Mobile App Development Blog

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Building a Mobile App.

Ian Blair

How to Get 10,000 Drooling Pre-Launch Users for Your Mobile App

People want mobile applications.

In fact, the average smartphone user has about 27 apps downloaded on their phone right now.

So if you’ve currently got an app that’s in the preliminary stages or going through development, you’ve got to realize that people want to download your app too.

They want to give you their money for this wonderful piece of programming that will improve their life.

The only problem is they don’t realize it yet.

It’s your job to convince them.

As an industry expert who has been through this process before, I know what it takes to get lots of downloads for mobile apps.

This won’t be easy. The app marketplace is becoming more crowded every day.

So how do you do it?

While it may not be as simple as counting to three, it’s really not rocket science either.

So don’t be too intimidated.

Here’s the best piece of advice I can give you.

Don’t wait until your app is launched to start promoting it.

I see companies make this mistake all the time and it’s a costly one.

Think about all of your development costs and the amount of money you’re going to spend to keep this app up and running after it’s launched.

You’ll need to get a revenue stream as soon as possible to help take some of the pressure off.

Apps take time to promote.

So if you wait until the launch day to tell prospective users about it, you may have to wait months before you actually start to see downloads.

But since it’s going to take you months to build and develop your app, you can be productive during that time from a marketing standpoint as well.

That way you can have users anticipating the release and downloading your app as soon as it launches.

Here’s how you can accomplish that.

Build a great app

Why do you think people download mobile apps?

A recent survey outlines the top reasons.

So if you want users to recommend your app to other people, you’ll need to start by developing an app that performs well.

This should go without saying, but you would be surprised how many people release subpar apps thinking they’ll be successful.

You may have some personal experience with this as well.

Have you been satisfied with every app that you’ve ever downloaded?

I doubt it.

You’re obviously not going to recommend something to your friends and family if you’re unhappy with it.

In fact, you may even do the opposite and tell people to stay away from it based on your negative experience.

There’s no substitute for quality.

You can have the greatest marketing campaign in the world.

But that’s only half of the battle.

Getting 10,000 users to download your app doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get them to use it on a regular basis.

You won’t be able to make any money this way, unless you’re just charging for downloads.

Plus, if the first 10,000 users are unhappy with your app, I promise that it’s going to be near impossible to get an additional 10,000 downloads.

Unsatisfied users will leave unfavorable rankings and reviews for your app in the app store.

If that happens, it will negatively impact your app store search rankings.

Those poor ratings and reviews will also deter other users from downloading it.

But all of this can be avoided if you put a strong emphasis on quality.

Develop a great app, and the world will beat a path to your door.

However, you have to build that path yourself.

Start marketing early

As I mentioned earlier, there’s no reason for you to wait until launch date to start marketing your app.

Your marketing efforts should start long before the actual release date.

If you’ve already got a business and you’re launching this app to help improve the customer experience while adding another revenue channel, your existing customers are the best place to start marketing.

Whether you’re an online business or have brick and mortar locations, this statement holds true for both scenarios.

Why start looking for completely new users to download your app when you already have people who are familiar with your company?

If you refer back to the graph we saw earlier about the reasons for downloading mobile apps, familiarity with a brand was the third highest reason on the list.

Use all of your marketing channels that are already in place to build a buzz.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Email
  • Your website
  • YouTube

I’ll go into greater detail about how you can use your website and email list as a way to build hype shortly.

You can also build a buzz for your app by making a sign up for early access.

Here’s how Google is allowing Android users to try out new apps before their official release dates.

It’s a great way to get people ready for your app.

For those of you who are launching an app as a startup company as opposed to in conjunction with an existing business, you’ll need to create new marketing channels for promotion.

Build a profile on all of the platforms I just mentioned on that bullet point list.

You’ll need to stay active on those platforms, especially the social media sites.

Here’s a great example of an app promotion advertisement in a pre-launch phase for an existing company.

It’s simple and to the point.

They can use this image on all of their marketing channels as well.

Part of your pre-launch advertising strategy also needs to speak to the functionality of your app.

How is it going to add value to the user?

If your app doesn’t make an improvement in their life by making things easier or providing some sort of entertainment, they won’t have any interest in it.

Also, don’t announce a release date too early.

This could backfire.

Development doesn’t always go as planned.

Things happen, and it could cause some setbacks.

But users don’t need to know about this.

Announcing a date too soon could mean you’re going to rush through development to meet that date.

In this case, your quality will suffer.

Otherwise, you would have to release it later than the date you announced, which would let people know that everything didn’t go as planned.

