Marketing your Apps – Using Twitter (1)

Most developers will tweet about the development and release of a new App in the normal course of events.  Some will even give an App its’ own Twitter account  (if for no other reason than to retain focus on the App and avoid clogging up your their personal Twitter account).  However, for this experiment I created a dedicated, temporary Twitter account for an App in order to attempt to take advantage of an event that the App was related to.

So yesterday, the Twitter Account “KingsSpeechApp” was born and I set about using the Oscars to try and promote the App.

imageI posted 30 tweets from this account over a 12 hour period leading up to the Oscar ceremony itself (being in the UK I went to bed at this point, although It would have been nice for the purposes of this experiment to continue tweeting).

Rather than linking to the App I included a link to a blog post about the App – this allowed me to harness the real time stats from my blog to gauge the success of this endeavour!

I did my best to space out the tweets and always included both the #Oscars hash tag and sometimes a related tag such as #ColinFirth and #KingsSpeech.  (This meant that anyone doing a search for these terms in Twitter would pick up on my tweets).  Blog stats reveal that this linked blog entry received 30 hits during this period, so if my maths is good, that is around 1 hit for every tweet (discounting any hits that the entry might have received in the normal course of events).

So, all in all, an interesting experiment, but probably not one worthy of repetition.

RT (ReTweet):  I also included this request in the majority of the tweets, hoping that some higher ‘Twitter Daemon’ would pick up and spread the word to a wider audience.  Sadly, after the event I could see no evidence of this.

I haven’t finished with Twitter yet and will post another blog entry about potential uses in marketing at a later date.

Twitter TIP: Make liberal use of relevant # tags when announcing your new Apps:

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Update: Another example: This tip for MIX 11 Conference attendees in Los Vegas – all potential users of my  ’Gadget Watch’ App:

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In App Marketing: “Why not Try …”

Once you have a few Apps in the marketplace why not  market them ‘in app’:

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This can be a relatively pain free process, simply requiring either a block of templated code, or perhaps a specially built  DLL containing references to your apps. I opted for the former (I am a little lazy) and have some templated XAML:

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which pulls it’s content in from an RSS feed on my own site here:

http://apps.webservicesuk.com/images/apps/myApps.xml

One of the advantages of adopting this approach is that, as I add new apps to the Marketplace, all my existing apps are updated with a reference to that new App.

Consuming any XML based feed in WP7 is as simple as reading Scott Guthrie’s blog:

http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2010/03/18/building-a-windows-phone-7-twitter-application-using-silverlight.aspx

Featured Apps:

NB There are other ways you can advertise ‘in app’ which I will explore in a future blog post.

Marketing Your Apps

Having a go at the final (I believe) chapter of Mike Ormond’s book:

Outline for the chapter is presently as follows:

Arming Yourself

  • The theory behind marketing.
  • Making your App work for you.
  • Quotes from experts and successful developers.
  • Readiness Checklist.

Spreading the Word

  • From the safety of your bedroom:
    • Using a Blog
    • Using Twitter
    • Using YouTube
    • Getting your App reviewed
    • In App Advertising
    • Marketing on the web
    • Gorilla Marketing
  • Going out into the world:
    • People skills
    • User groups
    • Conferences (Mix, PDC etc.)
    • Government Initiatives
    • Microsoft Initiatives (BizTalk, MSDN etc.)

Tracking your progress

    • Marketplace Reports
    • Analytics (Peoplesoft etc)
    • Third Party Sites (EG zTop and Phone Apps)

Please leave a comment or get in touch if you have any interesting or useful stories around Marketing your own Apps (they don’t necessarily have to be  WP7 based) .

My plan is to make each of the above sections a blog entry – hopefully I will get some feedback this way and improve on things before submitting for approval into the book.

Thanks,

 

Ian.

Tip: “Attention Required Press Here”

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I recently released ‘the ‘Ambient Soundscape’ App onto the WP7 Marketplace and within a day the only bit of feedback I had was a 1 star rating and a note saying that the user was unhappy he was getting this message!

So what should you do if you get this message when you are trying to download an App (and not just Ambient Soundscape – though I would be happy if you wanted to give that a try).

Probably You ‘Press Here’ only to get the following message:

“Connect to a WiFi network or connect your phone to your PC to complete the download”

But even if you are connected to a WIFi network you are basically stuck in a loop.

Bah! (as Desperate Dan might exclaim)

The answer is, instead of pressing on ‘Press Here’ you need to ‘press & hold’ – this will bring up a submenu allowing you to either delete the download or retry – usually retrying will begin the download again.

Oh, and if you decide to try  ‘Ambient Soundscape’, and like it, please leave me some nice feedback!

