The App Store is a competitive environment. Against more than 140,000 apps, all screaming for attention, how do you make sure your app gets its time in the spotlight? How do you get people to talk about your app—and, ideally, how do you get them to buy it and show it to their friends? We’ve got some great tips on how to make your mobile app stand out from the crowd that may initially seem obvious, but can often be neglected…
One of the easiest ways to stand out in the App Store is to create an app that is unique. Despite this, thousands and thousands of apps are uninspired, shovelled out by developers who are looking for a quick buck.
You need to ensure that you’re:
- The first developer in your category of product, or
- Reinventing the existing category with something unique.
If you’re just improving something that’s already available, your battle to market will be an uphill struggle.
At present the App Store creates very few new categories. So unless you’re sitting on a revolutionary new idea, focus your attention on a unique spin of an existing category. So many things can be re-imagined with little effort. Look at your competitors and see what cool features for this category are missing? How can you deliver a unique experience in this category?
A unique feature will make your app stand a head taller in the crowd and raise eyebrows. And that’s exactly the effect you want if you intend to sell apps in the App Store.
- Think, plan and build with the intention of creating something unique.
- Ask yourself if you are merely improving on someone else’s idea. If it already exists in the app store, the battle to market it will be much harder.
- If you’re competing in a saturated market, do the exact opposite of the leader.
Amplify Using Twitter
Getting people to talk about your app is imperative for success. The more people talk, the more exposure your app will get, which will hopefully translate into sales. If your app is unique, you’re halfway there—people will talk about it just because of its uniqueness. But how do you encourage people to start up conversations about your product?
Engage The Audience
Make the conversation about your app easy and engaging. Make it so that people want to tweet about it. Tweetability—if no one has yet, I’m trademarking that word—refers to how well a product or message would move on Twitter. The Twitter network, with its millions of users, has a particular personality and disposition. Despite the diversity of people using the service, talking about it like a homogenous mass still makes sense in many ways. Some of the most successful apps are easily shared through social media. Imagine the twittersphere chattering in chipmunk voices, “Hey, guys. Check this out!” Instantly gratifying app + high tweetability = free exposure.
Even if your app isn’t instantly gratifying or funny, you can still compose a tweet that is highly tweetable. Just think of what you would retweet yourself. How would you sell your app in 140 characters?
- Play to your strengths. Write good copy. And have a solid, useful and attractive landing page.
- What’s the USP for the consumer – Are there any amusing and beneficial reasons why people would use your app?
- Have a memorable tagline. Sum up your app’s purpose in one line.
Control The Hype
App sales thrive on hype. Learn to control the hype, and you will have mastered the product launch. Hype will always be partly out of your hands, but the rules mentioned above will help you put things in motion. But hype will amount to nothing if it’s for a poor product. While there is truth to the saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, hype can backfire and harm your efforts to generate hype in future.
Start hyping early. If you know you have a unique product, let people in on the secret before the launch. Having an interesting “Coming soon” website can do this, by building a mailing list and getting Google juice for your domain.
Needless to say, your app should have its own website. To make any of the rules above work, you will need a point of reference, somewhere to send the masses. Make the website interesting; show the app in action, and think outside the box. Make the website an extension of your app, and you will have yet another great tool in your marketing toolbox.
Launching The App
When you launch, make it big. Send out the triumphant newsletter, and hit all social media. Have you or your team write up blog posts, and pull every lever and handle in your network. Hype is all about critical mass: the first wave you set in motion will give you instant feedback on how to adjust your hype machine.
Maintaining hype is all about introducing new venues in which to exhibit your app. Get a steady stream of review websites to cover your app. Give away promo keys on Twitter, and serve new content on your website. Obviously, if you can get into the “What’s hot” or “New and noteworthy” sections of the App Store, you’ve made it far.
In the end, hype is part luck and part skill. The best way to balance the two is to keep asking yourself whether you can do anything else to add value, mystery, polish or spin to your product. Rely on your own judgement: what would excite you about this app if it were made by another developer?
- Give out promo codes on Twitter and in the blogosphere.
- Run contests related to your app. Give away prizes that make sense for your category.
- Boost popularity by timing the launch of your app to coincide with a live event or trending topic.
- Release your app with a big bang. Hold an online or live event. Attract visitors in creative ways, by building a game or puzzle or just throwing a contest or giveaway!
If you have a unique product and apply some of the ideas above, you too can secure free exposure for your beloved app. It’s a rather democratic and honest process because you are required to re-invent apps by adding unique features. Marketing then becomes all about making it easier and more interesting for people to talk about and share your creation.
The realisation is however, that there is no surefire way to create a successful app. But keeping in mind some of the things mentioned in this post—both at the conception and the execution stage—will put you in a position to build awareness of your application much more easily. We hope this has been helpful!