I would like to invite you to a little experiment.
I have created probably the smallest niche app on the mac app store and I would like you to help me sell and optimize the marketing around it.
Now you might think, "who does this guy think he is? – doesn't he know I have my own business to run?" and you are right it would be unfair to just ask you to help me market my product.
So instead I would like to offer you something in return:
Each month I am going to post all the numbers and the learnings. But more importantly each month you can post suggestions to improvements and strategies and each month those with the highest number of votes will get implemented (within reason of course)
It is my hope that this will be a case study for people to learn from before they venture out into spending money and time on something similar themselves or for people who find this stuff interesting.
The product is done in the spirit of the small butique network weekendhacker.net I started in May So far have +6100 members and have had 150 projects through and is still going strong. And the things I learned from members of the HN community have been invaluable.
Now this is of course just an experiment. Maybe I will break even, maybe I won't. Maybe I will have to cancel it within a couple of months. But none the less I am certain it will both be informative and fun.
Oh and yes you can move the slider on the webpage :)
So what do you think the first round of improvements should be?
> "Precision Speed
The lower the percentage the more accurate your mouse become."
The lower the percentage the more accurate your mouse becomes."
the "become" was missing an s.
You also might consider making the toggle switch, for the key mode, more self documenting.
Nice presentation overall.
The proper way to indicate a claim to mark by usage is to use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation which indicates a common-law or state law mark. This is also the proper designation if you have filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) but the mark has not yet been granted registration.
You can only legally use the federal registration symbol "®" after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending or based on common law rights.
I love the design! It's fantastic. And I can see this app being super-useful. Congrats, I think this one's gonna be a home run!
re: idea about sharing the info that's great, so I want it to be successful.
From a (potential) customer point of view, to increase the precision of my mouse, I simply zoom in in p/shop or illustrator. Being able to go from pixel to pixel not zoomed in doesn't matter to me because I can't see that small anyway!
I'm curious, what support costs do you have that would require you to cancel?
If you find that $16 is less than the value you'd extract from the app then you should probably buy it.
Of course he can lower the price later, just not all at once, but I'd be more interested in the same story at a different pricepoint with another useful app.
A couple of those and the data would become very valuable.
The fact that people are buying the app just by browsing the app store means that he's at least in the ballpark, the 'ideal' price is something that you can only determine experimentally, not by responding to whining about the price.
One can determine objectively whether something is overpriced based on comparisons with competing products.
If making aircraft carriers is not your thing then you shouldn't be telling other people how much to charge for theirs.
The only reason multiple competing products would come in to existence is because of people going the first route.
As for ideas, here are mine:
* If you want to generate traffic, there are some long tail terms that can get you traffic. Try writing some articles on keywords "best mouse for photoshop", "best photoshop mouse", "magic mouse photoshop" or "mouse for photoshop" (Have these terms in title, headline and link them from homepage with this anchor text). Promote your app on these specific articles.
* Contact Smashing Magazine and other design magazines and offer them 3 free licenses to award to their readers.
* Tweet prominent designers to try out your app
* Landing page tip: show a small video demonstrating how to use your app and what results can be gotten.
Good luck with your initiative. Very excited to see this experiment.
Unless the unobstrusiveness is the main selling point, I would drop "A small unobtrusive app that allows you to" from the description and just go with "Achieve unrivaled precision with your mouse". You could list the fact that it is unobstrusive further below.
I understand your argument, but it would make more sense if the heading had better keywords. I don't see this heading adding much SEO value.
You can always A/B titles and see if a shorter title adds value, and if so, weigh it against SEO value. SEO value isn't the only determining factor; it's optimizing the entire page, which may mean giving up SEO value in favor of optimizing something that delivers higher profits.
Feedback: Key mode 1 or 2? Whatever happened to nice labels that don't require looking up in a manual, like "hold" and "toggle"?
I figured since the app is so simple and there is practically no features I could get a way with the user figuring out how to use it.
If it gives problems I will change it. But so far those who have tried pretty quickly found out.
Something else a lot of people don't realize is that mouse acceleration is turned on in OSX and it's 'impossible' to disable without an app like USB Overdrive. Mouse accel is terrible for gaming -- especially FPS. I would add this feature to your product and call it out.
