App Battle

The One Marketing Tactic You Need to Master

Marketing Tactics | Badass'D Biz+InkAnd the winner is….NO ONE!! OMG All of that and I still didn’t kick Jason’s ass!! GRRR! And while I’m in the Google Play Store, I’m not in the App Store yet. The rules clearly state “in both stores on the 11th”. So the App Battle Royale ends in…a stalemate. AUGH!! A month of pushing, a month of negotiations, a month of frustration comes to a VERY unsatisfying head. And we can’t leave things this way. So, JASON…I CHALLENGE YOU TO A MARKETING BATTLE!

Once we’re both finally in the stores, I say we have month to get as many downloads as possible to decide the true winner of this battle. What say you, man?? You up for another challenge? You want to take me down? You can’t. You can try. But you WILL fail. (Said in true WWE style BAHAHAHA!) OMG…I digress…how unprofessional :D .

Of All the Lessons Learned

So, while we wait to hear from Camp Jason with his response, let’s recap the lessons of this App Battle Royale.

1. Decide if you NEED an app. Can you become an essential part of your customers everyday lives by being an active part of their phone? (Think Instagram and Facebook) 2. Decide on your budget (then double it). 3. Decide who should build that app: An agency, a contractor, or yourself. The former being the most expensive and the latter being the least (if you don’t take time into consideration - which would be a mistake). 4. Draw up your app and include all the bells and whistles you want it to have (log in, social shares, log out, etc). 5. Get your app developer licenses for Google Play Store and the App Store. 6. Tweak and play with your app until it’s just the way you want it. 7. Submit and wait. Google Play is very fast, but Apple takes 5-10 days for approval.

Is that all? Well, no. This is a simplified version. There are 900 decisions you have to make. Do you want to monetize your app? Do you want to use a theme or have custom graphics done? Will you need access to a server or will your app stand alone?

Out of all these lessons I learned creating this app, the one that hurts the most is: Go with your gut.

I didn’t. And honestly, I’m sorry I didn’t.

I had grand ideas for my app. And I’m almost positive that if Jason can pull off the app he’s building (which, by the way, you’ll want to buy) for the price tag he’s paid for it, then there’s no way I couldn’t have had mine for the same amount. But because my developer spent time educating me on apps and how they work, I went with him.

A Classic Marketing Tactic You Need to Master

It’s a classic marketing tactic and it worked like a charm: Invest in your prospects and they’ll invest in you.Tweet: It’s a classic marketing tactic and it worked like a charm: Invest in your prospects and they’ll invest in you.

Because of the time he invested in my education, I didn’t walk away and go to a cheaper developer (as much as I wanted to). And because I didn’t listen to my gut, I ended up with an app that I’m not in love with. And I HATE doing shit I’m not in love with.

Are you making yourself invaluable to your prospects? Are you taking the time to educate them? To help them with their struggles? If not, you should be.

Cialdini wrote about it in “The Psychology of Influence”. If you haven’t read it, read it. He even confesses how tactics he’s acutely aware of work on him. So, I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad because I fell for it. Still. That’s not the point.

How to Become Invaluable

Ask your prospects what they struggle with. Offer solutions. Easy. And not. Because the key to becoming invaluable isn’t just the solutions you offer, it’s the ability to offer them without expectation of reciprocation.

How do you do that? Be sincere. You want to help. You look for problems to solve because you love to solve problems. Your focus isn’t on helping to get something in return. Your focus is on helping because you love to help.

Now, I said my developer spent time educating me…and he did. But, he didn’t make me feel like I was being pushed. He was genuine and sincere. And it showed.

So the next time you want to prospect for work, do it from a place of sincerity. They’ll reward you greatly for it.Tweet: So the next time you want to prospect for work, do it from a place of sincerity. They’ll reward you greatly for it.

 

Have you ever given into something you weren't fully on board with because you felt like you had to? How did reciprocity play out in that? 

Kick ass this week!

Tania Dakka | Badass'D Biz+Ink

What's the Hold Up with Your App Development?

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 5.40.13 AM With only 7 days left to complete this little competition to see who’s the better app builder or figure-outterer (because neither of us actually built the damn things, here are some lessons from this week app development:

Lesson 1: Designer crap is NOT included. Uh...yeah. Make sure your project price includes EVERYTHING you need. Logo, splash pages, buttons, etc. Yeah. Buttons.

I found out last week I needed to develop my splash page and my logo. Yeah, that stuff didn't come with my app project because they are designer things and with what I'm paying for this app, I'm not adding to the bottom line at all. So...I offered to take them on myself. And with VERY little in the way of design smarts and only a tad more experience on the Adobe Elements 11 front, I did it. It's crap. But I did it.

