I was originally going to include this story in my weekly newsletter, but it became too long to include in a newsletter you want people to read (I have found that if the person can't read the email newsletter quickly, they will file it away for later reading which, in my experience, never happens).
With the coming Apple iPad, having your own iPhone app has become really important. A lot of people already use the iPhone or iPod Touch to access information from the Internet. An app is an easier and snazzier way to access information, make decisions, and have fun.
The top two genres for iPhone apps right now are games and books. There are more than 27,000 iPhone book apps right now. Is one of them yours? It should be.
You can create your own app by hiring a programmer, thinking through the interface, testing and most testing, and then submitting it to Apple with the hopes that they will approve it. That's the complicated way.
Or you can use one of the following services:
My App Creator: http://www.myappcreator.com -- 1151 Eagle Drive #325, Loveland CO 80537; 970-776-8506; 888-293-0512. Allows you to easily create an app by incorporating a news feed, twitter feed, blog feed, and audios or videos. You can use one of their standard templates or apply your own custom design. Once completed, your new app gets uploaded automatically to the iTunes AppStore. The cost? $297 for set up and $27 per month for hosting. You could have an iPhone app in just a few minutes or hours (depending on what feeds you already have set up). For an extra $97, you can monetize your app with Google ads and track usage via analytics. This service was created by Joel Comm, developer of the bestselling iFart app.
iPhone App Quotes: http://www.iphoneappquotes.com -- Get three free quotes from iPhone app developers who can create the app for you.
RevMobile: http://www.runrev.com/products/revmobile/overview -- This beta program allows you to create an iPhone app in as little as 3 hours while simultaneously developing for the Windows Mobile platform as well. When this software is released later this year, it will sell for $999. An expensive option that may be most useful to those who are already comfortable using programming software.
The AppWizard Custom iPhone Development Suite: http://www.appwizard.com -- Claims you can create an iPhone app in less than 30 minutes (probably not a great app, but one suitable for giving away free). Also allows you to create a more custom app. $99.95 plus a monthly hosting fee.
AppMii: http://www.appmii.com -- You can try it out for free and see how you do in creating your own app. $19.95 per month to create and host an app. $499 one-time fee for professional design plus the monthly hosting fee.
App Breeder: http://www.appbreeder.com -- They have app kits for bands, realtors, businesses, events, legal, teaching, restaurants, etc. You can create an ad-supported free app or paid iPhone apps for $99.95 publishing fee plus a $10 to $40 per month hosting fee.
Check out the various services and decide which one works best for you. You can test drive many of them before paying.
Note: Apple is currently clamping down on cookie cutter apps that are de facto RSS feeds or glorified business cards, so be sure to incorporate more than RSS feeds into your new iPhone app.
Because Apple is so heavy handed in what it allows and doesn't allow and can be very controlling, don't put all your apples into one basket. Some of the above programs, like App Breeder, allow you to develop apps for other mobile phone platforms like Android or Blackberry.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted recently, “If Apple's mobile devices are the future of computing, you can expect that future to be one with more limits on innovation and competition … than the PC era that came before. It's frustrating to see Apple, the original pioneer in generative computing, putting shackles on the market it (for now) leads.”
Because of Apple's tendency to be so controlling, be sure to develop for the other platforms and learn how to market to mobile phones in other ways.
Meanwhile, StomperNet is now offering a new program on how to market via mobile phones using texting and mobile instant messaging. You can watch their first two free videos about the new program here: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=I3biZeRxyMw and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=48HjxVioizs.
Here are a few of the points people have made based on the first few videos:
* Mobile phone manufacturers have done a good job realizing that a mobile phone is a tangible symbol of lifestyle.
* In the next two years, mobile marketing will explode.
* When consumers are waiting for a train or standing in line somewhere, they look to mobile to fill time.
* Make sure you have campaign-specific landing pages for your mobile-marketing campaigns.
* Just because you have a mobile marketing campaign going doesn't mean anyone will participate. Get proactive.
* Trends: By 2010, an estimated 2.3 Trillion text messages will be sent and delivered globally.
* Monitor what is working and make changes as necessary. Mobile feedback comes fast. React fast.
* If you're sending an ad to a 20-something on a Friday night at 11, recognize they are probably out and about.
* Think it's tough to keep someone's attention on TV? Try getting and keeping their attention when they're on the phone.
* Align what your target market wants with your desired outcome.