How to Use PR Campaigns to get App Downloads – A Case Study With Jason Izatt

Jason Izatt's app MileBug consistently hits the #1 ranking in the Finance category.  Jason started developing apps in 2008 and has been featured in Forbes Magazine, The New York Times, and WWDC.

Jason knows what it takes to make it in the app business.  He's not the type of guy who is going to throw in the towel because a project bombs or falls short.  He is constantly learning, tweaking, updating, and exploring new avenues in the digital space.

Check out the video below to hear all about Jason's experience with apps and how PR campaigns have been crucial for his apps success.

Why Apps?

Being fed-up with working for somebody else, it was time for a change.  Even with a family and a mortgage, Jason and his wife made the move to get into apps back in 2008.

The timing worked out perfectly.  After designing a physical product to track business miles, Jason heard the big announcement that Apple was releasing the App Store.

From there, MileBug was born.

Developing Apps in the Early Days

When Jason published MileBug in 2008, there were only 2,700 competing apps published in the App Store (now there are over 2M).

“It was a Wild West atmosphere back then.  People didn't know how to price apps, they didn't know what was going to sell, they didn't know how to market them.  People were just trying EVERYTHING.”

Even the submission process to upload an app could take over an hour – compared to the minutes it takes today.

The review process was different too.  In 2008, Jason would plan 4-6 weeks for an app to get reviewed compared to the 24 hour review time Apple currently pushes for.

Climbing Up the Apple Rankings

That first day of sales was MileBug's best single sales day for the next 3 years. The first apps in the store were selling for around $8-10; MileBug was $7.99.

When New Years hit in 2008, suddenly MileBug shot up in the charts and hit the Top 10 in Finance, then Top 5, and even reached #3.

Over the years, MileBug has been a great seller Jan-April, then slows down in the summer, and even more in the Fall, only to jump back up the next January. MileBug first hit #1 in Finance in January 2014 and has hit #1 each new year since, even several dozen times Jan-June in 2016.

2016-08-17_1040

MileBug's ranking through the years.  The app still hovers around the Top 5 even in 2016.

One hack that has allowed MileBug to be consistent with it's ranking are regular updates.  Jason believes a lot of his continued success has been because he updates MileBug more than his competitors.

Secondly, the MileBug team strives for outstanding customer support.  When users have questions about technical issues, or new features, Jason and his team make sure they are responded to immediately.

Hiring Local

Instead of using outsourcing platforms like Upwork to find freelance developers and designers, Jason looked in his own backyard.  He found talented developers in his area that he could meet in person and develop relationships with.

The 1st version of MileBug was developed by a High School student in Jason's neighborhood.

Using PR Services

The highest ROI Jason has had from ANY marketing efforts is from prMac, a free press release distribution service aimed at enhancing the visibility of press releases for the Mac and iOS platforms.  prMac will send your Press Release to over 800 agencies to post on their websites.

It's a low cost service provider for Press Releases that allows you to write your own, or hire someone from prMac to write and distribute your Press Release.

To write a good Press Release, you should:

  1. Include information about your company
  2. Include information about your app
  3. Use a story format, similar to what a reporter might use
  4. Provide information as to why it fits with current trends and certain demographics
  5. Provide a link to where the app can be downloaded
  6. Include images for your company logo, app icon, and screenshots
  7. Make it as complete as possible so prMac can easily get it in the hands of agencies

Here are just a couple places Press Releases were published for MileBug:

Using App Templates

Bluecloud Solutions is filling the gap and teaching people like Jason how to not only market apps, but by also providing App Templates to publish quality apps quickly and affordably.

“Now is the time to use these templates and get apps out there faster, easier, and at lower costs.”

BaconMojiUsing the emoji app template provided with the Bluecloud App Formula, Jason created BaconMoji.

Jason uses the Bluecloud App Formula which comes with video lessons, PDFs, worksheets, checklists, cut/paste scripts, case studies, access to the exclusive Bluecloud Facebook group, weekly Q&A calls, and 11 app templates (including the emoji template).

The App Formula can help someone with zero coding background (or even an experienced developer like Jason) to build a million dollar business.

The Secret Sauce to “Making It” with Apps

Jason didn't immediately strike gold or hit the #1 spot in the App Store the first day his app was released.  Or the second.  Or the third… It took work.

“Don't give up.  Keep going.  Learn more.”

If you want to make it with apps, you need to stick with it.  Don't give-up because your app isn't getting enough downloads, or you don't know how to run Facebook Ads, or build a following.

Keep updating, studying the market, constantly optimizing, and increasing your app knowledge.

Contact Info

You can follow Jason and contact him at:

If you are interested in learning more about marketing, developing apps, and the same steps Jason uses to build apps, sign up for our free training to get your first 1000 downloads.

How to Make An App
 

COMMENTS

  • Justin Graysmark August 29, 2016

    Really great article. I used a PR for one of my games and funny enough its the one with the highest downloads. Il be using them much more from now on.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas August 29, 2016

    @JR – What was the price and where did prMac publish you to? I’ve also heard that prMac will try to upsell a lot of people on more expensive campaigns ($1k+). Did that happen to you?

  • Hans Schneider December 2, 2016

    Well done! Actually we used prMac twice now. They are friendly and helpful. Nevertheless, it did not result in reviews or increase of installs. This made us checking out the sites where our PR was published. Surprise, they are mostly spam press sites. I guess, they are owned by prMAC and sold as distribution success. Many of these sites use the same template, only show PRs and lots of banners. Looking up stats of these sites shows, that they have virtually no human traffic (beside the fools searching for their own PR).
    In short, affordable writing service, scam in distribution. Maybe even negative SEO as Google does not like this kind of spam press sites.

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