Getting great results from your app in 2017 takes hard work and effort. The days of ‘release it and they will come’ are long gone! Learning how to get an app featured takes work.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help improve your chances of app success, and today we’re going to take a look at two of the most important: launching the app, and getting it featured on the app store.
First, let’s look at launches.
To launch an app, rather than to just release one, means taking pro-active steps. Not just sticking the thing on the store when you hope it’s good enough.
Here are several ways of helping to ensure launch success.
Have your definition of success marked out
Does this seem obvious? You might be surprised to find out how few app companies have a firm goal in mind when they start promoting their work.
Why? We’re guessing that no-one wants to admit that their app has been a failure, especially not if they’re answering to someone else, be it a boss or a client. And if you don’t have targets, you can’t fail!
However, we think it’s invaluable to have some firm, definable goals in place: they’re the only way to know if your process is working and, as a result, if it needs to be altered.
To us, one of the main pillars of success for any app is active installations, that is, people who’ve actually installed the app and are using it.
You should also consider basing your success or failure on:
- Your customer score. Your aim should be to achieve 5/5 average reviews. It’s tough, but it can be done if your app’s good enough – and the payoff will be huge in terms of customer retention if you succeed.
- Revenue generated. This is obviously important if it’s the aim of your app! You should also make sure you have a definite financial goal: i.e. this app will be a success if it makes more than (x).
- The number of uninstalls. Needless to say, people deleting your app isn’t the best of signs. It’s impossible to avoid, of course, but you should aim for your uninstalls to not rise above a certain percentage.
Every app will be different, but if you make the effort to set firm failure/success guidelines, you’ll be better off than a LOT of your competitors.
Pick a firm date and stick to it
Once you know your app’s ready to go, you can pick a final launch date, which should then become a key part of your promotion strategy.
If you’ve marketed your app effectively, you should have a budding audience already ready to buy: so make sure they know when and where they can pick the app up.
(Oh, and don’t release the date until you’re SURE you can meet it. If you make a huge song and dance over the release date, you’ll look silly if you miss it!)
Make sure you build a solid social media presence
Social media marketing can be a bit ineffective in some markets, but NOT in the world of apps.
When it comes to app marketing, there are few more effective ways of quickly finding a ready and waiting user base than on Twitter.
How? Simple: head to the main influencers in your space. A good portion of the people following them will be interested in your app, as long as it’s good. Don’t hassle them: just give them a follow and see how they respond.
(Never be pushy, though: no-one likes a pushy salesman.)
Create a good promo video
Think of this like a movie trailer, but shorter!
If you can create a 30 second to a minute video that sums up what your app does and why people will benefit from using it, you’ll ALWAYS be able to point people to it.
The important thing here is, of course, to make sure your video looks professional: too many marketing videos these days scream ‘amateur’, and no-one wants to download something made by an amateur.
An effective promo video will make you sales while you sleep: all you need to do is put it front and center on your website and in your marketing materials, and you’ll be able to generate anticipation without lifting a finger.
Oh, and those influencers we mentioned…
Make sure they know that your app’s coming out. And if you can, get them to do an advanced review.
One good review from an influencer will do the work of a good few hundred dollars’ worth of ad spend. People WILL buy things if the influencers they trust recommend them.
(Again, of course, your emphasis should be on creating a brilliant app. Influencers see a lot of products; impressing them can be hard work.)
Now we’ve taken a look at some of the things you can do to get better results when launching your app, we’re going to pick out the reverse: some of the key mistakes people make when launching their app.
Not beginning your marketing until the app’s live
This, in many ways, is the difference between a ‘launch’ and a ‘release’. It’s also often the difference between a successful app and a failure.
You want to try to create some hype and buzz around your app before it actually goes live. There are a number of ways you can do this: by building social media accounts, creating an e-mail list, reaching out to the aforementioned influencers.
This matters a great deal: if an app launches and immediately gains thousands of downloads, the app store is more likely to take notice and to direct other potential users to it. Marketing apps works like a snowball effect: the more sales you make, the more you’ll reach new users.
Not focusing enough on app store optimization
Keyword optimization is just as important to app downloads as it is to SEO or PPC marketing. It’s important to spend time ensuring that your organic listings are as focused and effective as possible.
A great deal of app store traffic will come from organic listings, so it matters!
What can make the difference between a successful and a failing listing? Keyword research is vital, as is writing detailed descriptions and ensuring you add metadata to your images.
(For a shortcut on doing this, check for any outliers in your competition: if someone in your market is doing way better than everyone else, it’s worth mimicking their listing. The chances are it’s been tested multiple times!)
Not putting enough effort into your app store listing’s design
Alright, we accept that you can’t alter the actually layout of the page – that’s very much the app store’s deal!
