Category Archives: Public Relations

How to improve mobile app discoverability and increase mobile app downloads

 

How to Optimise Discoverability Of Mobile Apps

How to Optimise Discoverability Of Mobile Apps. Photo Credit: gadget_media Flickr

As we prepare to launch a new series of branded mobile educational applications for ocean goers, we want to put everything we can on our side to ensure our mobile application does not get lost in all the noise and our discoverability is optimised.

To help ensure greater discoverability we’ve had to have a focused approach to product marketing throughout our creative process.

From kick-off: marketing and the process of creative app development 

Before we gather around the drawing board at iGlimpse, we like to start with the analytical stuff (just as we we did when considering a new books and their viability); first we look into what kind of app types and user experiences are currently being positively reviewed. We study rankings, user reviews both in the app store and across the web and we download and play with mobile applications. This enables us to better map the functionality, building blocks, coding and plan the critical stages of development and production.

Only once we’re happy a product matches the needs of a target audience and that there is a commercial gap do we begin storyboarding and wire-framing the application screens. Only when we’re sure we’ve scoped our project fully, do we get stuck into production, applying frequent alignment meetings throughout to ensure we stay track, to make corrections and improvements, spot bugs early and stay on course to hit the milestones in our critical path plan. With testing and bugs, rewriting code is no fun at all, so we aim to get everything right from the start.

What’s our mobile application?  

Our mobile application is an educational tool that helps sailors identify the types of vessel and the activities they are engaged in at sea, as specified by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Col Regs).

The app provides “iGlimpse” access to schemas, graphics and descriptions of the lights and shapes in the Col Regs and the rules that apply to them as well as featuring a “Test Yourself” section.

Using a single code base and a bridging mobile framework that supports 7 mobile platforms, our app will be platform-agnostic and ready for distribution in multiple stores simultaneously.

But, like new books, new music releases or new film releases, the app needs to be discoverable through search, promoted and priced correctly to ensure its sale.

Our application is launching into a crowded marketplace in which Col Regs are available in many formats including books, flashcards, videos, DVDs and apps. To stand out from the crowd our USPs are: iGlimpse access, ease of use, convenience. These elements coupled with our designer graphics will ensure people enthuse and review the app positively. Word of Mouth is probably the most important single piece of marketing we’ll achieve.

Who are our users, where do they hang out and what sails their boat? 

As well as the many existing sailors of small and larger vessels, our users include trainees on the RYA Day Skipper Courses and their trainers. There are about 155 000 new recruits annually. Our users are of mixed age / gender; they could be Apple, Android or RIM enthusiasts, they are online savvy, they like gadgets, they have disposable income and they actively seek content that helps them improve and grow in their preferred pursuits. We prefer to apply psychometric tagging rather then demographic tagging so are more interested in their likes and pain points than their income bracket or age. Outside the pressure of the Day Skipper Course and the exam, trainees read specialist sailing / motor boat magazines, they are on Twitter and Facebook, they like brands, they search on Google, YouTube, DailyMotion and VideoJug and they are hungry for material that will inspire, inform and entertain them. They also support the RNLI and attend events like the London and Southampton boat shows. London 2012 will be a big focus point for our community. Boating enthusiasts are fascinated and fearful of collisions at sea!! The metrics we’ve studied confirm all the above. Our customer persona is the best guide we have for our marketing decisions.

Routes to market

The app market is a tough and unforgiving place. The app store models are fundamentally optimized to drive pricing down and this is a hard model to build anything other than a hobby business around until you reach notoriety and critical mass.

Discoverability is a big challenge and we’re fully aware that the shelf life of an application, from a revenue earning perspective, is lower than it is for books and music. So the big question for us is: How do we get our application discovered?

We know we’ve got to enable discovery and trial so we can do three things:

  1. produce a demo video to host on YouTube and embed in social media (blogs, FB, Twitter etc) that replicates the user experience
  2. segment our product into a full ‘paid’ version and a lite ‘free’ version, so we maximise downloads and can focus on conversion to paid.
  3. we can also create a storefront around our application, where the user downloads a base application that is free, and, via an in-app purchase, we can augment that users application by adding new content or new functions.

Promotion and PR 

With so much available content we’re conscious we need to support and manage our community of enthusiasts. We’ve already found the concentrations of users which means we can target the channels they hang out in online and offline.

We know who the opinion leaders are, who the influential bloggers and press reviewers are and we’ve got the marketing content assets ready to supply when they request them. This is where the video showcasing our application and our promotion codes will seamlessly integrate with our communications.

Mistakes and assumptions we must not make: 

We must not ignore paid-for-marketing and make the mistake of thinking word of mouth on its own will drive sales – it won’t

We must not assume that sufficient enthusiasts searching searching with keywords will discover our app – they won’t

We must not forget that there are several app stores we need to be visible in

We must not leave the marketing till launch or post launch – priming our market for readiness is key

Conclusion 

The app stores can be a casino for developers but we believe our decision to publish fora clearly defined community of users means that we’re better equipped to anticipate our product marketing. We come from media backgrounds and know the value of great content. Because we are starting our marketing early, we stand a better chance (but not guarantee) of getting our app and supporting marketing materials into the hands of the opinion leaders before we launch. And we will continuously nourish, moderate, manage and maintain buzz in our verticals.

What advice do you have for ensuring better discoverability of mobile apps?

How to webinar effectively

How to webinar

How to webinar?

Many companies are wondering what is a webinar and many brands are eager to master how to webinar more successfully.

