The end goal of mobile app development is to launch or re-launch a mobile product that not only drives downloads but also maintains high user engagement and retention rates. Unfortunately, for many businesses launching new products, attracting attention from potential users and standing out in the app market has become increasingly difficult. This is largely due to a saturated market that has become extremely competitive. For businesses looking to gain a competitive edge, leveraging a comprehensive app launch strategy is essential for paving the way to success in the app marketplace.
An app launch strategy has a significant impact on acquiring and retaining users; it is a marketing effort that requires extensive research and ongoing work to see results. To improve your chances of success, we’ve put together a list of six steps that you should follow at each stage of the launch process. Following these guidelines will help you develop a strategy to maximize user retention, drive daily usage, and reduce abandonment rates after launch. However, you should always prepare to adjust accordingly and remain flexible as your plan is likely to change along the way.
Step One: Know Your Audience
The first step in preparing your mobile app launch strategy is conducting market research. Developing a thorough understanding of your audience (demographics and pain points, for example) before moving onto the steps outlined below will save time and money down the road. Knowing exactly what your audience wants will help you to better understand how your product addresses their pain points and fits into their daily life. Furthermore, this research will give you insight into what they dislike about the apps that are currently available in the market, giving you the opportunity to ensure your product doesn’t follow suit. It’s important to uncover the underlying reasons for your user’s frustrations by examining their behaviors and attitudes.
Step Two: Define Your Positioning Statement
After all of your market research is complete, you need to turn it into a deliverable by knowing your product’s strengths and weaknesses and sharing your message with your internal team and key stakeholders.
With nearly two-million apps in the App Store, you need to offer something unique and valuable that will attract potential users to download your app. After you’ve defined your target user, you need to determine what differentiates your app from competitors. This is called a Unique Value Proposition which describes why your product is valuable to your customer and why they should buy-in. With so many mobile apps on the market, you need to let your audience know why yours, in particular, is the most valuable. Your message will be drowned out if you simply describe what your app does. Instead, focus on why it’s different than any other product on the market.
Step Three: Define Your Success Criteria
Success criteria outlines the benchmarks that your product will be compared against to judge if your app launch has been successful. To show stakeholders key information on your success or failure you need to first set some goals and define how they will be measured. Set your goals around active install rates, number of reviews, and average rating score, for example. If you want project success, you have to define what success looks like for your project.
Step Four: Prepare Launch Activities
You’ve done all of your market research and now it’s time to focus on the execution of the actual app launch. For a launch to be successful, there should be an established marketing plan in place to ensure that every step is made and executed properly and in a timely manner.
Step Five: Launch Your Mobile App!
Now it’s time to finally submit your app to the app store(s). At this stage, you should be aware of the submission guidelines your app needs to meet before submitting to either app store. Apple’s guidelines can be found here and Android’s guidelines can be found here.
Alert Your Email List of Your App’s Launch
Once you’ve submitted your app, you should be spreading the word to a press list, influencers, and communities to let them know about your app’s release, encouraging them to test it out.
Spread the Word
Promote your app on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.
Step Six: Post Launch Follow-Up
According to a report from Localytics, 21% of users now abandon an app after one use. While driving downloads and acquiring users is important, retaining those users is even more critical if you want long term success. Therefore, it’s imperative your app makes a good first impression within the first few days, showing immediate value and providing good user experience. This is a critical time to focus on highlighting the value of the app in order to optimize the onboarding process. If you don’t impress your new users quickly, you’ll likely lose their interest altogether.
A mobile app launch isn’t a one-time event. There will always be room for improvement which makes launching an app a cyclical process that requires reassessment as market demands change. Recently launched mobile apps should be updated and relaunched regularly to keep users engaged through new updates and features. In fact, app launch activities should run long before the product’s release date.