We’re trying something new over at Gullickson Laboratories.

Our latest app, Director’s Viewfinder, has been submitted to Apple for approval.  This is always a frustrating time for iPhone developers because you never know just how long it will be before the app is approved (or rejected), so it’s hard to coordinate getting the word out to your audience.

On one hand, you want to build buzz early because the app store rankings are based on volume, and due to changes in the way updates are handled in the store, the best chance an app has at securing a good rank is when it first appears in the store.

On the other hand, you don’t want to invest a lot in building awareness if you can’t tell your customers when and where to buy.  How do you keep their attention for the indeterminate time between now and when the app is available in the App Store?

Here’s what I came up with for Director’s Viewfinder:

I’m going to give away 50 copies of the app for free.  All you have to do is:

  1.  Follow jasongullickson (me) on Twitter
  2.  Watch for tweets about Director’s Viewfinder (#directorsviewfinderapp)

As soon as I hear from Apple that the app is available, I’ll tweet 50 promo codes; each one good for a free copy of the app.

So the idea is that by announcing the app as soon as it’s submitted (any earlier and you risk getting “sniped”) I have time to “build up” customers and increase the chances of having a big first day.  While I don’t think “promo” copies count toward rankings, the design here is that there will be more customers than codes, resulting in sales.

 

I don’t know that this approach would work for every app (or even this one, yet) but I believe that there is an audience for Director’s Viewfinder and the “problem” is simply reaching this audience.  The lead time of this approach allows me to gradually get the word out to these customers, but having their attention allows me to “burst-rate” sales to obtain an advantageous position in the App Store rankings, therefore leading to additional sales.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I’ll update this post in a few weeks, after the app has been available for a few days and post some results. 
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