So it’s better to wait until the app is complete before setting a launch date.

Blog about it

Blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive internet traffic to your website.

If your site doesn’t have a blog, I recommend starting one ASAP.

For those of you who have a blog but don’t put out lots of content, you need to make sure your blog is more active.

This will really help you promote your app.

I’ve had this conversation with companies before while consulting with them.

A common question that I get is, “How many blogs can we actually write that promote our app?”

Here’s the thing.

Your blog posts won’t necessarily all be about your app.

You’ve just got to come up with clever ways to work that promotion into the context of the topic.

Plus the increased web traffic will expose more people to your brand and company image, so they’re familiar with it once the app is finally released.

These are some of the best statistics that illustrate the benefits of blogging.

In addition to blogging on your own website, you should also try to take advantage of any guest blogging opportunities that you’re presented with.

While these blogs won’t add content to your website, they can still drive traffic and increase brand awareness.

Blogging for other websites will help expose your brand and app to a group of people who may not even know your company exists.

Getting them familiar with your app now will help generate some interest once the app launches.

There’s a good chance you can get those people to rush to the app store on the release date.

Your should also use your blog as a way to interact with the readers.

Try to encourage comments.

Respond to those comments to start a discussion.

Blogs also give you an excuse to post regularly on social platforms.

I see so many companies struggle with social media marketing because they don’t know what to post.

Sharing a link to your blog is effective on those platforms as well.

Reach out to early adopters

There are plenty of people out there who want to be in on the newest cutting edge technology.

I briefly touched on this earlier when I showed you how Android users can sign up to test out apps before they get released on the Google Play Store.

Use various tools to find these people online.

Do whatever you can to get them on your good side.

Give them free stuff, discounts, or anything else to keep them happy.

Often times, these early adopters are active on discussion boards, and they may even have their own blogs or contribute to other industry blogs.

So you don’t want to disappoint them under any circumstances.

Delivering a subpar experience to early adopters can come around to bite you.

Just make sure you’re using this pre-launch promotional method with caution.

Give people early access and help them test it out for you

Piggybacking off of our last point, giving people early access can actually benefit the quality of your app.

You’re killing two birds with one stone here.

You get to put your app in the hands of users who will potentially download it when it officially launches.

But you’ll also receive valuable feedback about the performance of your app.

It’s a win-win situation.

These beta testers can help feel like they’re contributing the success of your app, which is more likely to make them interested.

Then you can make the necessary tweaks and adjustments before the official release to maximize an optimal user experience.

Look for testers on sites like BetaList to get started.

You can start this method as early as the prototype and proof of concept stages.

Continue to use beta testing throughout the entire development process whenever you add new features to your app.

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Email outreach

Believe it or not, email marketing is not dead.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to promote a business.

Yes, people still use email.

If you don’t have an email marketing list, it’s not too soon to begin building one, even if you’re a startup company.

Some of the top platforms to consider are:

There are tons of other email marketing software options available on the Internet, but these are good places to start your search.

They all have more or less the same features and benefits.

It really just depends on your personal preference and budget.

Using an email marketing software is a great way to keep in touch with prospective users.

Plus, you can continue to contact these people even after your app launches.

Notify them whenever you’re coming up with a new update or some kind of promotion that’s worth mentioning.

Just don’t spam people.

Sending out too many emails or messages that don’t add any value to the recipient can cause people to unsubscribe from your list.

You definitely don’t want that to happen.

This can put a bad taste in the mouth of a prospective user and cause them to have a bad association with your brand.

They may not download your app if they think you’re annoying.

Either way, you should start collecting email addresses immediately.

Then you can work on building a successful email marketing campaign to promote your app before it launches.

Get ready for success

It’s time to prepare your marketing materials.

Have your press kits, answer sheets, phone numbers, and email addresses readily available for all of the overwhelming contacts you’re about to get.

If you follow the advice that I’ve outlined for you, there’s going to be a long list of users ready to download your app, even before it launches.

Just make sure you build a great app.

You don’t want these users to be disappointed with a product that’s not high quality.

It’s never too early to start marketing campaigns for your app, but don’t announce a release date too soon that you can’t promise.

Blogging is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and increase the exposure of your brand and app.

Reach out to early adopters and give them access to do beta testing in the pre-launch stages.

Although it may seem like email has lost its popularity, that’s not the case.

Start collecting email addresses and promote your app with email marketing campaigns.

What other pre-launch strategies have you considered to get users interested in your app before it gets released?

Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.