Man, what a sensationalist headline!
Many think this when they see headlines this sensationalist. Unfortunately, in this case, it's entirely warranted. Poor or no marketing for an app before it's release can mean the difference between success and languishing unknown in the App Store.
How could such a polarized statement be justified? Because it's absolutely true. Not all apps that are marketed before release will go viral, but every app that goes viral was marketed hard before release. How does pre-release marketing translate to virality?
One of the keys to 'going viral' is to be high in the App Store ranking charts, which is done by getting a lot of downloads early on. And that is done by marketing your app well before release. You get a lot of initial downloads on the App Store from pre-release marketing, which gets your app in front of users who would have never seen your app otherwise, and then they download.
Yeah, okay, okay. So I'll just set up a website and some social media pages when I submit, and then let my followers know about it when we release.
That's barely any better. This is the sort of low-quality marketing which, even though you may have worked hard at it, will yield little results. Take the steps described below to more effectively market your app, and take them now, to get more out of your pre-release marketing.
"But I haven't even completed my app yet!"
Really, now. You're going to release it, right?
"But I haven't even designed my app yet!"
That's okay. You don't need designs to put up a website template.
"It's only an idea!"
Really, now. All you need to take the steps below is the idea.
1. Create a website. This is the crucial first step, because having a website allows you to collect email addresses. You can then email these people at their email addresses when your app is released, so that they can download the app.
This is better than collecting social media followers, because email conversion rates are 30% for opt-in email lists, while social media conversion rates are around 1% - at their best.
Having a wait list also allows you to tap into your potential users for feedback throughout every stage of the app development process, and the feedback of someone who is going to eventually be a user of the app is key to creating an app that will be successful. This post will go over more how to use the email list you build.
When it's time to create your website, you can create one for free with LaunchRock. LaunchRock is an interesting service because it's a website builder that is like kickstarter - you create a landing page on the LaunchRock website, and record your progress creating the app and share it with the internet. However, instead of giving you money, they give you an email address. Much easier to participate!
2. Promote the website. It isn't going to do you much good if it's just sitting there and nobody is going to see it. You need to get eyes on this website to build that email list. This is a really nebulous matter, but can be done for free if you know what you're doing.
- Do SEO. SEO is so simple these days, and with tons of free tools to help you optimize, there's really no excuse to not do it. This is something you should do if you want people to find your website organically.
- Set up Google Authorship. This isn't as relevant for you since you're going to be putting up a website landing page, but it can still help you rank higher in Google's algorithms.
- Post to Reddit. Specifically, post a self-post to Reddit and explain your situation, what you're trying to do, and ask for feedback on your website. This can get a lot of eyes on the post if it is upvoted, and can get you intelligent and valuable feedback on what you're trying to do.
3. Leverage the email list. You put up the website and promoted it and now you got a mailing list, but now what? Well, your awesome new mailing list can be used for a couple of things.
- Engaging subscribers. Ask questions in your emails to them, prompt them to respond to your emails and engage with you. Ask them what they want the product for, if they use competitors & how they feel about them, e.t.c.
- Warming them up. What this means is getting them thinking and feeling good things about your product, so they're more willing to bring it up in conversations with friends, post about it on the internet, and eventually buy it. This is done by emailing them on a semi-regular basis before the product is out, updating them on the progress of development, any setbacks you encounter, and soliciting feedback.
This is the sort of topic that the internet has endless exhaustive opinions on. Some wonderful blogs that discuss this topic are AppSumo, Weisser.io, QuickSprout, and OkDork. Going through these website's best articles is highly recommended.
4. Create the Various Social Media Pages. The purpose of social media is not to acquire new users, but to interact with ones that have already enrolled into your brand. Social media links on your LaunchRock also gives people who aren't comfortable handing out emails a way to follow you if you.
Content that works well on social media are shareable things like photos and videos, as well as questions to interact with current followers. Managing multiple social media pages is easy if you use Buffer to keep these pages updated with the same content you put in your emails.