Seattle-based Smore, a TechStars graduate aiming to provide easy marketing publishing tools that anyone can use, today unveiled Smore for Apps, along with an initial product called App Flyers. These virtual flyers are quick and easy ways for developers to create a simple promotional tool for their mobile apps, even without having to sign up for anything. Much of the process is automated, so that developers simply have to enter an App Store URL to get started, and then at a minimum fill out a few basic fields.
Essentially, Smore allows users to create a site that can be used as a landing page or for email marketing within a couple minutes. For developers trying to cut costs by avoiding hiring marketing staff and promotional material designers, it could be a huge help, especially since it comes with built-in mobile device support and even basic analytics built right into the product. For Smore, going after these kinds of developers and meeting these needs just made sense in terms of how it fit their existing goals.
“The reasons we chose to go for app developers are that most of them are not huge companies,” Smore founder Gilad Avidan told BetaKit in an interview. “They’re indie devs that need to do their own marketing. [That's] surprisingly similar to our main market of micro businesses.”
The opportunity among micro businesses is huge, according to Avidan, but really gaining traction in that space can also be a challenge. That’s because unlike in other markets, the profile of your potential customers can vary wildly between one individual and another.
“The ‘micro business’ market is huge but it’s also fragmented. Musicians need different things than Pilates instructors do,” Avidan explained. “We decided to approach this problem by catering to the more promising verticals individually through more specific versions of Smore called Gateways. We started with apps because we think they’re a good market. Plus, they’re technical and care about design.”
Of course, other companies have pursued the micro business market to great success, including Square. But Smore will have to do more than simply provide something that’s easy to use and understand, since it’s using a content-focused approach. Making sure that individuals spanning a broad spectrum of professions can see themselves using it will have to mean occasionally taking a more targeted approach, and that’s exactly what the startup has done with App Flyers. Plus, that’s just the start for this particular vertical.
Avidan described that future product additions are planned for Smore for Apps, some of which will contribute to Smore’s platform in a more general way. “Some things would be just for app developers (Android support, multiple versions of the app in the same page) and some would be for everyone but would benefit app developers too (better analytics, more embedding options, custom designs, etc.),” he said.
While Smore currently offers its products free, the plan is to create advanced features for more demanding users on a paid basis, including multi-user collaboration on flyers and sophisticated email marketing tools. The startup is also considering providing simplified ad buying tools to flyer creators, as well as built-in ecommerce channels for selling products directly. Avidan says the team plans to move to Silicon Valley next month, in order to help seek more funding early next year to help spur the development of those and other features and products.