I’ll just get it out there: one of the most under utilized weapons of app creators is email marketing. It’s one of the most effective ways to boost sales, but because it’s just “boring email” it doesn’t get the same attention as, say, social media.
Email marketing has worked well for me. When I pitch a product my sales boost significantly, Somewhere between 50% and 75% for the day. This is how I do it.
1. Collect email address
Many make makers will bury their email signup in, say, the settings section of their app. But of course that only gets so many emails. The user has to dig deep and fine the signup form.
I collect addresses the very first time the user launches the app. It’s a really simple form (see below). First name and email, that’s is. The user can opt out, too. And it automatically never bugs them again.
With a free app getting thousands of downloads a day you can very quickly accumulate a large number of addresses. My app email list has more than 130,000 subscribers. I’ve talked to other develoers who have hundreds of thousands of emails. It’s one of the best ways to build an audience as an app creator.
2. Send personal welcome
As soon as I get their email I send a personal welcome (I’d show it to you but it’s in Spanish). Since I’m marketing to people who study the Bible in Spanish, the email basically goes like this:
Thanks for signing up. I wanted to introduce myself. I’m Trevor McKendrick, the founder of Salem Software.
I founded Salem Software to make great Bible study apps, only in Spanish. I’m lucky enough to speak Spanish because I lived in southern Mexico for a few years. I love the food, the culture, and everything Latino.
I hope you enjoy the app. Please let me know if you have questions or suggestions on how to improve it.
PS — FYI you’re now signed up to receive a message from us once a week. You can always unsubscribe below.”
People really seem to like this. I made the reply-to address my personal email and I get emails all the time from people who really like the app or have questions/suggestions. It lets me start building a relationship with my customers. This is normally very hard to do in the App Store, since Apple prevents devs from collecting a lot of information about customers.
3. Send useful emails once a week
I hired some Christian writers to write ~750 word articles that I send out, once a week, to my subscriber list. This gives me “mindshare” so that when I do pitch them on something they remember who we are, what we do, etc.
These have to be sincere and useful. They need to help your audience.
4. Occasionally send offers
Once in a while I will send out a blast with an offer. The main offer is the IAP of our Bible audiobook at a 50% discount. We also offer sales on the other books we’ve licensed from publishers.
That’s it. We haven’t really even scratched the surface on the potential of email marketing, but the important part is that we started. We’re collecting the email addresses; if you don’t know what to do with them now, you can figure out that part later.