10 Critical Steps To Launching A Mobile App

219,000 mobile apps launch every year, less than 1% of them will be giant.

Household names like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, and more take years of work. Successfully launching a great mobile app is hard. At VUE we’ve seen thousands of apps come through and in our past helped apps get hundreds of thousands of downloads.

Our friend’s over at LinkTexting recently wrote a post called 10,000 apps later and lessons learned about the optimizations you should follow to create a great app.

It’s critical to get the app into a lot of user’s hands early, talking with them, and improving the app.

We’ve outlined a few mission critical steps to launching your new app that we grouped into 4 stages.

Stage 1: Marketing The Initial Idea

Use the following steps to attain hundreds or thousands of beta testers for your new app

1) Setup Facebook Page/Twitter account

These are the two must haves, you can expand to Tumblr, Instagram, etc. accounts, whatever is best for your app

2) Create a viral landing page

Download the template shown above here.

Use MockUPhone, Promotee, or other similar services to make a screenshot wrapped in a device.

Use Untorch for your beta signups.

Untorch asks users to share on Facebook with a referral code upon sign up and you offer a rewards for those that get 5+ users to sign up with their code.

Reward best practices
Give away a gift for social shares + beta access
- 1 year free
- Free T-Shirt

3) Send your launch page to everyone you’ve ever met

Share your idea with all your friends on Facebook, Twitter, from your personal and your app accounts, ask for likes, tweets, and sign ups. Hustle!

4) Post your app to beta launch websites

There are a wealth of websites for the newest apps that are coming soon. We recently launched a number of products (Vue, Intro, LinkTexting) on the below websites and ranked them in order of number of signups achieved.

  1. Startup Submitter
  2. Beta List
  3. Erlibird
  4. Idea Squares
  5. Startupli.st

Stage 2: The Beta Launch

Once you’ve amassed a list of beta testers, here are the must have tools to help you work with those early users and improve your app.

1) UserVoice

Feedback is key. Not having a way for your users to give feedback is a product sin. Especially in the start stage. Most of your analytics in the start stage are statistically insignificant.

With UserVoice it’s extremely easy to add a small widget into your app where they can send feedback directly to you on how they like the app and features they wish it had.

2) Crashlytics

When you have a new app it’s going to be buggy, but where is your app breaking? Crashlytics is a great service to help you fix all those annoying bugs.

3) VUE

Although analytics aren’t as useful at this early stage, they are extremely useful to determine who is coming back and using your app and to proactively reach out to those that are and aren’t and learn why.

Make sure you have a tool to know which of your users are visiting your app and what they are doing the most. Is one of your big features used by only 1% of your users? Use VUE and find out.

Stage 3: Preparing for launch

After iterating with your beta testers, building up a passionate initial user base, and building an amazing app, here’s a couple tools/best practices to add to make that initial launch as best as possible.

1) LinkTexting — SMS to download

When you get the initial rush from posting to a Product Hunt, Hacker News, etc. you want to be able to convert these users as best as possible.

A lot of large apps have used text-to-download forms on their website as the fastest way to get your user from the desktop to the app store on their device. Instead of building it yourself LinkTexting offers this as an easy to use service that takes less than 30 seconds to implement.

2) Ask for App Reviews

The app stores are big on showing off the highly rated apps, so make sure you’re asking your users to review your app.

A common way is to simply pop up an alert asking for a review while they’re using the app. That is very intrusive to the user experience and would not recommend this.

A better way to execute this is after the user performs a core action in your app, ask if they’re enjoying the app or not in a screen that flows directly with your app’s UI/UX.

If they aren’t enjoying your app, ask for feedback via UserVoice, if they are enjoying it, ask them to rate it! Making a seamless process for getting the best user/app feedback and ratings.

Ember app has a good example of how this is done. They do it on about page, but putting this screen after beating a level, or creating your 10th post on a social/messaging platform are also great times to ask.

Stage 4: Launch Day!

And it finally comes time for you to unleash your awesome app to the world ☺

1) Post to Product Launch Websites

Below are a list of the best websites we’ve seen for launching your product and research on the best times/practices for posting:

  1. Product Hunt: The best place to launch new products (Best time is 7am PST)
  2. Hacker News: A community of hackers from the team at Y Combinator (don’t do a voting ring! They will down your post)
  3. Startuplister: They hand submit your startup to many tech news outlets strategically over time for you.

2) If you have good contacts get a TechCrunch/The Next Web/Verge article ☺

This is number 11 and a bit of a bonus. You can’t always control this, but the best way to get an article is to be friends with a writer. TechCrunch doesn’t write about you, a journalist there does, make some friends!

Marketing and building a successful app is hard.

The above are just a few of the steps to take to getting your app out there. There are countless other things you can do, but these are some key steps we’ve found that will help you effectively get off the ground.

Are there any other steps you all consider critical for optimizing your app launch? Let us know with a response or email us at brian(at)vueanalytics.co