The gold rush to sell iPhone, iPod, and iPad apps is on, and you want a share of the mine. Unfortunately, gone are the days of submitting your latest and greatest app to Apple’s App Store and simply hoping for the best. With over 350,000 iPhone apps and 65,000 iPad apps available (and growing) at the App Store, how do you ensure yours stands out? Here are seven ways to improve your chances of striking gold with your app.
1) Establish a free app day – Giving away your app for free for a day, or a few days, creates buzz for your app, which can translate to increased future sales.
2) Create a “blow ‘em away” screenshot – We all know the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so use it to your advantage with your app by showing it at its best. If your app is graphically intensive, a home run screenshot is even more important. Better yet, create a YouTube demonstration of your app and link to it liberally. Similarly, make your app icon standout — according to Apple, users now expect them.
3) Get your app reviewed – If you’re on a shoestring budget, a great way to increase your app’s demand is to try to get it reviewed by one or more of the many sites that have sprung up simply to review apps, including AppShopper, AppScout, AppVee, TUAW, Gizmondo, FreshApps, and iJustine’s YouTube Review Channel. Be sure to read and follow the submission guidelines carefully; some are free while others charge a fee. If you’ve been able to snag some Apple promo codes for developers, hand out a few promo codes for a free copy of your app to your app reviewers to pass out in order to sweeten the deal. You can learn about requesting free app developer promotion codes here.
4) Don’t go for perfection initially – Chances are your competitors are working on a similar app, so the faster you get yours in the hands of users, the more likely you’ll have them hooked on your app. In reality, it’s rare that you’ll be able to deliver exactly what the user wants in version 1.0 anyway. What’s more, too many features in the initial version may overwhelm the user and limit your chances to listen and incorporate user feedback later on, which is worth its weight in gold (see number 6). Just wait on asking for reviews until you think the app is 100 percent solid.
5) Sell app add-ons – While you can market your basic app for free, charge a buck or two for extra or premium features. The free version will be the hook and the premium features will be money in your bank account.
6) Incorporate customer feedback – When your app users provide feedback, they are letting you know about features they would like to use — and often wouldn’t mind paying for. Review your user app feedback carefully to see if you can add any additional “premium” features that customers want. Incorporating customer feedback also creates consumer trust and loyalty.
7) Target specific geographical locations – If your app has a local angle but can be used globally, create different versions, such as one for the UK.