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HiTech
9 minutes read

App Pre-Launch: 10 Strategies for Success

By Jonathan Tarud
By Jonathan Tarud
HiTech
9 minutes read

Have you considered doing some app pre-launch promotion for your new app before it’s actually ready to hit the market? Most companies sadly don’t, and the truth is that by doing so they would be gaining some precious traction. 

Here’s the thing, if you wait until your app is launched on the app store, you’re already behind. The stages of app pre-launch are crucial to start addressing your target audience. In other words, your app could have been developing a relationship with your target audience even before it goes live.

The app marketing process should begin while you are developing your app. This, in a way, is an essential part of your development process, even if it doesn’t seem so at first. You’ve got over a million apps that you’re competing with, so keep in mind that strategy is key! Use your resources wisely from day one.

In case you are wondering how to market your app while it is still in the pre-launch phases, here are some app marketing tips:

#1. Define Buyer Personas

One of the first things to be very clear on when you’re developing your app marketing strategy is who your target audience is. Target users should be at the center of everything you do, from the design and User Experience (UX) to the app marketing plan you create in order to draw your brand awareness.

There are a couple of key points here. Firstly, you need to have a clear grasp of the problem that your app solves. Secondly, you must know who you are solving it for before the app launch.

Check out this article to understand the importance of developing and using buyer personas. The crux of it is that companies (or apps!) go out of business if they ignore questions like:

  • Who are we talking to?
  • What do they care about?
  • What are we saying?
  • Is what we are saying relevant?

These key questions should be answered using well-developed buyer personas and should inform the direction of your app’s marketing campaign.

buyer_persona

Image source: Referral Sasquatch

#2. Study Your App Store Competitors

If you have direct competitors (and most will), you can find a goldmine of information that will be useful to your own app development and marketing efforts.

It is worth investing in some market research to understand factors such as:

  • Who is your competitor targeting?
  • How are other apps in your category being named?
  • Which ones are popular and why?
  • Which keywords are competitors ranking for on the app store?
  • What feedback are their customers providing? Are there tips you could take away to improve your own app or to better market it?
  • Have they missed key features or created features that annoy people which you could improve on?

#3. Develop Marketing Aspects

Never wait until the last minute to get your marketing points ironed out. This includes looking at those buyer personas you’ve created and developing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that will be attractive to those people.

Other app marketing aspects to develop include keys for getting your app discovered on launch, such as:

  • Your app name. There’s an art to naming an app well so that it will be catchy and memorable, but also likely to turn up in searches. Many apps favor the strategy of creating a “brand” name, but they fail when adding the functionality into the title. 
  • Keywords. Do your keyword research early so that you’re ready to go at launch with optimized pages and listings. These keywords should also be used on the marketing material you develop.
  • Preview trailers or screens. People want to see clear visuals demonstrating your app. Start to put these together early and you can use them in pre-launch marketing materials.
  • Create a press kit. This should include things such as those screenshots or trailers, as well as app information and icons.

#4. Create a Landing Page

It’s always preferable if you can start to build an email list early on. That way, you can address those who are interested in your app. For this reason, a landing page is a good idea, either on your website (if you already have one) or using a landing page service. Your landing page should be promoted through any paid advertising that you do: on social media, in emails, and via shares from influencers. 

When people arrive on your page, they should immediately see some key benefits of your app, features, and any screenshots or trailer videos you have made. Give them a simple signup form where they can join your email list – making this task easy is a core purpose of the landing page.

#5. Use an App Marketing Service

There are a few different sites where you can generate early interest in your app by posting the details on their website. They host a community of early adopters, from where you also may be able to source beta testers. These are great places to gain subscribers for your email list.

Posting up your app should be easy, but you do have to provide them with the following app store optimization information:

  • App name
  • App description
  • Price
  • Category
  • Device
  • Expected release date
  • App icons 
  • App screenshots

Don’t get too hung up if you feel that your description, icons, or screenshots aren’t quite ready yet – these can be changed later on.

#6. Find an Audience That Is Ready

The type of sites mentioned above are an example of a ready audience, but there are other places you should look to increase user acquisition. For example, you might create content and share it on Medium blog posts because your particular audience will most likely be there. You might post on related subReddits, LinkedIn groups, or Twitter conversations to spread the word.

Another great place to head for information and publicity is Quora. This can be an especially useful channel if you’d like to ask questions or opinions about problems or matters related to your app, but it also provides the opportunity for you to be the one giving the answers.

Look for relevant questions being asked that are related to your app’s purpose and provide an answer to them. You can throw in the link to your landing page in your answer.

#7. Plan Your Release Date

Most of the time one does not simply decide a release date, it just happens. However, try to avoid this and set a specific day. Make the mistake of launching on the same day as a new Apple product or any other major headliner on the tech calendar and your launch could be drowned out by the noise.

If you plan your launch ahead, you have a better chance of having your marketing in place appropriately and of courting press attention. This is especially true if you have been able to attract some influencers during pre-launch and get them to review your app.

There should be a buildup of anticipation and a launch date set for when you are sure you can have your app in optimum condition to present to the public.

#8. Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Your content marketing strategy can prove to be a key user acquisition channel if done well. The best content strategies help you to build a community around your app, developing enthusiastic followers before you’ve even launched.

The basis of this strategy should again come back to those buyer personas – what does your target audience want to see and where do they want to see it? Many apps will use their own website to develop a blog, which can be a great way to draw search traffic and channel more signups for your email marketing. You may also consider other channels for press coverage.

Another popular strategy is to find websites that have well-developed audiences that fall within your own target. Write engaging guest posts that deliver value for these sites and get attention for your own app.

#9. Develop Social Channels to Promote Your App

Use your app pre-launch period to build out your social media channels, but don’t feel that you need to be on every possible site. Look at your buyer personas and focus on one or two key channels where you’re most likely to connect with them.

It is much better to cover one or two channels well than several channels in a piecemeal fashion. Your posts need to be regular, engaging and should generate the excitement your app needs to encourage people to download your app when it’s ready.

#10. Keep Building Buzz

A common mistake that app developers make during the pre-launch period is to start out with a strategy only to let it wear away. It is common that many teams build an email list, create content, and post to social media only to move away from these responsibilities once other tasks appear.

If you want a successful launch, the trick is to keep building buzz over that pre-launch period. Communicate regularly with your email marketing campaign, share exciting updates, and keep the conversation going on social media. Maybe even consider influencer marketing.

Ready for Pre-launch?

Your pre-launch phase for your app will be one of the biggest factors determining how well you go at launch.  Marketing your app begins while you’re still developing it and to do so well, you need to be clear about your customer personas, the problem you are solving, and your unique value proposition.

Start building out your marketing materials and communication channels early, and provide regular updates to keep the buzz going. All the best for a successful launch!

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