Alexander Marktl is the CEO and co-founder of Sonico Mobile, the team that brought us iTranslate and iTranslate Voice. Alex agreed to give some inside info to the Bluecloud readers. I hope you enjoy!
Alex's brother, Gunther, followed me on Twitter and I reached out asking him about the success of iTranslate Voice. In case you don't know, iTranslate Voice was absolutely killing it for a few weeks, firmly planted in the #1 paid app slot in the USA.
I asked Alex a few questions about how they achieved such success. His answers are unique and insightful, solidifying the rhetoric we've been preaching for years – quality sells.
Carter: You have had some great successes before iTranslate Voice (iTranslate for iPhone and iPad). What do you think made the Voice version so popular?
Alex: iTranslate Voice topped the US charts for more than 2 weeks. Needless to say that this is a big success for our small company. We believe that there are several reasons for this success. To create an instant chart hit your App needs to provide instant utility or entertainment. iTranslate Voice combines both perfectly. On the one hand it has an unbelievable value for a lot of people, but on the other hand it also appeals to users who are curious to try out the voice to voice concept of the App. Another big success factor was that we were able to promote the App to our existing user base with over 35 million downloads.
Carter: Clearly you're interested in language and translation. What inspired you to create this collection of apps?
Alex: In Europe a different country means in most cases a different language, so as an European you grow up being very aware of the language barrier problem. My wife for example is from France and my parents in law only speak French. I'm from Austria and only speak German and English, so I experience the problem first hand. Therefore to us a translation App felt like an obvious fit for the iPhone.
Carter: How many paid downloads has iTranslate Voice received?
Alex: More than 1 million so far.
Carter: In the app description, it says you are doing a sale for the Launch. What was the strategy behind that?
Alex: If you want to go mainstream you need to go for 1 USD. We tried other price points before, but only at $1 you can make sure to get the biggest volume. Our experience showed us that the additional volume is by far bigger than the lost revenue (we peaked at #6 top grossing in US). However, this strategy only works if your app targets a universal audience.
Carter: How long did it take you to develop and design iTranslate Voice? Did you do it yourself?
Alex: The first mockups of iTranslate Voice date back more than a year ago. Sometimes it takes time until you realize what you have in your hands. The eye opener for us was Siri. The actual implementation of iTranslate Voice then began in February or March this year.
Carter: Similarly, how much do you think it would cost to make an app like iTranslate Voice?
Alex: Very difficult to say. In my opinion, if you want to create really great products the only way is to get technical co-founders and don't worry about time and costs.
Carter: What have been the most effective marketing channels for you?
Alex: Cross promotion through our own iTranslate apps, Email Newsletter, Bloggers. We generally try to stay away from paid advertising.
Carter: You're the #1 app in the USA. That's a VERY elite group. What's next for you and your company?
Alex: Our goal is to build the best translation Apps in the world. We know that we're still in the very beginning and see this as a long term project.