Designing-done, developing-done, iterating- yes, done, testing-over, okay so, it is finally ‘the time’ to launch your baby, your mobile app, on the app stores. Now, anyone who has marketed an app can vouch for the fact that the process can be exciting as well as daunting at the same time. After all, it is the time when your hard work has to pay off and you don’t want to ruin anything before the big launch. Truth is that this is also the stage when startups make critical mistakes and blow out all the efforts put in. A lucrative app launch is the one that delivers real-world results, favors installs and enhances store ranking. But if you fail to achieve critical mass timely at the time of a launch, it can prove to be disastrous to a new venture, in terms of returns on investments.
Fortunately, there are millions of apps in the app store that can give us valuable lessons to rectify our mistakes, so that we don’t commit them again. Remember before you commence the development of an app, it is crucial to know the design, technical and content parameters that we employ to review all apps. Never ever be confused with the idea that making an app available to the app stores is equivalent to launching an app. Makers realize this mistake when it is too late and they are left empty ended waiting for the downloads to pour in.
Yes, they won’t come in as the app got lost somewhere amongst the 1.5 MM other apps and it missed the chance to prove its worth. As per a recent survey, the biggest challenge engulfing the app developers isn’t design or development rather it’s promotion. So, before you upload your app in the apps stores, there are certain strategic points you must consider. Below are some of the tips, which if noted, will transform your apps and make them hog all the limelight-
1. The Marketing Action
You can’t just create an app and expect magic to happen! Signups aren’t purely a thing of luck. App marketing is important and there ought to be a plan before introducing mobile apps in the market. Okay, to begin with, a website will do. The website must have an effective landing page that defines the purpose of the app as well as lays down any changes or updates made in it. Social media can be of quite a help in promotion.
Generally, apps include MVP in the initial stages and then as time passes, updates are added as per user feedback. Timely updates and changes are useful as they keep your users informed. It is actually a great approach to gathering email addresses to convey any future development plans to the users. This makes them eager for the new updates to ping and thus, keeps them connected with the app.
2. Bugs On Fix
Bugs happen all the time. Even testing can’t protect you. So, it’s better that you recognize them and treat them quickly, particularly the ones associated with a new release. Buggy apps lose the race in the app stores as users give poor ratings to them and reject them altogether. Rope in a developer or an agency to handle bug reports.
It will be good if you keep the original app developer in the loop too as they can enlighten more on the code design and architecture. Error fixing won’t be tough for them as they coded the app in the first place.
3. The Key Users
Your app helps to meet the user goals and that is your USP. You must know your power users who can contribute in the promotional events and feedback. Your app can garner a lot of attention with the aid of decision makers as they are the ones who spread the word in popularizing the app either in the enterprise or amid like-minded users. Now, these are the individuals who seek solutions to problems, so try to collect maximum feedback from them for future updates.
Power users are also sort of decision makers, are techno-savvy people, familiar with the workings of the industry and voice their feedback very well. These users are your target group as with them you can receive a lot of feedback on all elements of UI, UX, and workflow. They bring to notice the weak areas requiring changes, thereby making your app more interactive. If you want your marketing to make an impact, focus on both of these target markets. Website landing page and target email promotions are the best tools to increase the count of your quality users.
4. Link Up
5. Final Matter
You must make a final approval of all the text and images in your app prior to submitting it for a review. Apps still in progress mode and having placeholder content are not in the best position to be distributed and cannot be accepted.
6. Complete Details
Fill in all the details that are asked in the App Review Information section of iTunes Connect. If signing in is needed, then provide a valid demo account username and password. On demand of particular configurations, give separate essentials for each of them. If features demand an environment that is difficult to match upon or needs certain hardware, be ready with a demo video or the hardware. Remember to include the contact information that is complete and up-to-date.
7. Clear Descriptions
Your app should include such description and screenshots that clearly tells about your app’s functionality. This gives users a better understanding of your app and leads to a powerful App Store experience.
8. True To Users
Your app should stick to the claims made in the advertisement and not pretend something that it is not. If your app promotes certain features and elements unique in the market, it should not deviate from it and keep its promise.
9. Poor User Interface
Apple invests its resources in creating fine, clean and user-centric interfaces. Stick to these criteria while planning your design and you will bring out an amazing interface.
10. Reach Out Bloggers or Newsmakers
This is a super way to market your app especially for creating that initial traction. Don’t just approach any blogger and come in contact with the sites that enable readership. Take note of popular bloggers and news reporters who have a good market value using search engines or through your industry network. For example, if you build an app that caters to solving a problem in the finance industry, it is beneficial to contact financial bloggers and request them to review the app. You can even ask sites that publish information relevant to your field.
Generally, you have to convey ideas to news outlets and form content targeting site’s audience and that of your own. Content outreach programs is a great platform to reach the public on the initial basis as you develop your site’s reputation and following with time. Don’t forget, PR is not a destination rather it is a journey. Create a publicity campaign that is compelling and hard to ignore.
