Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and your company won’t be the last to release an app and be hugely disappointed that it made little impact on the marketplace. In fact, it happens to the majority of the 1000+ apps released each day.
My guess is that you’ve been racking your brains trying to figure out why at least a tiny portion of those millions of smartphone users didn’t download your awesome innovation.
So why didn’t they?
Don’t take it personally, because without intention it’s likely that you’ve committed one or more cardinal app sins; the same sins that seal the fate of the app majority well before release.
The good news is that all is not lost. There’s still time to make amends, and make some money: Analyse these 5 reasons your app launch failed miserably and get back to the drawing board immediately.
1. Second Rate Product/Concept
We understand. Offshoring is Cheap. Cheap is attractive. Okay, communication can be a little rocky at times, and the app build might not quite be exactly what you had in mind, but getting the job done at half the price means more cash in your pocket. Problem is, there’s no place in the market for average, or even good for that matter. Only ‘great’ gets love in the app space.
This means that when key aspects of the build, like artwork and user experience, become affected by language difficulties or differing quality standards, your app signs a death wish way before its intended release.
That’s not to say you need a big budget to create a successful app, but what you do need is reliability, quality and consistency in all areas of design and development. Moreover, originality is key, which means that if you can’t be entirely original then you must be superior to existing offerings in your niche.
Your app might be the next chart-buster, but to realise that potential you need be entirely honest with yourself as to whether the artwork, functionality and features are the best they can be. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
2. No Marketing Strategy
Perhaps your development company forgot to mention this little number, or perhaps you thought your app might be so wonderful you’d sell a bucket load just by being listed in the marketplace. Sorry to disappoint you but the “build it and they will come” is a fool’s mantra in the hyper-competitive app industry. Releasing an app without a marketing strategy is like canoeing in the sea without a paddle; expect to drift aimlessly… going nowhere fast.
App marketing isn’t an after thought. It is an intrinsic part of the overall plan from the outset. From outreach to reputable app review blogs to setting up Facebook and Twitter campaigns and promoting your screenshots on Pinterest, there is an abundance of things you can do on a low budget to get word to the masses.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking a few generic tweets will get you the exposure you need, because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to successful app promotion. The challenge is in knowing what marketing mix will best suit your app, as what may prove effective for one type of app may prove ineffective for another.
When you sit down to map out your marketing plan, remember this: word of mouth still reigns top dog when it comes to achieving high-volume downloads, and in this respect you need dedicated social media and paid advertising strategies. You need a viral campaign that spawns an army of foot soldiers who spread the word for you. You need to utilise your resources and round up the troops, recruiting anyone and any thing that offers potential exposure. You need to push, push and push some more, until everyone who should know about your app does know about your app, even if they didn’t want to initially.
All development and no marketing is a recipe for failure.
Research has shown that the highest earning app companies are those that invest the most in their marketing, so try to set aside a reasonable budget if possible.
3. No Social Mechanics
App success is built upon social mechanics, and as such you need to leverage this free asset to increase the viral potential of your app marketing campaign.
Think about how downloaders can share your app and create popularity for you. Consider enabling an in-app quick-share mechanism for users to invite/recommend the app to friends. Incentivise users to share your app with others by providing additional benefits for doing so, perhaps by unlocking new levels or offering a free subscription period. Consider implementing functionality that makes the app more enjoyable if others were involved; think multi-player and leaderboard functionality.
The implementation of social mechanics equates to increased visibility. This in turn unlocks viral potential, resulting in a higher volume of downloads.
4. No App Store Optimisation
App store optimisation is arguably the most powerful driver in accumulating sales at no direct cost. Think about it like this: if a website ranks highly in Google for a key search term, the volume of traffic to the site will naturally increase. If an app ranks highly in App Store search, the volume of downloads will also naturally increase. Of course, this is easier said than done, but ranking potential can be maximised with experience and experimentation.
At the very basic level you need to know what people are searching for. And this means targeting the correct category(s), properly utilising relevant keywords in your title, and writing a compelling description that makes people think “wow”!
App Store optimisation is a major factor in success. Ignore it at your peril. No rank equals no bank.
5. Not Listening To Your Users
If we had a dollar for every time we saw an app with great potential lounging in the murky depths of the App Store swamp because of poor user support or slow responsiveness to bugs, we’d be taking a lot more holidays.
One prominent negative review complaining of an annoying bug can destroy your credibility in a flash. You need to watch reviews and ratings like a hawk, and respond swiftly. Moreover, your app should include built-in support so that users can report bugs internally. This will go a long way in preventing acts of public negative feedback
The user has the control. If the user makes a demand, you need to respond quickly in order to maintain popularity and relevance. This means remaining responsive to market conditions by being prepared to add more value where required. It also means being prepared to add and improve functionality should a competitor up the quality stakes in your niche.
In A Nutshell
If only creating an app were as simple as develop > release > make money. But it isn’t. Longevity in the app marketplace is reliant on effective and innovative marketing practice and high-level user support.
Don’t get left behind before your app even hits the store. Create a development and marketing plan that involves short, medium and long-term strategies for success. Either that or enlist the help of a professional app agency with the credentials to ensure you realise your vision. Of course, we suggest the latter.