So with 7 days left, I need to decide if I'm in love with this thing. I'm a firm believer in "If you're not in love, screw it", only not they way it sounds. I mean don't do shit just to do it. Which, as I write this, has me flipping over to my Dev Dude to tell him to hold off.

Lesson 2: Jason was smarter than I was. DON’T tell him that. Geez. He was smarter because he opened separate Google and Apple accounts for the purpose of the app. A move I WISH I’d thought to make.

Because when your app is developed, your Dev Dude is going to want your password. WHA??? I’d rather hand over my social security number than give out my Apple and Google IDs. But, I had already paid for my developer account licenses and couldn’t switch. The Dev Dude mentioned, after the fact, something about a temporary password and I’ve tried to research that, but haven’t had any luck with it, yet. So, set up your developer accounts separate from your usual Apple and Google IDs. Got it? (Unless, of course, you’re not concerned with giving

out the passwords to your entire life history…)

OR upload them yourself. Hmmmm.....

OR you can setup admin roles for your Google Play Store account, (and you can for Apple if you're a biz, but I set my account up as an individual because it looked way easier than the biz thing...mistake #2).

Lesson 3: Plan for updates. If you’re running on a budget, you’re may have to cut out some really amazing parts of your app to stay within it. So, if you do, plan to make those changes in the next version.

It’ll give you time to see how your app is received and what the feedback is on it as is. Then, you can make changes your user wants to see. (Not to mention, you spread out the dolla pain a little farther. And in my perfect world, I'll learn to code at least well enough to make the updates myself. BAHAHAHA! Shut up. I said “in my perfect world”, damn.

Sooo, those are the lessons from this week. What are YOUR questions about app building. What do you want to know most? Leave it in the comments!!

See you soon!

Tania

PS

Kick ass don't kiss ass. ROCK your week!

Communicate Your App Needs

Badass'D Biz+InkYou know whether or not you need an app and who should build it now. Now, it’s time to get busy with your developer. (Perv. Back up.)

Communicating Your App Needs

You’ll need to effectively communicate your idea to your developer to get things done in timely fashion. And you’ll go in meeting them with ideas of grandeur, like an effing sign up screen.

That’s okay, grasshoppa, you’re still learning. :D If you’re going to do it, it may as well be big, right?

So how are you going to convey what you’re looking for to them so that they quickly envision (and smash) your dreams? There are amazing thingies out there called prototypers and other prototype builders like Balsamiq (which Dude didn't think I knew how to spell, HA! Fooled him. Thank you, Google). And there’s also less technical tools like pencil and paper, for which you’ll snap an image and send it to them.

I tried Just In Mind and LOOOOVED it. However, my kick ass developer asked me to tuck away my prototype and never touch it for apps again because it lacked SO much. Well, he didn’t say those words exactly, he just asked me to draw up a new one and take a picture of it instead…being sure to include all the screens I thought I’d need.

Oh well…a wireframer, I’m not. However, I’m in love with the Prototyper thingy and will be using it to help clients with site plans for new web copy and layouts! Yay for new toys!!

I digress.

Be sure you include all the screens your app needs: Do you want a sign up/in page (aka splash) page? Do you need a “More” page (a page that takes you to loads of options like “share this app” or “log out”? Do you need a shopping cart type of thingy? Do you need…you get the idea.

Draw up everything you envision with the archaic pencil and paper setup, snap a pic and ship it off to your Ace Developer Dude.

Negotiations

This is where the magic happens. He’ll tell you, “Yes! We can do that!” and “Ohhh! Let’s also….”. Then, he’ll dash your dreams with a massive price tag. The more shit your app does, the higher the price goes. More screens, more dolla, dolla bills, baby!

Be prepared to trim out the unnecessary, but don’t compromise on things your client needs. Is the goal of the app to keep them engaged? Then don’t cut out the features that enable you to do that. Unlike I did. Do what I say, not what I do. Damn. :D When there’s a Battle on the horizon, you have to choose your weapons carefully and not having an app in the app is not even showing up for the freakin' fight! :D

So you negotiate your design and your price tag until you arrive at your sweet spot. And make sure your final price tag includes you getting your source files. When this is over, I'll tell you the horror stories I heard about that.

Development

Unless you’re doing the coding yourself, except for a few tweaks, you’ll likely not have a whole lot to do at this point. Until your developer comes and tells you, “Oh, by the way, you need to sign up to be a developer (you faker you) with iOS and Android. And that’s an extra $99/year for iOS and $25/year for Android.” Why, thank you. We’ve already under-budgeted. This will help loads. :D

Here’s a note: If your market is mostly iOS, why bother with Android? If the majority is Android, why bother with iOS?

