We have previously looked at how to get started with the process of bringing your app idea into life. We have talked about the importance of planning and the initial sketches of your actual app using Balsamiq. We have looked at timeframes and touched lightly on budgets. Now is the time to add some flesh to the bones, develop your app and think about promotion. Now is the time to get your hands dirty and get your idea into the App Store.
Many make the mistake of waiting until the app is completed before thinking about the promotional side. Although you cannot do any actual promotion at this point (nobody is going to care if your app is ‘coming soon’) you really should start to think about the marketing. For instance, the welcome screen and the home screen are the two screens that users will see every single time they use the app. The icon is something they will see every time they look at their phone. You need to ensure that the design of each of these is attractive, welcoming and, in the case of the home screen, easy to use and functional.
If your welcome screens don’t look right, take too long to load or if the home screen is difficult to use, you will soon have users switching off the app without even giving it a chance. This will inevitably affect sales in the long term. Think about the apps that you like to use and think about the experience of opening them up. Don’t copy what you have seen but use these apps as inspiration for your own.
As you are planning the development of the app, you should also think about how to push the most useful and innovative features. If there is a new iOS around the corner, see if your app can utilise any of the newest features. All of this will give you a good chance of becoming one of Apple’s App Store Featured Apps will give you at least a fortnight in the limelight, delivering valuable exposure.
This is where you turn your plans and wireframe sketches into reality. This is where the hard work really starts. If you are developing the app yourself, be prepared for months of late nights and early mornings; the development could take over your life. There will be frustrating periods for sure and times where you feel you have hit a brick wall but if your planning has been sound and your sketches were thorough, it can be a very rewarding process with a great outcome.
Should you decide to outsource the app development, ensure that you find a developer who will continually keep you in the loop – you need to have as much say in the development as possible otherwise your app could end up completely different to your vision. Also try and tie down the developer to a timeframe to stop your project being sidetracked.
Once the app is finished and ready you need a solid marketing plan which will prepare the world for your app. There is a myth that all you need to for a successful marketing campaign is a good YouTube video or Reddit post and that is all it takes for users to flock to the App Store. The reality is that every developer will have a YouTube video and a Reddit post and unless you’re already an active and popular member of a community, you have no chance of standing out.
With every app release that I have done, I have planned and written a press release. It can be daunting for those who have never written a press release before but as long as it is well written, very concise and you make it clear what makes your app stand out, then press and media outlets should run with it.
In my experience you need a professional PR service to help push your press release to as many editors and publishers as possible. There is no point writing a snappy press release and posting it to a blog that nobody will read. For a small fee, PR services such as PRnewswire, PRweb and PRmac will ensure that your press release reaches the best people. I have used all three of those services and all come highly recommended.