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Is your app ready for social media marketing?

By Peter Hanschke social-media-marketing

Every where you turn, there’s an article, blog piece or tweet expressing the importance of using social media to market your product or service. You get the feeling that if you do not embrace social media to market your product or engage with current and future customers, you’re doomed to failure. In principle, I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, but I question whether it’s a “must-do at all costs” kind of scenario. My worry is that businesses — new or established — launch head first into a social media plan without really thinking about whether the timing is right. I suspect in many cases that the timing is too early. In other words, is your product or service ready to handle the potential outcome from the social media cauldron?

To outline what I mean, I’ll use my experience writing and bringing my iPhone app, myFabWines, to market. On August 1, myFabWines was live in the iTunes App Store. Sales to date have been decent, and I have not done any real marketing other than creating a web site and talking to friends and family. During this time, I’ve had some suggestions about what the next version of the app should contain. Many of these requests are actually quite brilliant, others are rather run of the mill. Nonetheless, I realized that in order to satisfy a larger market — i.e. appeal to a wider audience — I need to implement some of these brilliant suggestions.

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Now that you’ve launched an app, time to work on v2.0

iPhoneAppStore_availableat_black_lowresBy Peter Hanschke

This is the last instalment of my journey product-managing myself to build and commercialize an iOS app.

In my previous post I revealed the name and details of my app and how important it is to test as many scenarios and on as many platforms as possible. I signed off the post with the fate of myFabWines resting in the hands of Apple’s review committee. Shortly after the post, I received word that myFabWines was accepted into the iTunes App Store. I had expected, based on all my previous research, that my app would be rejected the first time I submitted it. I honestly think my level of testing and setting up a beta program helped in being accepted on the first attempt. So, again, I can’t stress enough the importance of testing. On August 1, myFabWines was available for sale … mission accomplished. My target date was July 1, so I missed by a month, but I’m OK with that.

So now what? Version 2, of course!

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Test Test Test

mobile_appsBy Peter Hanschke 

We’re finally getting close to the end. I must say that although it has been fun, I’m looking forward to the end. Maybe because I’m thrilled to have an app in the store; or maybe because the long nights and weekends are getting to me; or maybe both. Not sure why, but I’ll be glad when it’s over. My last post talked about the importance of marketing your app and not relying on the app store to get the word out. Today we’ll talk about taking your app on the road and engaging others for the first time with your app …all in the name of testing it.

Whether you are developing for iOS (as I am), Android, windows8, or BlackBerry, there are a number of variants that you need to test. On the iOS platform you have iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and various generations of each device and the OS. At the outset you have to select which combination of devices and operating systems you want your app to run on; this defines the device section of your test plan. For my app, I narrowed the field down to iPhone and iPod Touch (fourth and fifth generations), running OS 6.x. With Apple cranking out new devices and new operating systems frequently AND (by witnessing lineups at Apple stores on launch days) users upgrading to have the latest, I figured that my narrow field is a significant enough market for me to tackle. Android, on the other hand, is different. Many versions of Android are still in play today, which makes the testing a more difficult and longer process.

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So you’ve developed an app … now how do you market it?

By Peter Hanschke

Welcome to the fourth post in my journey to build and launch an iPhone app. The last post tackled the intersection of product management, user experience and implementation – how they are separate but yet related. In this post I’m going to talk about the marketing of my iPhone app.

Let’s get one thing clear right off the top: Mobile app stores are NOT marketing vehicles. With the unbelievable number of apps in these stores there is no way you can make yourself heard. During the early days, using the app store as a marketing vehicle was possible, but now with tens of thousands of apps to choose from this is close to impossible.

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App development today demands a three-in-one approach

By Peter Hanschke

Welcome to the third installment of my blog on product managing myself. To recap, the first installment dealt with why I would even think of writing a mobile app. The second installment revealed the platform for my app and the importance of getting a name that is available and befits the app.

Today we’ll get into a meatier topic. Something that is fundamental to being a product manager – managing the intersection of product requirements, user experience and implementation AND remaining within a reasonable release window.

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