So you’ve finished coding your app – now what? This is a big question that far too many mobile application developers don’t think of until after the application is functional and ready for launch, which is far too late. In order for a truly successful launch and extended marketing campaign for your application to become a reality, you must start planning far in advance of the end of development and testing. After all, you know what you’re making and who you’re making it for long before you finish development. So let’s start there.
Preparation is absolutely everything when it comes to marketing and this rule holds just as true for mobile application marketing. Laying a solid foundation long before your launch date should be a top priority and if it’s not, you are setting yourself up for failure. Do you really want to spend 8 months developing a mobile application that nobody will use because you didn’t take the time to build a foundation for your marketing?
Here are some big things to look out for when doing your pre-launch preparation:
What are your marketing materials going to look like? You must establish a uniform style, look and feel that ties into the branding behind your application. If you don't know the brand ethos behind your application, take care of that first. Don’t just brainstorm what these materials are going to look like – you should actually create them. The simple fact that different channels are going to require different types of marketing media will force you to begin thinking deliberately about where you’re going to be distributing this media.
Write Your Press Releases and Promotional Copy
On launch day you should be looking to release a wave of promotional material through the outlets that you have identified to be most in-line with your brand and most consumed by your audience. This is a huge part of where the initial ‘push’ will originate that allows you to overcome early churn and help you reach a sustainable growth rate. Don't just limit yourself to press releases. Use blogs, forums, community sites and more – get creative.
Other Marketing Channels
Let’s not forget about Pay-per-click (PPC), Social Advertising and Social Media! Use these marketing channels as much as possible, and do all the necessary preparation in advance. Set your audiences, make sure your posts will look native on your chosen social platforms and run a short test if you feel like there’s something in particular you want to validate. Losing a little money validating a theory is nothing compared to losing months of development and a far larger sum due to poor research and lack of preparation. Don’t forget to get your analytics set up. This will allow you to track and measure your success.
If you’re intending to launch a website related to your application, take care of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) research in advance. This includes having the website ready to go long before your launch date.
Launch Day Execution
So the big day has finally come. Congratulations! It’s time to show your new app to the world – and hopefully they receive it well. If you handled your research and preparation as thoroughly as you should have, you’re in with a good shot. Here’s a quick checklist of things to remember on launch day:
Run your PPC and Social Ad Campaigns
Execute purchases on any forms of paid traffic/installs, or ensure they are actually running if you already arranged an agreement.
Execute on Press Releases and other media distribution. Run a second round of due diligence on all of the outward facing media to ensure it is properly representing your product.
Closely monitor all aspects of your launch and be prepared to be agile.
Address any negative reactions swiftly and courteously. Go out of your way to promote and encourage positive reviews, reactions and discussions involving your product. If you are agile and prepared, you can make a very big difference in shaping the conversation surrounding your launch and your brand.
So your big day has come and gone and you’ve managed to capture even more users than you imagined. This is because you took the time to not just think about the application itself, but to thoroughly prepare your marketing strategy as well. Congratulations! This doesn’t mean the work is done.
While you must continue to market to new customers, you will also need to focus on retaining the customers you already have. Reducing your churn takes time and effort, but without lowering your churn rate it will be impossible to achieve sustained success. Listen to what people are saying about your product, read the reviews and engage in the conversation. If you can learn to listen as well as you develop you will be able to please your customers at every turn, sometimes giving them what they want before they even realize it. Happy customers rarely churn, giving your application stable value in the longer term.
Don’t forget to continue to actively promote your application as well. It’s no longer launch day, but it would be naïve to think that you reached everyone who might enjoy your product, no matter how great your launch was.
As your application grows in popularity, new doors may even open up for you such as testimonials from figures important to your target customers, advertising partnerships with other popular apps and maybe even partnerships with more traditional big brands. Take advantage of all of these and you will continue to find nothing but success with your mobile application marketing.Photo credit: PhotoAtelier / Foter / CC BY