B2B App Marketing – The Introduction (Part 1 of 9)

What is B2B?

One of the most exciting new areas in the app business is B2B.

If you don't know, that stands for Business to Business. Instead of going straight to the consumer with your app, you're targeting actual businesses – doctors, restaurants, IT firms, etc.

Why is this so popular? Simple – the “competition” doesn't exist yet.

Think about it. How many people are in the app business and pitching their local dentist on getting an app versus the number of people who are all trying to get downloads in the Trivia Game category?  It’s an order of magnitude smaller.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The B2B market is considerably smaller in size (not revenue). For every dentist there are 10,000 trivia game users.
  2. B2B marketing requires sales and talking to people. Yes, I know that's uncomfortable for a lot of people. I get it.
  3. B2B is historically wildly unsexy. No one is blasting Biggie Smalls on a motor boat with bottles of champagne saying “B2B is where it's at, baby!” No one.

That being said, B2B is much more lucrative per client than B2C. You focus on conversion not volume.

You close 20 dentists and you could make $50,000. You close 20 Trivia game players and you get laughed at.

This 9 part blog series is an attempt to walk anyone in the app business step by step through what it takes to be a B2B marketer for apps.

By the end of this 9 part series, you'll have all the tools you need to:

  • Get leads
  • Close leads
  • Scale

For anyone who doesn't know, before apps I built a B2B marketing company focused on lawyers. Specifically, I provided websites, SEO services and everything in between. My company (read: Carter) went from closing one local lawyer to being the go-to guy for virtually all the top DUI firms in the USA.

It was big money….and apps are even bigger.

Hopefully I can help you make something happen.

Clarification and Housekeeping

Before I get into the meat of this content, I want to be super clear about a few things.

  1. Yes, I realize this should be a full course, but I'm making it free so that I can spend my time getting the information OUT and not thinking about how pretty it is. Deal with it.
  2. This, like everything else in life, is not a get rich quick alternative to games or apps or source codes. You should think about trying this type of business only if you understand WHY you are not doing well in your other business. Until you know the why, you'll continue to make the same mistakes.
  3. B2B caters extremely well to systems oriented people, not visionary idea types. It's not “cool” but it crushes it when done correctly. Be honest with yourself about what type of person you are.
  4. You MUST take action on all parts for this to work correctly. There is no part that can be left out. Why? Because in B2B there is no algorithm that can be “hacked” or secrets that you can ride for a few months. You are dealing with real people who hand you real checks. This requires a shift in mindset.
  5. Probably the most important point I want to make – B2B is actually relationship marketing. This is about people. If you don't like people, you're going to have a hard time. If you genuinely think business is just about making money and not about providing value, you're going to get swallowed up.

You have a HUGE responsibility which builds a foundation of eternal revenue OR the digging of your own demise. Treat people with respect always and you will do well.

Understanding the Potential

I don't mean just about B2B, I mean the potential of the app space when it comes to B2B.

Let's start with the OPPORTUNITY side.

What a lot of us forgot (or weren't old enough to remember) is what it was like to be able to build and sell websites in the 90's. From what I was told, it was as close to printing money as it had ever been in business (outside of bond trading in the 80's) with small businesses paying upwards of $100,000 for a crappy 5 page website.

Why? Because everyone wanted one.

Compare that to 2005, everyone needed one. When everyone needs something, it's a commodity. You can't charge insane prices for a commodity unless you control the supply.

Realize that we are still in the “want” phase with apps. People don't need apps yet, at least they don't think they do. But man oh man, it would be awesome if they did, right?

Apps are also much cooler than websites were. People wanted websites because it helped users get their phone number and address. It was a better version of the yellow pages, at least in terms of B2B.

Now we have a chance to make something that is even better than websites. We're not selling you more phone calls, we're selling you status in a saturated world.

There is no one in the entire world that doesn't want that, from Kim Kardashian all the way to Jerry, the local plumber.

Now let's talk about the SUPPLY side of the potential.


You are the supply. You. Sitting right there reading this. You have the knowledge and (most likely) the ability to deliver an app to someone if they absolutely needed one.

If you walked down the street in a few hours and took a random sampling of people you walked by to ask them “Hey, do you know how to get an app in the app store?” you might get about 1% people who say they could (unless you live in SF).

My point is that when you stop thinking that being able to get to the top 100 makes you unique and start realizing that simply being able to make apps makes you unique, THAT is when you start to see the light for B2B.

Being able to get an app in the app store is something that most people can't do.

All you need to do now is find people who will pay someone to get them an app in the app store.

Cha. Ching.

The B2B App Model

Ok, now we're good to go. What I want to do now is explain how this model works as it relates to the app business.

B2B Model-01

There are 3 main models you'll be choosing from with B2B:

  1. Conversion
  2. Exposure
  3. Ease to Market

Before you jump to the other parts of this post (or any others) make sure you read through this. It will help you sell better and it will help you stay focused.

Conversion Focused Model

The conversion focused model in B2B app marketing means that you are offering an app that will ADD VALUE to users who download it. This is going to be the model that a majority of you follow.

You may think “Yes, but all apps are supposed to offer value to the user” which is true, but this is a bit different because you are not necessarily dealing with “cold” leads (i.e. random people who find you in the app store), you will be dealing with “warm” leads (i.e. clients or potential clients for the business you are working with).

