The mobile app development market has become an increasingly competitive arena over the years. Businesses are facing a more challenging environment than ever before and are finding it difficult to stand out amongst the millions of apps already in circulation. Knowing how to launch an app and using a comprehensive app development and launch strategy is the best way to a successful launch and a fruitful position in the app marketplace.
In this blog, we discuss some of the steps you can use to make sure you get it right the first time.
Stage 1: Prelaunch
Launching an app isn’t the most important part of the app development process; there is more to it which holds weight. Consider some of the following points in the “pre-launch” phase
Understand your audience
Building with the end goal in mind will always yield better results than building blindly.
In the same way, you need to define the segment you wish to target and then. Identify a critical problem which your app can address — thereby delivering real value to your intended market.
The right amount of preliminary research will ease confusion and make this tedious process easier to bear. You also need to know how your target audience will discover and use your app and other apps similar to yours as well as how they will interact with it. Always keep your target audience in mind throughout this process.
Validate your idea/solution with a prototype
Build a prototype for your idea and run it by potential users. It will become a powerful tool for gathering vital feedback on app design and user interaction. You will get an appreciation of how the target users will navigate through your app and which sections need improvement — thereby allowing you to iterate your design quickly and thoroughly, avoiding any re-work down the line.
Furthermore, elements that seem apparent to you as the developer may not be so evident to anyone else. Therefore, consumers may not use your app in the same way you intended. Early user validation to understand exactly how users will use your app and leveraging these user-centric design insights will enable you to develop a superior app.
Test your app
Make sure you test your app’s performance thoroughly. Put your app through a systematic series of tests and check each aspect under different operating environments. No mobile device operates the same so make sure to test on as many platforms as possible. You can either procure popular hand-held devices yourself or find a good pool of beta testers to test your app for you.
Nothing is worse than celebrating at the successful launch of your product, only to realize that a significant segment of your market cannot work your app. Launches should be a time of good cheer, not frantic debugging.
Market your app before you finish it
One mistake that many developers make is waiting to market their apps after the app development is complete and ready for shipping. If you’ve got an existing idea, then at least start telling your current customers about the new app so that they will be prepared for it when it does come out.
If you’re a startup company, and this is your first app launch, you have to start building brand awareness and presence. You have to aim towards Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) through increasing social media presence, creating a website and maybe even PR activities. You should focus on getting people talking about your product and excited about the launch. It pays (and pays well) to get that first day (much like Hollywood box office) sales spike to push your way up the best-selling app lists.
Stage 2: Launch
Once the pre-launch (mobile app development phase) is complete, we move on to the launch phase. In this section, we will discuss important aspects of how to launch an app.
At this point, it is crucial to pick a suitable launch date keeping in mind your goals, app development timelines, and planned marketing activities. You can structure all of these activities around your final release day.
App Store Optimization
One of the most common forms of app discovery remains the app store search. Therefore, it is essential to invest in App Store Optimisation (ASO) which will provide the foundations you need to rank higher in the marketplace. The higher an app ranking, the more discoverable it will be for potential users.
Keeping that in mind, outlined below are some of the key differences between the two most popular app stores, Google Play Store and the Apple App Store:
|Google Play Store||Apple App Store|
|No metadata review process||Metadata requires approval|
|Description can be changed anytime||Description can be amended only through an update|
|30 character limit for description||50 character limit for description|
|Keywords only in title and description||Specific 100 character keyword field|
|Social and links affect rankings||Social and links do not affect rankings|
Leverage App Store Ratings
The first impression for any app stems from the average user rating. It is also the best way to attract new downloads from general users browsing through the store. To get that rating up, encourage satisfied users to leave good ratings and reviews and recommend your app to other potential users.
Maximise Public Relations (PR)
The best way to get your app off the ground is the Press. By individually reaching out to journalists, make sure they know when you’re launching and when they should review and announce it. In any case, an article from a major tech blog is perfect for increasing traffic and download rates. Remember to update popular app review sites with new information about your app’s launch.
Use Paid Advertising
Stage 3: Post Launch
After Launch, you need to carry forward all that momentum to generate and maintain the interest around your app.
Watch out for copycats
Even if you are a true innovator, beware that copycats will never be far behind. It does not take long for people to join the bandwagon once they see your app doing well. A good idea can easily be stolen or replicated, so make sure you launch correctly to make it difficult for your rivals to take any part of your hard-earned market segment.
Monitor App performance
Measuring key metrics allows you to understand the user and their usage patterns. You can use this to identify potential room for improvement. You can also use social media to gain valuable insights into the user sentiment and perception for your app as this is the first place users go when they are dissatisfied with service.
It is crucial to track your app’s performance not only through built-in analytics but also through the general reviews and both positive and negative mentions on social media. This will allow you to gain a complete understanding of your app’s place in the market.
You can also use social media analytics to find the channel that is working best for app promotion. This particular channel may benefit from paid advertising.
Regular app updates
Apps must be regularly updated to provide a mobile app with long-lasting popularity. The App development process should continue for the entire life of the app, and therefore, you will need to need to commit to releasing constant updates to fix bugs and release new features that keep people wanting more.
Avid users tend to prefer an app where potential bugs have already been ironed out rather than the original. Your very first update should fix any bugs or significant issues indicated by your customers. Setup a product roadmap so that you can and know how to continue to improve and innovate your app. Remember to keep your PR network informed of any significant changes.
Adapt Marketing Strategy
Understanding from analytics can help determine where to focus marketing efforts for your app and how to efficiently engage users. These insights allow you to refine and redeploy your app marketing plan. A robust marketing plan will help push new app installs and bring in target users.
Furthermore, your marketing strategy will have to evolve as your app users develop. You must think critically, analytically, and creatively to generate ideas and growth strategies that will lead to the success of your app.
You should, by now, have a good idea of what it takes to launch an app. Always keep in mind that the launch of an app and the mobile app development process are critically linked. Although you may hit a few speed bumps along the way, know that it is normal, and sometimes healthy. From inception to app development to launch, the entire process can feel like a roller coaster but remember, to plan and stick to that plan to achieve success.
To sum it up,
- Get good ideas
- Define the target audience clearly
- Test vigorously
- Market early and aggressively
- Make sure to become familiar with best practices for the app store of your choice,