For many businesses, developing an app is a significant investment and can represent the start of a new era. Whether you’re developing an eCommerce app to drive sales on the go, a piece of software that makes your customers’ lives easier, or a B2B app that positions your brand as an authority in your niche, it’s vital that you think about pre-launch marketing. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and money getting your app just right, so properly promoting it will ensure you reach the right people. Below, we’ve rounded up some strategies to consider.
Launch a landing page
Although most users will find your app on the App Store and Google Play Store, a website or landing page is a great way to properly communicate the core values and functions of your app and serve as a valuable SEO tool. Creating a clean, one-page website that highlights the benefits of your app with a clear call to action could help you drive additional downloads.
Publishing your website before you launch your app means it can double as a holding page, teasing future users of its features and collecting their email addresses and phone numbers so they can be notified when your app goes live. Collect 1,000 addresses before launch day, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed user base from the second your app goes live, without needing to worry about additional marketing efforts. Your social media accounts can work in conjunction with your landing page to generate hype and build brand awareness for the app.
Write your app store page
Alongside a landing page for your app, optimising your app store product page and taking advantage of Apple and Google’s pre-order functionality is another way to promote your app. Offer a brief overview of the functionality you’re planning to offer, screenshots showcasing its features, links to your social media accounts, and a video that offers an overview of your app can entice those who are looking for a product similar to yours. We recommend launching your app store page up to three months before your app goes live. Letting users pre-order the app will give you an indication of user numbers, and you can incentivize pre-orders by offering an exclusive benefit such as ad-free browsing or a coupon code to early adopters.
When you’re putting together your app store product pages, consider app store optimisation techniques to ensure you’re found organically by your future customers. Make sure your app name incorporates keywords relevant to your sector, add important elements to the first line of your description, and incorporate keywords into your copy that are likely to boost your ranking. It’s also worth investing in an eye-catching app icon, use attractive screenshots that show off your app in its glory, and accompanying descriptive text that search engines love.
Involve beta testers
Although beta testing is often done in-house, where developers spend time using your app and stress-testing it for bugs and reliability issues, it’s also worth involving the general public or at least a loyal subsection of your audience. Offering a small number of beta testing codes can allow you to collect real-time feedback from your future customer base; they’ll be able to record bugs, problems with your user interface, and general niggles that could be the difference between users downloading and using your app, and abandoning it after one go.
Apple offers its TestFlight program for free to those in the Apple Developer Program, and the added benefit is that you can build hype within your community. Allow beta testers to share screenshots of the app on social media and in forums, and you’ll spark interest from those who have to wait for access. Those who beta test will feel loyalty to your brand, and if their feedback and suggestions are taken on board, they’re more likely to become advocates.
Issue a press release
One of the best ways to increase your chances of success is to let the world know about your new app. Although paying for advertisements on the App Store and on social media is the most straightforward way of doing that, it’s also worth going down the more traditional route and issuing a press release. Sending a release to media outlets in your industry as well as the wider technology community could result in your app being featured on their site.
The more buzz there is about your product before it launches, the more likely you are to build an audience. Reach out to journalists, influencers, and relevant industry blogs and journals and offer them full, unlimited pre-release access to your app for review purposes. You could throw in some freebies such as lifetime access or a press kit featuring images of your app, a photoshoot of your app development team, and a roadmap of your future plans.
The more information you can provide about your app, and the more innovative your app appears, the more likely you are to be featured. Try to find a unique angle – rather than launching yet another taxi firm app, for example, position it as the first taxi firm in Dundee to build security features that protect vulnerable riders such as children or lone women, with direct access to local authorities, emergency services, and friends and family. Add in the human touch on top (you’re building the app after an increase in crime in the area) and you are bound to be picked up by local journalists and perhaps some regional or national titles.
Consider your launch day strategy
If you want to make a buzz when your app launches and stand a chance of appearing in the app store charts for your sector or location, you’ll need to make a good first impression and persuade potential users to download it. Before launch day, consider a marketing strategy that will maximise the number of downloads and app interactions, and consider a party or event that rewards those who sign up. Your app launch event doesn’t need to be flashy or expensive: indeed, you could even host it on YouTube or Twitch to reach a virtual audience.
Offer guests or virtual attendees a free gift for coming along to your event, and if you’re planning on hosting an event in person, choose a venue with good WiFi and offer clear instructions on finding and installing your app. Consider using a QR code and think about offering coupons or vouchers so that guests can redeem free access to premium features. With a little push, they’ll become brand evangelists and seed your app to their contacts.
Although there’s no guaranteeing whether an app will be successful on day one or not, the strategies we’ve outlined above should help you prepare for launch day. Let us know if you have any other suggestions and check back to our site soon for more app development tips.