What Is The Best Way To Launch An App?
For those who have never done it before, understanding what is the best way to launch an app is a critical bit of information as the launch oftentimes determines the overall success your app will have.
Sure, it would be great if you could simply load your app into the app store and then kick back while people flocked to it like a moth to a flame for thousands of downloads, but if you believe it really is that easy, I have a bridge or two for sale.
So what is the secret formula for a good launch?
Research is always the first step
What is the primary difference between a good launch and a bad one? Nine times out of ten it has to do with the amount of research, or lack thereof that is performed in the early stages of app development.
Why is that?
Well to be brutally honest, research is boring, tedious work. But, without taking the time for this critical step you are probably dooming your amazing app idea. Some people mistakenly get an idea and immediately start the creative process of making that idea into reality, but that isn’t smart business.
- Who is the competition?
- What is the target audience?
- What is the future of your target industry?
- What makes your app better than all the others?
- Which markets or platforms do you want to launch on?
- What are the standards for applications and submissions?
- How long does the application and submission process typically take?
These are all critical questions that require research. Otherwise how do you know whether there are 15 other apps on the market that basically do exactly what yours will?
Once you have taken the time to investigate the lay of the land you will have the answers you need to craft a rock-solid business plan that will support the concept of your app.
Additionally, if you truly are building something unique and new, a business plan and corresponding launch plan need to in place for a strong enough launch that you get well ahead of those eventual copycats that all good ideas spawn.
Craft a marketing plan
Now you are in a position to craft a marketing plan. With the research you have done you will have a better idea how long various steps such as application and submission to app stores will take. This in turn sets a time table you can use for proper marketing strategy.
One way to ensure a great launch is to have people excited and talking about your product, eagerly counting down the days until it hits the store.
Start by identifying the target market and then figure out the best way to reach them that fits within your budget. Press releases should be drafted up, social media pages created and all the other vehicles for marketing should be in place well before launch.
Additionally you want a plan in place for post launch marketing such as how to target people you missed, retargeting people who drop the app and generally having ideas and plans in place to keep the download train rolling after opening day.
Well duh! Of course you are going to test your app; everyone knows that right? Well truthfully while everyone understands the concept, the actual implementation many people use is sorely lacking.
Why do you test? Having the best possible product with the least amount of bugs will help with a strong launch. But testing involves more than just focus groups and debugging programs! You should also take the time to live test your app on every possible device you think your target audience will use.
How horrible would it be if 40% of your target audience user an Acer tablet, as unlikely as that might be, and your app causes their tablets to freeze? Then you are stuck scrambling like crazy to fix problems on your launch day while praying negative feedback doesn’t cripple you.
So test, test, test and then test some more with beta testers, target audience focus groups and everyone else you hope will use your app!
Jump into the application phase
This is actually a very easy step if you are following this plan. You should know where your app will be going and understand what is expected during the application phase. Additionally with marketing in place this is the point where you are basically patiently waiting.
Submit your app and then fine tune your marketing plans while you wait. Ideally you will only have a few minor requests to fix if you followed proper testing and due diligence procedures.
Ready? Aim? Launch!
Launch day should be a very active and busy day. Along with sending out press releases, doing podcasts and launching your full marketing blitz you need to be prepared to troubleshoot quickly and effectively.
Keep track of customer complaints, review feedback, listen to problems and provide solutions. You want to be right on point for fixing things and showing customers exactly the type of business they are working with; the type that cares.
If you don’t and something goes horribly wrong, all that work up to this point could have been a complete waste.
Post launch plan
You didn’t think the work was done did you? After the launch there is still plenty to do for a multitude of reasons. To start with you can begin your post-launch marketing plans. Then you can go back into research mode to discover who bought your product, who didn’t and why in both cases. Armed with new Intel you can plan updates and new marketing strategies to make your app even more appealing.
You can also reflect on what worked and didn’t work and why, using that knowledge for the next app you launch. We feel that this method is the best way to launch an app because it relies on a combination of experience in the app development world and solid business practices that together have a high rate of success.