Guest post by Steve P. Young (Mobile App Chat).
Do you want to get your new app in front of your target audience before you release?
Are you looking for ways to grow your pre-launch email list?
With over a million apps to compete with, having a launch strategy is key to your app’s success.
How to Launch an App (the Pre Launch Strategy)
In this article, you’ll discover the pre-launch strategy I used to generate over 25,000 views on my content and 150 emails for the release of my latest app – oSnap.
There are 5 simple steps that you have to implement to do this. I will also give you the timeline that you have to follow for each step, to get the best results.
#1: Post Your App on Preapps
One of the easiest things to do is list your app on Preapps.
Preapps has a community of early adopters who are looking for interesting new app ideas before they launch. Users can sign-up to be notified of when the app is released or even become a beta tester.
As a developer, you will get emails of those of who want to beta test your app. This is a great and easy way to start building your email list and get valuable feedback.
When signing up for Preapps, you will need to provide them with:
- App name
- App description
- Expected release date
- App icon
- App screenshots
You can always update the app icon and screenshots as you progress, so I’d recommend putting your app on the site as early as possible – ideally 4-6 weeks before launch.
#2: Create a Landing Page
Next you want to create a website for your app where users can learn more about the app, sign-up for your email list, download the press kit, and watch your app video.
Now the website does not have to be elaborate. You can use LaunchRock and have a website in minutes.
I bought a landing page theme from ThemeForest, modified a few images and text and I was off and running.
The important thing is that you allow users to easily sign-up for your email list on your website.
You want to make it easy for users to sign-up to be notified of the app’s release and email is still the number one way to communicate to your users.
LaunchRock has built-in email capture features, but if you are purchasing a landing page template or theme, then make sure they have an email signup feature.
You can also use services such as Lander or Unbounce that make it easy to create custom landing pages. Both have customizable templates, email capture capibilities, and integration with the popular email marketing providers.
#3: Pick a Fight
As someone who has pitched the press multiple times and been hired to do PR, I find it very difficult to get bloggers to pay attention or write about my apps.
I didn’t want to rely on a third party to get noticed, so I decided to create my own content.
My Medium post entitled “Hey Apple, I Just Fixed Your Camera App” generated over 10K views and the number 2 referr was a site called LayerVault – a Reddit for designers.
Here are just a few of the comments I received from the site:
Now I received an equal if not greater number of those who loved my app idea, but I wanted to show you the hateful ones to make the point that you have to pick a fight.
It’s important for the reader to pick a side and either agree or disagree with you. The last thing you want to do is have them ignore you.
Write about the problems you see with current apps and attack a big player in your category. I knew that by having “Apple” in the title, that would generate the buzz I needed.
Obviously you will need to have good points, so that readers are not put off by the title and consider you as spam or link bait.
#4: Leverage Another Audience
After you create the “controversial” content, then you want to find the platform that has a built-in audience that is relevant to your app.
Now I could have written the above post on my blog, but I knew that Medium had a much bigger audience than me.
In addition, I could reach those who were passionate about design and user experience on Medium.
Pro tip: When publishing on Medium make sure you submit your story to relevant “Collections”.
I also created the Slideshare below entitled “13 Steve Jobs Quotes About Design”:
Again I knew that Slideshare had a built-in audience of entrepreneurs that I wanted to reach. The above presentation was featured on the Slideshare homepage.
Publish your content on the platform that has an built-in audience and is relevant to your app.
#5: Promote It
Lastly, you want to maximize your reach by promoting your content on the obvious social networks – LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit, Hacker News, etc.
If your content is interesting and makes valid points, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of promoting in fact you should be proud of it.
You’re not trying to sell anything, you want readers to first engage with your content and if they find it valid then they will take the necessary steps to learn more about your app.
Pro tip: Do a Google search for “forums: [target audience]” if you need to find forums to post your content.
Using the steps outlined above you’ll be able to use content marketing to drive awareness for your app.
In addition, you can use the buzz that you created in your press outreach emails. Press loves to write about hot topics, so use this strategy to show that you have something worth writing about.
About the author
Steve P. Young is the host of the Mobile App Chat podcast where the top mobile app developers share their success stories. Listen in to learn how to launch an app and much more.
Now he runs an app PR agency, Runway.bz, where they’ve helped clients get featured by Apple, hit the #2 paid app overall, and get coverage on Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. He also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.
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