How To Market An App (Pre-Launch)

how to market an app guide

Pre-Launch

Pre-launch marketing is extremely important to the success of the application.  If you have already launched your app no worries, make sure to go through this pre-launch report and check off any items that you have not already done.  It is best to go through the how to market an app guide entirely for all major version updates of the app as well as the initial release of the app. The main topics that will be covered for pre-launch are below, even if you have completed the bullet point make sure to read the extra data for hidden info:

In A Different Market Phase?

Intro To This Step By Step App Marketing Guide

Making the next best mobile app is hard enough in itself but much easier then marketing it to make sure users know it exists.  This guide on how to market an app is designed to help indie developers take there app to the next level in a step by step manner that is REALISTIC TIME AND MONETARY WISE!   

Keep in mind this guide contains a lot of data and requires a lot of time and effort, unfortunately there is no such thing as a quick 1-2-3 approach to make an app a success.  Fortunately though if you stick to this regiment and put the work in you WILL GET THE RESULTS! 

Create Branded Email

It is pertinent to create an email with your branded name such as @delusiongaming.com .  This is pretty simple, in fact I recommend G-Suite as you get a place to store company info in the cloud using Gdrive and you also get many more tools such as docs, spreadsheets, and calendar.  G-suite costs $5 a month per user.  

You must also create a domain name (this will also be needed for your website).  This is usually around $12 a year and can be bought from a domain provider such  as AWS or GoDaddy.   The domain name is your company name followed by .com, .org, .net, etc… You first purchase the domain name then sign up to Gsuite and use the instructions on how to link a domain name to the email created in Gsuite.

There are great hacks to pay for only one username and have many usernames with your @BrandName.com email!  For example, create a group called support@BrandName.com and put yourself in as a member.  Groups are free in G-suite!  You now have a free email created for a support email that will get forwarded to your personal inbox!!!

Create A Website Landing page

Create a simple one page website for your app using the domain name you bought to create your branded email.  The website should have the download links to your app (once app is released), a way to contact your support email, trailer video of your app, pictures and description of the team members and lastly social media icons.

You can use a hosting solution such as GoDaddy or AWS to host your site and use WordPress to create your website or even simpler is to use a service like WIX which allows you to create a custom, beautiful  website extremely easily with no coding involved and a drag and drop environment.

Create Social Media Channels

It is essential to create social media channels pre-launch and start updating them with all the necessary info such as pictures, website info, etc… to market an app.  Do not invite people to these channels until you have released the application.  During the time before launch you should be posting to the social channels to build content.  It is not the best look to invite tons of people to your channel with no posts!

The top 3 social media outlets in my opinion are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Facebook is great to reach out to extremely large audiences for free using groups (covered in depth later).  Twitter is great to use hashtags to reach a great audience as well as build your own following.  Lastly is Instagram which is great to reach a younger crowd and is solely based on pictures which is great as apps have almost unlimited pictures with screenshots!  Show off your UI and use hashtags to reach out to a large audience in Instagram.

ALWAYS use hootsuite to schedule your posts.  During Pre-launch I personally post between 3-5 twitter posts a day, 1-2 Facebook posts a day and 2-4 Instagram posts a day (all Mon-Fri, weekends I post much less).  I write all my posts on the weekend so I don’t have to spend any time posting or thinking about social media during the week.

**Join Facebook Groups**

In all of my efforts on how to market an app, using facebook groups has seemed to be the one that stands out and boosts up traffic the most and quickest for me personally.  More will be explained later on how to use these groups. 

Go to Facebook and do a search for anything related to your app.  My last app was a game so I searched for android games.  Once you click search and receive your results, click on the groups button and start joining as many groups as you can with over 1000 members.  BE CAREFUL you cannot click join more then around 15 times in a row or facebook will think you are suspicious and ban this action.  Take a 30 to 45 minute break between clicking on join group.  

This must be done everyday and you should try to join (meaning click join) around 50 groups a day during pre-launch.  You will run out of groups and search ideas.  Start thinking creatively such as marketing groups, review groups, family groups if your app is family oriented, coding groups, ad groups, etc…  Just keep joining groups!

Keyword Research

Keyword research is very commonly looked over but is extremely crucial in how people find your app organically which, in the end, is the way you want people to find your app.

Many people hear this word “keywords” but don’t really understand what it is, how to use them, where to use them and most importantly which words to use.  

