Did you know that at least 50% of businesses that have millennial owners have their own apps? There is clearly an incentive to businesses having their own apps to enable better interaction with clients and grow sales. Airlines, banks, tech service companies, and restaurants have apps to enable customers to access services quicker and to keep them within their ecosystem to boost loyalty.
This sounds quite appealing. However, scrolling through app stores shows you that for any service, there are tens, if not hundreds, of options. The barrier to entry into the app space is rather low. As such, major groundwork needs to go into preparing for an app launch to boost the chances of success. The financial cost of launching an app can go into tens of thousands depending on the nature of the app. This further increases the incentive to carry out the launch process as precisely as possible. Here are 6 steps to follow when launching your app.
Market Research before Launching your Mobile App
Whenever you get an idea for an app, chances are that several apps already exist to solve the same problem you intend to. Therefore, you will need to carry out research to see if a market really exists for your idea to flourish. Prepare a spreadsheet with the list of all the apps you’d have to compete with. Note whether they are available on both Android and iOS. What are their pricing models? What is their average rating? How long have they been on the market? When was their last update? Such questions will help you see whether a gap exists.
It would be futile to go through with the launch of an app without a clear strategy. In fact, any investors in your idea will want to know your differentiation strategy. Is it price, regular updates, customer satisfaction, better functionality, or something different?
Defining the Metrics of Success
Once you are sure that a gap exists for your app, you must develop a method to determine the success of your launch. It is not advisable to simply look at the number of downloads from the different stores. Active install rate shows the number of users who install your app and do not uninstall it after interacting with it a couple of times. You could also look at the amount of revenue generated, if your app is not available for free. Other metrics include the average customer rating. In fact, you should have a method to absorb the written comments that accompany ratings on app stores.
It’s crucial that your app is available across multiple platforms, including browsers. A cross-platform development approach may be expensive in the beginning, but it pays off in terms of reach in the long-run.
Creating Content for Marketing your Mobile App
Before your beta launch, you will need to generate content to market your app. You should record demos on how to use the app, including how it weaves into the real-life scenarios for your target audience. You will also need press releases, blog posts, web copy, and email marketing copy ready before the launch.
By now, you should have social media accounts across all platforms to help generate interest among potential early users. If possible, join a community of fellow developers to help generate feedback on the UI of your app. It is also important to have a dedicated webpage for your app prior to the big launch. Here, users should be able to view a demo, read about the app, and sign up for an alert once it hits the market. Companies that do this tend to see more numbers than they would have had immediately after the launch.
ASO and Creating a Buzz before Launching your Mobile App
You’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is optimizing your web pages to rank for certain keywords your audience are likely to look up. Similarly, you need to optimize your app (App Store Optimization) on the various stores so that your potential users can find you easily. You’ll need to write excellent copy with your chosen keywords, pick the right categories when adding your app to the store, and include screenshots on your download page to show use cases of your app.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy is non negotiable in this process. First, to generate a buzz, it would be advisable to invite tech journalists, bloggers, reviewers, and other thought leaders to try out your app. This should happen weeks before the launch of your app. This can help find bugs or take in suggestions on the UI/UX of your app. Give them free range to review your app to their audiences. If any of them are not willing to produce review content, you can request them to share a download link once the app is launched.
If you have a marketing budget for the launch, you can set up paid advertising during the launch week. These ads should mainly create awareness of what problem your app solves. On social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, users can either be redirected to your profile or straight away to the app store where they have the chance to download your app.
There are companies that have created a buzz through an invite-only beta launch. This exclusivity makes people eager to test your app, especially if it is a social app. It also gives you the chance to make mistakes without too much reputational damage as only a few people will have joined your community.
Major Launch of the App
After having given your app a few weeks in the market, you can plan a major launch party. It’s now customary to have a livestream where people can follow the proceedings as if it were a webinar. Go into a detailed demo of the app’s main features, what makes it different from competitors, and any offers you might have during the launch. At this point, ensure that your downlink is widely available on your website, your social media handles, and those of any influencers you may be working with.
Reviews and Coming Soon Features
After launching your app, you will need to constantly monitor feedback on user experiences and expectations. No matter how good your research was, you will hardly get everything right on the first iteration of the app. A customer-centric approach to development is crucial for sustained use of the app. Send out communication to your users on new features you are testing and bugs you have recently fixed. Users who are invested in the app need to feel that their feedback is being taken seriously.
Major companies have an update blog where they constantly keep users informed on changes made to the app. The blog also serves as a sort of hub to collect comments from the savviest of the app’s users. When major changes happen, you can send push-notifications to users on their devices to ensure they stay informed on how such changes will affect their experience on the app.
Research, Prepare, Succeed!
The successful launch of a mobile app is never a fluke, especially when tens of competing apps already have an established market share. Research is quite important in identifying a gap and strategy to carve out a market. Research helps to also define the metrics of success for your mobile app launch. Generating enough marketing content, app store optimization, and working with industry thought leaders is crucial in creating a buzz in the market. Once your app is widely available and beta testing has been conducted, you can proceed with a major launch. Still, you will need to keep refreshing your app and informing your users of new features you intend to roll out.