What To Do Before Launching An App: A Complete Beginners Checklist
It’s no secret that the mobile app development process is stressful.
For many development teams, the months (or years) leading up to the big app ‘launch’ can be an incredibly grueling endeavor. It seems reasonable that by the time the front-end work on an app is finished, most are ready to just publish immediately and finish the process. However, this can lead to poor execution, and crucially affect the number and cost of acquired downloads and in-app engagement. Planning for a 2-3 phase app launch is crucial for testing for both the app’s marketing and technical performance. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula that will ensure your mobile app will skyrocket in downloads upon release, however, there are a few questions you can ask yourself, that will put you in good stead for a successful app launch.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before App Launch
The market space is as overcrowded as ever, which means that crafting a proper app marketing and app launch strategy is essential if you hope to have a decent shot at some market share and downloads. Before you launch your app, it is wise to do some final ‘checks’ in order to ensure your app is ready to hit the market and be seen by possibly millions of people. In order to help answer the question, about how to launch an app, here are some of the last-minute checks you should perform before officially publishing your mobile app on the market:
- Do you know your target audience?
- Is your mobile app priced correctly?
- Do you have an app marketing plan?
- Do you know who you are competing against?
- Have you made a webpage for your app?
- Do you have any testimonials, or have you tested your app at all?
- Do you have the right launch date for your app?
Having defined answers for these questions is a must for any developer(s) preparing for a mobile app launch. Read on if you want to learn more about each step and understand why this checklist is so important if you hope to have a successful app.
Do You Know Your Target Audience?
When thinking about how to launch your app, Identifying your app’s target market and the audience is crucial if you hope to have a chance at a successful app launch. Without knowing your demographic, it’s possible that your app will appeal to no one in particular, resulting in very few downloads.
The idea of a target audience seems counter-intuitive for most, especially those unfamiliar with marketing strategy. You might be wondering, why not try and release an app that everyone and anyone can download? Won’t the app be installed more this way? The answer is no. This will not be sufficient in terms of how to launch your app cost-effectively.
Figuring out your target audience is an essential step to encouraging downloads. As mentioned prior, the marketspace for apps is extremely competitive. You are competing against Forbes 500 software companies and millions of other developers, all fighting for a spot on the most downloaded charts. What makes your app so special? The best way to launch an app successfully is figuring out why your app is different and what type of people might take an interest. This way, your mobile app will stand out among others to your target audience. As AppRader perfectly distills this point: “it’s impossible to have an app for everyone”.
Additionally, depending on how your app is monetized, it is important to segment who will be your core audience (this typically consists of the audience that is either, the most engaged or highest paying. Usually these two variables are correlated). It will be crucial to understand your target audience’s reason for download and engagement, but also to identify who is your target audience and what motivates them to spend, and engage.
Is Your Mobile App Priced Correctly?
Deciding on the price of your mobile app is a huge decision that will affect the potentially successful app launch. Determining whether your app will be free or not is likely a decision that comes early on in app development, but have you considered whether you’ve chosen correctly?
For many apps, their mobile marketing and monetization strategy is crucial, as they are free to download. Thus, finding the right highly-engaged users and acquiring them affordably is crucial to app revenue. Thus, as we can see, according to Buildfire, free apps are by far the most popular in the marketplace, as “98% of app revenue worldwide comes from free apps”. Unless your brand is already recognized or you have a preexisting audience, perhaps opting for the free or ‘freemium’ approach is the way to go. Most people will refuse to take a chance on your freshly-launched mobile app without knowing what it is first, and how it benefits them. Are you turning possible downloads away due to incorrect pricing?
Do You Have an App Marketing Plan?
“…If users’ don’t know the product exists, your hard work is worthless…” – Chris Ciligot, Android App Developer at ClearBridge. Another common mistake often made is putting too much faith in their app and not focusing on their app marketing plan. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to simply launch your app into the marketplace and expect people to find it themselves without a proper marketing plan.
