Niche and Top Lists apps

At yesterday’s CocoaHeads meetup, I was discussing with Ben the marketing strategy for his app, Captio. It is aimed at people who want to capture their notes quickly: as soon as you open the app, it shows an input field, end when you press Send the note is emailed to yourself. It’s been my favorite app for a long time.

The problem with Captio is that it is mostly useful for a niche group: people who capture their ideas a lot. Ben asked me if I know ways of getting more customers. I told him his target audience needs to read about it, for example on lifehacking and Getting Things Done sites. He told me they already do.

So this is when I realized again the clear difference between apps: your apps are either a niche or a top-lists app. If you build a niche app, you have to be findable. Make sure your audience reads about you in their favorite publications (whether it’s online or offline), and make sure they can find you in the App Store.

If you build a top-lists app, make sure you get to the top lists. Your audience is going to be very big, and it’s going to be hard to market them. To do this, your app needs to be extremely awesome or you need to be very good at marketing (or both).

I don’t think there’s much in between these two categories. Sure, those apps exist, but they probably don’t sell a lot. So with every app your making, ask yourself the question: is it going to be niche and findable, or am I planning to win the lottery?

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