I’m 19 and I’ve just launched my first iPhone app! (Part 1/3)
You are here. Last minutes and your product is launched. You count seconds: 3… 2… 1… You log in to check how it performs after a few minutes. Surprisingly: you see a lot of rounded zeros: zero views, zero downloads, zero purchases… Okay let me be slightly more optimistic: you see 2 downloads, 1 purchase and… that’s it. You created a perfect product, but you forgot doing your homework about its marketing. You started to think about launching 2 weeks before, or worse: you didn’t think about it at all and did it when you noticed nobody doesn’t care about your unique idea.
Here’s my perspective on that subject: product launching is a long-term process: a deep market research, finding where your audience is, testing, testing, testing, finding clues about the future moves from your current users and doing the same process all over again, many, many times. Product launching demands constant learning, requires huge time investments, expanding your knowledge and most importantly: being persistent.
When I look over the internet, I find the same questions from the app developers: “Hey I’ve made an app! What should I do to find potential users, and how and where should I promote it?” Sounds familiar? Well, you guessed it: It doesn’t work like that, there is something much deeper behind it... Developers love to spend their time in code. They forget though that even if their app is the best app in the world and nobody sees it, they won’t earn a penny from doing it… and are mostly destined to fail. So here I am: me and my blogpost about product launching of my productivity app, Proud. I hope you will find lots of useful lessons from lots of mistakes that I had made during marketing it.
“If you want to go somewhere, it is the best to find someone who has already been there! “ — Robert Kiyosaki
- Do the market research
The first block of the puzzle is the market research. Without knowing who your potential user (let’s call him avatar) and competition is, your work won’t be too meaningful in the future. You have to remember that your product is not for yourself. You must know why will it be useful to your future customers. If you focus on the needs and frustrations of others and you solve someone’s big problem you are on a good road to achieving success.
TASKS TO DO: — define your niche (a group of people connected by a problem you solve) — learn about your competition — what’s their avatar, what’s their pricing, how many users they have — what are their successes and awards — test their products, read reviews and opinions from their users (in particular bad ones, you will know what you can do better) — write pros and cons of their products, think why they might be better than you — find out how they promote themselves in social media, how they engage people, what they post and write. — get to know their community, find someone who use their product and service, make friends with somebody to understand his needs and problems — discover what are people’s cravings, it’s crucial! — form a document full of conclusions — put your final solution into action: analyzing this data you will let you implement your own strategy and ideas
When to begin marketing your app?
2. Social media proof Are you working on your app/game and you are not showing your progress and results to others? If so, you should create Facebook fan page, Youtube channel, or a Twitter account and share your secret idea with others. The times where people were stealing ideas from others have passed a long time ago. Without sharing the idea with the community as soon as possible you will never know if your idea is worth investing hundreds of hours that you could have invested into something else…
At the beginning, probably you won’t have the audience that is interested in your product. It’s totally normal so don’t be discouraged. Treat it as a challenge. At first, focus on your closest family and friends, tell them that you are working on something awesome, share your thoughts, screens and anything you produce in the process. It’s the easiest way to build a community: do everything a step by step.
Why building such page is good? You should always remember that there will be time when you have to contact reviewers and journalist. The website will make them consider your app/product more favorable.
A short note from our experience: we created a few videos on Youtube that show people how to use our app: Proud, and how to create more productive and happy lifestyle. Because of that we had a fresh content that made people follow our progress, and helped us gain some great and active followers.
RULES OF THUMB: — Take care of the quality of your photos and content. — Don’t buy likes or followers. I did it once and believe me or not it’s not worth your money and energy. It doesn’t help you at all, and can even make it more difficult. — Build your community around your friends and family and engage them. The best way to achieve it is to show them that they are part of creating your product. Thank them, mention them and make them feel great! — Keep trying even if you don’t have many results. Starting to do marketing is very difficult, some things require time, and your persistence of course
What every App Development Team should focus on?
- Website and Press Kit creation Let your future user know you and your product. Don’t forget to update and improve it all the time. We made 3 versions of our website and did lots of A/B testing, retention measuring, adjusting, user tracking, etc. I also recommend to create a Press Kit. If you have no idea how to do it there is a great article about it written by Dan Counsell — click.
- A development blog Share your ideas, issues with the development process, screenshots and everything that show off your hard work. Make people want to wait for your product. Here you can read how we were approaching building the Proud interface — click. There are many interesting places to publish such content. For this particular post, we used. And I can assure you that you will get interest not only from other developers but also from your new potential users. I will write a bit more about it in the next blogpost ;)…
- Giving value for free My boyfriend Piotr with whom I am working on Proud is not only a developer but also a Graphic Artist. He created free Apple Watch mockups with a small logo of Proud. It was posted on Dribbble and over 12 000 people saw that picture and many used those mockups. It brought many people to our website and we reached new subscribers to our mailing lists. It’s a great way to increase your brand’s awareness and overall marketing and offer something useful to other people. Recently we wrote a Prouductivity Handbook. As you may have guessed, our new word “Prouductivity” is a combination of the words: Proud and Productivity. It contains the user guide to our app, as well as some advanced techniques on how to get your productivity to the next level. Again something useful and a free ability to promote our app.
- Make friends with reviewers and journalists I learnt a lot, but if I had chance to start working on Proud once again, I would spend most of the time making friends with reviewers and journalists. I needed to spend a lot of time understanding that it’s the hardest part of the game;) but more about that in the next parts of my blogpost.
It was the first part of the 3-part article I would like to share with you. I hope it gave you some insights on how you can deal with the app marketing. The market nowadays is very difficult and the more creative you are, the more you can achieve.
PS. We’ve been featured on Product Hunt today! Let us know what you think!
Update: You can read part two of my article here.
I would like to also thank some people that always support me! My beloved Piotr Szwach, my parents, Mariola Konarska, Łukasz Kokosiński, Paweł Hreczuch, Agnieszka Makles-Saferna, Kamila Hupało, Artyom Dogtiev — for your time and almost everything! Kyle Kinkade, Jason Grad, Paweł Gębuś, and Piotr Wołąsewicz for trust and opportunities to develop myself in the latest years. Thank you!