Getting an app developed is not even half the battle. It is far less than that.
The real challenge is getting your app downloaded by thousands of users.
In this post I will show you 8 simple app launch techniques that can get your app off to a flying start.
It is important to set an objective for your launch efforts.
“We want as many downloads as possible” is a bad goal because it is vague.
“We aim to get 25,000 downloads in 3 months” is a specific goal. Having a specific goal helps you focus on your efforts and puts the right pressure on you.
Here are some strategies to help you launch your app:
1. Pre launch buzz.
A) Before you launch your app, get a micro website ready for your app.
Create a microsite announcing the launch.
This site will be used to describe what your app is all about. The main aim, however, is to collect email-ids of people who show interest in your upcoming app.
Interactly’s coming soon page.
PandaDoc’s beautifully designed coming soon page.
B) Have an incentive in place to motivate people to give their email.
For example, say, your app provides digital prints on T-shirt. A free print or a special price to early birds is a good bait. An additional tip: you can give extra bonus to people who get more invitations.
C) Promote your site on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp groups, etc.
Promote your launching soon site to your network. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to post it to their network.
You can use Facebook paid boost to promote your post.
You goal is to capture at least 5000 emails so that you’ve a decent audience to reach out to on the launch day.
You can be more ambitious and target 10,000+ IDs. See how Noah Kagan of AppSumo grew a waiting list of 20,000+ at Mint.com
D) Click here for some well designed wordpress templates for your landing page.
2) Referral Marketing
This is one of the most powerful marketing weapons out there. Dropbox, Uber and almost all successful apps in recent times have grown exponentially just by this one neat approach.
Ask your app users to refer your app to their friends. In return, you give them something valuable.
Example -Dropbox gives extra storage space for every referred friend who joins Dropbox. Uber went viral with their use of promo codes. For every friend who joins Uber, each referring user got $10.
Everybody wins – the person who refers, the person who installs and you get a new customer.
Come up with creative ways to set up a referral system within your app.
AirBnB travel credit referral program
Uber’s famous referral program to acquire new users
Referralcandy.com has compiled an exhasutive list of successful referral programs: An epic list of 47 referral programs
3) Local Press
If your app is innovative, you can call a press conference and make an announcement.
There are many PR agencies which offer services to arrange a press conferences for a reasonable fee. They invite journalists, help you draft the press release to them, guide you with the Do’s and Don’ts, etc.
The next day you can expect your news piece to be published in several newspapers that will give a huge boost to your downloads. Obviously, your product or proposition should be interesting or relevant enough for the journalists’ editor to approve the story.
One of our apps was featured in more than 20+ local newspapers post a press conference, leading to over 8000 downloads within a week.
4) Global reach – Get featured on Techcrunch, LifeHacker, TheNextWeb
A handful of media platforms can make your app an overnight success – well almost. It is the holy grail of any startup to get featured in these outlets.
If you have something unique and innovative, you can pitch to editors of major media platforms to carry your story.
Since they are inundated with requests such as yours, you need to pitch it right.
5) Offline marketing
Advertising comes to mind when you think of offline marketing. Huge billboards, newspaper ads and all. But they can be pretty darn expensive.
Instead startups have employed other effective and relatively inexpensive tactics to get exposure and downloads.
A little creativity and experimentation is all it takes (and a bit of money of course!) to get your app off the ground.
Here are some ideas:
A. Informational pamphlets
Print useful informational pamphlets. Provide genuinely useful stuff that will interest your target users.
Informational pamphlets (a handbook, city map, etc.) distributed at hotels (where tourists hang out) by Captivtour – a travel audio guide app
B) Sponsor events
Sponsor local events and in return get exposure to your app. You can also give away promo codes to the attendees.
C) If you have a restaurant ordering app, place standees at restaurants with discount coupon codes printed to incentivise downloads.
6) Tie up with influencers
If your app is targeted for patients, tie up with doctors.
If your app is for tourists, have some kind of deal in place with tour operators or hotels.
If you have an app catering to design, reach out to influential bloggers in the design niche.
7) Emailing bloggers
There are millions of blogs out there. There are blogs on almost every imaginable niche.
And it’s almost certain that there are bloggers who address an audience similar to yours.
Some bloggers have a huge following with tens of thousands of daily visitors. They are always on the lookout for interesting content that would benefit their readers.
Write to them about your app and its launch. How it is a good fit for their readers. Give them coupon codes that they can give away to their readers. Most bloggers dont like to push products, not even in return for payment. But most are keen on content that is useful to their readers – that should be your pitch to them.
If 50 blogs carry your news, and each one results in 500 downloads on an average, that’s a cool 25000 downloads.
How to approach and write to bloggers? Read this piece
Here is a comprehensive article on how to get the word out with PR
8) Pay per installs
Both Apple Appstore and Google Play Store rank your app higher if it has a good number of downloads.
The more the downloads, better are your chances to rank up higher. Once you’re in the top 10 charts of a category, you will ride the wave of massive organic downloads.
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Youtube, etc. provide pay per install options for advertising your app. You can advertise your app on their platform. You will be charged based on the number of downloads.
Expecting users to find you automatically because you have a great app is naive. You need to have your launch planned and be ready to experiment with various techniques.
I hope the above 8 techniques will help your app get off the ground with flying colors.
Leave your comments below and let me know what you think.