Launching an app has never been simpler; we at Shoutem want to make it as easy as possible to create and launch an app, but that is only a part of the work you’ve got ahead of you.
Even the finest apps out there with the best UI/UX and feature set will not manage to get off the ground if they are not promoted properly. You will need to work on helping your app get a critical user base and keeping those users engaged for a while until you get a satisfying level of activity.
We’ve written a number of articles on this blog describing the different strategies to promote your app such as Mobile App Promotion A-Z, but here is my short list.
I’ve started two mobile development companies so far and they are currently employing over 90 mobile developers. Over time we’ve seen all kinds of strategies being used by our clients as well as trying quite a few of our own. What we’ve learned will sound like a cliché, but truly there is no silver bullet. You have to combine different channels, work on all of them at the same time and with all that combined you will achieve your goals.
Tips for promoting your app
Here is my list of things to do when launching an app:
1. Get featured on iTunes, App Store and Google Play
This is really hard but if you can manage to pull it off, it will pay off. People are usually not familiar with the fact that you can actually reach out to Apple and Google and tell them about your app in advance. If it has something unique to offer, and you are able to get them interested, they will feature your app in their stores. If your app falls into one of the less crowded categories, that will make it even easier.
2. Run an email campaign
Email is still one of the best promotion tools out there. If you have an email list that you believe can help your new app, use it. If you don’t have it, then find a way to build it. When sending an email get all the help you can and ask people to help you by liking, tweeting and sharing your app. Even if they are not interested in the app, they might be interested in helping you. Make it easy for them, include share and like links so that they are only one click away.
3. Cross app promotion
If you have an existing app portfolio, you need to leverage that user base. Promote your new app by using an app banner or even sending a push notification to your customers. If you don’t have an existing app you might consider something like the Flurry App Circle and buy promotion that will target your potential users.
4. Buy ads
Buying downloads is very expensive, that is true. But those first days of your app are critical and you need to do everything in your power to get those initial users onto the app. Facebook Mobile App Ads has great targeting options and from our experience it works great if you are trying to reach out to a wider audience.
Come up with a great story. What makes your app different? What kind of problem does it solve? Who are your users? Explain that in a single page and send it to the press. Don’t aim at the biggest paper, the smaller and local ones are easier to get and if the story is good it will be picked up by larger publications.
Post launch strategy
So by combining efforts and multiple channels, you’ve managed to get an initial user base. Congratulations, that was a great first step and, now you need to get those users to work for you. Here are two most important things to keep in mind:
1. Build viral loops into your app
You need to make sure that your app has the so-called “viral loops”. Your initial users have to be incentivized to share the info from and about your app, and in that way spread the word and bring in new users. If you manage to close that loop, you will get new downloads constantly over the time and save yourself some money on app promotion.
2. Engage with your users
If your app has a social aspect it is extremely important that you engage with your users and help grow the app’s user activity. There are plenty of resources on Community Management that you can read, but it is actually quite simple: just be yourself, speak with your natural voice and do not sound like you are selling something. At this point all you need to think about is how you can be of help to your users.
Those are my quick advices; I hope they can be of some use. If you want to read more on this subject here are few great pieces that we’ve published on our blog:
- Sandy Martin of Schurz Communications talks about secrets of successful apps
- Cigar Dojo is one of the most successful community apps on Shoutem, there is a lot to be learned from these guys
- Mobile Promotion A to Z is an easy to digest list of tips and tricks on how to promote an app