Keywords are words that you identify your app with that you want to be usable in a search to bring your app to the top.  For ex. my game is called candy words and is a word game puzzle.  I would want my app to rank first when a user searches “word game”, “free game”, “puzzle” etc… Some of these searches I want are extremely hard to achieve such as “free game” but others such as “word game” or how to market an app guide 😉 are easier to achieve.  When you research which keyword to use its important to choose keywords that are achievable and truly identify to your application.  

Once you find out which keywords are best for your app you must include them frequently in all places that mention your app such as app store description, metadata, website, PR release etc…  Be careful not to include these words too many times as you will be penalized and lower your ranking.  All places require different frequencies of using the keyword and is best to research this frequency for each place (app store, website, etc..) before applying your keywords.

How to actually do keyword research and all the steps involved is a bit too long for this guide but heres a GREAT link on how to actually do this research.

 

Understand App Potential

Do some research on where your app will flourish.  You cant market an app if you don’t know where it will succeed.  Will it prosper best with Android or IOS?   Android tends to make more money with ads whereas IOS tends to make more money with In App Purchases and paid apps.  Which age demographics will use your app the most?  Which locations will use your app?  If its a kids app to learn English maybe it will also be good in countries such as China where many people are studying English.

Its best to do this research as at some point you might want to consider purchasing ads (if your budget can manage this) and you can specify exactly a certain type of person that will engage or download your app more frequently.  

Regardless, knowing this information is crucial to the audience you should be reaching out to.  Be creative and think outside the box.  Upon post launch of the app we will dive into the analytics and really figure out the exact target audience but these decisions before pre-launch should define which platform(s) to build the app on, hash tags in social media, app description in app stores etc…

Make Trailer Video

This is a great way to show off your app.  Include the video in everything you can such as the website, twitter posts, app stores, etc…  The video should be no longer then 1 minute and highlight the main features and bonuses of the app with engaging HD graphics.  If you cannot create this fiverr is a great place to look for someone to do this for you at a reasonable price.

Load ALL your videos to YouTube and make sure wherever you post your video to use the YouTube link as opposed to loading the video if possible.  YouTube gives you great analytics to the people watching your videos such as age and gender as well as where people are watching your video the most such as the app store or your website.

Write Pre Written Posts

Write two to five 1500 word posts for your website.  A post might be what your app is about, how you were inspired to create your app, the people involved in creating your app, etc… 

Also look around Reddit, Quora and Stack Overflow and start bookmarking places that have potential for you to post something about your app as well as comment.  Write general type posts for these places that you can comment on (around 25 to 50 words).  

Look for places that you can post a link to your website posts.  For ex. if you write a post on what inspired you to write your app and post it your site look on Reddit for others who wrote about there inspiration on creating an app and in the comments say something engaging about there experience and post your link to your website and ask them to read about your experiences.

Understand ASO / SEO

These might be some terms you have seen or know very well.  ASO is App Store Optimization and refers to how your app shows up when people search in the app store.  SEO is search engine optimization and refers to how your company, brand and app show up within google and various search engines.  

At a bare minimum to market an app you must start with optimizing your keywords as discussed before so you know which words you would like users to put in the app store or google to show your app as number one.

When it comes to building SEO and all things SEO related I highly suggest visiting and signing up with backlinko.  He has the most relevant, up to date and easy to follow info regarding SEO. 

As for now when it comes to building ASO follow all the same guidelines and principles that you learn from SEO and building your website and apply them to the app store listing to build your ASO.

QA QA QA

So your finally done with your app, well at least you think you are.  Has your app gone through QA (Quality Assurance) for bugs?  If you release your app with any bugs it will get noticed quick and your reviews will start bad which will make it extremely hard (to impossible) to compensate for and raise your apps trust level.  Don’t jump the gun on releasing your app this is very critical.  

Go through a beta phase in which all your friends can use your app to scour for bugs and better UI ideas.  In my case friends pointed out many cases in which the UI can be more intuitive that really made my game much better.  You dont know everything and how everyone will intuitively interact with your app, make sure to listen to peoples ideas and apply them if necessary big or small.  If you do apply there idea thank them and show them the new and improved app with there signature idea!

Its best to watch people use your app without giving them any info and see what mistakes they make and try to make your app better or your directions more clear so other users wont make the same mistake.  

Lastly run through a beta phase in which people you don’t know can download your app and test it.  Encourage these people to email you directly with bugs or ideas.  The google developer console offers this beta opportunity and within IOS you have test flight to put your beta app on.  Test flight will not allow people to download your app unless you invite them.  Go to some relevant facebook groups and post if anyone is interested to test your IOS app to email you directly and include the trailer of your app.  Once you receive there email send them a test flight link and ask to report bugs and any advice!

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