The Best Way to Launch Your Mobile App
No matter how brilliant the concept, no matter how skilled the programmers, or how savvy the marketing team, there’s always something that can trip you up when you least expect it. Especially when it's time to launch an app. For that reason, launching an app doesn’t start with submitting applications, it doesn’t start with the marketing blitz the day before release—it starts with that first brainstorm, and continues well past week one in the market.
So today, we’ll discuss everything you’ll ever need to know about how to launch an app successfully, from wind-up to follow-through.
BRAINSTORMING, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT
During your initial app brainstorming session, be mindful of how your app is going to hit the market. Do you know what your competitors, industry, and target audience look like? How does your core concept stand out from the crowd? Why would anyone download your app over someone else's? If these answers are unclear, how do you expect your app to be successful? Before you spend an exorbitant amount of money and time on this idea, make sure it's something worth investing in. Create a bulletproof business plan you can get behind.
Even if you’re going to be the first of the first, a true innovator, be aware that copycats will spring up very soon after (assuming your app is doing well). A good idea can easily be stolen and replicated. Unfortunately, apps are currently situated in the wild west of IP law — so make sure you launch strong and launch hard to make it as difficult as possible for your competition to steal away any of your hard earned market segment.
You’ll also want to figure out which markets you want to enter, what their standards for submission are, and how their application process works. Do a good amount of preliminary research to ease the confusion and frustration of to this tedious process.
TEST, TEST, TEST
Put your product through the ringer and never trust app building tools to provide a realistic testing environment. Every mobile device operates differently so test on as many as possible platforms before you fully launch an app. You can either acquire popular tablets and phones to test on or find a good source of beta testers to get your device worked hard on as many devices as possible (or both).
Nothing sucks more than popping champagne at your launch and immediately realizing that a large segment of your market can’t get your app working. Launches should be a time of celebration, not frantic debugging.
The Devil Is In The Details
DEVELOP MARKETING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
Figure out your marketing well before you launch an app— a lot of work should go into getting people talking about your product and excited for it before it comes out because it pays to get that day 1 spike to sales and push your way up best-selling app lists. Hype your market, build up steam, and get it all ready for launch. There are a lot of different ways to do this, some are free/cheap and some are really expensive. It’ll all come down to your marketing budget. No matter how big or small the budget, you have to market smart, not just hard. Keep in mind the most valuable rule in Marketing: identify your target market and cater to them.
You’ll also want to decide on a launch date as soon as possible so you can stay on task and make sure you have a marketing plan that builds excitement around that date. Another huge marketing priority should be focused on how to move forward and sustain downloads after the initial rush.
BEGIN THE APPLICATION PROCESS
When you begin the application process to app stores you should have the marketing plan figured and an app that will be ready in time. Google Play, the Apple Store, and GetJar have specific standards and unique application processes. If you do your research and prepare your app appropriately, this step will be easy peasy. If you don't, it can quickly become a total disaster. Once you get things cleaned up according to app market requests, and you get your seal of approval, it’s time for the final move.
Ready your press releases, get support handy, make sure your marketing blitz is active, and go. It’s time to sell. Launch day should involve active effort — monitor performance, resolve customer issues quickly, and stay on top of the evolving situation until things cool down. If you launch an app and wander off, you can miss opportunities to resolve problems and capitalize on good fortune, so stay attentive. If it turns out a massive bug slipped through the cracks and you’re not at hand to see the problem get it fixed, I'm afraid all your hard work and big money will be for naught.
PAY ATTENTION TO OPPORTUNITIES
The first time you launch an app isn't your last big hurrah. After launching, it's time to begin exploring ways to expand your segment of the market. Who bought your product? Who didn't? Why? When you start asking these questions and getting answers, paths forward will begin to open up. Maybe your application gets used in tandem with another app on a regular basis; reach out to the owner of that app and see if you can arrange a bundle sale! Perhaps it sparked interest in one group, but they moved on because of a single easily remedied flaw. Fix that flaw and re-market to that audience to win them over. There are always going to be options, it's only a matter of finding them.
Each time you capitalize on a new opportunity, handle it the same way. Note what worked and what didn't, what your buyers do with your app, and what new innovations and possibilities that research suggests. When the time comes to begin planning your next app, you'll be well ahead of the game - and have a market ready to take what you have to offer on faith.