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Apptuitive Founder Carissa Lintao is Waging a War Against Click Farms

Carissa Lintao noticed that there was a glaring problem with the marketing industry—that many were not being honest with their clients as to how they achieve success. While effective, traffic growth operations known as click farms are often easy ways to obtain growth that is not in line with real progress. Lintao wants to change that, and we sat down with her to discuss why that inspired much of the action behind Apptuitive.

Grit Daily: You had your own adventures before Apptuitive. Share those. 

Carissa Lintao: Before Apptuitive, I had aspirations of becoming a guitar teacher. I professionally studied music from 11 to 19 years old and even went to college for it before I switched degree tracks after my third semester. I had a newfound desire to pursue marketing as a career and I did just that. 

I ventured into marketing by freelancing on Upwork and almost immediately found myself working with indie app developers. My humble beginnings started off by writing copy for trivia apps. Writing questions and answers for games while watching free Netflix for “research” is a pretty nice deal.

After those first couple of projects, I became obsessed with all things apps. I inundated myself with all expert information I could find on marketing and technology. I had headphones in every waking moment of the day and practically lived in the library. 

I also worked for two of the top NYC app development firms at the time, and The Next Web, a leading tech publication. My skill set exploded because of the experiences I had at those companies coupled with my independent studies. 

The moment that validated the idea for my own company happened while I was working at one of the app development agencies. I was making $13 an hour and was tasked with the project of writing an app description for a client. It took me 30 minutes to write which would equate to $6.50, however, I was charging $50 for app description copywriting on Upwork ー almost 8x what I was making at the company.

Grit Daily: What’s behind the Apptuitive name? 

CL: When I had the idea to incorporate the business, the name “Apptuitive” came to me immediately. I brainstormed a list of thirty other business names for good measure, but none of them came close to how perfectly “Apptuitive” encompassed what I wanted the company to stand for.

The name is a combination of “app” and “intuitive.” Marketing apps came intuitively to me so it was a no-brainer. I also wanted the name to embody common sense and truth, because those traits are not exactly synonymous with tech or marketing.

Marketing agencies get a bad rep for a good reason. Most over promise and under deliver and keep their clients in the dark about what’s really going on behind the scenes. For example: Claiming they can drive thousands of users, which in their defense is true, but when those users are coming from click farms, we have a problem. 

I take pride in ensuring that what we do is white hat (legal), and we’re transparent with clients while keeping their budget and goals in mind. A nice chunk of our clientele are bootstrapped founders, so instead of offering them solutions that are counterintuitive, like expensive advertising plans, we work with what they have. 

I want to preface by saying I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, but obtaining 100 users with no money or team is more impressive than driving millions of downloads from taking someone else’s money and dumping it in Facebook’s ad platform.  

Grit Daily: For the uninitiated, what is “app store optimization?”

Carissa Lintao doubles down, literally, on her computing power.

CL: App store optimization is the process of maximizing an app’s visibility in the app store.

For example, if you search “at-home arm workouts” the fitness apps that appear at the top are optimized. Meaning, the keyword you just searched for is included in the app’s metadata, it has a lot of downloads, and/or a lot of people look at that page.

The more positive indicators of popularity and relevancy an app has — the more optimized it is.

It’s critical to get ASO right because 70% of downloads come from app store search. Also, having an app store page that’s optimized for conversion will maximize the chance of a person becoming a new user. 

Grit Daily: What’s one conventional wisdom about app building that’s just plain wrong? 

CL: It’s not conventional wisdom as much as it is the norm, but my answer would have to be not validating ideas before they go into development. From the app idea itself to tiny features, I still see founders spending thousands to bring concepts to life without getting feedback. 

I’ve heard stories of people wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars because they thought the product would perform so well. This could be a case of deliberate ignorance or just not knowing any better but it’s a massive pitfall to many. According to CB Insight, 42% of startups fail because there is no market need.

One other conventional wisdom that goes in hand with the expensive development issue, is that if you have a good app idea it needs to be an app. Entrepreneurs and companies need to start with building an MVP (minimum viable product) before investing serious money into an app.  

By doing so, they can validate the idea and then turn it into an app or even progress with a more cost-effective version or variation of the product.

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