Thursday, 25 February 2010

10 Things to do with Twitter

There's lots of things you can do with twitter and there are even more blog posts around that will give you valuable tips and information on what you should and shouldn't do on twitter. So I thought I'd write something that was a bit more focused around marketing for mobile music applications. Here's my list:
  1. First off, if you're not on twitter, then get on it. Set up an account and make sure your account name and bio easily describe your brand or your app(s).
  2. Start searching for people who are interested in mobile music making applications. This is easy as you can start with Palm Sounds. Search for your app name as there are probably people already talking about it. Follow people who are talking about your app and other music making apps, it'll start to give you an idea of who is interested and what kind of direction the market is going in.
  3. Try out some more advanced twitter tools like TweetDeck, and Hootsuite. Both of these are good for searching and also have mobile clients.
  4. Use twitter to respond to what people are saying about your software. Respond to comments and suggestions. Retweet what users are saying about your apps and about music making in general
  5. Add value to what you do on twitter by offering promo codes to people who send you a direct message
  6. Use twitter to show people what's coming up with screen shots and links to feature previews or sound clips of how new features or apps can be used
  7. Get feedback from users. Ask questions about how and where they use your app and then reuse the information in a blog post or featured user section
  8. Float ideas on what you might do next or new features to add to existing apps. Make the user part of the process
  9. Consider adding twitter into your app itself so that users can twitter what they've made with the app
  10. Measure. After all, you probably want to make some money from your app, so measure how twitter works for you. Twitter clients like Hootsuite offer stats on links followed and allows you to integrate google analytics into your links. Make sure that twitter is actually working for you.
I think it is fair to say that twitter is going to be around for a while now, and it can be an excellent way to communicate with your users and people who might be interested in what you are doing.

I hope that you find this useful. If you have suggestions for future articles or if there's anything in the article you want more on then please email me at palmsounds.marketing@me.com.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Gaps in the market and how to find them

Ok, I know I initially said that I'd try and post something to this blog about marketing once a week, and last week I failed and didn't post anything. Apologies.

One of the comments on my first post raised the question of what customers actually want, and so I thought I'd try to focus on that this week.

When native apps first came along the first music apps were comparatively simple. Keyboards, drum apps etc. But as time has gone on, all types of iPhone apps have got progressively more complex and sophisticaed. This is to be expected, not just because users always want more sophistication, but also because developers love to add features and see where they can take their creations.

But with 75 million users of iPhones and iPod Touches worldwide there's got to be scope for more than just the most sophisticated music and audio applications. If we take a look at some of the apps in the top 100 on iTunes you can see that this is true. Apps like Trope from Brian Eno sit alongside NLog synth and Argon. A couple of the most consistently popular apps are PocketGuitar and Ocarina. The point I'm making is that there are users at all levels and a modular synth isn't going to be of interest to everyone. Whatever users are after they'll find something close in the app store, whether that's a modular synth or a keyboard that plays cat sounds.

So how do you work out what it is they want in the first place? That's the real question, and sadly there is no simple answer. If you had the resources you could commission research into what music application users are after and where the gaps in the market are. This would cost you a huge amount of money and you couldn't be sure of the results either.

You could use secondary research in places like the British Library (London) where you can find loads of market reports covering just about anything you can think of, but unless you're very lucky indeed you won't find a report that's going to meet you exact needs. You could commission a researcher to do this kind of trawl through the market for you, which will still cost you, but will take less time.

It is also possible to infer where the market is going by looking at what some of the big players are doing. For example, Akai's move into the iPhone market says a lot about what they think the market will do, and I can't imagine that they would invest on that scale without researching the market and trends thoroughly.

If all this starts to sound too complex then don't worry. It doesn't have to be that way. Start small. If you want to find out about what people are buying then just look at the top 100 apps in the music category. There's also lots of research available on the net. There are plenty of blogs and sites that will give you info on reports from industry and trade bodies on trends in music and technology and the cross over like this report from Gartner.

Don't be put off by the amount of info that is out there or think that there aren't gaps in the market. There are, and there's lots of room for new apps, for innovation and also for simple apps that meet a need.

I hope that this is useful. If you have suggestions for the kind of thing that'll be useful for future articles please contact me or if there's anything in the article you want more on then please email me at palmsounds.marketing@me.com.

Friday, 5 February 2010

What is this marketing thing anyway?

There's so much stuff you can read about marketing that it can become almost impossible to start out. There's huge amount written about marketing iPhone applications, and even at least one app about marketing iPhone apps. So where do you start? What do you take on board and what do you discard?

That's a hard question set of questions.

What I hope to do in this blog is to make some comments and suggestion about a variety of marketing methods that might be useful to you.

Sometimes they might not be relevant to you, and sometimes they will be. Some ideas will work for one developer and not for others. It isn't an exact science to say the least, and that's a big part of the battle, but I hope it will be useful.

I decided to start writing this for a number of reasons. Probably the most important is that I love making music, and for years I've loved mobile music. Now that mobile music creation (although I don't like that as a title/genre) has really taken off and seems to be going from strength to strength I thought I'd try to do something to help app developers in marketing their apps to an ever increasing audience.

I plan to write one post a week on this blog, to highlight something you might want to try out, or perhaps change about how you market your product.

Please tell me if you think it is worthwhile, or not. Please tell me if you there are particular areas you'd like me to focus on, or areas you think have been done to death elsewhere.

I want this blog to be a resource for anyone trying to market their music software in an increasingly crowded market. Let's see where we go with it.