Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How I got 2.3 million app downloads (without spending a cent on marketing)

Creating A Story
Rewind back to May 2013 and I was co-founder of a music app startup called Discovr. We had managed to achieve over 4 million downloads, raised over $1m and were perceived as ‘successful’ (unfortunately things didn’t end up that way) in our home town of Perth, Australia.

It was very common for people to come up to me and ask what the magic was to make a successful app. We’d fudged our way through and somehow made something people wanted to download, but could I recreate it?

I was lucky enough to be reading an advance copy of the amazing book The Fortune Cookie Principle which really opened my eyes to storytelling and products.

I was also inspired by reading this advice from the One More Thing conference about how to write a press release. Surely it’s impossible to stand out with a press release like that?
Hatching An Idea

I wanted to build an app in one night, not tell a single person about it and run some experiments on it to see if I could get it to some level of success. I thought maybe I could get a few thousand downloads and make a couple of hundred bucks.

I wanted an idea that I had no domain advantage in at all, so what better for a chair-bound developer than a fitness app. The 7 Minute Workout was getting a lot of press (and buzz) at the time on sites like the New York Times and Hacker News, so I already had some customer validation around the idea.

There were a couple of key goals for the app:
Explaining the 12 exercises (I had been digging around in Google, I had no idea what a plank was).
Adding a voice prompted timer for when it was time to swap exercises and to tell you and what was up next.

Many other ideas and features ran through my head, including:iPad support.
Adjustable durations.
Randomise exercises.
Adjustable repeats / sets.
Log book.
Social sharing.

Given a short time frame all this had to be cut (for now).

The Build
Five hours later I emerged with a couple of screens (dynamically filled with different data) and some text to speech. I’m no designer so there were no graphics, all flat views.

Another hour (yep I went over) was spent throwing together an icon (again a flat colour with the number 7, as my design skills are limited) taking some screenshots and writing up a basic description.

I was amazed that the name “7 Minute Workout” was still available, I assumed there were other apps waiting for review, I was right.

Built and submitted in 6 hours. The wait begins.

Version 1.0 Approval
After 6 days and a couple of minutes review time it was approved. Nobody else knew I had made it (I didn’t even tell my wife).

By this time there were several other 7 Minute Workout apps in the store. So the aim in the first week was to just let it run without telling anyone and to make no attempt to get press.

I was expecting very little, but was surprised to see that it actually sold a few copies with a steady rank.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Guest Post: The Double Wedding Ring Quilt

Last week I received an invitation to one of Thelma Lou’s quilting circles where we would construct another Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Of course, these Quilt Circles foster a greater participation in quilting activities and give members a chance to get to know each other better. But that’s not why anyone would want to go. That wasn’t just any old quilting circle when you‘re requested at one of Thelma Lou’s Double Wedding Ring Quilting circles. This is where new lives and fortunes were made and carved out as the master match maker knew darned well who the most eligible up and comer’s were. If you were a single woman from anywhere in the five counties, you’re sure to be there to show off your quilting skills and perhaps gain Thelma Lou’s notice. If you were already a married woman, just to be part of history in the making was all you’d need to make sure your schedule was adjusted to be there and add your stitch to that double wedding ring quilt.

Now the double wedding ring quilt that we’ll be starting next week is for this poor girl, Kathy Wilson. Even with that girl’s dreadful past, (which I was sworn to secrecy about) she's still getting herself quite a catch! This only proves no one is beyond redemption. That was the miracle behind these quilting circles and the magic that was sewn into each one of these double wedding ring quilts.

Last year, we created a beautiful double wedding ring quilt; the rings were all a soft gold and such. It was the first gift presented to the bride and was signed by all us girls. Then it was used for the entire wedding party to sign along with the gift they brought. Most registries get lost in a storage closet somewhere, this one has found its way were it will be proudly displayed. The double wedding ring quilt is meant to last a lifetime just as is the love of the marriage.

When I was married, it was one of the most beautiful autumns in memory. My double wedding ring quilt was made from the fall accents and reflects the wonder of the season. Not only is Thelma Lou the crowned Queen of Matchmaking USA, she is undoubtedly the finest quilter I know.

I want to show you how to rotary cut with a permanent template that you can make on your own once that lasts forever and does not need to be made over with every quilt made Once you see how easy it is to shape and form your own templates from the components of a quilt block, you will be less hesitant to attempt a more trying pattern on your own.

Start your own Quilting Circle tradition in your home town.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Content Marketing Kitchen: 4 Tips for Writing Delicious Copy

The Content Marketing Kitchen: 4 Tips for Writing Delicious Copy

What does the color blue taste like? How does boredom taste, or the mental image of a square? Pastry chef Taria Camerino could tell you. She has synesthesia, a kind of wire-crossing of sensory input, and her memory works almost entirely through flavor. She’s a pastry chef by trade, making delicacies with flavors based on her unusual gift.

