We’ve seen this many times; firms invest valuable time and money in their app development, nurture their innovative idea and pour their energy into an app that they know will be revolutionary, but the market never knows about it. In fact, the market is huge, and growing rapidly, with 60,000 new apps added every month; so it can be a serious challenge to ensure your new product attracts the attention it deserves.
As the apps market approaches saturation point, getting people to notice your app can be an uphill challenge; and simply having a great idea doesn’t guarantee you your rightful place at the top of the bestseller charts, just as a bad idea won’t guarantee instant failure. The decisive factor is the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
Take everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, Angry Birds. Despite being the best-selling paid app of all time, its success was limited in English speaking countries until its developer, Rovio, hit the market with a three pronged attack. Advertising, a YouTube trailer and a free ‘lite’ version of the game ensured that the app received appropriate promotion in the regions it had struggled in.
Whilst good marketing can’t guarantee the level of success achieved by Angry Birds, it is important for developers to be aware of common marketing mistakes that, when avoided, can give an app the best chance of reaching its intended audience.
Make sure your app is ready for the market – The concept behind your app may be groundbreaking, but if its underlying mechanics are faulty, no amount of marketing will improve its reputation. Putting an app full of bugs on the market will not only land you with discontented customers in the short-term, but will affect your long-term reputation, even after the glitches are fixed. The only answer to this is effective, rigorous testing.
Don’t be complacent – Your app will never achieve widespread success if you are the only person who knows how fantastic it is. An effective marketing campaign will maximise the visibility of your product, helping it stand out in the overcrowded marketplace – be prepared to devote time and funds to it. As a developer it is disastrous to rely on the customer to come to you unprompted, and complacency about marketing an app properly can result in it being overlooked, no matter how good it is.
Make it attractive – Once you have your app perfected, don’t let it sit gathering dust in a dark corner of an app store. A snappy (typo free) product description is your opportunity to capture the attention of potential customers – make it creative, exciting and intriguing. Likewise, setting up a website for your app provides the chance to give app enthusiasts more detailed information about your product including screenshots, news on future developments, and even troubleshooting advice.
Know your market – This applies to both your audience and your competitors. It is easy for enthusiastic developers to become preoccupied by an idea without sparing a thought for potential customers. Having a targeted audience in mind – and tailoring your marketing efforts to their interests – is vital to successfully growing the reputation of your app. Similarly, being aware of your competitors allows you to avoid the embarrassment of your app not being ‘one-of-a-kind’ as you initially thought.
Choose your marketing channels wisely – There are numerous methods for marketing your app, and some are more effective than others. Advertising, for example, can take your product to its intended audience, but for new developers who lack the budget, it can severely deplete available funds. If you are keen to use advertising, consider a pay-per-success campaign where you are only required to part with money if the advert leads to a direct download. This is often cheaper than paying for upfront advertising and means you can track the advert’s hits.
Word of mouth is perhaps the best way of creating a trusting relationship with app users, and although persuading journalists and bloggers to write about an app can involve perseverance, it is well worth the effort. Similarly, user-generated feedback can drastically affect download rates. Consider this: are you more likely to download an app with a five star user rating than one star? Almost certainly. (One of the best ways to add viral aspect to your app is using the buzzdoes.com addon)
The message with regards to effective app marketing is that a sustained, measured approach is the best way to guarantee continued success. Taking the time to ensure the quality of the product, considering the market and designing a marketing strategy is vital. Don’t spend your entire marketing budget in the first few weeks. Whilst expensive advertising campaigns can generate an early spate of downloads, they do not ensure your app’s sustained success. A combined approach incorporating word-of-mouth, viral marketing and advertising is the best was to keep your downloads high and your profits secure.