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Experiences with some app promotion strategies

Buy my thingIn the dim and distant past, while in a moment of neglecting my PhD to work on the very first version of Loopy (which is now currently one of the most popular music apps on the iPad!), I had grand visions of an almost totally passive income, making apps. I love the creative initial product development process and, with naive optimism, I pictured pumping apps out and then sitting back and watching the money roll on in. Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek had me enthusiastically lifestyle-designing and dreaming of all my free moneys.

I bet I’m not the only one, but of course reality struck and we realised that the App Store aint that kind of beast. Like any other product, an app needs to be actively presented to the world on a regular basis, and needs to be nurtured to keep it fresh and relevant.

I say “we” because at this point, my partner Katherine joined me after this particular revelation, and became A Tasty Pixel’s part-time marketing director and PR strategist — it’s taken two of us to keep A Tasty Pixel’s wheels turning smoothly, and we still have a lot to learn.

I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons we’ve learned in the past year, in which we’ve released a relatively successful travel planning and travel assistant app, The Cartographer, a very successful live looping app, Loopy, and its big brother Loopy HD, and tried a bunch of promotion strategies, some successful, some not, and some that haven’t yet run their course. Read More »

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Personalising AddThis’s Tweet Button

AddThis is a quite useful WordPress plugin for adding a host of sharing options to your blog posts.

By default, the “Tweet” button that AddThis provides will append “via @AddThis” to the end of tweets, which seems to me a little uncool, given that it’s your content.

So, here’s a little plugin that lets you specify your own Twitter account name instead of @AddThis.

The principle is simple: AddThis were kind enough to define their own filter for the plugin’s output. The plugin plugs itself into this filter, and makes an adjustment to the Tweet button.

To use it, put addthis-modifier.php into your wp-content/plugins folder, open it up and set your twitter name where indicated. Activate it, and you should be good to go.

Download the plugin: AddThis Modifier Plugin

For extra marks: Here’s some code you can use to replace line 14 (the $twittername = … line) to provide a different Twitter account for each post author. Is that not awesome?:

    $accounts = array('Michael'   => 'MichaelTyson',
                      'Katherine' => 'NellieWindmill');
    $twittername = $accounts[get_the_author()];
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The Business Side of Technomading: Anti-Marketing Marketing

We feel so green with regard to all of this business stuff it’s easy to forget we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. There’s so much information out there about running a business that it’s pretty overwhelming for someone who’s starting from scratch and it’s difficult to know where to begin. I haven’t actually read any conventional books on business (although I am currently reading “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” and am thoroughly enjoying it) but the two (yes, two!) that I have read have each introduced me to a concept that has completely obliterated many of my assumptions and given me some firm foundations to grasp onto. Another guiding principle I use doesn’t come from a business book at all but rather a sociology/social psychology one – an area a bit closer to home, for me.

I’ll talk a little bit about each over three blog posts.

Anti-Marketing Marketing

This one is by far my favourite as it provided me with an alternative to an area of business I had nothing but contempt for and it has had the biggest impact on the way we run our business. I first came across this concept in Chris Guillebeau’s ebook “Art + Money”. To quote from his ebook:

The “anti-marketing” approach is all about relationships, your story, and giving value… When you’re selling art, or any product that you passionately care about, you want the buyers to be people who truly want it. You want to connect with the people who are into your work, and let them realize on their own how much they want it.

The beauty of this concept is that it is not only a painless way to go about marketing, it is enjoyable, as long as you’re passionate about what it is that you do. Basically it works like this:

  1. Connect with people in your niche on various social media sites
  2. Some of these people like what you do
  3. Some of those people tell people on various social media sites about what you do
  4. Some people buy your stuff

It’s basically word of mouth on steroids.

A slightly more cynical take on this concept is to connect with “influencers” in your niche, a concept I read about in “Cloud Jacking: 7 Steps to Dominate Your Niche”. This can be done as authentically or disingenuously as you please. For example, we took a fairly strong dislike to the number one blogger in our target niche. We didn’t un-follow him straight away but after a time it became pretty clear that even if he did like The Cartographer – which we didn’t think he would – we didn’t actually want it associated with him or his website. We un-followed him and could put our efforts into connecting with people who we respected and were genuinely interested in getting to know.

The Cartographer hasn’t launched yet so I can’t tell you if any of this has actually worked for us but there are plenty of case studies out there for whom it has: Tim Ferriss, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Natasha Newton, for example.

For me, marketing always had negative connotations so I feel like the anti-marketing approach to marketing makes the entire prospect of running a business at the very least palatable and at the very best enjoyable and something I would do for free.

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