How are you going to capture the attention of your target audience? If you’ve yet to come up with a marketing strategy for your mobile app, now’s the time. Figure out how you plan on getting the word out. Are you planning on paying for ads? Do you have social media accounts for the app? Are you currently generating content? Are you utilizing the power of influencers? Before you launch your app, we strongly advise developing an effective marketing strategy.
Do You Know Who You Are Competing Against?
A crucial part of any marketing strategy, including a mobile marketing or app marketing strategy, is market segmentation – which includes identifying key competitors. This step builds on the previous, knowing your target audience, and knowing your competition in order to help your mobile app launch. Have you studied the competition? Are you familiar with similar apps to yours in the marketplace? And, if so, how are they marketing themselves, and why are you different? Not to beat a dead horse here, but there are so many apps out there…as of May 2019, there are over 2.2 million apps available for download in the iOS App Store.
This means you need to add something to stand out against your competitors. Before launching a mobile app, it’s wise to evaluate your competition to see how you can be different. If a user comes across your brand new app among other, more big-branded and trusted developers, why should they download yours instead?
Have You Made a Webpage for Your App?
Whilst developing an app marketing plan is a crucial step for any business with a mobile presence, desktop is also an important part of the equation and often overlooked. Many people might research various mobile businesses and apps on their desktop, perhaps at work, before making the final purchase or download. Think of your webpage as a ‘headquarters’ where interested people can go to read all the information they need about your app.
Another benefit of the webpage is capturing emails, which can help immensely in the initial success of your app upon publishing. The goal here is collecting as many emails as possible up until the app launch date- the more emails you have, the more people are likely to convert into an app download when you send out your official app launch email. Have you and your team created an effective web page for your app yet?
Do You Have Any Testimonials, or Have You Tested Your App?
Testimonials, reviews, and ratings are one of the first crucial steps and should be an important initial goal of your app marketing plan. Unless you are an established app developer, it can be hard to inspire mobile users to trust your app’s value enough to download- one way to offset this is with testimonials. According to Boast.io, “Testimonials are huge when it comes to closing sales and proving your value to potential customers”. First of all, have you tested your app on real people yet? If not, you should; this allows you to optimize your app according to criticism.
After you know mobile users like your app, it’s time to get testimonials. Use real quotes from those who like your app in the description- this makes it more likely that someone will choose to download. You can even encourage users to write a good review on the app store, which helps immensely. People trust other people, so make sure to use this to your advantage. Testimonials are not just relevant to mobile marketing strategy but are a good practice for most verticals.
Do You Have the Right Launch Date For Your App?
“The market is flooding with apps and competition is rising exponentially; the timing matters a lot to ensure higher app success. Launching your app at the right time will fill your pockets with money.” – Vozax. You will need to consider crucial variables such as your market’s busy period, and your competitors as well. For example, whilst there might be a lot of retail transactions in December, due to the holiday period, this might also mean that apps without a strong presence get buried in the busy festive period and competition. Additionally, will your customers want to make their crucial holiday purchases with an unknown app? Consider such things.
It is important to consider the context of your app, however, there are some stats you can find, that indicate (on average), which time and month are best to launch. According to Fetch, they found that February and December is the most successful months to launch. Then additionally, you might want to look at the best time to launch according to your vertical aswell. Sensor Tower documented the highest engagement across different verticals by day. Some examples of which days certain verticles experiences their highest engagement are: productivity apps – every day, News app – every day accept Tuesday and social apps – weekends.
Final Thoughts on What To Do Before Launching An App
We have given you the tool kit on essential questions and considerations before launching an app. However, whilst there is an abundance of data, stats, and reports available online that may point to certain variables being more favorable than others, it is important to combine such recommendations along with your own expertise and knowledge of the context of your app. However, going through this article should point you in the direction of the types of questions you should be asking yourself, so you can comfortably say that you are ready to launch your mobile app.