8 App Marketing Tips You Can Implement TODAY

Written by Chris M. on August 30 2013.

8 App Marketing Tips You Can Implement TODAY

We spend a lot of time working with developers to create successful campaigns and in doing so we've picked up some things that tend to work and some things that don't. We thought we'd share some of the most helpful tips that we think, if followed, can make a world of a difference to the success of your launch.

1. Plan Your PR Strategy

Far too often developers will put all their emphasis on the product and not think about marketing beyond defaulting to a news release on a popular news wire.

It's important to remember that the question is - 'How am I going to tell the world about my app?', but also to understand the nuances of approaching those big sites that mean so much to you.(Mashable, TechCrunch, Venturebeat, AppLaunch, MobileMinute, 9to5mac, PocketGamer..to name a few).  Always ask yourself, "how can I make the job easy for this person if I want my launch or app to be talked about?"

Here are few things that we've heard from journalists they like to know about an app / see done up-front:

  • When is the intended launch date? 
  • Run a pre-launch campaign. Let people know it's coming
  • Acquire testimonials before launch (this will build up your social proof before your app even hits the market).
  • A well written release. This takes time.
  • Pull together your publisher list (the ones listed above is a good place to start, but could be hundreds).
  • Distribute review promo codes for your alpha/beta testers and solicit their feedback.
  • Competitions/giveaways.
  • Media kit.

2. Get pre-launch buzz

The day you launch your app should never be the first time people hear about your app. If your app is remarkable, then there's a good chance publishers will be drawn to it, and want to write about it. 

When you decide you want to let them know about it just send them a short message telling them:

  • What it's about.
  • When you will be releasing it 
  • 2-3 Screenshots

From there, if you've made their job easy and they're interested - they'll mention it.

Your Facebook, Twitter, and Website (ideally an auto-responder too) should also be set-up ahead of your launch.  Also, ideally in the pre-launch, or pre-pre launch phase. This will allow those interested to follow, fan, and subscribe to your updates.

3. When to Launch

This is particularly true for iOS Developers who often make the mistake of starting their launch campaigns AFTER they've submitted their app to Apple, and are waiting for it to get approved (which most recently is taking, and only gives you 9 days).

Once your app is approved, see if your target publishers will have a stab at it for feedback. If you get a response, give them a promo code under embargo – (which means that the journalist understands not to issue the release until you give them the all-clear on launch day).

This way, if you've executed things correctly, you will have several reviews appear at once on launch day. When that day arrives, make the app live and follow-up with those publishers who have reviewed your game that it's now live.


4. Have a Compelling Press Release 

The release should say clearly what the app does with features illustrated in bullet points. Include your links to the App Store/Google Play, social media platforms, website, and press kit.

You can read our guide to writing an app press release here.


5. Create a digital press kit

Having all the assets in one place is critical.  This includes:

  • screenshots
  • press release
  • video
  • contact details

One easy way to do this is by just zipping the file and having a dropbox link available, and sharing that link.


6. Your Promo Codes are Limited Go Easy(for iOS only)

Once your app has been approved Apple gives you 50 promo codes to distribute at will. These can be used for reviews, competitions or even given to friends.

Once a promo code is requested it lasts for 30 days, so its recommended that you only distribute them as necessary (not all 50 at once, otherwise you'll be out of luck if you have someone who comes along that could be of great help to you and you have nothing to give them).

7. Target your Media Properly

Some apps could benefit from multiple lists.  

e.g. A sports game can appeal to sports media as well as games media. 

Similarly, a kids game will appeal to 'mommy' bloggers just as it will to the games media. 

On top of media relations, ads can play a part in this targeting and one of Facebook's newest updates allows you to target specific user groups with ads. 

Remember - you're not just going after websites. You should also consider TV, radio, podcasts, YouTube channels and print (even if digital, as it often appears on iPad).

Creating media lists can be massively time-consuming so it may be worth considering using a specialist agency like AppLaunch for executing this long and tedious process for you.

8. Understanding Your Publishers

Games publishing networks are swamped with daily requests for reviews, previews and everything related. They're  also looking for interesting, quality content themselves.  Whenever possible, makes things 'easy for them', and don't drive them crazy by spamming or bugging them.  When you launch, send a concise email with a short message (a sentence or two) about the app and then just paste the press release into the body of the mail. 

*Don't add attachments at-all or you'll end up in the spam folder

If you have a link to an app trailer, include it in your  opening sentences so that the journalist can quickly look at your app and decide from there. 

Again, you can offer the journalist a promo code and perhaps ask if they want to run a promo code competition (but if you're on iOS you only have 50).

Remember, you may or may not hear back, but that's okay. It's a numbers game.

One final tip: Google Alerts are great for helping to monitor your coverage & buzz.

Good luck & as ever, if you have any questions, reach out to us at contact@applaunch.us.