My Duck Log is back for 2020 with a whole new design!
After six of months of working and reworking, my most popular duck hunting app is back on the App Store for iPhones. The My Duck Log app was one of the leaders for its’ niche for several years. But to be fair, that’s a little deceiving. There’s only a few apps that have been around for very long so the competition wasn’t that strong to begin with.
Ducks Unlimited has kept the number one spot for over nine years. I can’t compete with them. And I’m okay with that. I’m semi-retired. I’ll be happy to break even on the cost to produce and maintain the Duck Log and maybe a couple of the others that need to be reworked to get back on the market.
Why I created the app
I had the app built because I thought it would be fun. I was doing a lot of hunting at the time and was interested in apps. It seemed logical enough to me at the time, even if I didn’t know much about coding.
I came up with ideas, drawings, and general guidance. My job was to find someone on Fiverr to create the app. Then I hired different people to create the graphics. Next, I did everything I could to market the app.
Marketing an app
I can’t tell you how to successfully your new app today. I’m still researching that. But, back in the day, I wrote press releases, submitted articles to newspapers and magazines, wrote blog posts, handed out cards and flyers, and submitted to every app review site I could find. I didn’t spend over $20.
The cost to get that first version off the ground was a few hundred dollars.
Recently, I‘ve spent over $700 to have the app brought back to life. I should spend more to have proper marketing done, but I think I’ll give it a try for a couple of months before dealing out more precious cash.
New releases are what drives downloads
It doesn’t matter if you’re fixing a bug or adding a feature, you have to re-release every few months to keep a top rating. That’s going to cost anywhere from 20% to 100% of the original cost each time, depending on what needs to be done. Ouch.
Because the app doesn’t have in-app purchases, I have to rely on the tiny revenue generated by the ads. Before it went off the market, My Duck Log had 21.5K downloads that generated a whopping total of $708.
It cost me at least three times that.
Marketing — Yesterday vs. Today
With the very tight niche the app serves, I found the way to get the app recognized was by users downloading it, giving it good ratings on the store, and telling their friends. Good ol’ word of mouth.
You can’t rely on just one avenue of marketing though. I found that engaging users through a website, social media (I’m terrible at this), and other marketing avenues, all added up at varying paces.
That’s a good thing because not only do you need a lot of users, you need to continually grow. I found that especially hard to do with an app that doesn’t get used at all for almost six months out of the year.
Thinking about what’ll be needed today is a mystery. There are new avenues that I don’t even know about yet and learning them will take a fair amount of my time.
Then it’s just a matter of waiting until the tens of dollars per month come plodding in and I put them back into one of my other old favorites, all just so I can say I have apps on the App Store.
But that kind of cool, right?
Creating takes time and energy. For some, they think it’s foolish when people spread their interest out across vast oceans of experience. Sometimes I agree. I’d probably have a whole helluva lot more money had I ever stayed focused on a single subject or even two.
But then I never would have been a writer, soldier/cop, actor, engineer, scientist, educator, adventurer, handyman, money lender, or app developer.