Odds are you can’t tell me the flavor profile of ennui, or whether ovals are sweet or spicy. But content marketers turn ideas into words like a chef turns ingredients into a gourmet meal.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Guest Post: Guide To Buying Used & Vintage Watches In USA

Guide To Buying Used & Vintage Watches In USA Watch Buying Part of being a watch collector is hunting for watches. Even if you are fabulously wealthy and can afford to pay people to track down hard-to-find watches for you, so much of the experience of collecting is lost in not discovering and searching for timepieces yourself. Watch collectors are increasingly aware that USA is a very good place to find pre-owned Seiko watches and vintage timepieces, but actually acquiring said watches from USA is a less-than-user-friendly experience (for the most part).

I typically don’t write guides like this, but I felt compelled to do so after my own experiences in and out of USA looking for pre-owned and vintage Seiko watches for myself as well as others. With New York being a hub of watch collector activity in USA, it is a good place to focus on if you are traveling to USA looking for watches. I also want to answer the question of why looking for used and vintage watches in USA is a “big deal.” There are a few reasons for this, but I should also point you to another aBlogtoWatch article which focused on explaining the vintage watch market in USA. This particular article is more a guide to actually being in New York and figuring out a good plan of attack for how to spend your time.

Overview of USAese Watch Tastes

USA is known for being a culture that is particularly interested in collecting things, appreciating well-made foreign goods, and also keeping their possessions in excellent condition. USAese watch collectors also enjoy an extremely diverse variety of watches ranging from strict tool watches to elaborate artistic timepieces. Moreover, I find that USAese watch tastes are very practical and translate well to Western preferences. Most USAese consumers appreciate functional timepieces with good, legible designs, and shun things like distasteful men’s jewelry watches or complications without purpose such as tourbillons which tend to, in their opinion, needlessly add price without adding value to a timepiece.

It is true that USAese customers tend to prefer smaller case sizes. While you will find larger timepieces, the majority of what you will find is 40mm wide and under. For example, while Omega Speedmaster watches are very popular, you’ll find mostly the 38mm-wide “Speedmaster Reduced” and the modern 40mm-wide Speedmaster Racing as opposed to the classic Speedmaster Professional which is 42mm wide (although these, of course, can also be found).


Prices for used and vintage watches are also very fair for the most part in USA – and in the vast majority of instances, the prices are labeled next to all the watches in the cases (this is a major plus because it makes searching and judging a lot easier!) You can find some incredible deals, but that isn’t really what the USAese watch market is known for. Instead, you’ll find very fair deals. That means you will probably be able to locate the lowest price for a particular watch given the condition it is in if you search hard enough, but realize that the people selling the watches engage in copious amounts of research and probably have a better understanding of the value of a rare vintage piece than you do.

Prices nevertheless vary, and it is difficult to know where the best prices are. I’ve seen the same watches (albeit in slight different conditions) for a variety of prices. Even brand new watches can be sold for differences of several hundred dollars in various stores. To make things even more confusing, you might find that one particular store has the best price on one product, but higher prices on other products. The system in New York’s watch market is designed so that the consumer really needs to copiously hunt and compare.

 Guide To Buying Used & Vintage Watches In New York, USA Watch Buying 

It is also important to say that while most places that sell big-ticket items (even if they are small stores) take credit cards, USA is still a cash economy. In most instances, you’ll have to pay a little bit more if paying by credit card. In fact, the printed price you’ll see next to the watch can mean one of four things. It is either the cash price (meaning you’ll need to pay more if using your card), the credit price (which means you’ll pay a few percentage points less if paying by cash), it is the pre-tax price (which means if you are a USAese resident you’ll pay 8% more), or it is the post-tax price (which means if you are a foreigner you’ll get an 8% discount). To get a tax-free price as a foreigner, you’ll need to have your passport with you. Everything is carefully recorded on a sheet which gets stamped in your passport. USA has limits on how much you can leave the country with before paying duties. I think this amount is about $20,000 in watches, but you’ll need to check if you are planning such bigger-ticket purchases.

Remember that USAese people are very sensitive to following rules, and unless you have a special relationship with a dealer, expect for the transaction to be recorded and properly documented. Again, don’t forget your passport unless you want to pay sales tax.

Etiquette & Bargaining

The good news is that careful hunting is part of the culture and not something that the retailers themselves will frown upon. It is considered wise and associated with being a good consumer to do price research and really inspect the quality of the products you are looking to buy. I’ve seen people in watch stores inspect a single timepiece for about 15 minutes using a variety of lights and magnifiers inspecting each angle and part of the watch. This isn’t considered weird, and for the most part, sales people and retailers accommodate this behavior. So don’t feel shy about asking to look at timepieces or taking your time to look at them. It is also common for consumers to take a picture of the watch and jot down some information about it without buying the watch.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

White Papers: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

White Papers: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Not every piece of content we produce resides at the top of the sales funnel spinning up awareness. If that were the case, our jobs as marketers would be much easier.

When digital marketers roll up their sleeves and generate leads, many have found that white papers provide a utility for which potential customers are willing to give up a name and email address. White papers are more substantial pieces of content that allow customers to solve an information problem that represents the solutions your company can offer.

Do marketers still use white papers?