Fortunately there are easy-to-apply practical solutions that improve how to do webinars:

1. The presenter shows a genuine empathy for their audience (they know their audience and clearly spend their time in customer-facing roles)

2. The presenter’s delivery is authoritative, well rehearsed (they don’t hesitate or read directly from slides or notes)

3. The content is relevant: the presenter uses material that engages the  attendees

4. The delivery is well paced; the expert works rapidly through the material in a disciplined and purposeful way

5. The presenter is dynamic and personable; he / she refers to participants by name (as they would on a good radio talk-show)

6. The presenter answers questions during the seminar and leaves ample time for a Q&A (enlivening the audience with a change of format)

7. The presenter summarises the key points before closing and provides links for attendees to follow up on slides/webcast

8. The webinar is purposeful and ends on time

Compare the above success factors with how to do webinars that cause attendees to switch off or bail out:

A. The presenter reads from slides and is slow, ponderous, nervous, unsure, unconvincing

B. The presenter does not integrate the audience / answer questions

C. The presenter begins with a formal presentation of their company (not relevant, not helpful and a waste of precious time)

D. The presenter presents information that is familiar or widely available elsewhere

In summary:

  • Don’t promise something you can’t deliver: under-sell and over-deliver
  • Aim to address the big concerns/questions (focus on key solutions)
  • Avoid / remove content about the organisation – point to your website instead
  • Get straight to the point
  • Use real stories, anecdotes, examples, case studies that engage
  • Provide tangible, actionable, practical tips / takeaways
  • Leave plenty of time at the end for questions and answers
  • Follow up politely on the phone to your sales leads, continue to offer help/ don’t sell

What else?

Research your platform options carefully to select the webinar platform that best suited to your needs. Compare the merits of the leaders WebEx or GoToWebinar and others like Bright Talk

Remember that other users have researched web conferencing options in their quest for the ideal how to webinar solution and provided their findings and recommendations in impartial webinar buyer guides online.

Final Tip

It’s  also a good idea to train presenters (experts are often poor communicators). An easy to implement in-house solution is to download some lecture recording and capture software which will help presenters refine their online presentation technique, familiarise themselves with the technology and improve their pace, delivery and the art of slide and sound interaction on one convenient, easy-to-use webcasting platform.

It’s worth checking out Panopto’s free 30-day trial

What are the things you do to webinar more successfully?

(Disclosure: I sometimes consult for Panopto Europe)

 

 

How To Supercharge Online Public Relations

How to supercharge online public relations

How to supercharge online public relations

Have you noticed how, suddenly, Public Relations (PR) has got much more exciting?

PR used to be the boring department, producing dull and pompous company-centric messages and corporate brochures to push out to reporters, journalists and analysts for a quarterly event usually involving wine. In turn the reporters would push these same messages out to a broader audiences.

It wasn’t just boring but fattening: wining and dining journalists on expenses to ensure the stories converted into clip counts and instant ROI.

PR Has Changed

Thank goodness all of that has changed and PR has come of age. Now it’s all about fast-paced two-way communications involving realtime conversations with bloggers, reviewers, users, consumers and the media.

In this turbocharged world, there isn’t time for a tea break, let alone wine. The audience (bloggers) are too busy writing content to engage their audiences and can’t afford to publish drivel. If they did, their fickle audiences would soon be diverted elsewhere, to more engaging sources of comment and debate.

It’s like walking in quick sand. If PR are not monitoring the ebb and flow of sentiment and comment online, chances are they won’t be looking in the right place at the right time, when a story, criticism or potentially damaging report or opinion breaks or tweets. And missing sentiment online could end their career in corporate PR, in a flash.

Too Many Organisations and Agencies Fail

Many corporations aren’t tuned in to the online buzz or the sentiment in their sector. We see proof of this everyday at GreenWise where we receive more bland, disconnected and irrelevant PR stories than we know what to do with.

These self-centered press releases don’t get published because they’re without interest to business people. The stories are invariably about winning contracts, the appointment of a new member of staff or an increase in sales or profits. How can PR professionals honestly imagine these stories will get them airtime? Don’t they realise that a company that isn’t winning contracts, hiring people or earning profits might be more newsworthy? PR of this kind is lazy and there is no excuse for it.

Tips and Advice

My advice to companies that rely on PR to build goodwill and understanding is to first and foremost monitor the industry they are in, understand its sentiment and tune in to its buzz online. This is essential because more then ever PR needs to be on message, aligned with the market and in the conversation. Monitoring has to underpin all PR communications and the tools to do are there for large and small companies.

Building relationships, creating goodwill and mutual understanding between your organisation and your publics is at the heart of all good PR. In today’s fast paced world it’s essential to know the bloggers, thought leaders, influencers, reporters and analysts who care most about your industry and activity. Keeping a close eye on what is being said, aligning your teams and adjusting your message is a core skill.

Tools for SMEs

RSS feeds, Google Alerts, Twitter Search andDelicious bookmarking are all tools within easy reach of small organisations. They are cosy nothing at the point of entry.

Tools for Larger Corporations

Large companies with more complex PR activity and with people working across continents will need smarter tracking tools that can locate and pull together complex streams of data from many sources (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, influential news sites etc..) into one dashboard, in realtime and allow simultaneous access to a multitude of account holders enabling them to build relavant campaigns, adjust their messages and reach their audiences with engaging content, regardless of location, division or department. For these companies and their agencies, semantic software like idio platform will help them structure the online data and content in real-time to enable them to develop trusted and measurable customer relationships.