While tossing around in bed, suddenly you get a unique idea.
Your neurons are all fired up, hustling up and down, in and out, delivering justifications for the loopholes and apprehensions your roommates raised when you discussed it with them.
The next morning, the toothbrush in your hand is replaced by a paper pad and within no time, the ferocious ink is sketching out the strategic plans, eager to listen to the battle cry.
After a painful agony of weighing down the pros and cons, investment sources, development costs and a lot more, your paper pad (with the help of your mind) delivers a healthy well laid out “PLAN”. You come out of the emergency room shouting “It’s an … app idea”.
After the dust of the hour-long congratulations and jealous admirations settles down, you finally begin nurturing your app idea into a fine successful venture. You take care of all its needs, including access to a beautiful OS, a variety of interfaces, and designs from the mockup wardrobe along with other worthy nutritional functionalities.
Finally, the day of enrollment comes and you cannot be more proud of your offspring. It’s in the spur of the moment that you see your well-made app enter the whole new exciting world of the app store, to make you proud (and rich too, of course).
But on the day of results, something strange happens. Instead of seeing the A’s of the 1000+ downloads, you witness unforgiving and unrelenting dozen downloads.
You are taken aback and confused to the core as to what just happened. You raised your app to become the mighty Hercules, ready to fix all the troubles that pinched people. Then, why didn’t the people accept the hero they needed and didn’t deserve?
Let’s rewind a bit.
While you were busy announcing and getting congratulated, did you ever wonder if this exposure was enough? When you paced frantically from one app development company to another, did you stress upon spending some time to know your target audience? All the time you were sweating on producing a smart and fast app with the best designs, user interfaces, did the thought of getting valuable feedback from the audience cross your mind?
Well, by now you must have guessed what we are talking about – The indispensable process of App Marketing. Marketing your app is as important as developing the best frontal design to please your target customer. And you are bound to ask – Why? Let us explain this through numbers.
Shockingly, 7 out of 10 apps fail due to a lack of a well-planned strategy, which includes marketing. And why not. With over 3 million apps in the Google Play Store, thinking that merely a unique concept is sufficient to survive and stand out in this humongous crowd of apps is not even silly now, it’s a deadly sin. Also, the biggest challenge faced by a whopping 43% of the app developers is … yes, you guessed it right, it’s app marketing.
Considering the marketing activities as a last-minute fix can prove costly for your app development process. However, unbelievable it may seem, a well-tailored marketing strategy works as the “Chemical-X” to aggravate dozens of followers to thousands, thereby launching your app into the stratosphere of stardom.
Still, the question remains half answered. Now that we know app marketing is quintessential for the success of the app, how to go about it?
Marketing an app entails various activities like ASO, beta testing, creating buzz through awareness among the audience, press releases, tracking various analytical metrics to get insights, and much much more. So, scheduling is what we are talking about here.
The best solution to tackle this issue is by dividing the timeline of your app development process into different phases and strategize the marketing plans for a smooth transition from one phase into another. And for your delight, we have already done the homework. So below are the app marketing activities, if undertaken with patience and persistence, that can provide a chance for your app idea to shine out among the gazillion rival apps.
PRE LAUNCH PHASE
The initial phase, where you start laying the groundwork for the development process, acts as a great platform for app marketing. App marketing can aid the understanding of the target audience and pre-acquisition, thus creating a feedback system for initial testing and ultimately resulting in anticipation for the app.
- Sneak into the minds and attention of target audience and competitors
The fundamental step of any marketing strategy – identify your target audience and align the development process with their interests and necessities. Nothing works better than the concerned feedback of a customer sharing his/her needs and then, implementing those needs to your advantage. Research thoroughly on whom to target specifically and how your app can uniquely benefit them among the existing garage of apps.
Along with the audience, watch out for the existing competition. Learn how your product/service bundled up into an app can provide you with an upper edge over them and there you have it- your USP. Finally, plug into existing communities and discussion forums to get ahead with market research. Learn and slightly discuss the prospects of your idea and ongoing trends to shape the process.
- Create a healthy and attractive presence
Once you start relating to your audience, it’s time to give them something to chew on. Your app is still in the oven, getting spiced up with exhilarating design implants and functionalities, but why not use its aroma to engage the audience.
This step calls for creating an online presence. Start with a website, with a landing page filled with app’s name and description. Also, gather a pool of target audience through simple sign-ups and forms to facilitate lead generation and adoption. To track all of this lovely affection, you can implement tools like Google analytics to put things into better perspective.
Now, to get your beloved audience to reach the websites, engage with them on social media. Leverage the power of building relationships with your audience through various social networks. Lure and please them with high-quality content inclusive of posts, images, and videos to share glimpses and a sneak-peek into the app. Focus more on providing content that is centric to your app to maintain a consistent brand image.
- Leverage connections with influencers and prepare for PR
Your word is not enough to instill trust among the user base. You have their attention, it’s time to stamp it with authentication. Build rapport with influencers like online journalists and bloggers, whose content is popular among your audience. Initiate a conversation to pitch them to cover your app in their upcoming feeds and write-ups. This can work wonders for your image and widen the scope of the marketing strategy, and drive ample traffic to your website for lead generation.
Apart from this, one can easily manage to get attention from other bloggers and influencers through a simple press release. First of all, create a press kit, inclusive of your app’s icon/logo, images/screenshots/screens, well-documented app description, sassy promo video, links to app’s website and existing blogs and contact information.
This online directory will serve as a one-stop destination for all influencers looking for authentic information about the app. Then, submit all of this information on various online PR portals like www.pressking.com, www.newswire.com for free PR coverage, and if you demand more authority lookout on paid sites like www.businesswire.com.
