Secrets of a Successful App Launch

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You have an app in market. Now what? To ensure your app gets discovered and gains popularity, it’s time to take off your Developer cap and think like a Marketer. Here are a few tips toward a successful app launch, backed by advice from some of the most notable marketing practitioners of our time.

Get Social

“Instead of one-way interruption, Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.” – David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR

Set up a Social Media presence for your app. Beyond the online store where your app is available, you’ll want to create an online environment for fans to congregate, share experiences and interact with your brand. Social media environments such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ serve as an interactive exchange – a two-way communication channel – that lets you hear and respond to your user base directly.

Social media channels are not just a vehicle to push out your marketing messages. Instead, use social media channels as an opportunity to engage, surprise and delight your fans on a regular basis. This is where you can reveal secrets about your app, ask trivia questions about your app, award special in-app perks and privileges, and ask for input.

Once you commit to starting a page, accept that it is an ongoing responsibility and keep the conversations going on a regular basis. You get out what you put in.

Be interesting

“Write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

Become the destination that your users will visit repeatedly for new information. Take stock of the different channels you control, and write about your app across as many “owned” channels as possible.
– Your blog: write about topics of interest that are related to your app, the overall industry your app serves, and share a unique point of view.
– Your email list: why not conduct a fun survey to discover new opportunities to serve your fans, or communicate updates, newly added features, available upgrades, and share any opportunities for your community to meet you in person – perfect if you attend tradeshows, industry conferences, etc.
– Within your other apps: Cross-promote with in-app ads if you have more than one app.

Optimize for SEO/ASO

“Think about what a user is going to type.” – Matt Cutts, Google

When customers search online for their interests, (perhaps looking for an app that will match their need), will they find you easily? As you develop content, think about the words potential customers will use when they type in a query subject. Then integrate those phrases or keywords into your content to improve the chances that your links will come up in the relevant searches.

Earn PR

“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” – John D. Rockefeller

Try to earn favorable reviews from fans and critics. Submit your app to review sites such as Touch Arcade, 148apps, and several others. Get as much of that good “earned” media as possible by asking bloggers and journalists to write about your app.

Promote Your App via Mobile Apps

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” – Ted Turner

Proactively improve your chances of getting your app discovered. Achieving critical mass of users and getting your user base to grow often requires the support from an ad network partner / discovery network. Call in the experts to drive visibility of your app and help you reach users who are actively searching for cool apps just like yours.

There are a few considerations when evaluating a partner:

> Self-Serve vs Managed Accounts:
How do you like to work? Ad networks offer self-service and managed services. If you are not entirely confident setting up and managing your campaigns, then an ad network offering managed services is a good fit. On the other hand, if you have experience managing mobile ad campaigns and the resources to do so, the self-service set up offers freedom and control.

> Incentivized vs. non-incentivized environment:
In an incentivized environment, a mobile user is rewarded for interacting with your ad message. A non-incentivized environment does not lure users to an ad by offering them a perk for their participation. Both strategies have their place in mobile advertising, however, non-incentivized is a nice quality filter because users who engage with ads are genuinely interested in your content and therefore are more likely to have a higher Lifetime Value.

> Select the right bidding model:
If your primary goal is user acquisition (aka driving Downloads of your app,) these types of campaigns are typically suited to a CPI (Cost-per-install) model as you will only pay for installs of your app. CPA/CPE (Cost per action/engagement) campaigns are offered by some ad networks and are useful in driving a higher potential for Lifetime Value of users, (e.g., calculated by tracking specific in-app events such as when a user finishes the first level of a game). However, RTB networks optimize in real-time and such campaigns have trouble driving large volumes of actions due to the delay in tracking these events.

And last, but certainly not least:

“Give them quality. That’s the best form of advertising.” – Milton Hershey, founder, The Hershey Chocolate Company.

Dale Carr, the author of this post, is the founder and CEO of LeadBolt