The first few groups form the core of the topic sentence. The rest lead to supporting sentences.
  5. If you can’t create a topic sentence, write the supporting sentences first. The topic sentence may then become obvious.
  6. Write for an audience not necessarily up to speed in your subject area. This is important because you never know who will read your abstract.
  7. Choose acronyms, abbreviations, and technical terms carefully as they may confuse many readers.
  8. Define the scope of the project in the abstract.
  9. Re-read your abstract after several days have passed and remove superfluous information and padding.

This technique works for documents of any length from a couple of pages to multi-volumes.

Using Keywords in Abstracts

I’ve added this in as many business documents are published directly to the web. This tip applies to writing abstracts, headlines and summaries.
Use keywords in your Titles, Abstracts, Headlines are documents are file electronically. As users search for documents by keywords, write the documents headings with these keywords in mind.
Likewise, your abstract must contain keywords that about the article, proposal, or report so readers can retrieve it quickly.
What other ways can we improve our business documents?

A Simple Four-Step Strategy for Developing Business Proposals That Work

It’s hard working in the dark, isn’t it? I’ve been looking at Business Proposals for a client all week (I assess Business Plans and Proposals as part of my consultancy services) and have found it very difficult to make a recommendation. Here’s the problem. The proposals are fine. They’re well-written. They look good. They have (almost) no grammar or typing errors. Even the prices are fine. So, what’s the problem?

It’s hard working in the dark, isn’t it? I’ve been looking at Business Proposals for a client all week (I assess Business Plans and Proposals as part of my consultancy services) and have found it very difficult to make a recommendation. Here’s the problem. The proposals are fine. They’re well-written. They look good. They have (almost) no grammar or typing errors. Even the prices are fine. So, what’s the problem?

Business Requirements Excel Matrix Business Requirements Excel Matrix Continue reading “A Simple Four-Step Strategy for Developing Business Proposals That Work”

9 Ways to Create Super Strong Passwords

This week we look at how to setup a strong password and test its strength. I’ll also look at the type of mistakes people make when creating passwords and how to avoid these. Remember to change your passwords on a regular basic, for example, every six weeks. If you’re planning on opening a PayPal or Ebay account to buy and sell goods online, then I think you should read this. There’s no point making all this money, if someone can walk in a run off with your profits.

This week we look at how to setup a strong password and test its strength. I’ll also look at the type of mistakes people make when creating passwords and how to avoid these. Remember to change your passwords on a regular basic, for example, every six weeks. If you’re planning on opening a PayPal or Ebay account to buy and sell goods online, then I think you should read this. There’s no point making all this money, if someone can walk in a run off with your profits. Continue reading “9 Ways to Create Super Strong Passwords”