At $4.99 how many pre-sale/support emails are you willing to answer? At 4.99 how much marketing can you do? At 4.99 there's just not much room for profit assuming you have to do these tasks.
The reality is that as soon as someone opens their wallet and buys your software they think you're their bitch for life. They don't consider HOW much they paid, only that they paid.
Ironically, I've also found the people who want the app the most are:
- Willing to pay a premium
- Complain the least
*Updated for formatting
On the iOS App Store it's even worse. I actually heard a good quote once: "if your app is amazing, make it 99-cents. If it's shit, make it $2.99."
I'm not going to spend $14.99 on it because there are alternative products for cheaper or free. Demand will dictate the price, I simply suggested that 4.99 might be a better price point but that he should look at the data first.
Think about how much the Adobe Suite costs. $16 is not too much for this audience.
Nothin wrong with that, but it just seems too expansive for the effort it seems to take to make something like that.
Probably it's my inner optimistic programmer speaking, I can believe it was much more difficult to make this than I predict, but that was my first reaction - maybe it would be usefult to you to know.
Anyway, good luck. I wish I finish my game someday, and will have my shot at being entrepreneur.
BTW: for developer in small Polish city $15 is 2-3 hours of work
It seems to me that if you really want to experiment with this niche, price the product according to the value those customers will obtain from it.
With a higher price, you may be able to advertise in ways previously unthinkable because your margins will be so much higher on every sale.
Yes, I understand most people program games here, but this isn't a game. It is a tool, and Adobe has proven that people will pay a lot for a tool.
BTW, as far as competition is concerned, your primary competition is WACOM Tablets which are much, much better for editing than the mouse.
* I will concede that I do not know if it is too cheap or too expensive, but I will say that I have not read a valid argument on HN today that proves it is too expensive. I think it is just as valid to say it may be too cheap.
We will see. Since I am the only one in this space as far as I can see I think my value is justified.
But it's as always up to the numbers.
1. It's not about building "how hard was it to make" directly into the price. The cost to build is a fixed cost and the selling price is marginal.
2. Neither is it about building "how much value does it add"
directly into the price. An example: light bulbs provide more value than the price at which they sell.
3. What it is about, is asking how many units could I move directly if I sold it at this price versus this price versus this price. And then asking how many units could I move indirectly as a second-order consequence of having moved so many units at such and such a price. Another small example: Thomas Edison sold his light bulbs at a loss for several years in order to sell more units, scale production efficiency and ultimately recoup those years of losses in a single year of tremendous volume.
4. This hints at something people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Sam Walton all discovered: it's better to charge less if you can sell more because there are more than first-order consequences involved. The idea applies to light bulbs, cars, retail. It sparked revolution in those industries and it will spark revolution in other industries which apply it. All industries are commodities, some industries have yet to recognize it.
Practically, price should be constantly decreasing.
Out of interest, would you buy this right now if it was priced at $4.99?
I have Logitech software for my MX1000 to control everything else, it just doesn't have the ability to control mouse accel.
Definitely have a play with pricing, but make sure to remember that if you have three times the sales at one third of the price, all you've done is increased your support costs :)
You should also take note of all feedback, since your customers are the people that are willing to spend a relatively high price for perceived utility.
If you are responsive to feedback, that is in itself quite a good prospect for users, and that is a lot easier at small scale, than it is if you have 1000's of users.
If you make it free, people will complain that there isn't a paid version or that it doesn't do X/Y/etc
Do not let a few people decide if you should lower your price.
If you don't sell anything, then maybe it's the price, but get some DATA first. I personally didn't think $15 was too much, but I have a PC.
IMO, $10 looks cheap, $4.99 looks trivial, $20 looks greedy, but $12/$15 seems respectable for a utility. I just paid $25 for a small graphics tool 2 days ago. If it has value, it's worth it.
2 CSS booboos:
- .main-description has 2 font-sizes, the second should be font-weight.
- in styles.css the images/line.png image returns a 404 on line 26.
Tighten the headline: "Instantly change your mouse precision."
