Back in March, I started a series of posts about selling your app to your target market.   We’ll discuss your target market in a different post; this one is about step two, The Pitch, and how to craft a pitch that gets the users’ attention and moves them a step closer to downloading your app.

You’ve already (hopefully) created the basic single sentence descriptor and have your keywords sorted out for the app store location where you are marketing your app.  I’m going to use TypeSmart 2.0 in Google Play as an example, but keep in mind that an update on their part may render the comments a bit less understandable if you follow the link and it doesn’t read as below.

“TypeSmart takes the pain out of typing on a mobile device. Going back to fix typos and “damn you auto-correct” interrupts your thought process and groove. With TypeSmart, your ideas just flow onto the screen with the fewest possible keystrokes. Type as fast as you want — TypeSmart will catch your typos and offer predictions up to two words ahead (and it gets smarter as you type). The most customizations puts the right keys at your fingertips. Toggle a 5-row full keyboard layout with just a swipe. Intelligent typo-correction knows what you really meant to say.”

The basic premise here is to entice users to download and engage with the app because they would love to be able to type faster and smarter on an alternate Android keyboard than the stock keyboard (or other alternatives).

The pitch is simple, type away and the keyboard will fix the problems — not only will it fix the problems, it will become smarter about knowing what is a problem and what isn’t.  The focus is on corrections and ease of use and being able to type faster than ever because you are using TypeSmart instead of something else.   Users should be able to understand what the product is about in the first paragraph of the description and know why they would be interested in using the keyboard.

The only thing that doesn’t really mesh in the description is the sentence — “Toggle a 5-row keyboard layout with just a swipe.”  That part of the pitch should probably be moved into the third step of the process (Quality) and might benefit from a screenshot demonstrating the process.

So we have a nearly perfect pitch, compact and easily understandable; something that makes the prospect want to either read more or download the product and give it a try.

I’m going to contrast the TypeSmart blurb with a competitor – Thumb Keyboard for Android – which also bills itself as an innovative keyboard that got fantastic media reviews but fails to deliver, imo, with their initial pitch.

“Thumb Keyboard for Android™ is a keyboard with many, advanced customization options that allows the user to adjust it to his or her preferences. This groundbreaking keyboard introduces a lot of innovations. Besides a standard layout it has a new (patent pending) “split” layout for tablets and phones that makes thumb typing more natural and comfortable. It also introduces a lot of useful and advanced functions that will improve your productivity and makes typing on your mobile device more fun and comfortable.”

Instead of claiming ‘many, advanced customization options’ and ‘groundbreaking keyboard’ (really, it’s a keyboard, we’re not breaking that much new ground here…) and ‘useful and advanced functions’, they should be marketing straight to the point — put the split keyboard layout front and center and make the pitch about this feature.  For those on screens that are better suited to using your thumbs to key as if it were an older model Blackberry, this should be all over the page, touting itself as the most amazing thing ever for people who are so used to using their thumbs that they don’t want to use anything but their thumbs to type.

Leave the customization options and useful functions and advanced this or that for the quality section of the piece, which should follow this paragraph in their listing using easy to digest bullet points or numeric line items.   There’s a vague quality to the paragraph that doesn’t generate excitement or push the split layout (which is the point, no?) as a real feature and a reason to try the app.

The pitch should be an attention grabber.  It is the first thing after the one line description that the potential user sees and if it’s boring or overly broad it’s doubtful they’ll read past it to your quality points.  Unless you’ve got great media response to the app (as Thumb Keyboard does) to generate traffic to the app store product page, you’re killing your download potential before you have downloads.

Do yourself a favor.  Write the one paragraph pitch and show it to ten people that you know who haven’t seen your app, then ask them to describe your app based on the paragraph.  This should be a good indication of how effective your paragraph is, and where your users aren’t getting the message.  Re-write the paragraph and show it to ten more people.  Lather, rinse, repeat until at least seven out of the ten people are giving you a description of your app that contains it’s sexy selling points – the ones that catch the eye and make people want to read further or download on the spot.

Next article in this series will deal with the space under your fabulously written pitch paragraph; the section that details all the bells and whistles as simple points that reinforce the idea that your app is something a user should want to use.