Don’t Start with the Sales Funnel: Start with the Value

May 31, 2016 - 3 minutes read

startup app developer

“Value-added marketing” is a big buzzword in the mobile app development community these days. The concept of placing end-user value above all else is buzz-worthy for good reason: in the post-advertising mobile ecosystem, generating sales has less to do with exposure and more to do with gaining trust than ever before.

…And the best way to earn trust from your potential customers? Simple: help them solve a problem.

Some digital services take this ethos to the extreme, building customer trust and industry authority for months or years before even attempting to monetize their product. Take the iPhone app developers at Service, for example. In spite of being in business for over a year at the time of this writing and maintaining an office with multiple full-time employees, Service’s founder cites no plans of monetizing in the immediate future. Instead, they’re busily pursuing their mission and building a rock-solid brand identity in the customer service space. When it comes time monetize, they’ll be in an excellent position to blow past less trusted competitors.

What Service and similar San Diego mobile app developers are doing is game-changing because it goes against the typical “sales funnel” approach to marketing digital products. A traditional sales funnel starts wide with potential customers, gives some value for free with as much automation as possible, then tweaks to maximize signup rates. The sales funnel working best for small startups in the current mobile app ecosystem, however, is literally turned upside down, targeting a small group of potential customers with an extremely high quality of service — with the assumption that, if the product or service is good enough, they will happily spread the word to their friends. This approach works especially well for small-scale startups for two reasons: first, it’s much cheaper than a traditional marketing campaign. Second, it providing value up-front usually ties into the company’s core mission much more than an ad campaign.

Should every mobile app developer start changing their marketing strategy? Not at all — this isn’t a universal strategy. It does, however, level the playing field for small customer-service oriented mobile app developers in a tech ecosystem increasingly dominated by major players like Google and Facebook.

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