Nine Tips To Prevent Your App Becoming A Needle In The 600,000+ Apps Haystack
Creating a fantastic App is easy with the right developer, but creating a fantastic app that gets noticed and downloaded is another challenge altogether. You may have created the world’s greatest app, an app that will have a massive impact on everyone’s lives, but unless they know about it, it’s just another app in a sea of several hundred thousand other apps.
Firstly, you need to understand what you are up against when you release your app to the world;
- As of 2nd April 2012, there were 605,843 apps on the app store from 147,304 publishers.
- Two days into the month there had been 734 new (non-game) apps released, which works out at 367 new apps added to the app store per day.
- Even being noticed amongst 367 other apps on the day of your app’s release is hard enough, let alone being spotted amongsth 600,000+ other apps.
The figures above are produced by 148apps.biz and are well worthy of in-depth analysis when you are looking at developing and marketing an app.
Obviously, not all of these apps will be direct competition, the majority may not even be in the same category as your app, but there will definitely be enough crowding to allow your app to vanish amongst the many others.
So you need to make sure that people aren’t looking for “an app like yours”, but that they are looking for your app.
There are essentially two ways that people will discover your app;
- they’ll be told about it,
- or they’ll find it themselves.
So you need to ensure that you are giving your app the best possible chance under both of these circumstances. This is where app marketing comes in.
- It is worth noting that app marketing should not be seen as an afterthought; it is just as important as the app development, and it should be happening from the beginning of the project, not left until the app is released.
- If you haven’t been marketing the app before it was released, you’ve already lost out on a big opportunity to make use of hype marketing, i.e. building up the hype of your app so that by the time it is released you already have a big audience eagerly waiting to get their hands on your app.
Ideally, you should engage the services of a professional app marketing business as they know what they’re doing, and they have spent a great deal of time and effort ubilding up contacts that can make a huge difference to the visibility of your app.
However, budgets don’t always stretch to dedicated marketing, so I’ll share some tips for improving your chances if you’re doing your own marketing. Actually, “effective” app marketing is time consuming.
- You could post a message on Facebook, send a few tweets, send an email to a single app review site, and call that app marketing, but it won’t produce the results that you want.
- This is one of those situations where you get back what you put in; the more time & effort that you put into your app marketing, the higher the chance of success.
# 1. Treat app marketing as a campaign, not an afterthought.
Before you get to the stage where you are sat infront of your computer, staring blankly at the screen, thinking “What do I do now? Who should I target? What should I say?”, you need to sit down and plan who you are going to target:
- what marketing material you are going to produce?
- how you are going to engage with your audience?
- and how you are going to get your message out to the masses?
Research your audience so you know exactly who you are targeting and what their expectations are, research your competitors so you know what they are saying and who they’re saying it to, but more importantly, plan what you are going to do before you start and then stick to your plan.
# 2. Be prepared to be ignored.
You’ve seen from the figures above that there are huge number of apps on the app store, hundreds of new apps released every day, and you can be sure that a significant number of the developers / publishers are trying to get their app noticed. When you request a review from one of the many app review / blogging sites, you may not get a response.
- You need to understand that this is not because your app isn’t good enough, it is most likley because you were one of a few thousand people making the same request.
- Don’t let this phase you, just keep plugging away.
You can improve your chances of success by targeting review sites that have an interest in your app’s target market and avoiding those that don’t.
# 3. Don’t be shy.
You’ve produced a fantastic app that the world needs to know about, so tell them about it. Don’t wait to be asked or you’ll still be waiting whilst your competitors are reaping the rewards.
- If you see a review of similar apps and yours isn’t mentioned, leave a comment about your app; at the very least, potential users will pick up on the comment, but you may even get the notice of the reviewer.
- If someone on twitter asks for opinion on an app like yours, tell them about your app.
- The same goes for any social media, if there is an opportunity to talk about your app, take it.
Modesty has no place in app marketing, your app is brilliant, people want brilliant apps, so tell them how brilliant your app is, and why it’s so brilliant.
# 4. Know your audience.
You’ve created the app, so you know the categories of people who are most likely to use your app. These are the people that you want to be targetting. It is too easy to say “My app is fantastic, everyone could make use of it.”, and very difficult to target ‘everyone’. Trust me, I’ve tried, and failed.
- You should pick 2-3 categories of people that are ideal users of your app and target them.
- Find out what publications they read, what web sites they frequent, who are the influencers in their industry, and you will then have a valuable list of outlets to target your specific audience.
Build up your exposure category by category, eventually you’ll have targetted ‘everyone’.
# 5. Be the expert.
With so many apps on the app store, it is inevitable that a fair few of the apps are ‘copycat’ apps. A developer / publisher with an understanding of a specific problem has produced an app to provide a solution, and when this app becomes successful, other developers, who may not have the same level of understanding of the problem, produce similar apps and essentially copy the functionality.
- The best way to differentiate yourself from the copycats is to be known as the expert
- Engage with users and potential users on as many platforms as possible,
- Write blog posts about the problem and solutions, converse with people on social media about the problem and solutions.
Make sure that you are known as an expert and people will value your app above the copycats.
# 6. Update your app on a regular basis.
Updating your app on a regular basis serves 2 purposes:
- it shows your users a certain level of commitment to the app, and in turn to them and their needs,
- plus it also keeps your app in the app store charts and helps your ranking by keeping your app featured in the app store.
# 7. Give away your promo codes.
With each version of your app that you release, you have 50 promo codes to give away. Avoid the thinking that if you give someone a promo code that is one less person that will buy the app. If everyone that you give a promo code to persuades just 10 people to buy your app, that is 500 sales. If you don’t give away your promo codes, there will be fewer people talking about your app.
# 8. Offer “one day reduced price”.
Reducing the price of your app temporarily, or even offereing it free for a fixed period, can produce fantastic results, if it is done properly.
You need to build up the hype before you reduce the price so that you have as many people as possible waiting for the price drop.
- Some people will see the hype and buy the app at the normal price,
- most will wait for the reduced price and you may end up generating more revenue during the reduced price offer period,
- but the real reason for doing this is to get as many people talking about your app as possible.
You notice that your app sales are still increased after the price has reverted to normal.
# 9. Ask for reviews.
Reviews have an impact on whether people will buy your app, so you shouldn’t wait for people to leave reviews, you need to ask for them.
- You can easily add code to the app so that it requests a review from the user after they have used your app for a specific length of time,
- and you can ask anyone that contacts you about the app to leave a review.
- Even if a user has got in touch about a problem with the app, if they see that you are engaging with them and dealing with the issues, they are likely to leave a positive review.
Going back to the “don’t be shy” statement above, when you ask for a review, ask for a 5 star review.
The tips outlined above are just pointers, each one could be expanded to be a separate blog post in its own right, but they should give you enough information to help with your app marketing efforts and hopefully increase your app sales / downloads. However, this is just about getting your app noticed, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that even once people have found your app, they choose yours over one of your competitor’s apps, but that will have to wait for my next blog post.