You’ve turned over your goodies, you’ve signed up as a developer, now you wait.

Yep. Waiting. Until they tell you to sign up with TestFlightApp. Then, you get all goosebumpy when you get that done and they send you the test to install! WOOHOO!!

Sooo…that’s the next post…What to look for in TestFlight…

Thanks for reading! Hope you’re finding our journey through App Developer Land educational! Connect and hang out with me on FacebookTwitter, and G+! Oh, and please click the little share buttons if this is teaching you anything :) Thanks!

See you soon! Tania

Who should build your app?

Build your app | Badass'D Biz+InkYou know when you get this great idea and think, "Yeah!! This is AWESOME! It'll make me millions!"? Then, like you felt when you opened that box of chocolates on V-Day and found all the pieces pale from age and temperature extreme, your heart sank. Idea 1, shot. Idea 2, shot. Now, you wish you hadn't chunked that day-old box of sin because nothing accompanies frustration like hardened dark hearts of raspberry-filled goodness.

That's what happened to two of my ideas. Shot out of the water with no hope of return.

But, as an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to switch gears. You have to be ready to give up on some of those babies. And you have to accept others. I have a new idea. But the cost to execute is double the budget of the app.

When you run into hardship, the question is: Do you give up? Or do you adapt?

You're an entrepreneur. You adapt.

So, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, I'm doing that. Now, who to build the thing?

Who should build your app?

There are options out there like Elance, oDesk, an individual developer or an agency, or even app makers that let you DIY it. A word of warning about those, though: You'll basically be building a mobile website, not a game or other useful thingy your customers will actually use.

So. How do you decide? I hit three developers on oDesk and placed my job on Elance. The first request I made on oDesk landed a very knowledgeable developer dude, who's been guiding me and teaching me to the point that if I found someone cheaper, I don't think I'd use them anyway (which is the way you should be snagging your own customers, by the way. Damn it, he's good.).

The other option is to code the damn thing yourself. And if time weren't an issue and I didn't already have my hands overflowing, I'd do that and make the one I want.

The problem is when all this started, we under-budgeted for the build out. And with time ticking away, do we skip the search for lower prices and move on to the next phase or hold out for one more bid on the original design. At this point, it's sink or swim. So I'm swimming because I'll be damned if I'm going to lose this App Battle Royale to Magic Production's Jason Croft. Not today.

Ask these questions before you build your app

1. Do you speak English? Not a joke at all. I am all for working with individuals overseas, but you can't go with a developer who's offered you the cheapest price per hour if there's a language barrier stopping you from communicating clearly and effectively. Read offers carefully and look for signs of script usage in the proposals. If you begin corresponding and note a strong disconnect, stop before you get too involved because you'll end up paying for those communication errors.

2. What kind of budget do I need for X idea? Be prepared to be wrong. Budget for more than you can really afford because the more bells and whistles you have the higher your cost goes. (And a log in screen is a bell. A share button is a whistle. And they matter. Crazy, right??)

3. What experience do you have with this kind of app? They'll tell you they have years and years experience, but see question 4 before taking their word for it.

4. Do you have a portfolio I can look at? Look at their portfolio, then look up the apps in the app store. How well did they do? How many reviews to they have? You can't always go by reviews if there are only a few, but if there are hundreds, you know they're not likely all his family and friends.

5. Where can we trim the costs on the design? (Can you use a template instead of building from scratch? Can you trim out screens like "Categories"?)  This is where you'll get your heart cut out. You'll have this big magnificent idea and your developer, in order to help your costs, will hack away at all your favorite features. Damn it, Dev Dude.

6. What's your time frame? Don't do a freakin' contest that's going to put you on a one month deadline. Take your time. Learn about the people you want to work with (and you won't do this. You're going to throw up ads and take the cheapest one...in that case, I didn't teach you anything, Hard Head. :D ), set aside a larger budget than you think you'll need, or learn to code to create the one you want.

Take your time, app building shouldn't be a race...unless you're crazy (ahem, Jason).

What kind of app would benefit your business most? Let me know in the comments! 

Kick ass this week!

Tania

The App Battle Royale is ON! (Plus what's in it for you)

App Battle Royale | Badass'D Biz+InkAmazon is cluttered with digital waste. The app stores are no different. Everybody and their brothers have tried to recreate the success of Candy Crush. So why should you enter the app market?

Because for all the apps out there, we still use them everyday (think: Facebook, Mindbloom, and MyFitnessPal (evil, it is!)). They’re a great way to market your biz and increase your customers level of engagement. And engagement in this market’s gold.

So you want people to like your biz and use your goods? Give them something they need (or didn’t know they needed – think iPod).

