Building a successful app in the modern crowded app market is no easy job. Our phones are an integral part of our lives, what with studies proving that our neurological connection to phones is similar to the response we have to our loved ones. With the proliferation of apps on smartphones, it has become a tough game to ramp up downloads and garner user attention.
App marketing is a holistic activity and includes several channels including personal social media handles of app developers. To get the app right, you must first know what your target niche of users enjoy, need or want. If it’s a gaming app, you need to know the success secrets of your ridiculously successful competitors. If it’s a productivity app, you need to be sure that your app offers something better, simpler or unique as compared to other apps in the niche. Weather, travel, navigation, medical, food and drink, fitness, and finance are a few of the many app niches you can consider.
Along with what you must positively do, certain marketing blunders need to be completely avoided. Here are a few of them:
1) Starting out Too Late
If you are planning an app launch, it is very important that you create a reasonably conducive ecosystem for it to thrive. If you wait for the app to launch before you begin marketing efforts, it will be too late.
The initial stages of app marketing should involve building an online presence. If you are fairly active and engaged on social platforms like Quora, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram or YouTube, you will be able to build a following or audience that is interested in what you do. If this target audience is also a part of the niche you want to market your app to, then be assured that you have notched up a small marketing victory without spending a dime.
You can introduce the cool features of your new app to your followers and generate buzz around it. This will help you get the initial downloads that will raise your rankings in the app stores.
2) Bunking on Research
A number of sophisticated tools are available today to track app performance, downloads, revenues, top keywords and reviews. It is important to keep in mind that a thorough study of the top performing apps in your niche will help you recognize what users want and enjoy in these apps. This is a key step before you actually get down to developing your app.
iTunes Charts are a good place to start with for iOS apps and Top Charts in Google Play Store help rank Android apps. You will be able to see the Top Grossing chart, Top Paid chart and the Top Free chart that give a good idea about apps that are driving the most engagement, those that users are willing to pay upfront for, and those that are most downloaded because they are free. You will be able to understand the choices of people in the different categories. Apptrace helps you retrieve data for other countries as well to get a global picture of app trends.
You may assume that an overcrowded niche is not a good place to launch your app. But, the upside is that a robust user community will already be in place and you will have a defined target market. If there are no competitors in a niche or the existing ones are not doing well, then there may not be a market for you to tap into.
Another great place to start your pre-app development research is by mining data using Google Trends and Google Keyword Tool. Though they are not directly relevant to apps, the search results will help you understand the trending search topics and keywords. This will give you a good context to develop your app.
3) Not Validating Your App Idea
You may love your app and think that it is the best in the world. But, it is necessary to validate your idea and be sure about it. Ensure that there will be demand for the app and that there is a strong market for it.
If your app predicts the weather, for example, then search on TopAppCharts.com for all the apps that have the term ‘weather’ in them. A simultaneous search on the App Store will help you know whether or not any of these apps actually make it to the top of the lists.
Xylogic is a tool that shows the number of downloads an app is getting on a monthly basis as well as on an overall basis over a fixed time period. If the top weather apps are getting consistent and growing downloads, this shows that your new app idea is promising and has a lucrative market to explore.
4) Ignoring Wearables
Wearables are the future of personal technology and have the potential to grow more intimate than the phone you hold in your hand. You cannot ignore wearables when designing apps for any device or functionality. Wearable apps run on the wearable device and/or smartphones, and make use of hardware such as motion sensors, GPS and a range of other nanomaterials.
Ignoring wearable apps will leave you unprepared for the technological needs of the future. As we shift from desktops to laptops and then to tablets, the next move can involve wearables. As a company, you cannot follow the herd mentality and be limited by the hardware available on wearables.
You need to have a customer persona in mind and try to see how you can accomplish what he or she wants through your wearable app. If it’s an office productivity app, consider designing apps for Augmented Reality (AR) smartglasses like MetaPro, or gesture-controlled wearables like the Ring. Also, remember that gesture-control devices only take away the need to type or click, the screen may still be required.
Apple Watch apps should be designed keeping in mind the watchOS design and interaction conventions, and documented UI (user interface) and interaction patterns that users are already familiar with.
The fact that you are designing wearable apps showcases your commitment to cater to future tech needs.
Designing and marketing apps can become easier when you have a useful or entertaining app, a targeted niche and data-backed marketing strategies. As long as you stay invested in your app, pay heed to reviews, and are regular with updates and fixing bugs, you should be able to garner downloads and appreciation among users.