This guest post is by one of Clarity’s top experts, Sylvain Gauchet. When it comes to marketing your mobile application he has helped startups all over the world and has quite a bit of experience to show for it, including:
- Being an all-knowing jedi master of App Store Optimization (ASO)
- Co-Founding Apptamin who’ve helped hundreds of developers market their apps
- Created app videos for a range of big ticket startups like Booking.com, Chupa Mobile, Twitchat and many more
The idea of “build it and they will come” just doesn’t work, even in a crowded market. We see app developers still releasing apps without any (or not enough) feedback from customers or any real app marketing strategy. The result is your worst nightmare… not having the traction you hoped for.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. And if you’re an app developer you can get a lot of good tips from successful startups on how to build the right product and market your app.
1. Easiest Way To Do Market Research
Considering the amount of time and/or money you’re going to put into building your app, you want to make sure there’s a demand for it.
You want to fill a gap, and a big one if possible.
Start by doing some market research and it doesn’t need to be convoluted. Here is a simple method:
- Estimating Market Size: use Xyo.net to estimate volumes of downloads you can expect by looking at your competitors space
- Differentiating: to find a different approach or satisfy unhappy customers go to the app store and read competitors app reviews. Where do they suck and where can you take advantage?
Taking no more than a few hours to compile this information will give you a good enough understanding of your market to move forward without wasting too much time.
2. Getting Die Hard Fans Through Feedback
If you feel like there is something to be done in a specific niche market, start brainstorming on the idea and define what feature your app should be built around.
Do not lock yourself up into a room for months until your app is ready to be released though.
Whether they are potential customers or your peers, talk to people about your ideas. Chances are they will give you great insights and feedback that you couldn’t get just with your market research.
You don’t want your first real feedback to be an app store review.
Start generating interest around your app from the beginning. This is what defines great apps that kill it and get over millions of downloads when they launch.
You don’t need to have a completed product to put up a landing page with a sexy design and a sign up form.
Start by collecting emails from potential customers and testers right away, and engage them. Don’t just get their emails and send them something when the app is released, they’ll have no idea who you are.
Keep them in the loop, and make the ones that are the most excited about your product your beta testers. At the end of the day, these are the individuals who will rally for you as your die hard fans when you launch.
3. Build a MVP
Apps are simple products. They are often meant to do one thing, and one thing well.
That means that even more than a startup, you need to build a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to confirm (or not) your market research.
This doesn’t mean a buggy app though, as it would be rejected by Apple and get you negative reviews when released.
It needs to be simple but polished, allowing to do something efficiently while having a great design.
4. More Than One Way to Acquire Users
Yes, ASO (App Store Optimization) is important. And you have to make everything you can so users find you easily within the mobile app stores.
But you can’t rely only on that. And you probably don’t have the deep pockets to buy your way into the top charts neither.
That’s why you have to build a marketing strategy that uses several channels, from content marketing and SEO to forums and social media.
If you’re building an app for a specific niche, start creating interesting and useful content from day 1. Share not only your philosophy and why you’re building your application, but also (and more importantly) content that people will keep coming back for and share.
5. Pitching the Right Way
You’re excited about your new app, and that’s great.
But the truth is that people like bloggers and journalists are highly solicited. And those are the ones you want to be interested in your app if you want to get some press.
You’ll have their attention for only a few seconds before they decide if they want to learn more or not, so you need to pitch them right and include all the needed elements:
- Make sure you express the uniqueness of your app straight from the subject of the email
- insert a short pitch
- the link to the app and its price
- a couple screenshots
- a promo video
- all the ways they can contact you.
If your app is still a work in progress (it should always be) and you’re pitching an influencer in your niche, don’t hesitate to ask for feedback.
6. Quality and Quantity
If you do what I’ve mentioned so far, chances are your app will change quite a lot since between the initial idea and the time it’s released.
You need to keep on updating your app to make it better.
Sometimes it will mean more features. Sometimes it will mean focusing on a feature that you noticed people liked the best.
Just as startups pivot, your app can evolve.
Use as much feedback as you can (quality), as well as in-app analytics (quantity) to determine what you should focus on and improve.
Getting downloads for your app, and more importantly having customers that keep coming back to it, is hard. But by making your research before starting, building something people like and with a unique approach, you’ll be going in the right direction. Avoid mistakes or make them fast and learn from them to improve your app.
Talk to Sylvain Gauchet on Clarity about Mobile App Marketing, App Store Optimization or how to make your App Promo video.Tags: developing apps, marketing, startups