Ultimate Guide to a Successful Mobile App Launch

By Tim Waldenback, co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed

If you’re planning to launch a mobile app this year, you must be prepared to aggressively compete with the nearly five million apps currently available for download. Begin with an in-depth understanding of what your target customers need and strive to continuously bring value to their in-app experience.  In this guide, we suggest which marketing tools and insights will help to increase downloads, keep your users engaged, and ready your newly successful app for an influx of traffic.

A/B Test Your Way to Success

Before you go broad with specific app features or marketing tactics, it’s wise to test these approaches among a smaller target base. A/B testing can help to save money on a big, expensive ad campaign or save you from risking your reputation if an app feature doesn’t resonate well with your customers. First, find a problem you wish to solve. Then, select two different ways to solve that problem. Finally, test to see which approach performs best so that you can feel confident rolling out that feature or campaign to your larger customer base.

Learn About Your Customers to Ensure Your Idea is Spot On

You can learn about your customers both directly and indirectly. The indirect method involves tracking your app’s performance to see if what you’re offering brings in healthy download numbers and consistent usage.

But you can always find out what customers want by directly reaching out to them. Answer questions in a forum like Quora, ask for feedback on social media, monitor and reply to ratings and reviews posted on the app listing, and become an active participant in forums and groups that relate to your industry.

Look for Incentives that will Motivate your Customers to Share the App

Referral programs have been highly successful in persuading app users to share with friends and family. Shopping apps often provide a monetary incentive to users for every person who signs up based on their referral. What kind of incentive you offer is dependent on the type of app and the industry you’re in.

You can offer these incentives in-app, promote the referral program on social media, or pitch to blog writers and journalists to include your app in the popular round-ups that alert readers to ways they can get more value from the apps they’re using.

Include In-App Incentives to Entice Users to Come Back

Many app developers use in-app rewards to persuade users to engage with the app more frequently. Loyalty programs like these often let users rack up points that equate to free items or services once they reach a particular points threshold.

But another effective way to keep usage levels consistent is to provide information that the user finds especially relevant and useful. For our Zutobi Driving Education app, we provide driving practice apps, tips on reading traffic lights, and other kinds of critical educational tools that will help users achieve their goal of earning their driver’s license. Keep refining your app content to meet the needs of your users.

Learn About Marketing Mobile Apps

At the most basic level, marketing mobile apps are much like marketing any product. You must build a deep understanding of who your customers are and what they want. Then you need to study your competition to discover how what you’re offering provides unique value. After you create marketing materials and ads, you’ll need to know how to reach your target market with your sales message.

For marketing mobile apps, you must structure your marketing campaigns to reflect the different sales funnel stages that customers pass through on their way to downloading and using your app. For example, your strategy and tactics for creating excitement and buzz pre-launch will differ greatly from what message you’ll present during the acquisition phase. Then, you’ll likely need to use an entirely different approach to retain users or increase app usage.

Use App Store Optimization (ASO) to Bring in the Highest Value Clients

Recent data shows that two-thirds of app downloads occur directly after a search in the iOS or Google Play app stores. In order to persuade high-value clients to download your app, you must target them using the most relevant keywords.

It’s critical to conduct research to identify the best keywords for your target customers, and then track results to see how well those words performed. For Zutobi’s app, we researched keywords associated with driver’s education and relevant to our pre-teen and teenaged target customers. Take a look at the Zutobi Driver’s Ed app page to see how we used keywords in our titles and descriptions.

Don’t Develop What YOU Want – Develop What Your USERS Want

Since app developers are also avid app users, it’s not uncommon to want to include a feature that particularly appealed to you. But unless you’re in the same demographic as your customer base, that favorite feature of yours will not go over well with the people who will use your app.

That’s why it’s so important to reach out to your customers to find out what they are looking for and to track performance after they get a chance to use your app.

Develop an App That Can Handle Growth

Plan for your app to be a huge success before it launches. No, that’s not putting the cart before the horse. If your app does indeed take off, you’ll want to be prepared for the technology to work properly to accommodate a high number of users and more frequent usage.

If you don’t scale properly, high growth could cause your app to fail, and there’s nothing worse than the customer aggravation and bad press that accompanies a broken app. It will be difficult to reestablish goodwill and encourage new users to download.

Continue to Update to Keep Your Value Proposition Relevant

The success of your app relies on its ability to be useful, relevant, and provide real value to its users. But value isn’t static. Users’ needs can and do change over time. That’s why it’s essential to continue monitoring the performance of your app and to keep optimizing it to ensure that it provides what users want.

Going Beyond the Launch

As you can see, your app’s success will depend on your ability to continue to provide value and employ effective marketing techniques beyond the initial launch. Be prepared for how you’ll message users during the post-launch phases and keep tabs on your customers so that you’re always aware of how the app is working for them and what could use improvement.

Author: Tim Waldenback

Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online driver education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable and easily accessible for all.