Guest Column: Lessons in App Publishing
As important as development is, we also pay the utmost attention to the roles marketing and customer support play in building and maintaining a mobile audience. We incorporate cross-promotion strategies between apps to let our audience know when new titles are introduced. For instance, if you purchased a Dr. Seuss app, we'll let you know when other Dr. Seuss titles are available. We keep our customers posted on what's happening daily with our company via Facebook and Twitter, and provide technical support and regular software updates.
We listen to customer feedback and have made enhancements to many of our apps. For example, customers didn't feel they should have to pay for an app twice just to get it to run on their iPads and also on their iPhones. Therefore, our apps are universal for iOS devices—you buy it once, and it runs on your iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad in the highest resolution possible for each device.
In addition to a loyal customer base, we have established strong relationships with key publishing houses and authors. Working with immensely popular brands like Dr. Seuss, The Berenstain Bears, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Little Critter, Five Little Monkeys and more has given us the ability to reach many customers quickly. Even so, ultimately the apps' quality and pricing determine our success or failure.
Apps are a new product form with incredible price sensitivity. If you look at the rankings in the App Store, low prices are highly encouraged. The nature of digital distribution warrants this competitive pricing. We've been able to achieve reasonably priced apps by omitting superfluous animation and games in our children's book apps, keeping production costs down. We believe this conscious effort to separate our reading apps from our gaming and entertainment apps has been a successful strategy. For our children's apps, our main goal is to educate first and entertain second. If a feature doesn't work toward that goal, then most often it is eliminated.