One marketer likens launching your app with a Hollywood movie release – the trailers, hype and build up start well before opening weekend. If you want your app sales to go well, you need to get the timing of your promotions right. 

Timing is Everything: How to Get More iPhone App Sales from Day One

How is your new iPhone app like a Hollywood blockbuster? Just like the release of a new movie at your local theater, a large percentage of your app sales are likely to come as soon as it’s available to buy.

Think of the “opening weekend” of a movie, when people line up around the block to see it first. Those first few days after it’s available to the public are one of the most critical times for the success of a movie and your iPhone app. How can you get people pounding at the App Store doors waiting for your app to be released?

The answer to getting explosive sales from Day One is to start marketing your app before it’s available in the App Store. Yes, you’ll start spreading the word even before anyone can actually buy your app. You could even start before your app is finished.

This might sound backwards. In fact, many developers wait to start promoting their iPhone apps until they have been approved and are for sale in the App Store. However, it’s better to ramp up your marketing efforts earlier – even before your app is live.

Think back to that movie premiere, and all of the TV commercials, newspaper ads, and magazine interviews you saw before the movie ever arrived in theaters. You can do the exact same with your app: get your customers excited and start building buzz earlier so that when your app finally is available, they’ll buy it instantly.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Just imagine having eager customers waiting for your iPhone or iPad app to be released. From the very first day it’s available, you could start with a large spike in sales. Waiting until your app is for sale can cost you money in missed sales – but starting earlier can mean more potential customers hear about your app and are excited to buy it.

You are likely to find a burst of excitement and buzz around your brand new app because shoppers love to find the latest tools and toys. In addition, your new app can get added exposure by appearing in the App Store’s “new and noteworthy” section for your category and by appearing at the top of the list of apps when sorted by release date. These advantages give your app prime real estate and more visibility – meaning many more shoppers come to check out your app.

Better yet, this momentum can carry you through the coming days and weeks. It is important to get good ratings and reviews early because shoppers will look at how people are enjoying your app when they are deciding if they want to buy it, too. Customers will also be looking out for positive reviews from app blogs and review sites. By reaching out to them earlier, you can add quotes to your app description and use them to boost your sales.

3 Steps to Hit the Ground Running

To maximize your sales, start promoting your app even before people can buy it. You can start dropping hints about your app as you finish coding. You could offer a “sneak peak” of what your app will do to your social network (though you can’t yet share the actual app). Or, you can post updates to your blog as more and more great features are added to the finished product.

You can also work on marketing your app after you have submitted it to Apple for review and are waiting for approval. Use this downtime to your advantage, and start spreading the word. This is the perfect way to get a leg up on your competition, who may wait until their app is in the App Store to start marketing.

To help you get more sales from Day One, here are 3 steps to take while you are creating your app or while you are waiting for your app to be approved by Apple:

  • Reach out to app review sites and bloggers – Contact popular websites and blogs that review iPhone apps to let them know your app is coming. While they probably won’t write about you yet, it can help increase your chances they’ll publish a review of your app when it is available because they are more familiar with it.
  • Line up friendly customers to be ready for Day One – Seek out and notify previous customers, friends, and colleagues who are likely to love your app and give it high ratings. Make sure they’re ready to buy as soon as your app is available. The first few reviews that appear in the App Store are crucial because they will be seen by future shoppers who are deciding if they want to buy your app. Make sure they’re glowing reviews!
  • Let your customers, email list, and social network know what’s coming – Don’t wait until your app is released to get people excited about it (unless you’re trying to keep it a secret so competitors don’t copy you). Keep them updated on your progress, the great features you’re adding, and whip up some buzz and excitement even before it’s live. It takes time to build excitement, so start early and update them often.

When your app lands in the App Store, you want it to make a splash. Use these tips to begin spreading the word earlier than you might think – even before it can be bought. That way, when it is finally available for sale, you are truly making waves.

This article originally appeared on Mobile Orchard, ‘The iPhone App Developer’s Blog”. You can read more from the team here

How long before launch did you start marketing your app?

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