Tip: Think twice before trialling ‘trial mode’

 

Although the option to make an App is a Checkbox:

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and you appear to have the option to unselect:

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You will discover that when you go back into the App trial mode is still supported (ie deselecting the checkbox has not taken).

This is important as it is often proved more effective to have two apps – a free ‘Light’ version (ad supported if you are lucky enough to be a resident of the USA) with an option to upgrade to a paid version as a separate download.

NB I have reported this to MS as a bug

The King’s Speech

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With all the interest in George VI following the success of ‘The Kings Speech’ at the BAFTAs and Oscars the timing seems quite fortuitous for the release of this App.  As I mentioned in an earlier post after watching the film of the same name I was curious to hear the original ‘Kings Speech’ myself.  The speech was made by King George VI in 1939 immediately preceding the second world war.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that we already had a copy of the speech in our own house! (Thanks uncle Harry). A bit of a scrabble in the loft ensued to find a large box of assorted 78RPM records, quickly followed by another to find something on which to play them! The end result, after cleaning the recording up as best I could being my own digital recording used in this application. 

I took the opportunity to use some of the excellent content about George VI freely available on the internet (and happily under a ‘creative commons’ licence) and set to work putting together this App in as interesting way as I could envisage.

Layout wise I went with the ‘Panorama’ approach creating the XAML as I went rather than using a default layout with data binding  – this gave a little more flexibility in the positioning of objects within the layout.

I should point out that while this application covers much of the same material as the film of the same name, it is in not related to it.

The Application is available for a short time at 79p (99c) from the link below:

http://social.zune.net/redirect?type=phoneApp&id=45dcafd4-ac33-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

And if you have a penchant for the Royals you might also want to check out the ‘Royalty’ App!

– AS EVER PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY APP DEVELOPMENT REQUIREEMENTS –

Thanks.

“Ambient Soundscape”

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Well it was touch and go getting the app through the ingestion process in time but this morning I am pleased to announce that ‘Ambient Soundscape’ is available on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace:

http://social.zune.net/redirect?type=phoneApp&id=f4859464-e72a-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

With over 40 distinct sound sources available as a starting point ‘Ambient Soundscape’ can be used to develop sophisticated tonal compositions.  The built in multi-track step edit recorder can be used to store and playback compositions or individual sequences with full control over individual sounds volume, frequency and pan position within the stereo field.

Recording Sequences

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The initial screen first provides guidance as to the capabilities available within the step edit sequencer, then, as sequences are recorded becomes the launching point for each individual sequence.

 

 

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The step edit sequencer facilitates the touch entry of individual sounds and provides a keyboard for changes in frequency (pitch) of each individual note.  In addition a sub menu provides control over the relative volume and pan position.

 

Arranging Songs

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The next screen provides guidance for song arrangements, and as compositions are arranged and saved in the subsequent screen, becomes the launching point for individual compositions.

 

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When sequences are saved in the preceding screen they become available for arrangement into songs by dragging and dropping them in the arrangement screen. Sequences can then be stored on the phone as songs for subsequent playback (or additional editing)

 

Additional features include live playback of sounds, control over each sounds positioning within the step edit sequencer and the ‘sound pad’ screen (not shown).  In addition the base volume, pitch and stereo pan position (i.e. the starting point for each sound) can be set prior to the composition process taking place.

Ambient Soundscape is available now for Windows Phone 7 based devices priced at $4.99

http://social.zune.net/redirect?type=phoneApp&id=f4859464-e72a-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

New WP7 App – No Code

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Having watched the film of the same name last week (truly excellent) a comment from my Uncle Harry led me to investigate a collection of 78rpm records in a ‘forgotten’ box in our loft.  Low and behold, an original recording of the speech made in the film of the same name – by the king himself!  I had been curious to hear the original speech and figured that others would be too, (hence this app).  After determining that there were no copyright issues (owing to the age of the record) I set about making a digital recording of the speech, cleaning it up as best I could for use in this app.  I collected some related text and images from Wikipedia to make the app a little more interesting and voila!

What I found interesting as a developer was that, on completion, I realised that I had used (next to) no code.  Not a conscious decision on my part but testament to the excellent tools available (Visual Studio 2010, Expression Blend 4 and Expression Encoder 4).

I started off with the default Application (using the panorama template).  I stripped out the MVVM code (I know some of you would shoot me for this but, although I love the MVVM pattern, I had no need of it for this simple app).

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Essentially I ‘hard coded’ the data as XAML – I find this easy to modify should I wish to make changes (in different circumstances I would have been tempted to make the App data driven for ease of maintenance).

NB When the app gets through ingestion it will be available from this link:

http://social.zune.net/redirect?type=phoneApp&id=45dcafd4-ac33-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

PS Look out for another infinite panorama background image – sweet!