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Insight into Apple's Enterprise Marketing Methods

In the space of a few years, the iPhone has gone from being a smartphone non grata in corporate circles, to being a much sought after productivity device for suits around the world. You’ll also find enterprise-level business tech users hunkered down in deep thought, searching their minds and the iTunes App Store for ways to justify the purchase of the latest piece of successful businessman accoutrement–the iPad–to their superiors. If you’ve spent anytime working in a corporate environment, you’ll know that this is a definite change. Up until recently, the office was ruled by the PC and Blackberry–boring technology, sure, but also cheap and relatively secure, allowing a company’s the bottom line to stay red while providing a reasonably stringent IT security.

How did Apple manage to sway the hearts of the world’s enterprise giants? Simple: They left them the heck alone.

As part of an interesting op-ed piece over at GIGAOM, it’s argued that Apple has managed to snag themselves a large share of the enterprise market not as a result of expensive advertising or aggressive sales aimed at corporate purchasers (they do regularly post ads in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Business week, but not noticeably more so than they do in consumer-centric publications). Instead, the folks from Cupertino chose a different route: provide enterprise users what they need to feel comfortable in order to use the device, wind them up, and let them go.

By including greater IT security control over iPhone handsets and better enterprise-class Microsoft Exchange Server integration for iOS devices, Apple created an environment where large business could feel comfortable enough to consider the use of iPhones and iPads as tools to help them operate their businesses a possibility. This shift to meet the needs of the business world was a gradual one made over the course of a few years. Once the iOS devices entered the corporate ecosystem, the users were free to explore the App Store and find software that met the specific needs of the businesses they were involved in. This, GIGAOM argues, is a great example of Apple shaping its products to meet the demand of its users. This breaks away from the philosophy of most large manufacturers, who demand that a target audience be identified before a product can be built or released.

The article isn’t a long read, and the comments surrounding it are pretty lively–especially those responding to the statement that Apple allows users freedom of choice in how they use their devices. If you have a few minutes, it’s worth checking out.

 

News

Marketing your iPhone application after development

We’ve put together some invaluable marketing and advertising tips for your iPhone/iPad application.

Social Networks

Twitter

Create a Twitter account for your publishing name or applications.  There are many different tools you can use to help you with this, see twitter tools.  (n.b. recent stats show Twitter gets around 18 billion searches a month, there must be some of those people with iPhones, right?!)

You must BE ACTIVE on Twitter, communicate with your fans and you will see your followers grow and grow.

Facebook

Create a Facebook fanpage and get your friends to join.  Update your fan page with screenshots of your apps and post updates/competitions on your feed/wall.

The Web

Blogging

Create a small marketing website/blog for your application, make sure you submit the URL for the website in with your App Store submission.  You could use wordpress.com for this (free) or tumblr.com (also free)

Forums

Spread the word on iPhone/iPad related forums.  This takes time but it’s free!

YouTube

Post videos of your app in use on YouTube.  It’s a great way to give your reviews a visual experience of your application and has an insane amount of traffic (approx. 200 million videos watched per day).

Get Beta Testers

Put your application on a beta tester website (such as iBetaTest.com), release the application to a small group of beta testers to generate some interest in your app.  The testers just might tell their friends or kindly post a link on their Twitter/Facebook feed.

Submit your app to review sites

Many sites will review your application for free, try a google search for “iPhone Review” and try a few of them.  You could even offer them a promo code.

Pay up $$££

Pay for your app to be featured on high traffic websites such as http://www.iphonedevsdk.com, it’s usually quite inexpensive to get featured on these websites.

Other

Lite versions

Offer a lite (free) version of your app with limited functionality (restrict the levels/information/usage) and advertise the benefits of upgrading throughout your application.

Competitions

Create competitions with prizes (iTunes vouchers etc) and advertise within your Applications (it could be posting a video on YouTube using your app, signing up to your newsletter or achieving a high score).

Use your friends (if you have any)

Get your friends to submit reviews for your application.  Ask them nicely/bribe with beer to post a link to your website/app store page on their Twitter/Facebook feed.

Open Days

Make your application free for a day or maybe for the weekend.  The app might just get people talking!  It might be a good idea to contact blog owners/review websites and ask nicely for a review, while the app is free.

Eye candy

Make your app icon as attractive/eyecatching as possible.  This is the ONLY visual you will get when potential customers are scrolling through the app store on their iPhone/iPod Touch.

Use the best visuals you can on you app store description page (remember to upload the worst ones first and leave the best ones until last – for some reason the order they appear on the app store after uploading is reversed).

Promotion codes

Offer promotion codes to review websites in exchange for a review (this will only work on US accounts).  You can create promotion codes using iTunes Connect.

Be descriptive

Be sure to tag your app with useful keywords and list the unique selling points of your application in the app store description.

Play with your pricing

Review your competitors apps and get a feel for the price range to sell your app at. Traditionally, posting your app at a £0.59 starting price was a decent tactic but due to the number of apps within the App Store, the chances of getting spotted are minimum.  Don’t be afraid to sell your app for more than your competitors, your description should list all of the unique features to add weight to your app.

Aim for under 20mb

The maximum size of an application that can be downloaded through a 3G connection is currently 20mb (this may change in OS 4.0).  If you try to keep your application under 20mb (could be difficult, depending on your app) you will have a larger target audience.  If you app is over 10mb and the user only has a 3G connection, they will see a message asking them to buy the app later when on a Wifi connection.

Target the lowest platform

Make your app compatible with OS 2.0 if possible.  Recent reports show they many iPhones in the wild are STILL using version 2 of the iPhone OS.