Getting early attention and building hype before your app is released is one of the key goals of any app marketing strategy. In a competitive market though, achieving this can be easier said than done. It is also essential to keep that momentum and engagement up once people have downloaded the app – with statistics showing that over a quarter of apps are never used beyond the initial download, a good marketing strategy will continue on well beyond the initial launch.
5 Musts For Mobile App Marketing
Mobile is only getting bigger. Thousands of new apps are hitting app stores every day. The result is that even innovative or well-made apps are often ignored.
One reason for this is that far too many mobile developers start their marketing efforts after they launch their app. This approach wastes one of the best marketing opportunities available — when the app first goes into an app store. Many app creators don’t realize that marketing needs to occur parallel to development and build over time.
To help, here are five tips for marketing a mobile app before it launches.
1. Build a Splash Page
One of the easiest ways to generate interest in an app, even if the app is just an idea, is to build a splash page.
Typical splash pages include a device image, some branding relevant to the app, very basic details about the app’s functionality and social media links. Creating a newsletter sign-up form at this stage also gives people the opportunity to stay updated about progress. Yes, newsletters still work!
The splash page will act as the headquarters for an app, until it’s actually built. Eventually, the splash page should grow to house the full website.
2. Do a Sneak Peek
Communities have really come alive on sites like Dribbble, Forrst, Ember, and comparable outlets. These sites are specifically built to share sneak peeks of works in progress. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that they also represent free places to get extremely high quality feedback from the best in the business. There’s no better way to generate interest in an app than by having peers and potential customers actually contributing to the final version.
App-focused blogs also love featuring cool new apps in development. If you pique their interest, it’s very likely they’ll write about an app even while it’s being built. That’s especially true if they are given exclusive screenshots and other details about the app that aren’t available to others.
3. Create a Teaser Video
It’s not necessary to be a professional videographer to develop a good video preview of an in-progress app. In fact, the simpler it is, the better.
Showcase the key features and include some upbeat background music or interesting narrative. Remember, what you want to highlight is the promise of the app. The final version does not need to be completed at this point.
4. Rally Beta Testers
Working with beta testers is one of the best examples of how marketing helps development and vice versa. Leveraging the splash page, sneak peek, teaser video and other similar assets, you can excite potential customers to sign up to beta test an app.
Not only will beta testers provide feedback about how to improve the app, they’ll also become advocates for it once the app actually launches. You’ll then have an army of people that will help both in testing and marketing your app.
5. Share Promo Codes With Key Contacts
There’s a little known secret about promo codes for iOS apps. If an app is approved for Apple’s App Store but not yet released, promo codes are still active. Taking advantage of this function gives you the opportunity to get your app into the hands of key contacts (press, influencers, friendlies, etc.), even if it’s not publicly available.
Using promo codes this way will let these contacts review the app in advance of its official release date. And for those who agree to write about the app, you might even suggest they post their review the same day the app becomes available, giving it greater visibility and attention from the outset.
The goal for anyone creating an app should be to see an initial marketing frenzy when the app is first released. Getting early attention and growing interest over time will help make that happen.
Of course, once the app is actually launched, many of these same strategies are still applicable. From update to update, it’s helpful to tease upcoming features, incorporate beta testers and keep bloggers and other key contacts aware of any major releases.
Ultimately, acknowledging the mutually beneficial relationship between marketing and development will make each of these efforts more effective. Start your marketing with development, and you’ll greatly improve the public’s interest, engagement and attention for your app once it finally launches.
Ken Yarmosh runs a boutique mobile agency in Washington DC. He is a regular contributor to Mashable. You can read more of his work here.