App promotion from a standing start.

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Feb 16, 2011 6:02:09 PM

This was a guest post from Crocodile Keyboards.Ltd, App (Crocodile Keyboard):

"As every developer here knows, the original idea is only the start.
The moment you give the go-ahead and commit to the design work and agree a schedule with the developers, the clock is ticking.

Ok so what problems can you expect to find in getting your idea out there?

I love the fact that I have managed, against all that is sane and safe, to finish my keyboard app and produce something that many people will consider new and different. The design is unique and in many ways helpful to those people who just cannot get on with the standard grey-scale keyboards or the very annoying predictive text. Indeed the very novelty aspect of the keyboard made me think that raising awareness and publicising the keyboard would be easy. How wrong can you be. A year and a half ago, I decided to try and develop this app along with starting the patent process, there were just over 5,000 paid apps in the Android market and I assumed that everybody would be as excited as me about the idea.

The banks were not talking about lending money, let alone to a first timer with the instant label of inventor round his neck. It took me a year to raise enough capital to start the project, during this time I found a great designer and developer who both have breathed their magic on the look and finish of the keyboard.
But no matter how good something is, getting it noticed is the trick.
I have tried the paid for click through promotions route with add banners in on-line newspapers, writing to journo's for an review or mention in their column, raising our profile in Google, press releases, tweaking our website till it squeeks.
Don't get me wrong, this is all good stuff and will help, but it just takes so much effort, and there are several thousand developers doing exactly the same thing.
Ok, so there are a few things that bug me about the Android market. In theory I am selling an replacement keyboard so anyone searching the market for keyboard should get back the fifteen or so actual keyboards for sale. Nope, wrong.
What you get presented with is the couple of thousand keyboard skins plus the fifteen actual keyboards. So we are right back to trying to get the Keyboard name promoted and recognised.
One of the better ways is to just play the game a little.
If you can offer a free version that's time restricted so someone can play with it a while would help. Really have a look at the pricing, 100 downloads a month at £1 against 500 downloads at 49P is a no brainer, but be careful.
Undervaluing your app can be just as harmful, people can perceive it to be of low value or substandard.
Rather than advertise, seek out reviews and comments from on-line forums.
Make sure you listen to feedback and make a point to respond to all email.
Overall, I am learning that this app business can take a little time, anyone expecting millions to drop into their lap a week after posting their app on-line are in for a shock.
I have settled in for the long haul, and sometimes you pick up the odd bit of luck on the way, like being made app of the week here on Androidpit.com."