Five Tips For Getting iPhone Reviews

Guest author Jim Bernard is the General Manager of MarketWatch.com and an iPhone marketing enthusiast. He can be reached at bernard.jim at gmail.com

Even though Mobile Orchard does not review apps, we get a surprising number of product pitches. Some are quite brilliant, others almost embarrassingly bad. This got us thinking: what makes a successful pitch-email?

To find out, we asked the experts at 148Apps, AppCraver, appstoreapps.com, and apptism to share the tips and tricks of creating a really excellent pitch. There was significant consensus among these sites, summarized here in five easy suggestions:

1. Provide complete information. Regardless of how great your program is, reviewers will not go to the app store and search around to find it. Every email, website, video should include basic information such as the app name, your contact information, company name, and link to the app store page. This may seem like a basic tip, but reviewers report that it is common to get inquires that are lacking basic information. “If I have to ask for something, I probably wonʼt and just ignore the app,” says Jeff Scott at 148Apps.

2. Start with a great description. Lead your inquiry letter with a precise description of what your application does, what segment it belongs in (games, productivity, etc.) and why it is unique or interesting. “Keep it simple and to the point,” said Rob Libbey at apptism. “Show the facts and differentiators of your app in short concise bullet points or sentences.” Stay away from anything not related to your app — reviewers do not respond well to calls for sympathy or other gimmicks.

3. Include promotion code. Reviewers want a promotion code with your request for coverage. “Immediately provide a promo code for publishers to try the app hands-on,” suggests Libbey. Make it easy for them to write about your application by giving them a chance to try it right away. This may require a more selective set of places where you go for reviews, but better to get a few mentions than none.

4. Make a great video. A short video that shows your application in action is perhaps one of your best selling tools. It allows reviewers to get a sense of the graphics, sound and interaction in just a few seconds. Videos should be no longer than two minutes–if you hook the reviewer youʼll do it right away. Also, pay attention to production quality, especially sound, image clarity, etc. “Itʼs unfortunate, but I donʼt have time to download and test every app that comes out,” said Barbara Holbrook, Editor in Chief, at AppCraver. “A video takes just seconds to watch and can be the difference in whether an app gets a longer look.”

5. Put your best app forward. “Most important of all” says Holbrook, “make sure your app is polished and superior to the competition before submitting it to the app store or to publishers.” Many aspiring developers submit apps that are by their own admissions incomplete. Publishers report getting submissions that say, “I created this app in 5 minutes. Itʼs not very good but your feedback would be appreciated.” If you canʼt take time to polish your application, why should a reviewer take time to provide feedback and encouragement?

Holbrook summed up the chase between developers and review sites this way: “Crafting your email to an editor is like creating a profile on a dating site. You want to do everything possible to get that editor to ‘wink’ back at you. Profiles with photos get more winks, but profiles with videos that show personality get even more.”

Thanks to Jim Bernard for contributing this article. Have an article, or an idea for an article, that might interest our readers? Contact us!

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