Many developers have created phenomenal apps that bring extremely practical value to the user, are largely entertaining, or are just flat out intriguing. It takes a lot of hard work to see an entire app out from idea to launch.
The big question is how do you ensure that your app hits the ground running and creates tremendous buzz to become a success and make all of the months of hard work worth it? What does it take to be trending on your favorite mobile app markets?
Utilize a Mobile Website
Many people searching the web today are doing so from their mobile devices. Users search the web – a lot of times – for a tool to help them better their lives. Without a website for these users to land upon to answer their inquiry, there is little chance of finding your app.
However, if you create a website, even just a splash page, for your application, it’s possible for the users to come across your site, read more about your app, and see the calls to action to then convert them into an additional download.
This can be a tough thing to do, but if successful the hard work is absolutely worth it. Do your research on directories and review sites. Reach out to editors, contributing writers, or any staff within the company who can put you in touch with the right people.
Ask these contacts to take a look at your app. Make sure they are interested in your app, rather than having a business journal review your zombie app. Once you gain a solid relationship with someone, you have a great relationship for when you want to publicize new features or even a completely new app down the road.
Another great way to get reviewed is through reward sites. There are a few sites out there that specialize in rating mobile apps by highly regarded judges throughout the mobile space. No matter what category your app is in or the device it’s made for, there are mobile app award sites out there for you.
Social Media is Your Friend
Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram account. - These are just some of the many platforms that you may utilize to create awareness for your mobile app. Social media takes time to build a presence, so start early. A great thing about social media is that it is free, so even before launch and before revenue comes in the door; your app can and should be being promoted.
Create a video that catches the eye of potential users. Whether you use a simple whiteboard video, graphic animation, or real actors, people are largely visual learners and will pay much more attention to something with a video (and perhaps even share with friends). Make it entertaining, informative, and efficient. If you can make your point in 30seconds, do not waste two minutes of their time.
Interact with groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Be a resource in the group with useful information about the topics while occasionally sprinkling in plugs about your app when necessary. Do not spam the groups with self-promotion as will work negatively towards your mission.
Pricing is Key
Roughly 90% of the top mobile apps today are free. That is not to say that an app cannot make money directly from the consumer (as opposed to just ad based revenue). There are models such as “freemium” that are wildly popular in getting users engaged in the app. Users download the app for free and as they begin to enjoy the app enough to want more features, they would have to pay for them. The freemium model takes a majority of the revenue generated in the iPhone App Store at 71% (Distimo).
Having said this, a study was done by Distimo analyzing the affect of price change for paid iPhone apps. Those apps that had a price cut increased downloads by 1,664%. Is your app useful enough to charge upfront or does the user need to play around with it to see the practicality before deciding to pay for more? To each their own.
Say it isn’t so, but there is such a thing as App Store Optimization. There are all sorts of paid services to help your app rise in the rankings, but there are also free factors that you can get involved with to help your app rise in the rankings, including the aforementioned items above.
Your app name, keywords used in the descriptions, icons, screen shots, ratings, and reviews all have something to do with affecting your ASO. Research the keywords your potential users might be searching for and include them in your app description.
Another quick tip is to start the name of your app with “A” or a number. This might seem crazy at first, but many app stores have a “sort by” function that would allow for higher visibility for apps near the top of these lists.
These tips will get you well on your way to creating a highly visible mobile app within the app markets. Once the hours of development and testing are complete, it is time to move on to the promotion and marketing that will prove ever valuable if done correctly.