Building the next “big hit” app is quite the worthy goal, particularly here in San Francisco. While many app-based companies have hit the “jackpot” by offering unique solutions to niche problems, it’s safe to say that success rates are relatively low in today’s app market (which boasts nearly 3 million apps on Google PlayStore alone). In this blog, we’ll feature some tips that an early stage startup can implement while launching a new app, and highlight some strategic marketing and PR tactics that are necessary for success.
Think in Phases
Like for any other business, it is crucial to lay the strategic groundwork for success prior to launching your app. Ultimately, the goal of an app launch is to build buzz and acquire users, so it’s important to outline a strategy to capture attention before your app officially launches. Once your app is developed and ready to go to market, you want to create a marketing plan that is split into pre-launch and post-launch phases, each with dedicated steps that are designed to maximize results.
Create a Landing Page
To begin building buzz in the pre-launch stage, start by creating a landing page with well-designed messaging that positions your app and attracts targeted users. This landing page will serve to announce your app and launch date as well as accurately (and visually) convey your app’s unique functionality and value propositions. Be sure to hone your messaging so that it’s succinct and evocative; if you do not have a marketing team at your disposal, consider hiring a professional agency like ours to define the most appropriate messaging, marketing strategy, and presentation treatment.
Address Your Social Presence
You’ll want to send relevant traffic to your landing page, so create paid Facebook and/or AdWords campaigns targeting consumer audience segments relevant to you app category or function, and direct that traffic to your landing page. (Pro-tip: If applicable, entice users with an invite to download a Beta version if they provide their email address or refer a friend. This will build an air of exclusivity and increase the buzz about your app, as well as drive some initial interest before you’ve officially launched.)
Time for PR
Once you have a landing page in place and your advertising campaign is running you are off to a good start. However, keep in mind that press coverage can maximize your exposure and influence your sales significantly. Make sure to draft and distribute a press release announcing your app in the weeks leading up to your release. You’ll want a professional team with an established network of contacts (analysts, reporters, & influencers) to assist you in pitching your app, so be sure to hire an agency that is well versed in PR to get your communications efforts under way. An experienced PR team will coordinate with top publications to build buzz, will ensure that reporters adhere to any embargoed information to avoid an accidental public launch until your app is officially released). For more information about start-up PR services, please feel free to reach out.
App Store Optimization
In the days prior to your app launch, be sure that your App Store profile is optimized. You want prospective users to be able to find your app. Search engine optimization (SEO) is for websites, what app store optimization is for mobile apps. Specifically, app store optimization includes the process of ranking highly in an app store’s search results and top charts rankings.
ASO marketers and mobile marketing companies agree that ranking higher in search results and top charts rankings will drive more downloads for an app. For effective optimization, make sure that your description is succinct and accurate. Outbrain recommends concentrating on a using 3-4 long-tail keywords in your app description (keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever you are selling), and providing screenshots that highlight your main app features.
Post Launch (How I Learned to Love Digital Marketing)
In the post-launch phase of your marketing plan, you’ll want to focus your attention on efforts that will build momentum and combat retention loss. Boost your spend on mobile-install ads on Facebook and AdWords to maximize downloads as much as possible, and also consider running promoted campaigns on Instagram to increase your app visibility. Instagram has proven to be an excellent source of downloads for apps, you find a lot of value by devoting attention to paid campaigns and possible partnerships with influencers.
Additionally, post-launch is a great time to use giveaways to garner large numbers of app downloads, so consider a giveaway campaign that’s tailored to your app segment to increase user interest. The goal here is to expose as many people as possible to your app via a giveaway landing page, not to force them to download your app to enter.
Retention is Everything
Based on Quettra’s research data, the average app loses 77% of its daily mobile users within the first three days of launch. Likewise, an analysis on retention rates found that, “users try out a lot of apps but decide which ones they want to ‘stop using’ within the first 3-7 days. For ‘decent’ apps, the majority of users retained for 7 days stick around much longer. The key to success is to get the users hooked during that critical first 3-7 day period.”
Retain users through adding value and influencing them to come back. For example, show users only what they need, and streamline your interface to make the UX as simple as possible. This is crucial, as that 26%, or 1 out of every 4 installed apps, are abandoned after first use.
Staying in Touch
Re-engagement after onboarding is also crucial to keep retention numbers high. Users will return to your app when it brings them value that is constant, so it’s important to design this into your marketing strategy from the beginning. Simple strategies like providing occasional coupons can keep retention levels high, and strengthen your app loyalty. In fact, a Google study found that of the 77% of daily mobile users that stop using apps almost immediately, 30% would use an app again if offered a discount, and 24% would reuse an app if offered exclusive or bonus content.
Track the Numbers
We all know that analytics is key to the success for any digital endeavor. Luckily, mobile apps benefit from a suite of analytics tracking tools that offer specialized, real-time user tracking to offer insights into how users engage. In addition to app analytics that track downloads and user info, developers can track real-time visual information such as touch heat maps that visually display all of the taps, swipes, and pinches on locations of the screen where users are interacting most. Additionally, with services like AppSee, you can track the screens where users spend most of their time, locate screens where users drop out the most, and define user interface elements that cause problems in the user experience.
It’s crucial to comb over the details to make sure your app screen-flow and UI/UX are as streamlined, inviting, and intuitive as possible. A major key to retention is effectively utilizing analytics tools to monitor, analyze, optimize, launch, and repeat. We understand that Apps are works of art, and like art we know that your app is never completely finished. We think this is a good thing, though, and want to help you do everything that you can to mold your app experience to suit the needs of your users. Because remember – once they’re gone, you almost certainly won’t see them again.
For more information on this topic or for information about our app launching services, please be sure to reach out here.