- Implement beta testing though emailers
Once you have harnessed enough attention and anticipation, start investing your energy in a valuable feedback system for a better launch. Segregate your audience for the beta testing phase to include a healthy mix of candidates, other than your acquaintances and partners to get overall feedback of actual “to-be-users”.
Once the list is prepared, focus on the medium of this feedback. If you are rolling out a test version of your app, it’s best to provide feedback options within the app itself as forms and suggestion boxes. Customers are busy sheep and you certainly wouldn’t want to displease them by consistently moving in and out of the app to mention a fix.
Finally, when everything is settled, draft pretty looking emails, subtly mentioning who you are and why you thought of reaching out to them. Also, to refresh their memory, drop a few smart words about the app and how can they play a worthy role in shaping the picture. Finally, provide links to the test version of your app and your press kit.
- Draft optimized app store descriptions for ASO
Till the time feedbacks start pouring in, devote your efforts to rank better in the search results through App Store Optimization. With ASO, one can undertake steps to actually get noticed and pulled up when an uninvolved potential customer searches for something that your app can serve.
First and foremost, let’s focus on the app description. Most stores, be it Google Play Store or iOS’s App Store, provide a 4000 character limit for the description, but there’s a catch here. Out of 4000 characters, the first 255 characters are displayed completely while the remaining is part of the extended description. So the main game is to put forth a stunning introduction in the initial part with proper keywords in an intriguing format.
Start by locking down keywords that serve your app’s cause. Use them in a natural manner, keeping your audience in mind. Just focus on the primary solutions to the daily problems that your app provides and write it down in a creative manner for the initial description. After that, in a simple, storytelling format, guide your audience with tidbits of information like features, awards, and various recognitions. In fact, you can deploy rich formatting features for the text, use bullet points, and even emojis.
Keeping ASO in the picture, app stores focus on some other points as well to draft the search results for queries. These include the app’s name, subtitles, backlinks, downloads, and ratings. Make sure you catch up to these when the app goes live and the traction becomes visible.
After this, concentrate on scanning through the submission guidelines on every store to save yourself from last-minute embarrassment. Also, there is a keyword field specifically in iOS’s AppStore. Use that field to input relevant keywords to boost and match up with the related search queries, ensuring your app pops up in a good spot. Since most of the new customers search on stores with a search query rather than the app’s name, having these keywords in the search query can significantly boost your ranking.
- Integrate the results of the beta test
Finally, all the Ravens have returned with different kinds of news. Sort them accordingly and after thorough discussion, come up with the decisions on how to implement these suggestions. If agreed upon by a consensus, start the final tweaking to reach these into the final version of the app.
It’s highly important to monitor your launch date side by side. Even though all the feedbacks are genuine, not every opinion can reach the final product. Thus, choose wisely among all of the available feedbacks to ensure time and resource management.
Finally, the day has arrived. It’s time to submit the app wholly to serve the audience and return with the gold. After looking at the list of various stores, choose and submit your app for approval on the ones you wish. It’s time to take in a heavy breath and …. GET BACK .. to work.
- Spread the word about the app
Once the app is live, it’s time to rekindle the conversation and tell the good news to everyone. Start shooting mailers, messages and press reports to the acquired, targeted and potential customers, influencers and on various discussion forums that we talked upon.
Let them know they are invited to take a bite of your app. If possible, you can try to engage them with special download offers and invitation gifts.
- Deploy and start monitoring app marketing metrics
After the downloads start pouring in, you cannot lay waste to all of this useful data. It’s time to utilize this data through various tools (like Google Analytics implemented in the SDK) to plan for your first update release.
Watch out for alarming fluctuations in the downloads and traffic. Use metrics like App Session time, Lifetime Value, N-star Reviews etc to convert data into insights. When you scratch the surface with help of this data, you can discover potential causes that are driving these fluctuations. Once identified, it’s easy to modify and add new functionalities in the upcoming updates.
POST LAUNCH PHASE
It has been some time since the launch and the dust has started to settle down. Before your app becomes another space-occupying tool marching towards uninstallation highway, it is high time to get back on track.
- Unveil the first update
By this time, the feedback system must have thrown an ample number of bugs that are troubling your audience. Although your app might be serving them well, they might be looking forward to your response to fixing these issues.
The cause of the first update is also very important to app marketing. You can start from the pre-launch phase to pick up activities like creating buzz, A/B testing to ensure customers know what you are onto. Once you are done with fixing all bugs, roll out the updated version and inform the audience.
One major thing with iOS apps is that the rating also gets updated, once the update comes out. Be careful to include as many fixes in one iteration so that you don’t have to suffer this wrath. Thus, try to incorporate a monthly update from time to time.
- Analyze, Optimize & Monitor
The final step in this iteration is to watch out for every possible loophole, negative reviews, and ratings. Take care of the bugs, reports of crash downs, customers seeking support, or providing suggestions. Also, encourage your customers to provide ratings and reviews subtly and from time to time.
It’s important that customers should feel that you haven’t abandoned your app and them. Therefore, devote time to engaging with them on their reviews to acknowledge the bad ones with a proper solution and makeup to them. This is one of the most fundamental things you can do for retention.
Also, look out forever-changing policies and ASO factors. Keep yourself updated with the latest information on how app stores are evaluating your app and start working on the shortcomings if any. Remember every app store has a varied number of factors for ranking and thus, require a different plan of action
Although one can always rely on the power of a unique idea, it’s better to play safe and incorporate an app marketing strategy in your to-do list. This can provide assurance by connecting you with your beloved audience, and provide help in battling a humongous number of existing apps on the stores. Most of the time these activities enforce little to no budget apart from development costs. One can always look up to App marketing and App Store Optimization Companies, that deal with an ample number of such issues. These specialized folks can work their way around your app to provide a good harvest of downloads you will keep on reaping.