Before taking your app, prototype, or minimal viable product to market, you need to make sure that you have dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s when it comes to both development and marketing.
There is no nightmare fuel as potent as that of working so hard to release your digital venture only to trip up on little mistakes right as you reach the finish line. Bad performance, glitchy features, and even poor text choices can impact your downloads and rating.
Remember that your users won’t see the blood, sweat, and tears you put into the product as much as they’ll see issues that will affect how they view your product as a whole.
This means that as a founder or startup team planning to launch a new app, there are a few more hoops you should jump through to ensure you are putting out a quality application that will lead to hundreds or thousands of downloads - not downvotes.
The most important of these hoops is quality assurance. Even when you are 100% sure your product is ready to launch, it’s likely that it’s still a percentage or two short of being perfect. And paying attention to that minor percentage puts you ahead of your low-effort competitors by a mile - a difference that users will definitely notice.
Here at NineTwoThree, we’ve built 50 products and 14 startups with even more to come this year and beyond. Meaning, we know a little something about what it takes to put out a successful application or digital product.
And now, we’re letting you in on the secret.
Keep reading to see our mobile app development product launch checklist below and make use of it for your next digital venture!
The importance of marketing in app development cannot be stressed enough.
In recent years, the number of mobile apps out there has skyrocketed, and this means that getting attention to yours is going to take a bit more effort than simply setting it to live. Two of the easiest ways to get started with building buzz are through social media and email marketing, for example.
The key to these two marketing tactics is that they don’t need to be complex. A clean landing page that collects email addresses and some simple social media ads can help you build a following even before your product is on the market.
Now you might be asking, why market something if it’s not quite ready for launch yet?
The reason is to attract early adopters. These are people who will see the potential of your product concept even without it formally being available to use yet. These individuals will likely be your first beta testers, best feedback-givers, and even bring more users to you through word of mouth in the future.
Having laid a foundation of early subscribers and followers, it will be easier to increase their numbers when your app is finally launched, versus having to start your marketing from scratch when it’s already costing you money to run. Then you have a better chance of affording any changes you need to make.
This is because early marketing can also serve another purpose. Good app marketing is directly correlated to more money flowing back into your business and helps bolster your future development approaches. It might come with an upfront cost but will lead to an influx of returns in the form of new users and app purchases.
And that’s not all. If you’re planning to target venture capital, for example, social media could be the way to connect with prominent venture capitalists and potential investors. Think of how many partnerships have been born out of a simple Twitter conversation.
Or you could find a partnering studio or expert consultant that can help you optimize your approach to the market or iterate on your current venture.
Testing, refactoring, and optimizing will be a long-term part of your app launching process, and the chances are good that just when you think you are done you’ll need to do some more.
So at this point in the development process, it’s common for you and your team to be completely exhausted.
After all, you’ve been spending what feels like endless hours staring at the screen and trying to get this thing to market - the problem is this is also where issues typically arise and are most easily overlooked.
-Is the user interface working as it should?
-Have you optimized the speed of your app?
-Does your team have everything they need to test for issues?
-Have you paid attention to aspects like marketing and optimization for the app store?
If you think about it, app store optimization will be a key part of your marketing strategy. One of the main ways people will find your app will be through keywords in the app store search, so choosing things like the right title, keywords and images can go a long way towards better promoting your app.
You’ll need to bear in mind that the app store of your choice will have some limitations in place in terms of how many characters you can use, so if you are writing promotional copy it will need to be short and to the point. Try drafting a few iterations until you have a concise statement that still describes what your app is about.
Once you have tested, retested, and tested again, you will need to think about how you can offer support for any other issues that could come up post-launch. This leads to your next priority - setting up support for the users of your app.
If you’re launching a new digital venture, you’ll need to think about how to create a channel of communication between your team and your users. This not only helps them give general feedback but also helps your team to get ahead of the curve when it comes to reported issues and communicate ETA’s of fixes to them.
You should ideally have this form of communication implemented even before launch, preferably during the stage where you introduce beta testers. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to speak to you about any issues they have come across in your app - or even to submit feature suggestions that could improve its usability going forward.
For best practices, think about how you can make your help desk unobtrusive but still prominent enough to use quickly. You might even consider making it an in-app feature so that users can easily submit an issue as they spot one without having to leave their current screen.
We recommend the Hubspot Starter plan or Intercom as your first integration with your new shiny product to support your customers.
If you have the means to do it, you should try to make use of a PR strategy or even a PR consultant to make sure your launch gets maximum media coverage.
The value in this is that these individuals are usually professionally connected to media houses and online publications which could lead to a major spike in downloads or users if you get a feature. Compared to slogging it out on your own and trying to garner press without them, working with an experienced PR person is like speedrunning a game that everyone else has to play step by step.
One of the things you can do yourself, however, is creating a press kit dedicated to your mobile app.
Your press kit should ideally have a few things included that will make it easy for the media to write about your venture.
We suggest adding the following to your press kit:
With these steps done, you can finally move on to the big one: setting your launch date (don’t forget to communicate this to the media either!)
Another thing you’ll need to consider carefully is the chosen launch date for your app. It also begs an important question: when is the right time to launch an app?
The day, week, and month you choose can have a big impact on your venture’s initial response. Previous research conducted by app marketing agencies has found that the two most beneficial times to launch your application are December or February.
The day of the week that you choose for your launch will also be important to consider. Tuesdays to Thursdays tend to earn the highest downloads and revenue, although some niches like entertainment see more traffic over the weekends.
Try to do a bit of due diligence within your niche before you launch your app. See what your competitors or companies in a similar line to you are doing, and see how they approached their launch date. If you compare four or five competitors and their launch dates, and you notice a common time or date, then you know when you should target for your own release.
Have an idea for an incredible mobile or web application but don’t have the time or resources to do it yourself? Reach out to us here at NineTwoThree. We partner with you to bring your vision to life - offering top technical know-how and expert teams with experience building digital ventures, we can turn your app into a successful launch from day one.