App Marketing Primer for App Developers
If you’re reading this, then you are a developer who is either working as an independent, or with a small group without bona fide marketing, human factors, or product design departments. Either way, you don’t have much of a marketing plan or budget, and you’re trying to figure it all out.
Before you consider what services might be worthwhile to purchase, whether from us or anyone else, you need to do your homework and make sure you have your bases covered, and you’re ready to be successful.
Think of app marketing like managing a baseball team, although app marketing is more of a “team of efforts” than a “team effort”.
If you’re going to execute a successful app marketing strategy, you have to start with an app or a game that your target market is going to care about.
Don’t be blinded by how beautiful YOU think your baby is, find out from others who have not been part of the development, are not related to you and who are not your BFFs, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc.
REMEMBER! – This is not a “Field of Dreams“, just because you built it does not necessarily mean “they will come”.
What makes a Star Player? What does your app need to succeed?
Style – how well is your app designed? Is the design consistent with what it does and who its intended users are? Does it reflect its theme or purpose? Does its icon shout “LOOK AT ME – I’M EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR”.
If it’s a pure business app that does something nobody else does, style may not be that important. For everyone else (including you!), style is VERY important. If your app is for kids, are the images fun, colorful and cartoon-like? Or are they flat because you couldn’t afford to hire a cartoonist to do the illustrations?
Style also pertains to the soundtrack of your app, if you have one. While not as critical as other factors, it is something you need to get right.
While style is going to be more important for games, don’t underestimate how important it is for all apps.
One thing Steve Jobs taught us all, style definitely matters and people prefer great style in both the look and operation of the products they buy.
Strength – does your app start strong and end strong? How does your app stack up against its competition? Pretend you are looking for an app just like the one that you just built. Go to the App Store and search by going to your app’s category, search for appropriate key words, and even search for your app’s actual name.
Does your app stand out? Can you even find it? I can’t tell you how many times we’re asked to promote an app and when we search for the app by its name, the app we’re looking for does not show up. And that’s when we search for the exact name of the app!
What about the other apps that come up alongside yours. Does yours look interesting? Would you pick it out without already knowing it? Is there anything special about its icon or brief description that grabs you? The strength of your app starts with its look and what people can quickly read about it.
Easy to Play With – Do you require users to get started by using their Facebook account? One word, DON’T! Users are wary of apps that require this. Make it easy for users, let them get started by just being a “guest” or, at worst, register using an email address.
How Do You Monetize It? – What about cost, is your app free to download? It has been shown over and over again that most of the money made by developers is from monetizing apps after they’re downloaded. Make it easy for someone to check out your app. Then, once they realize how good it is, they will be willing to pay for more functionality, longer use, various upgrades, etc.
You cannot make money by fooling people or thinking they will pay to download your app and then you don’t have to deliver any value back to them.
What’s that you say? Your are delivering value to the user? Well, if that’s so, then the user will recognize that and pay to continue using it.
One final note, if you are developing a game, we strongly suggest NOT forcing people to pay or resorting to “pay-to-win” mechanics. It puts off gamers before they get hooked. In the super successful title, Game of War, only about 3% of players spend any money, and they’re making millions!
Fan Favorite – what is your app rated by its users? This is probably the single most important aspect of your app, in terms of what users want to know. A low rating can kill your app regardless of how good it is.
How do you get a high rating?
1) make sure your app is ready for the public, don’t release it prematurely – make sure it works and every screen is perfect. A proper beta test period needs to allow time for feedback and modifications based on the feedback,
2) once your app is released to the general public make it’s easy for customers to provide feedback
3) reply to users so they know you’re listening
4) make sure you update your app on a regular basis.
What About The Rest of Your Team?
The next installment of our helpful app marketing guidance, App Marketing Primer for App Developers, will cover the following topics: