10 Tips for Your Next Mobile App Launch

Northsail Knows the Importance of Making a Good Impression

When it comes to making a good impression, nothing impacts your long-term relationships with consumers like their first impression of your business, your website, and your brand as a whole.

We've been able to build great long-term relationships with our clients, because their first impression of us was delivering their project on-time, on-spec, and on-budget - just like we do for all our projects.

However, if you're launching a new website or a new mobile app, making a first impression is very different.

If you've been struggling with ideas for your app launch strategy, you're in luck! This page will offer 10 useful suggestions that will help prep your app for the most successful launch possible.

Before we dive into the tips, let's talk a bit about what a mobile app could be considered, and why the strategy for your new app launch is so vital to its short- and long-term success.

What is a Mobile App?

At its most basic, a mobile app could be any piece of software that's designed to function on an electronic mobile device, like phones, tablets, or even smart watches.

The types of apps can vary from games to educational tools, entertainment to social media and communication platforms. Even the most basic mobile device functions like the calculator or calendar tools are apps - they're just built into the device's operating system from day one.

Usually, mobile apps are either purchased or downloaded for free from app stores (i.e., Google Play Store, Apple App Store, etc.).

How Do App Stores Function?

App stores function like most online ecommerce stores do, in the most basic sense at least.

Potential users can browse through tens of thousands of different apps, of all different varieties, depending on what they're looking for.

For most categories, there will be a distinct split between free and paid apps. In many cases, free applications will come with mandatory ads built into the software, so that you are required to watch (at least a portion of) them in order to use the app.

Paid apps don't usually have as many ads, but either require a one-time fee in order to access the software, or ongoing monthly/yearly subscriptions.

From here the purchase process is the same as most ecommerce stores. Choose your purchases, confirm your payment method, pay and download your app. Wait for it to install, and your done - you now have a (hopefully) functional app that you can use.

Why is Your Mobile App Launch Strategy Important?

Like any product launch, a mobile app can't succeed if you don't market it efficiently. That's just a fact of business.

Your new app launch strategy will have an enormous impact on both the potential short- and long-term success that your app can find in its marketplace.

There are so many new launches in the world of apps all the time, you absolutely need to ensure that your launch stands out on both your launch platform (i.e., your purchase or download location), and against competitors in your marketplace, if there are any.

Truthfully, the more unique and exciting your ideas, the easier it will be to draw attention to your app’s launch. In the end, there’s a lot of planning that goes into a successful new app launch, which is why we’ve got some useful tips you can use to prepare for the big day.

10 Tips You Can Use for Your New App Launch:

1.) Make Your Purchase Location Clear

Regardless of whether you're going to host your app in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, it's absolutely crucial that you ensure your purchase location is clear from the outset.

Not only should this have a huge impact on the target users that you're trying to market to (Mac vs PC), but your marketing plan needs to focus heavily on ensuring that the mobile platforms you will be available on are as clear as possible.

Most apps are only available on either one store or the other. There are a handful of great apps that are able to run on both types of devices, but the fact remains that the vast majority of apps are segregated to a single type of device.

This is a necessity of design, since these two styles of systems run on completely different operating systems. However, if you want to ensure your launch is successful, you have to ensure the device users that can access your product know it's available to them.

Worse yet, if you target the wrong audience, and they attempt to download your app, only to find out it's not available to them, your brand will become associated with a source of disappointment and frustration.

2.) Create Engagement Before Launch

High user acquisition is the goal of every new app launch, but if you want people to download and start using your app on day one, they need to know about it before you launch.

Taking the time to focus on creating a strong pre-launch marketing strategy that incorporates elements like social media marketing and strategic partnerships.

The more engagement and excitement that you can build in future users before you launch, the more likely you are to have a successful app launch from the very beginning.

SIDE NOTE: Consider creating social media accounts several months ahead of launch. This way you can tease app features and even development milestones, while continuing to grow interest in your app idea.

3.) Alpha & Beta Test Your App

Allowing for a handful of consumers to access your software before actually launching a mobile app to the public can offer a lot of useful benefits, which you can incorporate into launch day.

You can use these trial periods to collect user feedback and address any potential issues that your development team overlooked. Most consumers are pretty forgiving when they know your app is still in its Alpha/Beta testing phase. They are simply excited to be allowed to participate.

This allows you to create the best possible user experience pre-launch. It'll mean better reviews out of the gate for your new app, as well as less frustration caused by small bugs that could have been caught ahead of time.

Also, by running an Alpha and then a Beta test, you get two rounds of different eyes on your product, which will help improve the quality of the final product even further.

4.) Ensure You Have Plenty of Content

Having a successful launch in a crowded market means more than providing your users with a bite-sized piece of content.

Whether you're making a game, an educational tool, a social media platform - it doesn't matter. You need to have enough content either from launch or consistently coming into the app to maintain long-term user engagement.

The app market is flooded with tons of different options for most types of apps. If yours can't hold your users' attention, there's a good chance they'll get bored. Boredom leads to uninstalling.

In turn, you could see issues with user retention or maintaining consistent active users, which could mean a very short lifecycle for your application in the marketplace.

5.) Create a Kit to Manage Press for Launch

You'll want all the banners waving and trumpets tooting when launch day comes, and that means having a press kit ready to ensure that your marketing efforts have the biggest possible impact from the start.

When you're first starting your mobile app marketing strategy, you'll want to focus partly on this kit for launch day.

Ask yourself some important questions:

  • What social platforms do I want to focus on?
  • Which forms of press agencies do I want to target?
  • What key features do I want to highlight in the marketing?
  • What are my business objectives for the first day/week/month?

Use these answers to guide your press kit preparations. If you plan it effectively, these kits can be a massive help towards meeting your business goals.

6.) Develop a Paid User Acquisition Strategy

As much as there is a lot that you can do with free marketing efforts, there's something to be said for PPC advertising and creating a paid user acquisition strategy.

While most apps with strong marketing are sure to get a reasonable number of organic downloads, the most viable products are the ones that continue to scale and grow from the outset; not flare up and then fade away.

Not only will this allow you to hide a much wider range of potential users, but it can help bolster all your other app marketing strategies to make them more effective as well.

7.) Offer a Step-by-Step Guide for New Users

If you're launching a new app, and you believe there's going to be a bit of a learning curve for new users, it's really important to make your app as intuitive as possible for them.

However, even the most intuitive app may still need a little bit of clarification on how things work. That's why we'd suggest building in a step-by-step guide for use into your app's design.

This way, the first time that they open the user interface after downloading it, they'll be given a clear walkthrough on how to use your app effectively.

In turn, this should help reduce potential frustration from new users, or worse, having users uninstall your app, because they can't easily figure out how to get started.

8.) Build Social Proof into Your Marketing

If you've been building some presence on social platforms prior to launch, and you took the time to run an Alpha/Beta test run with some users, then there's a good chance you'll have some feedback from them.

Collecting the best of that feedback and then highlighting them on your social media accounts, as well as within your marketing materials, is a great way to draw more interest from users.

People like seeing that others were already happy with your app, before they bother to download and install it for themselves.

Speaking of social proof and customer feedback...

9.) Keep an Eye on Your App Store Ratings

Your app store rankings and ratings are really important to keep an eye on; especially in the first few months after launch.

If your rankings are high, then it means that your app is popular in its category, while your ratings are based on direct, individual user ratings. Keeping both as high as possible is important for long-term success as a business owner launching an app.

You can gain incredible insights into your user experience from watching the comments that users leave on their app reviews.

In some cases, it can actually be beneficial to reach out to these users and ask additional questions; particularly, if they bring up something, and you need more information in order to address it.

10.) Track Your App's Performance

The best way to keep improving your app's key features after launch is to continue to track your app's performance; both from a download perspective, as well as from a user behavioral perspective.

If your downloads are dropping off, then there's a good chance your users are either getting tired of your content, or there isn't enough incoming content to keep them regularly engaged.

When your user behaviors start to change (i.e., less time spent in each session, reduced feedback, etc.), it means that you're losing their engagement. They may still be using your app sporadically, but for how long?

These two forms of performance can both be triggers to tell you it's time to make some changes. Improve or expand your content. Change your marketing strategies. Add new core features.

Just remember: if you aren't tracking these types of performance, then you can't adjust your strategies. You can't improve the metrics you aren't tracking.

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