A successful app marketing plan is the secret ingredient behind every successful app. It should be developed in tandem with your app, and treated as an equal part of your launch. In the run up to release, it’s all too common to focus singularly on the app, i.e. the product, to make sure every possible kink and technical detail is ironed out and ready to roll. This is completely understandable, but it is also a critical mistake. There are thousands upon thousands of apps available in the App Store and Google Play, totalling three million and counting as of 2017. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and unfortunately, no matter how strong your app is, there’s just no way people are going to discover it without some serious marketing efforts on your part.
So what should you be doing to increase your exposure? Well, as big a social media presence as you can manage is always a good start. Secondly, the various app stores work via a keyword algorithm. Familiarise yourself with the keywords around your app, then make certain they feature heavily in your promotions. Make sure your visuals are attention-grabbing and defining in relation to your app, and also ensure that the title of your creation is relevant and keyword-heavy. And for the secret ingredient? Utilise the many-fold publicity of review sites.
Getting your app up featured on a number of review sites can be extremely beneficial for your entire app campaign. Why? Because they extend your outreach. This is the single biggest reason why review sites are essential to a well-rounded app launch. They come with a built-in audience, a way to potentially get the word out to hundreds of thousands of subscribers or browsers. In the fiercely competitive world of app development and sales, this is a precious resource which shouldn’t be overlooked, and one that can give you the edge over the competition. If, for some reason or another, your app doesn’t have a strong social media presence behind it, then allow the review sites to pick up some of the slack for you; they can be the ones to do all the shouting.
But even review sites are a pretty crowded field at times; how can you make your app stand out in the (slightly smaller, but no less competitive) mass? Doing market research is all part of a successful app launch; unless you’ve got a singularly unique selling point (USP), chances are that there are going to be apps out there that do the same thing, or offer the same experience as other apps in your field. You need to analyse similar apps that have been successful in the past and figure out exactly why they appealed to a wider audience.
Once you’re armed with this knowledge, you can tweak your app to accentuate the same positives, all the while focusing on that key USP that’s going to set you apart from the crowd. Review sites, who receive and review vast numbers of apps over the course of a year, are going to sit up and take notice if you’re doing something different from similar entries in your niche. Moreover, they’ll be all too happy to shout about your app from the rooftops if it’s genuinely smart and unique. So give them something to shout about; they’ve seen almost every variant of app under the sun. If you can excite the reviewers, it’s pretty much guaranteed you can excite an audience.
Reviews are also important because they lend your app a strong sense of legitimacy, another much-coveted factor in a digital world full of knock-offs and cheap hack jobs. If you can manage to get people interested in the App Store, their next stop might be a peruse through the user reviews. If you’re a brand spanking new app, you’re not going to have many of those yet; so let review sites sway your potential buyers until you build up enough audience traction for a decent rating. It tells the audience that you’ve thought about your release, you’ve made the effort to get it out there, and most importantly, you’re proud of your creation.
Even being featured on a couple of review sites is enough for most apps to achieve lift-off, and from then on it’s a beneficial loop of feedback and customers, as the reviews generate downloads, which in turn generate customer reviews and further downloads. If, on the very first day of your launch, app store users can’t find another mention of your app on the world wide web, then it’s very unlikely they’re going to bother downloading. Your own social media sites are of course very useful, but if that all-important validation comes from a third party, it’s all the better for it.
The other nifty thing review sites do is improve your general search engine optimisation (SEO), meaning that if your app and keywords are robust and inventive enough, you’ll rank higher in the search engine pages when people search for similar terms. This is crucial for an app, as it leads to being discovered outside of the basic app store browsing, and, over time, can lead to a fantastic source of customer discovery. You can handle all the app store optimisation (ASO) using keyword strategy; however, the internet is so vast it can be hard to fully stay on top of SEO. Review sites make that mammoth task a lot easier, and as they’re constantly generating traffic, you’ll have new eyes looking on your app all the time.
Launching a successful app, or indeed any app at all, is very hard work; whichever way you slice it, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Don’t neglect the publicity side of your launch, no matter how confident you are in the product. Remember, people need to see the app before they have a chance to buy or download. No app launch is complete or successful without a significant and thorough marketing plan; review sites should be the cornerstone of that plan.