Example: you build a stock market calculator app and publish it to the app store. You get 100 downloads in the first week. Your reviews are lackluster because everyone compares you to the other 2,000 stock market calculator apps they could download.

Now, imagine you build this stock market calculator app for someone who owns a popular stock market trading tips newsletter. You create virtually the same app but maybe add in a few other features that the users will love (like a push notification for the latest newsletter). The client sends this calculator to his 10,000 subscribers for free and they LOVE the app. They all download it and will be customers for an additional 6 months because they know this guy really cares.

You see the difference? You are offering a chance for a business owner to improve the relationship with their existing customers OR to show potential customers that they are worth doing business with.

The conversion focused model creates better clients for the business. Better clients = better relationship = more money.

Exposure Focused Model

This is harder to do, but MUCH easier to control. This is not unlike affiliate marketing and lead generation, just done via apps.

One of, if not the biggest challenge in B2B marketing is getting new leads. With the exposure focus, you're offering business owners the ability to get in front of an already excited and targeted user base.

The obvious example for many of you would be if you had 10,000 daily casino users. You could go to a casino (or someone closely related) and offer to sell those leads or even to just re-skin your app with their brand materials.

Before you brush this off as “impossible” think about what categories you've tackled so far with the mindset that you need to monetize from ads or in-app purchases. You reskinned apps that had lucrative eCPMs and good traffic.

But what if you started reskinning apps that have very high quality leads?

What if you created a portfolio of apps that catered to doctors or finance types? What if you reskinned a few source codes that attracted triathletes? Or Lamborghini lovers?

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of you could get a pretty sizable user base going. They might not monetize immediately from the traditional methods, but if you walked into a Lamborghini dealership and said “Hey, I've got 25 apps that have 5,000 daily Lambo lovers using them. Are you interested in getting in front of them?” you would be shocked at the responses you'd get (in the positive).

Exposure focused models get B2B customers more clients. More clients = more business = more money.

Ease to Market Model

This is similar to the conversion model, but differs in the sales process. Specifically, these customers already know that they want to be in the app business AND often know what they want. You're just giving them an easy way to do this.

With the conversion model, you may need to explain the benefits of having an app, the process, the potential and all that good stuff. With the Ease to Market model, it's more about showing the client a better mouse trap.

It's for the business that needs an app but doesn't want to spend $20,000 on a custom development team and wait 6 months.

Example: Mary owns a popular flower shop in her town. She's wanted to get an app in the store for a while now and even went to her local app development shop and got a quote. She even downloaded the Bluecloud ebook series and posted a job on Elance! But the entire process just seemed so time and energy consuming, she stopped all together.

You meet Mary at a coffee shop and she explains her experience and explains what she's gone through. She tells you what kind of app she wants (it's pretty straightforward) and how badly she wants it. You realize that you can take a source code, reskin it and get her the app she wants in about 3 weeks. She's floored and says yes!

You turn around and make it happen, not letting her know that your costs are so low and clear a monster profit.

This is not about swindling people, it's about providing value in terms of EFFORT AND TIME. Apple has even dedicated a part of their developer website to this. It's legit and it's the future.

I can't tell you how many people I've met want an app for their business but are so turned off by the scale of the project. When I tell them how quickly and easily it can happen, they're 10x more interested.

Ease to market helps interested B2B leads overcome their objections and get into the store faster, which then leads to more business for them.

Part 2: Mindset Shift

By now you have learned:

  • What B2B is when it comes to the app business (building apps for businesses instead of app store users)
  • Who should pursue this (systems oriented people, can follow a plan)
  • The opportunity (timing of markets, little competition)
  • Conversion, Exposure and Ease to Market Models (how you will sell your services)

If you've made it this far, you're already starting the process. Awesome! I bet you're sitting there and your brain is working in a new way…and you like it 🙂

Start thinking about how you can make your app lucrative OUTSIDE the app store.  What parties would be interested in getting their hands on it?  How would you market it?  Secondly, think about apps you could develop that would crush the B2B market.  What businesses do you know of that have a problem that could be easily solved with an app?

Because this is a new concept, I really want to spend time on the mindset shift that is required for success in B2B app marketing. Part 2 of this series is going to be all about how you will get your head away from reskinning, the app store, ASO and ad networks and into an entirely new direction.

This is the most imperative piece of the puzzle. If you cannot get out of your current path, you will self-sabotage yourself (usually without realizing it), so please spend time on it.

Here's a link to part 2 – Mindset Paradigm Shift (Click Here)

Until then,




  • Filipp Kungur October 1, 2015

    Hey Carter.

    Nice post. Been in app business now almost 2 years and after 3M downloads, just sold almost all my Fitness apps to bigger developer :). Looking for new directions now and this looks interesting. Already waiting your next post.

    From the start been fallowing you, Trey from Game Academy and lot of other persons who share and teach us in so many ways. Big thanks for that and keep up the good work :).

    Best regards,
    Filipp from Estonia.

  • sharon October 3, 2015

    Thank you for this post. It exactly what i planed to do and you help me understand that im on the right way.

  • Jose January 13, 2016

    Great inspiration. Second time round this series.
    I like your sense of humor ; )
    B2B is where it’s at.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 15, 2016

    @Jose – B2B is definitely where it’s at 🙂

  • Sadaf S. May 9, 2016

    This really helped me understand the basic concepts of B2B for mobile apps. I can see it has plenty of potential in the right hands

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