Without an effective marketing strategy, your app can very easily vanish. Remember, thousands of apps are released onto the app store each day: competition is fierce!
Here’s our guide on everything you need to keep in mind when planning an app launch.
What you need to focus on before your app goes live
You must research your users and your competitors
It’s vital to spend time before you start putting your app marketing plan together understanding both your target audience and the apps your app will be competing with.
Every single audience group or demographic will have its own unique needs, and they’ll use apps in a different way in terms of how much time they spend on it, or how much money they spend.
Essentially, the more you know about how your target audience interacts with apps the better.
The other key is to take a look at the competition. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do their reviews state? Are there any notable weaknesses that come up often, such as stability or speed? Can you promote your app in a way that sells it as the antidote to competitor weakness?
What are the key features users love about their app? Can you improve on these features?
The earlier you can start promoting your app, the better
It’s important that you start promoting your app early. Typically, app launches build slowly early on, and should peak the day your app goes live.
There are a number of different ways to build support in the early days, including:
- Reaching out to your peer groups, your colleagues, businesses you work with and anyone else within your network who the app might be relevant to
- Ensure that you show the app to potential users as soon as you can – if you’ve done a great job building your app, early users can form a key part of the marketing campaign
- Ensure you use your inner circle – that is, the people who were involved in the testing process – if you can.
Start a website and blog for your app as early as possible
Content marketing remains an invaluable resource for any app builder looking to promote their work. As such, you should always set up a blog and website to promote the app, and ensure the blog itself is filled with invaluable content.
There are a number of other ways to use your website in the early marketing days, in addition to writing blogs:
- You can run interactive marketing campaigns such as giveaways, quizzes or contests. These can be very effective as long as your users are incentivized enough.
- Ensure you build an email list. Email lists remain a brilliantly effective form of marketing, so ensure that you encourage visitors to your site to sign up to your email list.
- Have a dedicated landing page in place to welcome visitors finding you through each marketing channel. (A landing page for PPC visitors, one for guest post traffic and so on).
Reach out to influencers
If you’ve got a great product in place, one that testers are very happy with, definitely try to build relationships with as many people in your space as you can.
Studies have shown that as much as 60% of consumers can be influenced by blog or social media reviews, so the more people in an online space you can get on your side, the better.
Social media is a great way to find the key people in your space, whether they be journalists, bloggers or industry leaders.
Simply send a polite message asking if they’d be interested in finding out more about your app. Many influencers are always looking for new content, so they’ll be happy to hear from you.
Important Technical Preparation
As well as marketing, you’ll need to ensure you do your preparation in terms of the technical side. These are some of the most important things to bear in mind:
Make sure you’ve installed analytics
At launch stage, you need to have all of your analytics installed and ready to go.
It’s important to make sure that you’ve got your key KPIs worked out here: not every bit of data will be relevant. Work out what matters most to you, whether it be revenue, usage time, install and uninstall numbers, or simply how many people use the app on the first day!
Ensure your app has a feedback option
In the end, the only thing that matters when it comes to apps is ensuring your users love it.
As such, it’s vital to make sure they have a way of giving you feedback on launch day. The simple fact is that no apps launch without any problems, and if you give users the opportunity to give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t they’ll usually take the chance.
Essentially, customers offer free immediate feedback that matters. Give them the chance to report complaints, suggestions or simply to ask you for help when they find any feedback confusing.
Needless to say, it’s no use getting this information if you don’t use it as soon as possible to improve your app.
Conduct beta testing
The goal of beta testing is simple: to get real-world experience from the people who’ll be using your app when it goes live.
You need to have a strong idea of what your users need and want from your app before you release it, as well as knowledge on exactly how they’ll engage with your app.
Beta testing is by far the best option for doing this. In the end, beta users will form the heart of your test group, and you should take their feedback on bugs, user-friendliness, navigation problems and performance very seriously.
If you run your beta testing phase effectively, you give yourself a much better chance of ensuring users are absolutely delighted with your app on launch day.
What are the biggest mistakes app builders make prior to launch?
Not validating the app with an MVP.
It’s important to launch a minimal viable product before you launch a full app.
What is an MVP in terms of apps? Essentially, it’s still an app, but one that won’t have all the features of the final version.
The aim with an MVP is to send out a smaller, less complex version of the app into the market to test and get feedback. Essentially, it helps you validate that the final app is something the market will actually want.
If you send out a smaller version of the app and user reaction is negative, you’ll know that you need to re-work your idea before you launch.
As we noted already, the best way to test your MVP is to find a group of beta users.
By testing an MVP, you’re at far less risk of a widely released market flop!
Not carrying out app store optimization
Remember, app stores all operate in much the same way as traditional search engines.
As such, not carrying out any optimization will mean your users are less able to actually find your app. Needless to say, that means less sales.
You might be surprised just how many businesses simply dump their apps onto the store without taking the time to research and target relevant keywords, drafting a solid description and ensuring high quality images are added to promote the app.
Focusing solely on perfection
One thing it’s worth noting here is that there’s a difference between having high standards – which are essential if you’re looking to compete in a crowded market – and trying to achieve perfection first time out.
All apps – and indeed, all software – has some bugs and issues upfront. There’s not a single successful software package out there that’s still on version 1.0!
Ensure that you have a high-quality app, and then push it out to your users. Accept their feedback and use it to improve your app, using your marketing channels to stay in touch with users.
Then, when you launch v2 or v3, you can notify them. This is a process that all software goes through. You can add or takeaway features as you go, improving the user experience.
It takes time to build a truly market-leading app, but the effort is more than worth it.
Get in touch
If you’d like help managing your app launch, or you’d like to start a new app project from scratch and want specialist assistance, get in touch with Iconic Solutions today. We’d love to help.