However, you can make the effort to ensure that everything you put on that page looks as good as possible.
- Have you included high quality screenshots?
- Have you added videos to show the app in-action?
- Are your icons and logos eye-catching?
- Is your copy laid out in an appealing way, rather than as a block of text?
Remember, marketing’s a shallow business! The more visually appealing you can make your listing, the better.
Not prioritizing reviews and ratings
This is another thing that many designers tend to leave until it’s too late, when it should actually be a priority.
Remember, reviews and ratings form a key part of making any sale: it’s what’s known as social proof, and you should try to get as much of it as you can!
(Social proof is a key tenant of Persuasion, a marvelous book on, well, persuasion!)
Getting reviews is especially important on Apple’s app store, where you’ll only get an average score once you’ve had five reviews. You want to get to that as quickly as possible, as without a positive score by your app you’ll be much less likely to get downloads.
Users look to the experiences of others for guidance so your number of reviews – and your app’s average score – can be the difference between success and failure.
How can you get reviews, quickly?
- From users on your e-mail list
- From people following your social media accounts
- From bloggers or influencers
- From friends and family (as long as they’re part of the app’s demographic, of course: it’s not recommended to try to ‘game’ any organic search algorithm).
- From previous customers of other products you’ve purchased
In short, get them from anywhere you can: the more the better!
Not integrating your different marketing streams
This is actually a common error in digital marketing as a whole. Many companies will run different channels:
- Social Media
Without linking everything up and ensuring they’re working together. It’s easy to do the same with app marketing.
For instance, let’s say that your endgame is to get your user on the app store (as it should be). So, you send all your paid traffic straight to the app store.
But then your social media profile lists your website, rather than your store. And when users head through that link, they’re confronted with a page that offers an e-mail form but NO link to the app store page.
Sure, some people will want to sign up, and you should definitely let them do that. But what about the people who are ready to buy right now? They’ll just leave.
Your aim in every channel should be to get people to the app store.
There are a number of different things you can do to help improve your app’s performance in the store, and we’re going to go through them here.
Unsure why you should make the effort? Well, put it this way: thousands of apps are uploaded to the app store each day.
Apps that are featured instantly set themselves apart from the competition, and are far more likely to get downloads as a result.
Trust us, it’s worth the effort.
Here are some of the techniques you can use to get your app featured.
Ensure your app is top quality
This might seem like quit an obvious place to start, but it’s important to re-iterate: Apple will only promote apps that are actually good!
Remember, when Apple promotes something, they’re giving their loyal audience and endorsement, and they aren’t going to risk ending up with egg on their faces by showing off something that’s not up to standard.
First things first, then: ensure your app’s fantastic. Good enough that Apple will WANT to show it off to people!
Use Apple’s own apps for guidance
It’s never, ever a bad idea to mimic what’s already successful.
With that in mind, it’s worth considering the things that make Apple’s design what it is: a sleek, minimal aesthetic that focuses on elegance rather than just being eye-catching.
They also focus on simplicity and ease of use, as well as functionality.
If you can take the things that Apple customers love about Apple, and use them as guidance for your app, you’ll be in a good spot.
(Obviously, your priority should still be giving your audience what they want, but try to take the best of what Apple does and integrate it into your design.)
Try to make your app as universal as possible
Apple’s devices cover a number of operating systems and a number of different ratios. The more of their devices your app works perfectly on, the better.
If your app works as well on the Apple Watch as it does on a full-sized iPad, you’re in business.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to include every feature in each version: you’ll struggle to include the full-functionality for any app in the watch! However, the watch apps should integrate flawlessly with the main builds.
As long as the overall experience across different devices is good, Apple will be more likely to take a closer look at your app.
Adopt Apple’s favourite features and technologies
Every iOS update has it’s APIs – that is, the features that Apple is most enthusiastic about.
If you can use these capabilities in your app, you’re demonstrating that your focus is on the same things as Apple. The result? They’re more likely to be nice to you!
A good example is the iCloud, which Apple are obviously very enthusiastic about. If you can integrate this into your app without affecting the quality (or ideally, to make your app better as a result) it actually becomes in Apple’s interest to show your app off as an example of their technology in full effect.
Invest in serious UX and UI design
This is part of building a great app, but it’s important to emphasize it.
Competition on the app store is seriously intense, to the extent that you need to create something special to stand apart.
The best apps on the app stores are nearly always made by businesses with serious financial muscle, and that’s who you’re competing against!
Employing a UX and UI team to make sure your app’s up to scratch is almost the bare minimum in 2017.
If you can combine a great feature list with an app that’s easy to use and works well, you’ll be ahead of all those developers that don’t make the investment.
We’re specialists in building apps that get results. If you’d like to find out more, pick up the phone and give us a call today. We’d love to help you build and launch an app that your business can be proud of.