Four Things To Do Before Your App Launch

By Laurie Galazzo | July 2nd, 2015

As an app developer or marketer, do you know how important it is to have strong app launch strategy?

With more than 1500 apps launched every day both on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, needless to say that succeeding in the app world is incredibly challenging.

It is not only about crafting a great app: every element surrounding your core product should be maximized in order to increase your chances of success.

Marketing your app is crucial. It does not only start when your app is in the store. There are many actions that can be undertaken before your app is even finished. You need to get your app ready to compete with 1,5 million other apps.

Your app marketing strategies should therefore start early: 6-8 months before the launch is recommended.

Here are 4 great recommendations that will help you create a strong pre-launch strategy.

#1: Invest in Market Research

Before anything, it is absolutely essential to know the market you’re going to deal with. Not only will this help you understand your target audience, it will also help you stand out from your competitors.

Start by taking the 10 best apps from your app’s category. Analyze and study their features and app marketing strategies. The point is to get inspired from the characteristics that made them popular. Use an excel sheet to note everything down.

It’s also important to take a few competitors that are less successful. The point here is to find out where are their flaws and what mistakes they’re making so that you can avoid repeating them.

Don’t forget to monitor their reviews and ratings. Try to focus on the recurring missing features that are mentioned by users so that you can eventually provide them within your app. Also, pay a lot of attention to bad reviews and listen carefully to what users are saying.

#2: Get Your App Store Optimization Strategy Ready

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Monitoring your competitors also means monitoring their App Store Optimization strategy. ASO will be a great help for your app. If well executed, your ASO strategy will bring you a lot of organic downloads.

Improving your app’s discoverability on the store is indeed essential if you want to drive installs. How can users find your app if you don’t optimize your keywords? How will you convince users to download your app if your screenshots are bad or missing?

The first step is to try finding what your competitors have in common. What are their app titles? How are they describing their apps? What keywords are they ranking for? What keywords aren’t they ranking for? How do they screenshots look? Did they make an app preview?

Once you’ve collected all this information, put it together in an Excel Sheet and look for occurrences. You will probably find great ideas that will be worth modeling, whether in their keywords selection or in their design choices. You can also use AppTweak competitors feature that allows you to compare any apps’ ASO elements with others.

On the other hand, it would be interesting to find new strategic paths to explore in order to offer something new and jump on new opportunities to stand out. For example, if none of your direct competitors are using an app preview video, consider using one absolutely. It will most likely make a difference. Plus, if you create it early enough, you might have the opportunity to create a small buzz around your app.

Before launch, prepare in advance all the important factors that will improve your app’s visibility in the store.

Here are some useful tips & tricks that you should use in all your ASO strategies:

  • App Icon: it should be unique and catchy. Descriptive but simple.
  • App Name: use a combination of your brand name with 2-4 strong keywords.
  • App Description: make your 2 – 3 first lines as converting as possible. Try to convey your core message in the very beginning of your description.
  • Keywords: try to use keywords with a high volume of search, low competition and of course a high relevancy with your app. Be sure to track the keywords ranking effectiveness in time. Take note of the impact they have on your competitors as well.
  • Screenshots: use all available screenshots slots. Make them easy to understand and descriptive. Use small sentences to emphasize your point.
  • App Preview: create a short creative video that will showcase your app’s main features. Use social media to spread it widely and generate some buzz.

#3: Maximize Your Online Presence

app-launch

Even if your app is not on the store yet, it needs to have a strong online presence. The first thing to do is to create a unique website for your app in order to start growing your users base. How? By encouraging your visitors to leave their email address. In exchange, send them newsletters or an early access to beta test your app.

Your website will be the center of your app marketing strategy. It will somehow be your app’s visit card. Therefore, make it creative, appealing and personal. Try to link your website everywhere you can and don’t neglect your SEO.

There are a few important points that should be present on your website:

  • Your app screenshots and/or app preview video
  • Key features showcase
  • Some great copy that will describe and sell your app
  • Contact details easily accessible
  • News about your app’s development progression
  • Platform and countries on which your app will be available
  • Launch date

If you prefer, you can create a free blog using WordPress or Tumblr for example.

A great way to boost your online presence is to build a strong social media strategy. Start by creating a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Google+ profile for example. There are many other social channels but you need to focus on 3 – 4 of the most popular and relevant social media.

On each of these media platform, try to use a different content strategy according to your audience. For example, use Facebook to show your team and be more personal and “fun”. Use Twitter to spread some useful content and news about your app and apps in general, etc.

Social media are powerful weapons that can easily let people know about your app all over the web. Don’t hesitate to share your app preview and of course, your website’s URL as well.

Another interesting way to shape your online presence is to post on various forums or social groups sharing common interests related to your app. Tell them about your upcoming app and the problem it will solve. Ask them some feedback or features they’d like to have, etc. These communities are very interesting targets and will listen to what you’re saying. Don’t be too self-promotional though.

#4: Create a Pre-Launch Press Release

app-launch

A pre-launch press release should use a totally different strategy than an app launch press release. Although it is already challenging to sell an existing app to journalists, selling an app that’s not on the store yet is even more difficult.

However, getting pre-launch press coverage is a great way catch people’s attention and therefore to stir some early interest for your app.

There is no magical recipe on how to approach tech journalists but there are some tips that have proven to be effective:

  • Highlight your USP and the problem your app is solving. What makes your app so special and different from the others?
  • Strengthen your point with actual facts and data. Use numbers and statistics if you can.
  • Be straightforward. Journalists get hundreds of pitches every day. Make sure your first lines are answering the fundamental “Why”, “What”, “When”, “Who”, “Where” questions.
  • Don’t hesitate to add emotions and a pinch of human touch to your story. Remember, you need to convince tech journalists that your app is worth being covered.
  • Mention your release date and stick to it.
  • Make sure you don’t send your press release when other huge techy events or news are coinciding.
  • Tell about your experience and your personal story. Why are you the right person to create this app? If your app is a movie theater discovery app, maybe you once had trouble finding one near you?
  • Include screenshots and/or a link to your app preview if you have one already.
  • Include contact details, URLs, social media channels and everything you can to be reached. The point is also to show that your app is actually already “everywhere”.

Conclusion

Even if your app is not on the stores yet, you can already work on getting it known. It’s important to drive curiosity, as early as possible, and to announce that you will soon bring a new problem solver on the market.

Don’t neglect any element surrounding your app itself. The apps world is highly competitive so you need to put the odds on your side to succeed.

Don’t just wait for downloads to come once your app is launched. This will not work.

Hard work always pays off. Persevere and you will achieve some positive results.

Laurie Galazzo
Laurie Galazzo is content strategist at AppTweak. Passionate by new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread valuable content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing. She’s in charge of the company’s blog, crafting articles helping users to increase their app downloads and rankings. She’s also at the head of the ASO University , teaching App Store Optimization basics through video tutorials, all available for free on AppTweak blog. Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

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