When Apple’s App Store was launched in 2009 there were a mere 500 apps. Fast forward to March 2017 and there are now a staggering 2.2 MILLION apps competing against each-other for user downloads. While some of the lucky ones have a miraculous overnight success, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands that fail to amount to anything.
Launching a new app is not just a matter of uploading your creation to the app store, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Even if you think your app is the next big thing and about to change the world, if nobody has heard of it then you aren’t going to get too many downloads. Successfully launching an app takes a lot of ground work, and not just the day before launch. I’m talking about from the very first moment the app idea was thought off.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider before, during and after the development of your app to help you have the most successful launch possible…
Market research is an essential first step. This is where you discover if there is even a need or want for your product. You need to understand who the core audience for your app is going to be e.g. age group, location, interests etc. Knowing this prior to the development of your app enables you to design the app and your marketing efforts around how best you can target them.
Do your research on the competition, what are their strengths and weaknesses? This is your opportunity to discover if there are any key features they might have missed and figure out how you can differentiate your offering to make it more attractive than theirs.
Choose a great app name
A name can make or break an app. This is the first chance you have to impress your potential users so you need to make it something memorable. Keep it unique and to the point. The general rule of thumb is between 1 - 3 words as a short and slick title looks catchier and more professional. However, on the flip side, adding extra relevant keywords to your title helps increase your position in the search results. The higher you are in the list, the more clicks and downloads you are going to get.
No matter what cool features or functionality your app might have, if it doesn’t ‘look good’, the sad reality is that people aren’t going to use it. A user is more likely to download and continue to use a well designed app so make sure you have a talented graphic designer on the team.
Your icon and app store screenshots are especially important as these are the first images your potential users are going to see when they come across your app on the app store. Your icon is also what is going to be used in all your branding material, from your website and social media platforms to press releases and blog articles.
Test at every stage
It’s important to test at every stage and on as many different platforms as possible before you fully launch your app. Each mobile device operates differently so never trust an app building tool to provide a realistic environment for testing.
Don’t do too much, too soon
Keep your first launch simple. The number one mistake app entrepreneurs make is they try to do too much. It is much better to launch an app that has only a few features but does them extremely well, than an app that has loads of poor features. An app full of bugs and glitches will only result in a poor user experience and damage your brand reputation forever. Start off small and obtain a loyal group of active users to begin with. Once you have successfully managed this you can begin to capture user feedback and update your app with new and improved features as you go along.
App store optimisation (ASO)
Marketing is great for driving users to download your app during the initial launch, but for long-term, organic growth it’s important to optimise for the App Store.
At least 63% of iOS users search for apps organically, therefore getting your keywords right is an essential component of your apps success. Keywords help users find your app in the app store and should be related to what your app does. This means spending time looking at your app’s title, keywords and description, making sure you include trending terms that will help you gain traction with your target audience. If possible, include a keyword in your app title as they have been found to rank up to 10.3% higher than those without.
Start marketing early
Having a well thought out marketing strategy is essential for getting the word out there about your new app. But don’t wait until the week before you launch. Once you have the core features of your app nailed you should start brainstorming ways to get the message out there. Building hype drives excitement, and having a list of people ready to download your app on launch day will help bump you up to the top of the App Store on launch day. Some of the most effective ways to build hype is with a teaser website, social media (either paid or organic), email marketing and blogging.
Get user reviews
58% of people usually or always check app store reviews before downloading an app. User reviews are a core part of your app’s success. Potential users are way more likely to trust the opinion of someone that has already used the app over the word of a marketer. Therefore, the more positive app reviews you have, the more installs you are going to get.
Don’t make the mistake of just expecting the reviews to start rolling in. Then again, don’t just plague your users with daily notifications begging them for a review. You need to go about this more carefully or you risk irritating your user and ending up with a bad review and a possible app uninstall.
Focus on user retention and engagement
When launching a new app, the focus of most app marketers is on acquiring as many users as possible. However, with the average app losing 77% of its users within the first three days this surge in new users won’t last very long. The truth is it doesn’t matter how many new users you acquire, without a solid app user retention strategy you’ll just end up losing them as quickly as you gained them. Push notifications are definitely one of the best ways to help retain your app users. Infact, effective use of push notifications has been found to boost retention rates by a staggering 180%!
Measuring how much revenue your app is making is important, but it is certainly not the be all and end all. There are many other key performance indicators you and your team should be measuring in order to continuously improve your app and keep users engaged. For example, your daily and monthly active users, retention rate and lifetime value, to name a few. In saying that, don’t let numbers control your life and try to measure everything possible. Figure out what is most important in helping you achieve your goals and focus on them.
AUTHOR: Emma Mullan
Emma is a Marketing Strategist at Hurree. Hurree is a marketing automation platform for apps that helps engage your users and keep them active at a time that suits them. It goes one step further by automatically enhancing that 1 to 1 personal experience for the user without demanding any additional time from the marketer. If you would like to learn more about Hurree please visit www.hurree.co.