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5 Must Do Before Your App Launch

5 Must Do Before Your App Launch
By Edouard Barbier • Issue #11 • View online

Today we’re going over the 5 most important things to do before launching an app. It’s a launch plan I crafted, modified, and tweaked many times over the course of the last few years and I truly believe it can help you too. 
Once you’re done coding your app, work doesn’t stop there.
1. Review the app readiness checklist
Your app is functional, bug-free-ish, and ready to ship. Congratulations. Now let’s look at the 5 things you might have forgotten that truly matter, even for a v1.
  • Analytics: make sure you set up an analytics solution. You don’t want to fly blind or rely on AppStore Connect alone. We all know it’s not that reliable. I tend to use Firebase but alternatives exist.
  • Crash reporting: you’ll want to be aware of any serious issues and help users debug problems when they occur.
  • Contact: Make sure you can be contacted by your user from inside the app. Make it easy for people so you can as much feedback as possible.
  • Share: Let people easily spread the word on your launch by letting them share your app via the Settings screen. If you’ve built custom screens asking for help to promote your app in past projects, it’s always a good idea to reuse what worked in other projects.
  • Ratings & reviews: if you take only one thing from this newsletter, remember this. The number of ratings & reviews you’ll get per download in the early days is critical to building your presence in search ranking on the AppStore. Engineering ways to get ratings & reviews inside your app is way more important than the extra feature you were thinking to add before shipping.
2. Unlock free marketing with ASO
You need to start by doing some market research and analyzing the competition.
Check out how many downloads they’re generating and at what price point. What keywords are they targeting?
You need to understand what’s already out there and how you can make your app stand out. You need to find out what people type in that magic search bar when they are looking for a solution to the problem your app solves.
You will use all this information to create an amazing app store page that will make it easier to rank higher on those all-important search results pages.
To do all this, you need to use different keyword research tools like App Annie and Sensor Tower. They will help you track your progress and analyze your competition.
Remember the AppStore is a black box that is ready to offer your free marketing if you know how to crack it and target the right keywords. I put this as my number one because I never launch something seriously without spending some time doing at least a little ASO research. You won’t get it right the first time around but AB testing keywords will be key to finding success on the AppStore. 
3. Make your AppStore page stand out
Your AppStore page is the first thing people see when they stumble upon your app. Screenshots are going to play a major role in whether or not they decide to download it.
Make sure to create high-quality screenshots that will show off your app in the best possible light. If you have the skills or the budget, taking some time to craft a great app preview video is a big plus. I admit I rarely do it and I should. Priorities… :D
You should also create an eye-catching app icon that will make people want to click on it. In short, make sure that everything on your app store page is well-designed and screams “download me!”
Your last screenshot should actually say “Download now” or something similar. If a prospective user has curiously scrolled all the way to your last screenshot, they might need a little push to convert into a downloader. Calls to action are king.
4. Activate your audience (if you have any).
If you don’t have an audience, and never considered building one, maybe give it a try. If that’s not your thing, skip ahead. This tip won’t be useful. I’ve added a secret 6th must-do for you guys!
If you’re reading this, you most likely know by now that I build my apps in public on Instagram (mostly) and on Twitter (sometimes). This is part of my launch strategy for many apps for many years now.
Whenever I launch, I make sure to share it with my followers and let them know how it goes and how they can help. This is a fantastic way to engage with your audience and get them excited about your product.
I also make sure to offer some sort of incentive for my audience to check out my new app. Be creative, offer promo codes, or even free early bird access if you can afford to have freeloaders for life.
5. Welcome to the AppStore therapy 101
I’m sure you didn’t expect this one. Well hear me out. Launch Day is just day 0 in what I wish for you to be a very long journey. So brace yourself for a few days of high, excitement, and positive thoughts, followed by the post-launch low, where the hype stops, people stop talking about your launch and you start to rely on organic traction. I’ve learned to live with it by enjoying the highs and not stressing myself over the lows too much. I’m still working on getting better at the latter. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you had fun while building something you’re proud of otherwise, what’s the point?
I hope these tips were useful. If you’d like to know more about the life of an indie iOS Dev, follow me on Twitter and Instagram where I share everything I’m building and everything I learn along the way. If you want to receive all of my articles directly in your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter.
Happy shipping!
Best,
Ed
Bonus tip: launching without an audience
You do not need to have a personal brand and an audience to launch a successful app. Taking as much as 1 hour to do some research will be well worth it. If you can find where your ideal customer is hanging out online, you’re well on your way to getting valuable feedback which is what you need to optimize for in the early days.
Hackernews? Product Hunt? Facebook Groups? Subreddit? Niche forums? Not all of these will fit your audience, but that’s on you to find where these people are and how you can talk to them. Self-promotion is not always allowed either in these spaces but if you’re clever about it, read the rules and talk to admins, you can find a way to make it work. Your launch isn’t about making a quick buck either. You want feedback and people will more likely to share their thoughts if they get to try your product for free. 
Did you enjoy this issue?
Edouard Barbier

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