Want to spend a million — ask me how

Published on July 12, 2018

Want to spend a million — ask me how

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    Antiksey to promote mobile applications


    Sharing success stories and fabulous cases is nice, simple and beautiful. We decided to talk about your Fail to promote the web service. From the height of today, this case seems to us elementary and quite obvious: we could not build processes in the team and underestimated the role of marketing. Nevertheless, perhaps our experience and observations will be useful to someone. Stock up on popcorn and get comfortable - we begin the story of how we spent a million rubles in a year and a half, but gained invaluable experience.

    A few years ago in the era of startups boom, we were inspired by universal inspiration and also decided to create our own product. “Since we can develop applications, we will certainly be able to do something interesting,” we thought. Consulted and decided to make a service for joint purchases. At that time, there was no simple and convenient tool for this on the market that would allow creating and editing shopping lists by several people from different devices in real time, and the leader was “ Buy a loaf!". We analyzed all existing solutions and compiled a list of features that we planned to implement and which were not available to competitors. We used Angular 1.3 for development, at that time it was the most advanced version - single-page applications were just starting to evolve. We expected that this would be another plus in adding to our competitive advantages, since at that time very few people knew how to create solutions on this framework.

    Fakap 1. Wrong distribution of roles in the team


    After we have thought over and created the wireframes, we decided to give the development to programmers free from projects. This was a mistake, as the developer usually is not free for more than a month. During this period there is little that can be done. Then a new programmer comes to the project, it was easier for him to start writing everything from scratch than to understand the wilds of someone else's code.

    At that time, we didn’t have project managers, and we didn’t dedicate ourselves entirely to the project because of our employment. For the development of the service, it was not juna that was attracted, but strong programmers, so they thought that they did not need to control every step. This was another mistake - without proper control, we received an over-engineering application that was unnecessary for the business. But our developers have mastered the new approaches and technologies. We launched a small application to create a shopping list on seven servers on DigitalOcean, with a database replica, a load balancer, sharding data in MongoDB. We configured automated scaling and scanning of the application using the Ansible orchestrator.

    Then we decided to allocate an individual for the project and give it the development of an MVP or a working beta version. It took another seven months. Naturally, new ideas arose in the development process itself and changes were made to the project. In total, we spent 13 months to create the service.

    Fakap 2. Insufficient knowledge of marketing and product promotion


    It has now become clear to us that you first need to conduct a study of the market and Central Asia, determine positioning, make a forecast and develop a marketing strategy. Seven years ago, it seemed to us that everything was simple: do it normally - it will be ok. We considered that the product would be in demand, as we invented and implemented cool features that were not available for similar services. For example, the ability to share a shopping list with friends and family members, create lists and add products from any device and see these actions in real time.

    For example, you are going to a company in nature and you need to buy products for a picnic. Usually to discuss the details create a collective chat in the messenger. If you have a Shopsrehood, then simply make an in-app shopping list and invite friends to it. In real time there you can add products and things you need to buy or take with you. It is possible to share purchases with friends: when someone has bought a thing from the list, he deletes it — everyone else sees it immediately.

    Agree, the idea was cool. We thought everyone would use our solution.

    After testing and fixing bugs, we finally released a release, and waited for an influx of users. However, as is often the case in life, something went wrong. We were late with the release of the application and it did not fall into the "New" category, and we accordingly did not receive the expected number of users.

    This is what happened. Typically, an application is published to the App Store automatically, immediately after passing an Apple review. But there is a delayed publication option: you can set the publication date of a future release. We took advantage of this opportunity. At that time, it took a week to review, and therefore we decided to give the application to it in advance: we wanted to save time and at the same time finalize the tasks remaining on the backend. We were worried that it may happen that the application will be published before we complete the entire web part, so we chose this option. We didn’t know that in this case the application would not get into the “News”, and we didn’t meet such reservations anywhere on the App Store.

    Then, of course, they tried to attract customers on their own, but without knowledge of the basics of product promotion and marketing strategies, nothing good happened. True, we received interesting statistics: it turned out that the Chinese use our application most of all. In total, the application had about five thousand installations.

    By the roughest calculations, we lost more than a half million rubles.
    At first we did several versions and for each attracted developers who were free from projects. In 2011, the salary of a middle programmer in our city was 50-60 thousand rubles, plus taxes and the cost of renting an office. For ten months, we spent on the development of 700 thousand rubles. For the animated video for the site paid 75 thousand.

    In the second iteration, we gave the project to a dedicated developer: he worked full-time for seven months, sometimes we connected free programmers and juna who had hourly pay. All this took 500 thousand.
    The design was done by an inhouse, 150 thousand more was spent on it. Mobile development for the two platforms Android and iOS took six months and cost 300 thousand.

    The overall result: we spent a year and a half and 1,725,000 rubles on an application that was lost in the depths of the App Store. This is the price of our experience, which we now share with you for free.

    A strong technical team can only make the top of a huge iceberg called a product. Without a grocery team, marketing and advertising software is useless by itself.

    Often, strong programmers get together to sip their "product of the century" and think only about the development itself. No need to flatter yourself, without a systematic approach to the creation and promotion of a product about its cool features, no one will know or they will not be needed. Our story is a living example.

    Moral: even if you have a great idea for a startup and a technical team, but there is no idea how you will promote your product, it is better not to start working on the project.