You’re fast asleep at 2:00 AM when you are awoken with a Eureka Moment. You have just discovered an idea for a spectacular smartphone app. And you’re right, it is spectacular. In a year your app will be bigger than Angry Birds. But how do you get started? Getting a bold new mobile app idea is hard, but you’ve accomplished that. Now, how do you build it? That is harder still. Finally, how do you market it? That may be hardest of all.
Most experts have agreed on some important, mandatory steps that need to be taken. Many of them are the surefire, reliable tactics that online marketers have been using for years. For truly successful mobile app marketers, these approaches are combined with inventive marketing tactics specific to the mobile application industry. While some experts disagree on the details, they do agree on many of the steps. Let’s examine them here:
Prelaunch – Your marketing program has to start well before the official launch of your mobile app. As in any marketing project, you need to know who your customers are and where to find them. Some action needs to be taken to generate interest in your app. Word of mouth advertising, allowing a sneak and exclusive preview, creating a website for the app are all steps that can/should be taken before launch.
During pre-launch is the time when developers must decide on the keyword they will use to associate their mobile app with. The keyword should be relevant and unique. This will be the word that app users will use when exploring for your product.
Choose a catchy name. It too should be unique but descriptive of the product. This is very crucial in an app store search. Make sure you’re not violating any copyright laws. Don’t take this step lightly. It can make you a success or break you.
Check on your competitors. Some developers believe that since the mobile app market is so new, there aren’t many competitors out there. That is a mistake. Take a look at all the competitors. Then concentrate on the ones that have the most positive reviews. Those are the ones you will be concerned with.
Choosing the right category is an important step that many app developers overlook. Sales of apps are driven mainly by the ranking in the app stores’ Top Charts. It is important that you choose a category that your app can dominate. You have to decide what is better for your product. Some categories have more searchers, but others may be easier to rank in. You will have to do the calculation to decide which is best fit for you.
Looks matter. Design an app icon that conveys the purpose of your app, and does so in a stylish, attractive way. You want searchers to click on your app when they see it in the store. It should also stand out when it is loaded on a user’s phone, so it doesn’t get lost with all the other apps. Clearly, you want your app to be used regularly. Don’t let it get lost in the forest.
Post launch – There are two ways to go about marketing your app after the launch, paid and unpaid. Since not everyone has the resources for paid marketing, let’s look at some unpaid methods.
- Analytics. You need to understand your mobile app distribution and that of your competitors. There are several analytical tools available with different functionality. One worth looking at is App Annie.
- Getting reviewed on app sites is a great way to get noticed. Try to get featured on mobile app review sites. Reach out to these sites to get a review. Many apps get downloaded after a good review is posted.
- Do some research to find the blogs, and the authors themselves, who are writing about your direct competitors. Reach out to the authors and illustrate your app to them. Selling ideas to bloggers is tricky stuff. Put yourself in their shoes, understand their motives, and offer them something you feel they would want.
- Word of mouth is still the best way to sell a product. This means having a presence on social sites. Facebook and Twitter are reliable platforms to get word out about your product. Another platform that can be utilized is Path. Path is a social network dedicated to mobile app users. Users have the ability to share pictures publicly. The picture will be publicized on Path’s web site at path.com and can be shared via Twitter or Facebook. Viewers who are not users can then see the value at path.com and install the app quickly.
- Mobile may be the wave of the future, but the web still matters. Whenever a potential user searches Google for your app, they’ll find both your app’s detail page and your homepage. This makes a great web landing page a terrific device to convert web visitors into users. Remember that your app’s detail page in the app store is a very limited. Your web page should be the opposite. It should be full of content, entertaining, and engaging.
There are paid strategies that we are not going to get into here. Building a mobile application and selling it requires the same dedication, planning, and perseverance that any other invention would involve. With a lot of hard work, and a little luck, your app may be the next big thing to reach an iPhone or Android.