The coding is done, testing finished, and you’re ready to launch your mobile app on the app stores. Seems simple enough, but the moments between coding completion and uploading the app are crucial to your app’s success. It’s this moment when many startups make critical mistakes. Before you upload to the app stores, here are some strategic procedures you need to consider.
1. What’s Your Marketing Plan?
You can’t just throw up an app and sit back while the signups roll in. App marketing is crucial, and you need a plan before launching mobile apps. At the very least, you should have a website for the app. The website should have a well-targeted landing page that explains the app and announces any changes or updates. Social media is another useful marketing channel.
Most apps start out with an MVP, and then updates are gradually rolled out as you collect user feedback. A landing page should have the latest developments and updates so that your users can stay informed. It’s also a great way to collect email addresses to announce future development plans. This can often get users excited for the next update and keep them engaged with the app.
2. What’s Your Bug-Fix Plan?
Even after testing, unforeseen bugs happen and you want to identify and fix them as soon as possible, especially with a new release. Buggy apps lose strength in the app stores as users rate the app poorly and remove it from their device.
You need a developer or an agency to work with bug reports. The best option is to keep the original app developer on-board, because they better understand the code design and architecture. They can more quickly fix errors since they coded the app.
3. Identify Decision Makers and Power Users
Your app solves a problem, and that’s your key selling point. You need to identify key users for promotional events and feedback. A decision maker would be a person who can help distribute the app either in the enterprise or among like-minded users. They are the ones who need the app’s solution to the problem, so you should get as much feedback from them as possible for future updates.
A secondary target is your power users. Power users can also be decision makers, but they are also people who are app-savvy, understand your industry, and are very vocal with their feedback. These users are also your target, because they will give you plenty of feedback on all aspects of your app including UI, UX, and workflow. They help you identify areas of improvement that can make your app much more engaging.
Both of these target markets should be identified before you launch for marketing purposes. Your website landing page and target email promotions can build higher quality users.
4. Plan an Outreach to Bloggers or Industry Newsmakers
This point ties into marketing again, but it’s a great way to get some initial traction with your app. You don’t want to contact just any blogger, and you need sites that generate readership. Identify prominent bloggers and news reporters using search engines or your own industry network.
For instance, if you design an app that solves a problem in the finance industry, reach out to financial bloggers and ask them to review your app. You can also contact sites that publish information related to your industry. In most cases, you need to pitch ideas to news outlets and create content catering to the site’s audience as well as your own.
Content outreach programs are great ways to get your app out to the public initially as you build your own site’s reputation and following.
5. Do You Have Tracking Set Up?
Several tracking and analytics APIs are on the market that help you track user engagement. Some of them can even detect where you lose your users in the app. It’s common for new app startups to get a spike in app installs, but then poorly designed apps lose user commitment and they are uninstalled.
Tracking helps you identify where you lose user engagement, and you can then re-evaluate the way a specific screen or workflow is designed. The analytics are critical to new app owners, so you aren’t blind to specific user feedback based on the way the app is used. If you can’t get much feedback from users, these tracking APIs can give you statistics based on user behavior patterns.
6. Understand the Publishing Process and Terms of the App Stores
It seems minor, but you should read the publishing workflow and terms of service on both the Apple Store and Google Play. While both of them have similar requirements, there are basic nuances that you should be aware of if you plan to publish to both of them.
If you only publish to one, you should read and understand what can and can’t be published. Ideally, you should understand these terms before you even create the app to avoid publishing prohibited content such as gambling or alcohol related apps. However, the workflow process isn’t as important until after you’re ready to publish the app.
Just a few examples of requirements easily overlooked — you need a marketing image that’s shown to users as they browse the app store, a version number for the development iteration (usually 1.0 for new apps), a content rating for user maturity, the size of the app install files, and developer information such as your website and brand name.
A lot of work goes into building an app, but your work isn’t over even though the coding is done. For the app to be successful, you now have to shift your focus on marketing and catering to your users’ feedback. If you don’t focus on improving your app, it can get lost with the other millions of apps on the marketplace.
These six preliminary launch considerations shouldn’t be overlooked. They can be a crucial part to your app’s success even if your app is completely unique to the market with little competition. App stores have millions of apps, and the right marketing will get your app seen instead of allowing it to go invisible with the others.
Keith Shields is the CEO of Designli, a mobile app development firm specializing in bringing certainty to the world of custom software development. Designli guarantees fixed price points, fixed scope of work 'deliverables,' and accurate timeframes for its clients as they build iPhone and Android apps for startups and small businesses.