Just like everything else in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to launch an app.
As an industry expert who has seen both sides of the spectrum over the years, I can assure you that you don’t want to launch your app the wrong way.
Sometimes mistakes early on in the process can be so detrimental that it’s difficult to recover.
First impressions are important. You don’t want your name and brand associated with any problems.
Getting it right the first time around will save you headaches and keep you from having to go through a rebranding campaign strategy to repair the image of your app.
But with all of that in mind, there are tons of apps out there that have launched successfully and continue to thrive years after their inception.
There’s nothing wrong with taking advice from those people who succeeded before you. In fact, I encourage it. That’s the inspiration behind this guide.
I want to share with you my experience and knowledge about the established best practices that the most successful apps follow.
Here they are.
Know the best practices and standards of the stores you want to distribute to
Deciding if you’re building for Apple or Android is one of the first things you’ve got to do when you’re getting ready to launch an app.
You may even be in a position where you’re able to launch on both platforms simultaneously.
There are some key differences between optimizing your app for the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
It’s extremely important that you get familiar with both platforms, even if you’re only planning to launch on one of them initially.
Well, you’ve always got to prepare for the future. Just because you’re building an Android app right now, doesn’t mean you won’t want an iOS app in a year or two.
While there are definitely differences between both platforms, there is a significant amount of overlap as well. Here’s an example to show you what I’m talking about.
As you can see from the graphic above, the App Store allows you to have 50 characters in the description. However, the Google Play Store only lets you include 30 characters.
So if you’re launching on the Apple App Store first, you should keep your title under 30 characters, even though they allow for more.
Otherwise, you’re going to be put in a tough situation if you decide to build an Android App. Having an app with two different titles will kill your branding strategy and confuse users.
If you want to be successful with either of these platforms, you’ve got to take the time and learn what the best practices are ahead of time.
Incorporate these into the app now so you don’t have to go back in later and add them in.
Come up with a really good idea
Your app doesn’t stand a chance to be successful if it doesn’t start with a good idea.
You may think your idea is great, and it very well might be. But that alone isn’t enough to proceed with development.
Part of launching an app correctly involves validating your app idea before you can turn it into a reality.
You’ll need to get some feedback and work with other people to hear their input.
The best way to go about this is by putting your creative team in the same room with your tech guys. With all of those minds working together, you can come up with an idea that’s realistic and received well by consumers.
It’s important that you make sure someone doesn’t already have your idea. In today’s day and age, it’s almost impossible to come up with something that’s 100% unique.
I’m sure there are other people out there who have already done what you’re trying to accomplish. But the key is finding a way for your idea to differentiate from the competition.
You can use online tools, such as SpyFu, to help you conduct your competitive analysis.
Furthermore, you can conduct a SWOT analysis diagram to help better understand yourself. This will help you determine your:
As a result of this analysis, you’ll be able to figure out how good of an idea you really have. You may even discover that your original idea isn’t worth pursuing. That’s totally OK.
It’s better to learn this early on as opposed to after you’ve already wasted value time, money, and resources. You can always make adjustments to your idea to make it better.
You’re also going to need to make a business plan. This will help you prepare for the future and growth of your company.
For example, I mentioned earlier that you might decide to launch your app on just one platform initially. Well, part of your business plan could be to launch on the other platform two years later.
If you know this before you get started, you’ll be able to properly prepare so you can meet this timeline.
Don’t think you need a business plan? Think again. Studies show that companies with a business plan are more likely to:
- grow their business
- secure a loan
- get investment capital
Furthermore, coming up with a formal plan makes it 16% more likely that you’ll follow through with your goals.
Make sure that you understand your audience
According to a recent study, developers identified marketing as the most difficult part of creating an app.
That’s because they aren’t taking enough time to truly understand their audience. Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that marketing your new app will be a breeze.
However, it’s definitely much easier if you have your target market clearly identified before you get started.
You need to know how people are going to use your app. How is it going to make their lives better? This should be the driving force behind creating your app.
Users have a problem or a need, and your app is there to help them.
After all, these are the people who are giving you their money. So you need to make those transactions as simple as possible to keep them happy.
You’ve got to make adjustments based on their behavior. For example, take a look at how users discover new apps.
As you can see, app store searches are by far the most common way for new app discovery.
So you’ll need to make sure that your app is properly optimized for searches if you want to have a successful launch.
Always keep your target audience in mind during this process.
Test your app
Now that you’ve gone through the development process, your app is ready to launch, right? Wrong.
Before you launch your app it needs to be thoroughly tested.
As I said earlier, if you don’t correctly launch your app right the first time, it’s going to be a problem.
If your app is garbage from the start, it’s going to ruin the relationship with your users. These people are going to be less apt to use the app and spend money on your app or on your products.
