For programmers, building that dream app is a true passion project. But passion alone won’t turn an app into a success.
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According to data from Startup Grind, it can take anywhere from 10 to 38 weeks to build an app. Within this time frame the amount of time required to finish the project largely depends on the scope of the app and the number of features included. Developers have to allot time for scoping, UI/UX design, development and beta testing.
Related: Marketing Your App with User-Generated Content
Needless to say, there is a lot of work that goes into making sure your app performs as desired. Unfortunately, all too often, a lot of that prep work goes to waste due to poor marketing and an outright lousy launch.
But that doesn’t have to happen: After the countless hours you’ve put into planning and programming your app, you don’t want it to turn into a flop, right? Therefore, follow these steps to plan, to ensure your app gets the marketing it needs to succeed.
1. Use promo codes and an app press kit to build buzz.
Just as you would do when marketing any other type of product,making sure you get third-party press attention prior to launching your app is one of the best ways to get the word out to your target audience. But you can’t expect journalists to simply stumble upon your app on their own.
So, increase your chances of receiving coverage by providing tech journalists with a press kit and promo codes. The press kit should include screenshots, icons, app descriptions and links that provide all the information needed for someone to write about an app. Videos are a great help at showcasing features and highlighting your brand’s story.
You can get even better results by letting reporters go hands-on, with an advance version of your app via promo codes. Promo codes can actually be supplied to journalists before your app officially launches, giving them a chance to test out its features and write a hands-on review.
2. Build up your website.
If you get press coverage in the weeks leading up to your app’s launch, you’ll need to be mindful of the fact that many publications prefer linking to a website, rather than directly to the app itself. Similarly, many potential customers will go to a website to learn more about the app before they download it to their device.
As Niven Singh wrote for Intel’s Developer Zone, “Some customers will be happy to download your app based on the basic app description, but others need more information, and want the ability to dig much deeper. The best way to engage with those consumers is to provide rich content and extended info, such as detailed app features, detailed app benefits, how it compares to other apps, how it compares to other (non-app) solutions [and] company bios and profile.”
A website will also allow you to share news and updates with customers, receive feedback and highlight press coverage in ways aren’t possible with an app store listing alone.
3. Focus on the right platforms for your app.
Publishing a mobile app isn’t free, and this will have a direct impact on your app development budget. For example, developers who publish to the Apple App Store are charged an annual fee of $99. To publish your own app on the Google Play Store, you’ll pay a $25 fee.
Of course, picking the right platforms for your app isn’t just a matter of budget — it’s a question of determining where your audience is, which can also go a long way toward determining where your advertising budget should go. A comprehensive report from AppsFlyer that evaluated more than 20 billion app installs reported that while Facebook was the top ad platform for gaming-app-user acquisition, Google’s growth stemmed largely from non-gaming apps.
Related: Marketing an App? Cut Your Facebook Ad Costs Dramatically With These Tips.
At the same time, lesser-known platforms like AppLovin and ironSource are currently seeing significant growth in the gaming niche, according to AppsFlyer’s Performance Index data. While improving an app’s likelihood of being discovered via activity across multiple platforms makes sense, you’ll be smart to start with the networks that offer the greatest growth potential for your niche. Research potential platforms before launching to determine if your app will be a good fit for those audiences’ interests.
4. Provide audience incentives.
Audience incentives have consistently been proven to be one of the best ways to fuel organic growth for apps. Chick-Fil-A made headlines in People when it ran a month-long promo that gave users free chicken nuggets in return for placing an order using the restaurant’s app.
Chick-Fil-A and many other restaurant apps also use rewards programs that allow users to accumulate points for free foods and other prizes — an easy way to encourage continued sales and app growth.
Regardless of your niche, it’s essential to consider ways to incentivize the use and sharing of your app. Mobile games could offer extra tokens or credits to users who get friends to download the game. And organizer apps can engage in cross-promotions to offer discounts on certain products. Whenever you can give something away, users will become more interested.
5. Look to niche networks.
Major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are great places to advertise your app, but don’t be afraid to go to smaller, more niche platforms. Sites like Reddit and Quora feature countless sub-niches, which makes it easier to hone-in your targeting on a specific group.
When you provide relevant ad content to a highly engaged niche group, its members will be far more likely to respond favorably and download your app. Other niche advertising methods like retargeting will also help you make better use of your marketing budget because you can focus on people who are already aware of your app.
Related: How to Market Your App So It Finds Worldwide Success (Infographic)
For many programmers, building that dream app is a true passion project. But passion alone won’t turn your app into a success. By planning for your marketing needs and leaving plenty of room for it in your budget, you’ll be able to ensure a higher number of downloads from day one.