Mac Indie Marketing

Fishing for the Big Picture

Fish - Photo by cogdogblog -

With the end of 2009 just around the corner, I thought it would be useful to write a "big picture" post here instead of a specific "how-to" article.

I was recently asking myself "where do customers come from?" and "how do I reach out to more of them?" I've long been a big fan of metaphors, so I started brainstorming metaphors as a way to visualize the many dimensions of how customers come to know about one's products.

After a few false starts, I remembered the "fishing for customers" metaphor used by Daniel Jalkut in Episode 19 of Core Intuition. I decided that this is a great metaphor, and it's worth thinking about some more.

The question is: Who are the fish and who are the fishermen? (Uh... fisherpeople?)

Metaphor 1: Your Customers are the Fish

This is the metaphor from Daniel's podcast. Think of your customers as swimming by in a stream, and you are trying to do whatever you can to get them to notice you and become a customer. A net to catch some might be a newsworthy event or review or word-of-mouth recommendation that the fish come across. The more (or bigger) nets you cast, the more fish are likely to notice you and get caught.

Eleven Tips on Writing Press Releases Effectively for Marketing Your Software

Here's a quick post with some suggestions for press releases. I hope they are of use. Please leave any comments afterwards about your experiences or ideas.

1. Make your press release interesting enough that people will want to publish it.

When you publish a press release, some websites will just automatically pick it up and publish it as-is, even if it's not that interesting.  However, you should try for more than that — the more respectable publications will only pick up the interesting stories, so give them something to write about!  This goes for Twitter also; if you have an interesting story, people will tweet about it!

2. Topics for a press release

Obviously when you release a new app, you'll want to send out a press release.  But there are so many more opportunities to do something newsworthy and announce it.  Updates to existing software titles.  Announcements of new people on your team.  A special sale (especially if it's interesting somehow).  A milestone you are celebrating.  A charity drive.  A bundle you are participating in. Announcements of upcoming events.  The launch of a new website.  An award you have just won.  The availability of a new downloadable item that complements your product.  A new or updated SDK for your application.  A really big new client who has started using your software.  A give-away (software or otherwise) you are doing.

iPhone in-App Email List Signup


Following up on my "15 Suggestions for Marketing your iPhone Application" post, Shane Crawford of Blue Lightning Labs told me that the latest version of his application Mathemagics was just approved for the App store, with in-app email list signups.

I grabbed some screenshots of the Settings window (visible by clicking the "i' button in the lower right corner of the main window) of the process, in case you want to implement something similar. Note that he is also providing a way to follow @bluelightnin on Twitter by prompting you for your twitter information and performing the follow directly.

Congratulations Shane, and thanks for sharing the news.

Making a Facebook Fan Page

ScreenCasts Online Facebook

I had read recently that it's a good idea to connect with people on Facebook. We've been using Twitter a lot (come follow @karelia!) but wanted to get more of a presence on Facebook as well.

I set up a facebook page for Karelia Software (If you are reading this please stop by and become a fan and write something on our wall!) and started looking around for ideas on what to put there. I've found a few Mac software companies, and some other organizations, with some interesting content, plus a bunch of ideas for making an effective Facebook page.

Why do all this?

Having a Facebook page for your company is a good way to connect with people who are interested in you. Yes, you should have a mailing list, and use Twitter, and hopefully an online forum or discussion email list. Facebook is just another channel. There are ton of people who are on Facebook constantly, so why not connect with them too?

When you make some update to your facebook page, your "fans" get notified of the update. So it's a good way to be noticed by your fans.

Oliver Breidenbach, Boinx Software


This interview with Oliver Breidenbach, CEO of Boinx Software, is the fourth in a series of interviews I've held with indie software developers about marketing Mac software. Previous interviews: Jacob Gorban, Jean MacDonald, and Kevin Hoctor.

Boinx Software was founded in 1996 by brothers Oliver and Achim Breidenbach. With Achim as the master mind developer and Oliver the marketing genius, they set out to change the world with OpenDoc components — an effort thwarted shortly before the first products shipped by the sudden death of OpenDoc. To recover their losses, the brothers decided to venture into web application development until users could use Apple's next generation OS in their daily lives. In 2002, Boinx Software shipped its first Mac OS X application and has won three Apple Design Awards since. With a talented team of currently 18 people, Boinx Software creates and sells software for creative users, including FotoMagic, iStopMotion, and BoinxTV.

Though I had met many of the Boinx folks at Mac-related conferences in California, I got a chance to visit Boinx's headquarters last summer when I was vacationing in nearby Munich, Germany. This interview, however, took place more recently — and over email.

The Importance of Blogging

Some recent discussion on the MacSB discussion list prompted me to write a few words about the importance of blogging as a marketing tool.

I've mentioned blogging in previous posts here, and it came up as a marketing idea in a recent Mac SB thread. A couple of negatives suggested about blogging is your customers may not know what a blog is, or that your niche is so narrow that there isn't much you can post about regularly.

I believe that these negatives are far outweighed by the positive aspects of blogging. Especially when you consider that the potential audience for a company/product blog are not your current or potential customers (who would be wandering around on your website), but searchers — and, via extension — the search engines.

Let's look at this this way. People are out there, searching for what you have to offer. Perhaps most of them are using really obvious terms, and in your keyword research, you've made sure that your product's home page works in those terms into the <title> tag, the meta description, the <h1> and <h2> headings, and the rest of the body text. That's great, and this will help people find you who are using the obvious keywords for a search.

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