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News app is a multipurpose tool that is becoming more common and affordable for companies of all sizes and budgets. It is offered not only by the largest newspaper publishers but also by local, niche entrepreneurs who want to achieve their business goals like content distribution diversification or monetization. As you’ll see in a moment, a free news app can also be a magnet in the process of attracting readers to paid content such as… another mobile app.

Encouraging readers to visit your website, read content, download a free news app or take some other action is one thing – converting a website visitor or an app user into a customer who buys or subscribes is a different story.

A newsletter is often given as an example of a tool that plays the role of a free sample attracting readers to paid content. If you properly encourage people to sign up for it, and then you regularly provide them with tailored content, it will lead you to great effects measured in numbers of subscribers.

It is similar with a free news app. Downloading it by the readers guarantees constant contact with the brand, what builds trust and makes them get into a habit. As an effect, it leads to the desired action – a purchase of a product: a magazine issue, a subscription, or anything else.

A paid mobile app may also be such a product.

Does it sound interesting? It is just the beginning.

If you want to know what role can free news app play in the marketing of a paid app, come into the fascinating case study of The Jacobson Flare.

News App’s force of attraction

When David Jacobson from The Jacobson Flare, wrote to us a few years ago we were impressed with his activity, engagement, and passion. We knew that what he has been doing for years is amazing.

The cooperation resulted in the connection of our product – PressPad Magz – with David’s PDF content. His paid mobile app was created. After some time another idea development of his business appeared – how about expanding the distribution of his content by creating a free news app while keeping the first one?

We already suspected then that adding a news app to David’s content strategy could bring him considerable benefits, but the result was beyond our expectations.

The news app turned out to be a bull’s eye in The Jacobson Flare strategy.

Anyway, see for yourself, how it started, developed, and what was the result.

What is The Jacobson Flare about?

The Jacobson Flare is a landing training technique invented by David Jacobson – a 24,500-hour airline pilot who retired after flying planes for fifty-five years, forty of them with Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA, later becoming Australian Airlines Ltd) and Qantas Airways Ltd.

His innovative landing method uses a logical, geometric visual framework to guide the pilot from final approach to a perfect touchdown – every time and in the right place. Since the development of The Jacobson Flare from 1985, pilots are presented with a fully-defined visual eye path, specified by the airplane type – making the landing safe, sure, simple, and universal.

Now, David concentrates on educating pilots and flight students by running a website, blog, gives speeches, and more. In one word, he has a multichannel content strategy.

My goals have never wavered: to share what I learned. – he says.

The mobile app was supposed to be the next step in achieving this goal.

PressPad Magz – the first app

Digital publishing platform PressPad Magz became the starting point for creating The Jacobson Flare paid mobile app based on existing PDF files.

It is so much more than the simple electronic equivalent of a 360-page book; interactive and inclusive, David says and adds that it is a complete Jacobson Flare app, for iOS and Android.

It is a comprehensively illustrated, interactive presentation of the complete Jacobson Flare approach; an e-manual for landing including an educational high-quality content directed to a narrow niche, simple to understand for pilots and flight students.

mobile app on app store
PressPad Magz: The Jacobson Flare App on App Store

What is The Jacobson Flare paid mobile app characterized by?

  • The content was originally presented in two distinct versions: portrait as an e-book partly illustrated and landscape as a comprehensive illustrated presentation. Now, these two versions are better-combined into a single, interactive landscape presentation.
  • It includes an extensive reference section, graphically enhanced HD videos, and five onboard calculators.
  • The app is available for iOS and Android (however, it is best viewed in landscape on at least the screen size of an iPad Mini OR larger iPhone).
  • It costs USD$39.99. There are no ads and any other in-app purchases inside. One-time payment for unique, timeless content.

What do app’s users say about it?

what people say about news app
The reviews of The Jacobson Flare App from the App Store and the Jacobson Flare website

Since 2014, my intended audience has been confirmed by app sales in 67 nations, together with direct feedback from civil and military pilots of all levels of experience. – David says.

So where did the need for making another app come from?

PressPad News – the second app

After a while the first app was released, David got several suggestions from others that we might consider a free Jacobson Flare light version, that can serve to attract potential clients to the full, paid one.

Finally, after considering (and trying, then rejecting paid advertising in) aviation journals as not so effective for us, I realized the free JF News app could widen the circulation of our blogs from www.jacobsonflare.com to a new, more mobile audience and make a great JF light companion to the original paid app. – he says.

We used the PressPad News publishing platform to move from words to action. This is how the second app was created – its full name is The Jacobson Flare News. Reflections on Landing. David calls it the free companion to the complete Jacobson Flare app.

news app created by presspad
PressPad News: The Jacobson Flare News App

What does the news app offer?

  • Free educational content for pilots and students, without ads – just pure pleasure of reading.
  • News, tips, tones of great content divided into categories.
  • Push notifications informing users every time the new content is published.
  • It’s available on Android and iOS.

David, when asked what he appreciates the PressPad News for, replies:

The PressPad JF News App loads directly from our Blog tab – automatically and with a pushed notification to our subscribers. We can also update the content of the paid JF App ourselves, simply and with no extra cost.

blog view on desktop
The Jacobson Flare blog

– How it’s possible that the free app didn’t replace the paid app? – you may wonder.

When David gained a free app with educational content, he didn’t lose his paid app users – something completely different happened. The free app contributed to the increased interest in the paid one.

How it is possible?

The secret lies in the proper division of the content.