On the Support page: 1) respell "Suppport" 2) add a space to "FinalTouchsupport" 3) shorten "Adobe CS1 [...]" to "Adobe CS3+" and 4) drop the ".php"
$19 is a lot of money for a simple thing like that. It's the price of a mouse + a software that customize many things for it (buttons, speed...). However, the niche is interesting. I'll be glad to pay $30 for a software that improves my mouse precision.
I personally don't need the added precision, but if I did, 20 dollars is not a lot for added productivity.
The design is, needless to say, stunning.
So there you have it :) Great app, very well done website, but I think ultimately the niche is not just small, it is also very oddly shaped.
(edit) Perhaps repackaging the app and re-aiming it at gamers (as others suggested) would be a thing to try. Though on the other hand many gaming mice come with a hardware button toggling the deceleration.
Apparently, from talking to a few people, it is a hard thing to do.
I tried to buy USBoverdrive, as it is rather poorly supported, there are long standing repeatable bugs that support often times will not even reply to. It used to be bundled with MacAlly Mice.
I find the driver software for high end mouses to be terrible for your system, and often don't work well. For me, it is not about all the features, the buttons that you can define and macros.
I needed two features, one not as important, the other a must have.
Chording - it would be nice, not many think it can be done well. I tend to think it could be done well and someone should give it a try.
Where all mouse driver software stands still, and I wonder how you are working this out, is in the acceleration/ballistic curve.
I always wanted a way in USBoverdrive to hit a hot key and have a second definition of settings kick in so I could accomplish exactly what your app is doing.
However, without trying your app, I can't be sure it won't do anything more than just slow it down. Slowing it down is not all that there is to making this truly awesome.
Personally, I like to be able to move the mouse about an inch, maybe two, and have it travel the spam of ~24" display. But only if I do so rather fast. If I slow my movement down, I want to span a much lesser distance, with more precision. Current software on the market can't do this. You may get one aspect right, but end up with a mouse that is jittery and the smallest movement it can make is around 10px.
Or, you get it so that it will make a smooth 1px movement, but you have to pick up, place, drag, repeat... the actual mouse to ever get across the screen.
Is there any way to define this in your software? What curve are you using to change this? How in the heck were you able to access and over-ride Apple's built in mouse curve?
Professional CAD software costs thousands per seat, as does an Adobe live license.
The tooltip on "Support" says "Got problems. We got solutions". You might want to turn that dot into a question mark. Also, the support page has 3 P in Support at the top
- Web demo slider doesn't work in Safari 5.0.4, neither do any of the toggles, though cursor:pointer indicates that they should. Twitter dialog has a lower z-index than the precision slider handle.
- Why keep the strikethrough higher price? Seems to cheapen percieved value.
Hopefully your app can create differentiation. Good luck.
Perhaps around $7.99, to make it £5 in the UK, more or less.
Fantastic idea, fantastic site. Well done.
I know that I'm not the target audience, but when forced to use someone else's computer for a few days, things like this have briefly driven me mad :)
I think the price point is probably right - a lot of Apple products are expensive and I believe the Apple owner mindset makes these folks more willing to part with their cash for good things.
By increasing the number of customers, you increase the number of data points.
Increasing number of data points, if the product is good, will increase both confidence and expected value. (The latter because more people are likely to contact the data.)
The spread of information will be geometric.
The customer base will, at best, build quickly from a low base.
However, the longer the low base period lasts, the greater the risk that some other application steals priority, ending the process.
Lower prices. Market bomb. Raise prices once saturation assures that you build quickly from a medium base. Do this transparently so people don't bad mouth you, biasing future information.
no edit button here on HN. or i am blind. though i suppose both are possible.
Design is well done - polished and shiny, kinda how I sum up a mac (I say this as a non-mac user). Kudos.
Look, it's a niche app. It won't make a billion dollars. It solves a small problem that some people have.
If you do some geeky "I can solve that problem for less", fine. But not everyone has brilliant problem solving skills, and the time to look at every alternative. They find something that works OK, and use it.
Some people use dropbox, not rsync. Programmers pay for Github, not a commodity host with git. Slightly suboptimal (from my perspective) products still sell, every day.