That’s what’s behind the App Battle Royale. Jason and I are part of the Brogan Brave cult and we’ve been butting heads over the whole app building scene. So to settle the score once and for all, we decided to take our beef to the mat. And

And I’m going to wipe the floor with him. :) Just sayin’ :) The App Battle Royale is essentially a race to the App Store by March 11th with a non-site based app (meaning it has to be built, we can't plug in a web address to a service and have it convert the contents into an "app") AND if we're both there on the 11th, we'll have a tie-breaker round to see who can get the most downloads.

The stakes are high, Jason, I mean the loser, will have to promote the winner's app in their email signature for a month, promote it in posts and email for a month, plus they have to put up an ad on their site for the winning app. (Thanks to Tania Shipman and Renee Fishman for these ideas! We're also open to other humiliating forms of punishment for the loser, so hit us with your idea over on my Facebook wall!)

What YOU will get from our App Battle:

1. The best ways to build an app (think: price, strategy, and marketing) 2. The best tools to use 3. And the best show since WWE Smackdown of 2003

Let’s get this party started!

1. How do you know if you need an app or not:

  • Does your market USE apps? No? Then, don’t.
  • Do you have an idea that’s going to make people forget it’s time to eat because they’re so involved in your app? Yes? Then YES! Duh.
  • Is there already an app out there like the one you want to build? Yes? Then YES! (Competition’s good for your soul! DO IT! Just make yours 34,876 times better)
  • Do you want to build an app portfolio that you can eventually sell for 200 times the money it took you to start up? Well….

2. Why do people use apps?

  • They use them because they bring relief. Yep. Candy Crush? Isn’t about crushing candy, it’s about forgetting the dirty dishes, the screaming kids, the pain-in-the-ass boss (unless you are the pain-in-the-ass boss, in which case, we need to talk).
  • They use them to get organized, to get healthier, to make life easier. To make life easier. Hm. Let’s think about that. Will you increase the quality of life for your market by creating your app? Yes? Then move on to number 3.

3. How do you build an app?

So far we’ve uncovered LOADS of ways to start building apps. And we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of each one and hold your hand through your own process.

4. How long does it take?

That depends on the route you want to take. Of course, you’ll likely be at the mercy of others for part of this journey (unless you want to learn to code and skip 98 meals plus a couple of month’s worth of family time to be totally self-reliant – I’m not skipping a meal, so I’m not diving in this deep – Mr. Croft can if he likes!)

5. How much does it cost?

Again, depends on your idea. More complex = more expense. Who'd a thought, right? But, a general rule I’ve found is not to spend more than $500 on your first app. It’s a learning curve and you don’t want to foreclose on your home because of it.

6. Should I build for iOS (Apple) only?

No. The global market is predominately Android (don’t worry, we’ll convert them soon enough), so you want to build for both operating systems so you reach more customers.

7. How can I sink $500 into an app I’m going to offer for free?

You’re doing this to build your engagement. This is about marketing and filling needs, staying top of mind. So, if you spend $500 on an app that brings you one high-paying customer, then it’s done its job. You’re not in the app-building biz, you’re in industry X and you’re using this to build your authority, increase your engagement with your brand, and bragging rights so when you’re at your next cocktail party, you can say, “Oh, is that my app you’re playing with? Awesome!”

Chances are there’s an app you can build that your clients and customers can use

Here are a few ideas to get your gears turning:

Service based businesses

a. A “cheat sheet” of your industries secrets b. A tool to help them eat better, exercise more, sleep more efficiently c. A CRM of sorts d. Log to keep up with the changes they’re making toward progress e. Something fun that relates to your brand – doesn’t have to be specifically related to your services f. A reminder app to help keep them on track?g. Motivation app (you know, one that sends an electric shock through the phone when they stick their hand in the cookie jar :D What?)?h. A simple mobile version of your site

Product based businesses

a. Games related to your products b. A coupon app c. An extended shopping experience d. Uses for your products app

Step one in building your app is not to try and reinvent the wheel. Go for formats and apps that are already winners. You can find a list of what’s exciting in the App Store to help you decide on an app that could do well.

Always consider your ideal client and what they want most from you, too. After all, you’re not building an app just to have one in the app store, unless you are. :)

Do your research first, but don’t spend too much time on it. You want to act fast and get that ball rolling as soon as possible. Questions to ask yourself:

1. What does my customer need most from me? 2. Do I have any current products/services that would be a good fit as an app? 3. Is there already an app that does what I need to do?

Give this some thought and in the next post, we’ll uncover what to do after you've developed an idea. Kick ass this week!

Tania

PS Thanks for reading and if you liked this piece, I'd appreciate it so much if you could click the little social buttons and share it! 

PSS

You can check out Jason's delusional post right here!