Testing before launch can help make sure that you work out all of the bugs before the app is available for mass distribution.
Nobody’s app is perfect. Bugs and glitches happen to the best of us. But the idea is to limit the ones that can be prevented with thorough testing.
Don’t try to cut corners and get your app to market as soon as possible without going through the testing process.
You can use continuous integration strategies throughout your development process to help reduce mistakes.
But you can even use testing as part of your marketing campaign. Reach out to early adopters and give them access to do beta testing for your app.
Consider using a platform like BetaList to find users to try out your app.
This will help you get in touch with the right people.
In addition to hearing valuable feedback about your app’s performance, getting early adopters to use your app before it’s release will help you build hype for your app.
Lots of these people have connections within the technology industry. They may even have their own blog or contribute guest posts to popular websites.
They can write about your app and help spread the word so users will be lined up and ready to download it when it officially gets released.
If you’re developing an Android app, you can even run your beta tests directly on their platform.
Market your app before you finish it
One mistake that I see developers make all of the time is waiting to market their apps.
Your app doesn’t need to be complete for you to start marketing.
If you’ve got an existing business, start to tell your current customers about the release of your app. That way they’ll be ready for it when it’s finally available.
For those of you that are launching an app as a startup company, you’ve got to start creating brand awareness.
Increase your social media presence. Create a website. Use guerilla marketing tactics. Do anything that you can to get as many people as possible ready for the launch of your app.
But just make sure that you’re targeting the right audience, which we talked about earlier.
Go really aggressive here. Don’t miss out on a chance to build hype.
Refer back to the testing part of this guide. As I said before, you can get early adopters to test your app and promote it as well.
Make sure that your marketing efforts stay within your allocated budget. Here’s a look at how developers are distributing funds related to advertising and promotion.
Based on this data, it’s obvious that developers are prioritizing videos and social media to advertise their apps.
Just make sure that you’re promoting your app through the right channels that are most commonly used by your target audience.
Apply to your stores
After you’ve completed all of the steps that we’ve already outlined, it’s time to release your app to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
You may even be applying it to both stores at the same time.
This step should be pretty easy, as you’ve already considered how to best work with these platforms. Now it’s just about putting your application to the test.
The App Store has a guide for submitting your app on that their platform.
Your app won’t automatically get put on the store once it has been submitted. It has to go through a review process to make sure that you’ve followed all of their guidelines.
But again, this shouldn’t be a problem if you reviewed this in the early stages of development.
Uploading your app to the Google Play Store doesn’t require as much effort. Their review process is not as strict as the iOS platform.
Ready for launch!
After you’ve built your app with an eye toward your app store’s best practices, tested it, and hyped it up, you are finally ready for launch.
Get to it fast and don’t let up until you reach your goals outlined in your business plan.
Here’s the thing. Realize that your app won’t be perfect, probably ever. So don’t let minor things prevent you from launching your app.
I’m not saying you should launch your app prematurely, but I don’t want you to let the small stuff create delays in your timeline.
If you’ve gone through everything that we talked about, your app is ready to go. You can always make changes and updates after it’s been launched.
Watch out copycats
Earlier I talked about analyzing your competition. There are going to be other apps out there that are similar to yours. For example, take a look at these different video streaming apps.
After your app is officially released, it’s possible that people will try to replicate your idea. So the best way to stand out from the crowd is by coming up with a way to differentiate yourself.
If someone steals your idea, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to prosecute. So don’t even worry about that.
Instead, just try to come out hard and make your name known. Don’t make it easy for people to steal your content, rework it, and pass it off as their own.
Having a strong brand name behind your app makes it more difficult for someone to do this.
That’s why your pre-launch marketing strategy is so important.
Opportunity knocks when you least expect
Just because you have a business plan and an idea in your head for how things will unfold over the next several years, it doesn’t mean that everything will go according to your script.
You’ve got to be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t just develop and launch your app with blinders on.
It’s essential that you constantly keep an eye on markets, users, opportunities, and new changes to apply your app toward.
Be prepared to make adjustments based on these external factors. Your app needs to be updated and well maintained.
Make sure that these updates reflect your market and how it changes over time.
If you follow the steps that I’ve outlined above, you should have a successful launch for your mobile app.
It’s possible that you may hit a few speed bumps along the way, but that’s normal and I’m sure it won’t be anything that you can’t overcome.
Get familiar with the best practices for the app store that you’re planning to launch on.
Come up with a really good idea and make sure that you have a target audience clearly defined.
Before your app gets released, it needs to be tested thoroughly. You should also start marketing your app before the official launch date.
Now get out there and do it. If you need some help, BuildFire has a platform for custom app solutions. Contact us here to get started.
What steps are you taking to correctly launch your mobile app?