If you think that the most challenging task for a developer is to create an excellent mobile app, you could be suprised how demanding it is going to be to promote that app and build some serious buzz about its launch.
Yeap, the process of developing an app can be fun by itself and very rewarding (there’s no way a developer could spend hundreds of thousands of hours on writing codes if he didn’t enjoy his work). But at the end of the day, it’s all about making other people discover, download and use your app, right?Being a good marketer or a sales person requires a set of particular skills that not every developer has. There are several good practices that anyone can follow to make it more likely for an app to be found though.
Those are little steps that you can take on everyday basis. Some of them are costless.
WHEN to start promoting?
You can start promoting your app long before its launch — and those are a really good news for you! You don’t have to wait until it gets featured on the app store. To tell you the truth, you will miss a lot of opportunities to spread the word about the app if you wait.
For some of you this tip may sound a bit crazy, because I encourage you to promote something what’s not even finished. In fact, when you plan it well, the time before the official launch can be used to get some buzz. Simply develop the app and simultaneously start building the natural interest about it.
How to do it?
First of all, invite beta testers. Of course you should invite them mostly because you want to get feedback, fix all the bugs and find out which features they find particularly useful. This is the last chance to improve your app before its debut in the app store.
You can do something extra — try to build a strong relationship with beta testers. Keep in mind that they are your potential clients and also influencers that can affect user’s opinions. Treat them with special attention, encourage them to give comments, tips and suggestions. Make them feel special because they are first to test your app.
What you can do next is to try to get some early exposure and publicity for your app. Search for sites and blogs that are considered as the most reliable sources of the latest news on mobile apps and technology trends. Try to get a mention on those sites:
Also, try to get in touch with journalists that write about new mobile apps. You can find databases of relevant reporters on those websites:
Don’t forget to contact blogs and websites that cover those parts of the world where your potential clients live. Write to the local press and get their attention too. Of course as soon as the app is available on app store, send press releases informing about the launch. Announce it as big news.
WHERE to spread the word?
Having a compelling landing page is crucial. This may seem obvious but in fact many app developers do not build websites for their apps. This is a huge mistake because landing page is one of the very first places where visitors ‘land’ when they hear about your app. What they find there and how it makes them feel about the app can determine whether they visit the app store to download it or not. It’s like making the first impression. You can do it only once. Do it well.
The perfect landing page should contain only useful information, demonstrate the product and its functionalities and give the visitors a good idea of what they could expect after downloading it. No misleading information, no empty promises, just pure transparency. Focus on demonstrating app’s features and core benefits that it offers. The design should be plain and simple but should also contain some of the emotional design elements. Make your potential users feel excited about trying out the app.
Here are some of the most compelling and inspiring mobile app landing pages:
App Profile Page
When speaking about the landing page and its impact on visitors, I cannot forget to mention about another important place which people visit when they search for the apps — the profile page in the app stores. That is second important place where you can convert visitors into loyal users. You can find some useful tips on how the perfect profile page should look like here. Customize your app’s profile page but keep in mind that it cannot replace the landing page as it won’t provide half as good user experience as the homepage will.
What comes next is to try to get as much reviews of your app as you can! There are several places where you can submit your app for a review. Try those one:
iPhone app review sites:
Android app review sites:
If you are a startup, you can submit your site to several places in order to put yourself and your app in front of the potential clients. Visit those sites and add your startup there:
- Startup Directory
- The Startup Pitch
- Launching Next
- The Startup Project
- Killer Startups
- Submit Your Startup
- Crunch Base
- Read Write
- Make Use Of
- Single Function
Think outside of the box
Sometimes it is good to stop for a while, take a deep breath and think of some extraordinary marketing actions that could help you get people’s attention. When we were planning promotional strategy for Appcase, we decided to build users’ curiosity and natural buzz by releasing a sneak peek. We hit the designers community and presented an exclusive tour inside our app. Dawid, our UI/UX designer, posted Appcase’s snapshots on his Dribbble profile adding some extra insights into how the landing page has been changing during the designing process.
We got a lot of feedback from the Dribbble community, as well as other people who heard about our tool.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to try something different! Think of all the communities that might be interested in using your app. Get to know them and try to get their interest in the most natural way.