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How To Sell More iPhone Apps – 6 Practical Tips
November 24, 2009 Jamie Shiller iPhone Apps

So you have an iPhone app to sell (or you’re working on one). Well, good for you creator of app 300,001. How do you plan to sell the thing? If your app is rockstar quality then simply posting it in the App Store may be enough. Unfortunately, most apps get lost in the shuffle, or drowned out by competitors.

Below are 6 practical tips to help you sell more of your iPhone app.

1) Free iPhone app lite version

Do you offer a free lite version for your app that offers limited functionality of the paid version? If you don’t, you’re missing the boat. How do I know your app is any good when 10 others supposedly do the same thing? Which one is the best? The only way to know is to try them. Sure there are reviews, but they could be out of sync with the latest version of the app, and I want to decide if it’s good myself. So make a free lite version of your app so everyone can try it.

The Geocaching app is a great example. Based on the free version of the app, I purchased the paid version for $9.99. If you’re not familiar with Geocaching give the free app a try. It actually gives you a crash course on Geocaching not found in the full price app. This is very smart. The lite version of the app walks you through the the basics of Geocaching and when you upgrade, you have no need for the tutorial.

2) Money back guarantee

Clearly state on the app description in the App Store that you offer a full refund if not satisfied. List this on the site you use to promote the app too. A 7 day money back guarantee should be sufficient for most cases. Eventually Apple will build this feature into the apps, but as far as I know right now it requires manual processing by the app creator to issue a refund. If I can try your app without the risk of feeling buyer’s remorse, my likelihood of buying it will go way up!

3) Show us that your iPhone app is great  РVideo please

This is really simple. I want to see a video of your app working. Yes, the screenshots in the App store are nice, but please please do yourself a favor and make a video. Better yet make a few videos. I want to see how your app works. Does it really do what I want? Take things up a notch by asking a few customers to make some videos of them using your app. The videos will serve as social proof that your app is indeed worthy. Ask for those videos right now!

4) Don’t lock me in – No export means no sale

Sometimes I’ll run across an app that looks great at first. I’m right about to buy it when I realize, hey wait I wouldn’t be able to get the awesome things this app makes (e.g. a drawing, note card, etc) off my phone and into my computer. Why isn’t there an export option?

Take a look at Cartoon Creator and their competitor Animation Creator. Both look like really cool apps to quickly build flipbook style animations, both cost $0.99, and both don’t offer export capability. You can’t get the animations you create off your phone (errgghh, “@#$*!”). No capability to email a video or post one online. That’s pointless.

In this case I hear that both apps will soon offer the capability to upload to online galleries hosted by the makers of each app. If an app should allow for export, make sure it does.

5) Get some reviews – outside the app store

Reach out to customers, bloggers, whoever. Get a few reviews of your app. This is really simple to do. Many apps have no reviews outside of the app store. Ask that the reviews link to your site for the app (yes, you do need a place to post the info on your app including the videos mentioned, etc.) and link directly to the app in the App Store. Even a few reviews could help with SEO for the site you use to promote your app.

6) Iphone app updates – Twitter and Facebook

Make sure to keep your loyal customers and potential customers up to date regarding the status of your app on Twitter and Facebook. I want to know when the next update will occur, what’s in the update, and how the approval process is going over at Apple. It’s nice too if you offer some free coupon codes for the the app every few days. The 3D Camera guys do a great job of this on Twitter.

View comments →
  • This is a great article, and you're right about how offering a free Lite version of your app can increase sales. It reduces another barrier to people trying your app, which can make all the difference when you're competing against 100,000 other products in the App Store. When you offer a free version, just make sure you keep enough valuable features in the paid app to entice people to upgrade.