Marketing Your iPhone App


So you’ve created an awesome mobile app. Now what? The following are tips and best practices on marketing your new mobile app.

THE BASICS

Make sure your app is ready to be launched. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure your app can do the one thing it’s supposed to do without crashing often.

Make sure your app looks good on the shelves. Even digital products need to be packaged properly to sell well. It’s important that you have a good description, a well-designed app icon image, and good screenshots in the app store.

Have a website. If your app is for an existing business, make sure you post information about the app on your website and link to the app store. If you’re app is your business, having a website will significantly increase your credibility. Make sure you link to the website from the app store as well.

If your app is a paid app, release a free version. People are significantly more likely to download your free app to try it first before purchasing your paid app compared to buying your paid app from the get-go. Of course, there are exceptions.

ENHANCE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

Create a beautiful splash page for your app. If your website homepage displays more information than for just one app, you should set up a separate page dedicated to your app. Make sure to promote the one great feature about your app that makes it stand out.

Create a video and post it on Youtube. There are a number of ways to create a video for your app, but the simplest way may be to use a screen capture tool and record your voice over it. You can additionally enhance the video by using video editing software like iMovie to add titles and music, edit/redo your voice over, and speed up/slow down the video captures.

Create a Facebook page and a Twitter Account. Ask yourself if your target market uses Facebook and/or Twitter, and how much they use it. Creating a Facebook page and Twitter account are really easy. There are few downsides to having these accounts, regardless of whether or not you use them; at the very least, you secure your usernames in case you change your mind later. Make sure to have links to your social media accounts on your website.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Put together a press package. The first step to doing public relations is putting together a simple press package. Remember to include a short description of your app in the email (no longer than a cover letter), screenshots, videos, links to your website and social media accounts, and if necessary a longer description of your app as an attachment.

Leverage existing contacts. Any blog or writer whose covered you, your business, or your app should be considered a contact. If you have friends who blog or write for relevant publications are contacts. Ask them kindly if they’d be interested in covering your story, and make sure to include your press package. If they’re a big-timer, include one of your promotional codes that allows them to download the app for free.

Submit your app for review. There are a number of app review websites that will review your app for free. Some will charge you, some will charge you for only an expedited review. Whether you pay or not is up to you. Assuming your app doesn’t get horrible reviews, make sure you link to these from your website. For extra credit, add the best bits and pieces from these reviews as testimonials to your website and app description in the app store.

Find and reach out to writers and online publications who’ve written about similar apps to yours. Make a list of all of your competitor apps and apps that serve a relevant purpose. For example, if your app is a cooking timer app, recipe apps would be considered relevant. If a blog or online publication has written about any of these apps, they may be likely to write about yours. Once you’ve identified the apps, search for those apps on blogs and news sites. My favorite resources for doing this are Technorati and Google Blog Search. Remember, including a promotion code (free download) will increase the likelihood of a paid app getting covered.

Find and reach out to writers and online publications who write about relevant topics to yours. The idea is simple, if your app helps people stay on track with their diet, any website or blogs that covers diets will be likely to write about your app. Search for topics on Google Blog Search, and the top blogs will show up at the top. On Technorati, make sure you select “blogs” instead of “posts” in the search bar when searching for blogs about a certain topic. Another great way to find blogs are doing a Google search to find curated lists, for example, try “best diet blogs”.

Find people with questions and problems that your app will answer. There are a variety of Q&A sites from Quora to Focus to Yahoo! Answers where people ask and answer questions every day. If your app answers a question, look for the question online and provide your app as the answer. I suggest providing alternatives to your app, allowing the readers to decide which to use. Aligning with apps worse than yours may highlight you as the best, but if you’re the small guy, aligning yourself with successful apps can bring you credibility.

MONITOR CONVERSATIONS

Set up Google Alerts for your app. Google Alerts allows you to receive email updates when anybody writes about your blog. When somebody does mention your blog, make sure to link back to the post from your website so people can find it. Make sure to share these blog posts on social media, and mention the writer or publication in the Tweet and/or Facebook post.

Monitor Twitter Conversations. If you’re not active on social media, TweetBeep or Twilert  is Google Alerts for Twitter, allowing you to receive email updates when someone mentions your business on Twitter. If you’re active on social media, I would suggest setting up a search query on a more comprehensive tool, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (both of which are free to use). Respond to any mentions naturally as you would if you overhead this conversation at a party. If they say something nice, say thank you. If they ask a question, answer it. If they wrote an article about you, thank them lots and publicly. If they say something bad, respond as a professional customer service representative.

ALTERNATIVE RESOURCES

How to Promote and Advertise Your App (Mashable)
To Free Ways to Market Your App (tuts+)
50 Ways to Promote Your New iPhone App (Tim Cascio)
The 10 Step Approach to Marketing Your App (Net Magazine)
15 Suggestions for Marketing Your iPhone Application (Karelia)
11 Places to Publicize Your iPhone App (Mashable)
How to Market Your App (About.com)
5 Musts for Mobile App Marketing (Mashable)
7 Reasons Why Most Developers Won’t See Their App Reach The Top 100 (My Appinion)
8 Best Practices for Deploying a Top-Ranked Mobile App
3 Tips for Making Your App More Discoverable (Mashable)
15 Tips for Launching a Successful Mobile App (Mashable)

 


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