The problem that I saw was where to draw the line, in the material offered in the free version. I didn’t want to dilute the full JF content and have pilots believe that the free app was all they needed; nor did I wish to lose sales of the full, paid version. – David says.

Thanks to the clear division David applied, the free news app didn’t replace the paid app but also began to support it. This is an absolutely remarkable case in our 10-year history with mobile apps.

The big role of the free news app in the paid app marketing strategy

When the PressPad News App was launched, it immediately satisfied the dual need for a Jacobson Flare light version (which would not dilute the information contained within the paid app) and a vehicle with which to highlight general news and information for pilots, including a direct feed from the Blog tab on our website. – David says.

It quickly turned out that the news app began to play important role.

It now appears that some pilots download the free Jacobson Flare News App and then are further intrigued and inspired to purchase the paid JF App for iOS and Android. Our sales numbers are confidential, but thousands of pilots in 67 nations have purchased the paid app. – David says.

The free content distributed via mobile app started to play the role of the magnet, encouraging people to download the paid app. The varied range of content of the news app, taken from the JF website, is a good indication of the author’s wide experience and integrity and this may explain the take-up of the paid app.

To sum up, we can say that the news app is also:

  • a free sample of content David Jacobson offers,
  • an ad for a paid PDF app,
  • a tool that helps in converting fans into paid customers,
  • an important element of the middle stage in the sales funnel strategy,
  • a source of paying users.

News app became an innovative way to implement a well-known strategy – show me your value, let me try the product so that I know that it is worth buying. This is the same situation when we get a sample of perfume, chocolate, or something for free to try. In the world of content, this role is played by a newsletter or a paywall strategy. Publishers offer some content for free to show their value.

There’s one tiny element in The Jacobson Flare News App that encourages users to download the paid app – a bar that pops up at the bottom of the screen. Nothing more than that. Content speaks for itself.

mobile app popup

I believe that the free app offers potential paid app purchasers a no-risk opportunity to learn more about the JF training system and the logic and training philosophy that stands behind the Company. – David says.

Universal recipe for success according to The Jacobson Flare

David Jacobson, thanks to his knowledge, skills, experience, and engagement, guides his customers perfectly through his individual sales funnel:

  • the top of the funnel – people have the first contact with his method and content from different sources like the website, blog, conferences or word of mouth,
  • the middle of the funnel – after a few times contact with the brand, people download the free app,
  • the bottom of the funnel – some of those who download the free app, want more and install the paid app.

This short path customers go through shows that magazine sales tips should be always adjusted to an individual sales funnel.

sales funnel for content creatorsThe example of The Jacobson Flare clearly shows us a universal pattern of what to do to be successful with online content. Let’s take a look at how well important elements are realized.

  • Content distribution diversification.

The website www.jacobsonflare.com is on the market since 2008 while the JF app was first released in June 2014. The Jacobson Flare has featured many times since, in aviation journals and countless known and unknown posts and all this material has propagated to countless other websites.

David divides all the content he creates into two groups, free and paid, while the first one is a huge source of knowledge: website, blog, his speeches, the news app. The only paid product is the PDF app.

  • Narrow, but well-defined niche.

The Jacobson Flare focuses on a well-defined group of pilots and flight students from all over the world. They are totally focused on this topic. Due to the fact that David was a pilot, and he is a specialist in this niche, everything he does is credible.

  • Educational, high-quality content.

Sharing knowledge and experience is David’s overriding goal. Each of his content has an educational character, and the main product, the paid app is a landing guide.

  • Adjusting the tools to the niche.

The choice of the iOS mobile app as a distribution tool was not accidental. On the Jacobson Flare website in the FAQs section we can read:

The iPad has largely captured the aviation market and is used widely, being approved for the military, airlines and other GA operators, as an electronic flight bag (EFB), supporting flight planning, aircraft performance and operation and instrument departure and approach applications, for use on the ground and in flight.

  • Promoting.

David Jacobson has been building his personal brand for many years. He has made many personal presentations to individuals, groups, and companies, since 1987 in Australia. In 1997, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had him present the Jacobson Flare at 8 venues across the country, for their Flight Safety Seminar series. The majority of these presentations over all these years have been made pro bono.

  • Well-designed financial strategy.

The only product David sells is his paid app.

This 356-page interactive app is made available, world-wide and direct, on iOS and Android for about the cost of one take-off, circuit and landing or about 1/5 of the A$300-400 cost/hour in a light training airplane. The cost is recovered through the vast reduction in training circuits required, when compared with conventional methods involving nothing better than trial-and-error, repetition and getting the hang of it.

What is the effect of all these activities?

Since 2014, my intended audience has been confirmed by app sales in 67 nations, together with direct feedback from civil and military pilots of all levels of experience. We are still around after all these years and I am certain that gives us credibility, also; the free News app adds further to that credibility. – David says.

PressPad’s value

When we recently asked David what PressPad brings to his business, he replied:

The PressPad apps represent great value to us: first, our previous platform provider could only offer the iOS app version – not Android. Second, we are getting much improved value for money from PressPad. The Jacobson Flare App now relies on the integrity and flexibility of the PressPad Magz platform and the expertise of the PressPad App specialists. Their professionalism and proactive communication skills have been a joy to behold and the results speak for themselves.

Thanks to David, we are a part of an extraordinary undertaking. We’re glad that our solutions answer The Jacobson Flare’s needs and contribute to the growth of a number of subscribers.

Now, it’s time for new adventures.

If you’re looking for content distribution solutions or new ways to monetize, or just want to talk about your content, contact us. Maybe our next case study will describe your business.