The good news? Your app is in the development stage, and you’re just about to launch it live. The not so good news? You still have a lot of work to do. Easing up at this point isn’t a good idea; even the most innovative and popular apps need to go through the whole app development phase and need to be tested, evaluated, and marketed properly before the app launch date. Also, the back end quality assurance work is crucial to the lasting success of your app in a very crowded marketplace. Here, we’ll go over several steps you need to take to make your app launch go smoothly.
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Maybe you haven’t really fleshed out your buyer personas quite yet, so now’s the time. This is typically a pre-development step, but you really can’t do this step enough, so you need to continue refining your target audience at every step. This is going to shape a good portion of your branding and messaging throughout your app’s lifespan, so don’t underestimate the importance.
For example, here’s a case study about Bumble, the popular dating app that was created in response to (and by a former employee of) Tinder, whose casual, humorous, and often thoughtless approach to online dating left many women feeling excluded. In this study, we see how the intention of the founder to supply a thoughtful, genuine and female-initiated dating app to like-minded women (and the men who wanted to meet them) ended up shaping her entire business model. She identified her target audience, researched and discovered their pain points, and thoughtfully offered solutions, while continuing to consistently brand and market Bumble based on both the original business plan and any feedback she received along the journey. It stands out as a prime example of an app that got it right, especially in fulfilling the needs of its target audience.
From Alpha to Beta…And Beyond
If there’s one step that needs to be a constant from development on, it’s testing. From basic coding through UX and UI, and all the way to post-launch quality assurance, you need to be exhaustive both in frequency and diversity in testing. It’s all well and good to pass your app around the office and get those reassuring compliments, but you have to eventually be as objective as possible when running your app through all possible users and permutations.
The in-house testing (Alpha) is obvious, and no quality developer will let your app development go on too long without lots of functionality testing. Conducting solid Beta research is key; getting your app in all of its various stages of development into the hands of every end user you can think of will only serve to make your product better.
This is also known as UAT (User Acceptance Testing), and it’s an essential piece of your research. Developers crave this feedback, especially from outside industry experts who are likely to actually use this app in their everyday lives. Yet, you want to be certain to not use beta testers that may have a bias…any motivation to be a sycophant or a yes-man in terms of their reporting should wave a red flag.
You also have to consider security factors when releasing your mobile app to hundreds of users before you launch. You should research MAM (Mobile App Management) systems to help keep your app secure, your data and research organized, and your results clear. Continuous improvement is the last piece of testing, as you need to constantly use your app throughout its lifecycle to pick out any inconsistencies that may pop up.
Letting the People Know
Now, all of this research and planning is definitely necessary. However, if you don’t market your app in a smart and thoughtful way, you’ll never get enough attention to ensure a successful launch. And, yes, you need to start this process far ahead of your expected launch date.
First, you need to consult with a designer; if you’re pushing your app into this extremely crowded space, you at the very least need a snazzy icon. Take a look at these familiar icons, and see how many you recognize right off the bat.
Even without the labels, you can appreciate the aesthetically pleasing and simple presentation of these icons. Your entire branding strategy will be represented by this icon, so do your due diligence.
While you’re organizing your beta testing, make sure to include a few social media influencers in the mix. You’ll likely need to properly compensate and coordinate with these content creators to get your messaging on point, but this could be very valuable content. Their loyal audience, who should be aligned with your ideal target users, will both absorb these reviews and spread it around themselves. The amplification power of these influencers shouldn’t be underestimated; so vet them carefully. If this is a tactic you want to use consistently, consider a tool like GroupHigh to identify and engage them.
Lastly, you’ll want to create a slick landing page for your mobile app. If you’ll be blasting social media channels, getting reviews, and using all the other digital marketing tactics, you’ll need a professional landing page to link back to. It should have updates on the development, testimonials, and some degree of a demonstration of what your app can do. You should also have some sort of opt-in email capture feature, where people can sign up for a newsletter, discounts, or other hot news about your app. You’ll be able to compile a sizable email list for all of your future marketing endeavors while keeping your fans in the know.