Once upon a time, in the distant past (let’s say about 10 years ago) you went to an app developer with an idea for an app. You developed the app, submitted it to the app store and that was the end of that.
Nowadays things are a little different. Clients aren’t just looking for one-off app development – they want an app development company to stay with them through the lifecycle of an app. They need help with developing a MVP, bug fixes and feature updates, app
store submission and, yes, even marketing.
Bearing that in mind, here’s five top tips to help you get into the game and market your app.
1. UNDERSTAND THE COMPETITION
Have you ever gone looking for an app and found ten who do the exact same thing, with little to no difference between them? This is a classic example of the developers not paying attention to the market they’re developing for and one you want to avoid. When
making your client’s app, scout out the marketplace(s) that you plan to sell it on. What other apps are out there? Are they doing the same thing as the app you’re developing? If so, what sets this app apart from them?
If your client’s app seems to have found a niche that’s yet to be filled, fantastic! At the same time though, have a think to yourself about why it’s an unfilled niche. Is this app actually useful on a day-to-day basis? If you were browsing through the app
store, would you look for that niche? Why? These are the kinds of questions that it’s very important to ask both yourself and your client during development because it means that, on release, the app will be much better targeted, with clear goals about why
it’s there and what it’s there to accomplish.
2. PLANNING IS KEY
As soon as you have the groundwork set for an app, it’s time to start planning and putting into action your marketing strategy. Use things like teasers, videos showing your vision for the finished product and open betas to generate initial hype and then keep
releasing new updates as the app progresses to keep the interest pointed at you. Send out releases to the press and prominent blog sites, encouraging them to check the app out and to mention it in upcoming articles and blogs. All of this will create traction
for your product, and start to create buzz around your studio and the app.
3. APP STORE OPTIMIZATION
You could have just developed the best app in the world, but it’s not going to matter if nobody can find it in the app stores. That’s where App Store Optimization (ASO) comes in. Of course, customers are only going to be able to find the app in the app store
AFTER the app makes it past the app submission process and actually makes it to the store listings. Then there’s the aesthetics of your app. Is it unique? Does it look professional? Apple, in particular, is constantly updating their app store guidelines and
clearing out what they see as apps that don’t hold up to their standards.
Ensure that any app you submit to the app store has a meaningful description, keywords, app title and subtitle. App store screenshots are important, as well as a slick and professional looking app icon. Also, if you’re selling on the Apple App store, bear in
mind that they won’t actually feature an app who’s icon isn’t in keeping with their aesthetics; you have been warned. App store videos are becoming more and more of the norm to see in app stores (especially with Google Play), so be sure to include some exciting
(ok, it might be hard to make an accounting app video look amazing, but you get our drift) screen captures of the app in action. You can then upload these videos to video sharing sites like YouTube and link back to you or your client’s web site for a little
extra SEO juice.
Once you’ve got the app listed and in the app stores, use an ASO tool to track the app performance over time and make an adjustments as necessary. A good ASO tool should give you the option to export these ASO statistics to a report, which you can then provide
to your client as a proof of your value.
4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA & TESTIMONIALS
It’s no secret that social media is a veritable powerhouse when it comes to hype and product popularity, and yours to control, if you know how. Set up a Facebook page for the app, along with Twitter accounts, and start talking on them. Use these sites to keep
those who are interested in the app up-to-date with what’s going on in its development and make it easy for them to share and re-tweet your updates with their friends. Link to influential websites and blogs that you like and ask them to link you back to get
more traffic landing on your homepage.
Start a blog on your home website and update it regularly with well written, interesting content that will make people want to blog about you in turn. This also helps greatly with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Once the app has reached a near-finished stage,
consider sending out free press demos to encourage them to post pre-launch reviews.
And remember, once you’ve launched, get quotes from satisfied customers. Nothing says “worth my money” more to a customer than a range of quotes from people telling them just that!
5. EVALUATE FEEDBACK AND KEEP MOVING
This last point is one to put on a post-it note to stick to your work monitor. A mistake many new companies make with marketing is assume that, once they’ve generated buzz and their app has launched, they cut down on their marketing because, hey, it’s launched
now, what’s the worry? This mindset is what will cause the app to flop soon after it leaves the launch gates because no matter how much buzz you generate, news in this day and age is so quick moving that unless you remind it regularly, the world generally
forgets you and your business are even there. An app post launch plan is important. You want to look at what’s working and what isn’t, filter out the bad, and keep pushing forward.
To reiterate, once you’ve set the marketing train in motion, and it starts to show some real returns, don’t stop! The only thing you should change are the tactics that you use. Instead of trying to generate lots and lots of hype through press releases and reviews,
previews and paid for advertising, start to focus on pushing organic, slower growing marketing. Design it to keep the app, and more importantly your business, in the zeitgeist, so when people are looking for an app in your area, they come to you first.