I’ve previously written about creating new web apps, and the simple fact that without some form of marketing effort, if you build it, they will not come. But what is the solution?
With my latest app – Interactwive, a tool for running contests on Twitter – I attempted to start marketing WAY before I’d even begun to scratch out the first few lines of code. Here’s how I’ve been getting on so far.
When I first had the idea for Interactwive, I immediately started thinking about who I could market it to, and how I could find them. I also needed to find out whether anyone would use such a tool. Time to dig out some contacts!
One of my other Twitter tools, TweetingMachine, has put me in contact with a good number of people who manage Twitter campaigns. I sent out emails to a few contacts that I get on well with, and asked the question: “If this product existed, would you pay to use it?”
The answers came in: a unanimous “YES.”
Which was exciting.
The next step was to find out more about the types of competitions that were being run. I requested as many examples as possible, worked out the basics, and sat down to code. I always find this part enjoyable, possibly because I know for 100% that there is no way for me to fail at coding to a specification I’ve written. For this reason, I put off coding for as long as possible, staying outside of my comfort zone and trying to work on those sales and marketing skills.
A couple of weeks later, I put the site live, this version being the absolute bare minimum that would get the job done. And fortunately so; a while later I received some feedback that led me to make some pretty major changes to the system’s architecture that would’ve been pretty difficult to implement if I’d had a few more live contests running.
I launched, sent emails to and/or phoned up every contact I could find, and the response was still very, very positive. The only problem? Well, it’s not a bad problem to have… but after a week or two, the responses were becoming quite similar: “I love it, and will definitely use it for my next competition… probably in a month or two.”
And here’s what it all starts going a little bit wrong.
Whilst there are plenty of people still interested, some have gone rather quiet. I’m also starting to see people searching from Google with relevant keywords arriving on the homepage, and then drifting off, uninterested. Which makes me sad.
Rather than sit around and mope, I’ve worked out the biggest issues, and put them into a mini rescue plan:
- Accept that I was lazy-bordering-on-incompetent in marketing only to TweetingMachine’s contacts. Fix this ASAP.
- Improve the landing page’s copy. Tell more of a story.
- Potentially offer a free trial – say, create a contest that lasts 24 hours for free.
- Double-check for any obvious and missing vital features
- The design is functional, but not pretty. Maybe time to settle on a design from ThemeForest?