Guest post: Miso Strobe Tuner: The Lessons We Learned When Marketing

The Miso Strobe Tuner is one of the first applications that we came out with at Miso Media.  It really is a great app if you are a musician.  The design of the our tuner is great, and it does exactly what it is supposed to do, which is tune an instrument.  When we looked at other companies that had apps directly competing against us, we thought we were the clear leader, which is why we were confused about our lack of sales.  We had a great product, at an insanely low price, and no one was buying it.  Well, we started doing some tests, and our sales and revenue started to climb.  We continue to split test and optimize to this day.  Here are some of the lessons that we have learned:

miso strobe tuner icon

1) The price has to match the positioning.

I am sure that most independent developers are not very concerned with product and market positioning for their applications.  Before I came over to Miso Media, neither were we.  We had a great application, and we thought that the price was going to give us a ton of sales, especially considering that our competitors had a lesser quality product, for much more money.  After speaking with some potential customers, we discovered that most people just went with the more expensive one because, even though both of our products were claiming to be professional grade strobe tuners, our competitors had a much higher price point than our original $0.99 price.  When we increased our price, we realized that the it further “validate” our claim of being a professional instrument tuner.  We basically learned that all elements of your product need to back up your claims, as well as your intended positioning (higher end versus lower end).

2) Not all applications go viral by themselves.

Ever app developer wants their application to be so awesome, that it gets shared without them having to do anything, or to go “viral.”  Unfortunately, not all of us have an app that gets that kind of interaction.  We knew our strobe tuner was not going to be a viral hit, but we just thought that was going to be something we had to accept.  We began experimenting with different ways of spreading the word about our app to the right groups of people.  We found that, unlike Facebook fan pages, Facebook groups were often more responsive to interaction with our company.  These are your early adopters, the people that are coming together to socialize in the niche you are trying to target.  Reach out and connect with these people, and your apps will get shared with other people of similar interests.  Also, facilitate sharing within your apps.  Just a small little Facebook or Twitter button in your app can go a long way.

3) Be great at one thing, rather than mediocre at several

The most important lesson that we learned was to keep each application simple, rather than try to cram everything into the same app.  Originally, one of our other applications, Miso Music: Plectrum, had a lot of great features, including our tuner.  What we discovered though was that, from a consumer’s point of view, the app was extremely complicated.  They had to go through several different layers of options and configurations before they were able to actually use the app for what it was meant to be used for, playing and learning an instrument.  It is now really easy to get to the digital instrument section of the app, and the simplified user interface is more in line with our positioning of general weekend guitar hobbyist, rather than professional musician, like the Miso tuner.

The big takeaway from this is to make sure the features and specs of your applications falls in line with the positioning that you are taking with your application.  Are you creating an app for the professional community?  Make sure your user interface, price point, and advertising makes that very clear.  Same goes for your app if you are targeting a lower end, general consumer.  Here is a great tool that I have used on all of my projects to make sure the elements of your application are in place:  positioning, product, price, place, promotion.  Ask yourself if all of these elements are in line with your intended market.  How are you positioning your app?  For working professionals, parents, students?  Now, go and make sure that your price point, place of distribution (probably online, but the website design and copy is important), the app itself, and your advertising efforts all back up your intended positioning.  This will help create more long term, and overall more satisfied customers.

Anthony Flores is the head of SEO and PPC advertising at Miso Media.  Miso Media is an app and software development company specializing in digital music education.

This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iOS development blogs. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web siteRSS feed, or Twitter.

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