I've designed my app, now what? Steps to take before launching your app
So you’ve designed a fancy app that you’ve spent months creating, and now you’re ready to go put it out into the app world. Stop right there! Only a handful of apps become successful overnight, and even with the proper press and marketing, you still need to take certain steps before launching your app in order for it to triumph.
Remember, there are now 2 million apps in the Apple App Store and 2.2 million in Google Play, so it’s imperative that you market your app in the early stages of development, invest in research, beta test your app, and optimize for the app stores before officially launching.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these steps to ensure lasting success of your app.
If you began to gather your marketing materials after you finished developing your app, then you’re a bit behind. The key to a successful launch is to get press coverage and start building up hype in the early stages of development.
There are many channels available to help you get the word out there including, social media, email campaigns, affiliate networks, tech blogs, paid advertising campaigns, and industry influencers you can reach out to, to pitch your app. The key is to tease your audience! Get them excited early.
You want to build awareness so that when your app does launch, you’ll already have an audience that’s anticipating your brilliant app and will be ready to download it.
Invest in market research to make sure that you understand what your targeted audience values in an app. This will give you an idea of any key features that competitors have that you may have missed. Do you know which categories your competitors fall under? Which keywords rank them in the top 10? What do their customers say in their reviews?
Looking at your competitor’s customer reviews is quite powerful, as it allows you to assess what users like and dislike about their app. Understanding their values allows you to refine your app based on what customers are looking for before it hits the app stores.
Beta testing is a great way to get feedback from customers. Not only will this target audience give you unbiased criticism (or praise), but they can also help spread the word about your app to other like-users. It’s also important that you are consistently involved with and reward your active beta testers because they are the ones that will give you pointers that will make your app better, and even help you find those darn bugs you may have missed.
There are several platforms you can get users to test your app such as Google Play, TestFlight, Centercode, and BetaList. Note, there are both private beta testing and public beta testing platforms, which are very different from each other. You can read more information about private versus public testing here.
Optimize for the App Stores
Optimizing for the app stores, also known as App Store Optimization (ASO), is just as important as any other step. Think of it this way, you’re competing amongst millions of apps, and if your storefront looks like it should be on a set in a horror film, do you think your users will want to ‘enter’ it to check out its contents? I don’t think so.
The ASO elements you should focus on are app name, keywords, icon, screenshots, app preview (video), featured image (Google Play) and description. If you’re looking to test your storefront before submitting your app to the app store, there are platforms such as TestNest.co, SplitMetrics and StoreMaven that allow you to a/b test your app store page, so that you can make sure your storefront is truly optimized.
A Final Thought
For some, focusing on these four elements before launch may seem elementary, but you may be surprised how often app developers either ignore or overlook marketing, research, testing and optimizing their app before it hits the market.
The amount of time you invest in developing your app should be about the same amount of time you (or your marketing team) should invest in promotion, research and testing. Don’t let your long, sleepless hours go to waste!
Although these are not the only steps to take, they are necessary and they will guide you towards app success.