Dana is a tech entrepreneur who has created a killer cool app for small businesses. She found me by searching “Marketing ideas for small business” and asked for my input on marketing her cool new app.

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

The first thing that I do when someone asks me for feedback on a web site or app or tool is open up a document for notes or start a screencasting session using Camtasia. I do this because I want to document my first impression. First impressions are fleeting and you never really get a second chance to grab those user insights on your product or service. So that’s one of the things I do for the folks who ask me — I give them the gift of fresh eyes and a first impression.

[Tweet “You can ask your friends, family and associates for a first impression OR check out 5 Second Test!http://fivesecondtest.com/?”]

Based on my first experience with her web site here are the tips I sent her. This is a great checklist if you’re launching a new product.

  1. Get your app in the app stores! Create a simple minimally viable product and get it up on the app stores – both iTunes and Google. I’ve learned that keeping it really simple is key. Focus on a single key critical feature and do it well. Make sure that folks can find and download the app. If they can’t they will forget about you.
  2. Create videos.No matter how simple or complex the app, it’s a great idea to create a short (1 minute) video?that outlines the ideal user of the app, the problem the user has, how the app solves it and the benefit or payoff to the user. There are so many great tools out there, I still like PowToon because it’s so easy and intuitive to use.
  3. Share data.? If your app is designed to get a specific result for a small business, then share some ROI data. How many customers will you reach, what’s the typical conversion rate? What results can I expect and by when? Don’t expect people to pay you for a feature – people buy results.
  4. Build an audience.You won’t make any money on your app if you don’t build an audience for it. So start by becoming an active participant in Tweet Chats, Facebook groups and communities and focus on building relationships with influencers there. Create blog articles, infographics and resources for your target audience that helps them be successful. Remember, you’re not pitching your app as much as you’re teaching people how to be successful and get successful outcomes. I always like to reference HubSpot as an example. HubSpot has an awesome platform for inbound marketing. But the platform is useless if you don’t follow great inbound marketing strategies and so they offer these strategies for free. They give a lot of free resources and advice and use that fantastic content to build an audience who is skilled at inbound marketing so that they can be successful with the platform. I also recommend that you read “Content Inc” by Joe Pulizzi. I reviewed it over at Small Business Trends.
  5. Find Influencers.? These days the best way to get the word out is to find influencers in your marketing space. In the case of an app directed at local small business owners, I’d recommend you find those local business owners who are active on social media — especially Twitter and GIVE them the app. Train them, help them become successful. They will share their successes with their friends. To do this, I use SocialBro. It’s low cost and extremely effective. You can also try tools like Meshfire to help you reach specific social engagement goals.

I’m sure that there are tons of more advanced strategies that I could mention here, but I wanted to share some of the basics of launching a new app for small business. This doesn’t mean that you should WAIT to update your app or sell your app as you go. But these are all activities that you can (and should) be working on daily that will help you tweak and adjust your app to what your audience wants and can’t wait to share with others.