Pitch your creative product to social media influencers like YouTube and Instagram, avail all the opportunities to promote at industry events and do participate in the local business award. Once you get ample coverage, update your website and press kit and then eye for top publishers on your wish list if there is a fascinating angle to pitch like a celebrity opting for your app or your app being a favorite amongst users during the national event.
11. Track It All
To know the level of user engagement with the app, there are various tracking and analytics APIs available in the market. Some of them can even point out where you get fewer users in the app. It is seen that new app startups get a good rise in app installs, but when it comes to a badly framed app, they miss out on user trust and end up getting uninstalled.
Tracking brings forward the areas where you are poor in user engagement so that you can redesign specific screen or amend the workflow accordingly. The analytics are usually over critical to the new app makers so that you don’t completely ignore the user feedback based on their experience. If you can’t gather much feedback from users, these tracking APIs can provide data based on user behavior.
12. Follow The Terms
Although of less interest, still, you must be aware of the publishing workflow and terms of service fixed by both the Apple Store and Google Play. Even if they are same in criteria, it is important to be acquainted with them if you aspire to publish to both of the Stores. If you choose only one, be familiar with what all is permitted to be published.
Actually, you should know these conditions even before you make an app to keep all the publishing prohibited content like gambling or alcohol-related apps at bay. That said, even then the workflow process isn’t as significant till you are fully ready to publish the app.
At the time of submitting your app for review, you will be enquired if your app makes use of Advertising Identifier (IDFA) to market advertisements. If you confirm that your app has IDFA, but is not open to add functionality or does not show ads correctly, your app may be discarded. Be careful to test your app on an iOS device to see whether the ads work properly or not.
Again, if you say that your app does not have IDFA, but it uses so, your app will have the label ‘invalid binary’. The right approach is to be proactive when it comes to advertisements. Now, the creators think that a budget has already been spent on developing the app, so what is the need for advertising resources; let the returns decide the future plan of action. This is absolutely a wrong notion.
Yes, organic traffic contributes to a major portion of traffic, but paid acquisition can amplify your acquisition efforts and will take you to your ROI goals faster. Fixing an advertising budget will bring your app in the eyes of the public and give a tremendous boost to traffic, which will ultimately deliver better rankings.
14. Interactive Content
The more interactive and usable your app is the better are its chances of becoming a hit with the audience. The features that are unique to iOS should be best utilized to raise the attractive quotient. iOS apps giving way to websites, unformatted web matter for iOS and less web engagement are some reasons that ruin the making of a quality app.
15. Avoid Similar Apps
Providing apps that are similar in nature and kind halts the App Review process and leads to the rejection of many apps. Enhance your review experience and the delight of your prospective users by wittily merging your apps into one.
16. More Lasting Value
If your app is of the type that fails on the ground of functionality and content or is suitable for only a small segment of the target audience, chances are that it will fail in gaining approval. Just before you begin the process of crafting your app evaluate the other apps in the same category on the App Store and think what can be done to augment user experience to another level.
17. App Store Optimization (ASO) – A Must
A big myth plaguing the minds of the app makers is that ASO is ‘once set and done’ thing and doesn’t need much budget. But the truth is that if you optimize keywords consistently and incorporative competent innovations, it will not only improve the results but will benefit in terms of meeting the expectations and ability to implement the changes. And the fact that organic traffic is posting such a stiff competition to your app store traffic, it is very risky to neglect optimization in this channel.
18. The Offline Word
Mobile users are found everywhere- online and offline. Combining your traditional campaigns with the latest mobile call-to-actions can keep the users connected very well. You can record more mobile conversions with the help of instore marketing, events, TV and radio spots, publicity stunts and billboard advertising through a short URL or QR code that links to your landing page or takes directly to the app stores.
19. Discovery Platforms
If you want your app to be captured by targeted audience, use discovery platforms like PreApps, AppGratis, and AppPicker as they can do the deed at little to no cost. These sites do feature, review and share your apps to their users, but the competition is so wide that it is necessary to make your app stand out on a specialized app discovery site so as to rule the specific target markets. A good example is iPhone Mom for kids’ iOS apps.
20. Make It Viral
Want to know the perfect growth hack for your app? Virality. Many app publishers ignore this factor until their app is already live. Virality means to have in-app strategies like referral campaigns, user-devised content campaigns, and social sharing so as to make the users popularize your app, thus paving referral traffic back to your app store. Once you deduce the user profile that can produce viral traffic for you, you can rightly optimize your paid campaigns for maximum gains.
A great deal of hard work goes into creating an app, but coding isn’t where it all stops. For an app to top the charts in the app store, you have to strategize a lot on marketing and work towards the changes based on your users’ feedback. Don’t want your app to fall flat as against the other million apps in the marketplace? Refine it to suit the needs of your users. Meet their expectations. Focus thoroughly on optimizing your user acquisition efforts.
The above points will help you in polishing your app and making it extraordinary for the market standards, even if there is less competition to battle with. App stores are flooded with apps, so if you want a powerful presence of your own, stay ahead of the curve!