Congratulations, you’ve built a tablet app! As you send your baby out into the world, know that there are millions of other apps competing for the attention of mobile consumers. The way to make sure your creation doesn’t fall through the cracks is smart marketing. Marketing your tablet app doesn’t take a public relations genius, but there are some basic steps you’ll need to follow.
Your app should work
Forget the old cliché that all publicity is good publicity. There are some simple mistakes that you can make that the best marketing cannot undo.
It should go without saying, but many apps are released that still have bugs. Not only will bugs prompt negative App Store reviews (which live forever), they will also tarnish your company’s image and make it even harder for future apps you roll-out to be considered.
A good plan is to build into your apps a way for users to easily report problems they find. When people do report problems, don’t ignore them, promptly answer the criticisms.
Learn to spell
Just ask the Mitt Romney campaign; it only takes one spelling error to undo all the hard work you’ve put into an app. Along with user feedback, your app description is the most-read part of an App Store entry. A great app can be sabotaged by descriptions as clear as a cloudy day or text rife with misspellings. The same goes for the text in the app itself. Give your tablet app a good start by ensuring punchy text and error-free wording.
Your first step in marketing a tablet app is to understand the importance of social-networking in creating a positive “buzz” around your product. Word of mouth can be more vital to the success of your app than advertising. Developing a social media marketing strategy is a multi-layer process. If you haven’t already, you should build into your app the ability for users to tell their friends just how great is your product. This means tweeting, Facebooking and emailing.
Take a lesson from nature and learn how to cross-pollinate. In the marketing world, this means cross-promotion. If you haven’t already, build a website which talks about just how great your app is and explains how to increase a user’s experience. Along with including plenty of links to your app on the app store selling it, your site should also offer back stories on the characters (if you have a game), or secrets to increase a service’s usefulness.
Get your developers and other employees to post blogs which speak to users, creating a community and a giving them a feeling of being an insider.
Next, allow users of your app to jump to your website to pick up tips on how to solve levels or learn more about features. The developers of Angry Birds, for instance, give app users links to videos showing how to overcome difficult situations.
Make friends with bloggers
Bloggers are an integral part of your marketing strategy. Along with generating buzz and hype through Twitter, blogs can magnify the megaphone of social media. However, there are some steps to take to increase your chance your tablet app will appear on a top-rated blog.
Blogs are looking for a good story. Learn how to pitch your tablet app to match a trending news theme. A blog that focuses on global warming would be more receptive to your energy efficiency app than a gamer’s blog, for instance. Blog editors receive hundreds of mismatched story pitches and you do not want your app announcement landing in the ignore folder.
Create a press package which includes a description, details, and high-resolution screenshots of your app. Make it easily available to bloggers with a promo code. Writers for blogs are on a deadline and often are trying to turn out as many posts per day as possible. If you can shave off a few seconds required to learn about your app, you’ve increased the probability of it being featured.
Don’t use a shotgun approach to getting blogs to cover your tablet app. Blogs often operate like a pack. Sites will look at what the top blogs are covering and use that as their cue. While it is hard to get noticed by the very top blogs in your category, aim for the second-level. Once there, your product will also be covered by the third-level and others, gathering steam and social notices along the way.
In the end, marketing tablet apps requires old-fashion people skills just modernized to accommodate the social media world. Understand that basic concept and you’ll have a head start on your competition.
Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat