The 10 Steps to Launching an App: A Marketing Guide

By Nick Epson on November 10, 2021

As we head towards 2022, the market for apps continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing down – as such, there’s plenty of folks looking for guidance on how to best go about launching an app. The average American spends roughly 5 hours on a mobile device daily, and they’re checking that device 63 times a day (an increase of 16 points from last year). And what are they doing with all that time on their phones? Using apps. In fact, 88% of mobile time is now spent interacting with apps, so needless to say, the case for building one has never been stronger. But how do you launch an app? 

At func.media, we’ve worked with over 300 brands and products to date – from startups and new ventures to enterprises and global companies. We’ve also worked alongside Blue Label Labs for several years on a variety of exciting and unique app launches. We specialize in digital marketing, go-to-market strategy and user acquisition. Given our background and expertise, we’d like to offer a peek into our marketing process leading up to an app launch and share some tips on how to get your app noticed. Of course, there are other considerations when it comes to launching an app. For more on the product strategy, design and development front, Blue Label Labs is an outstanding resource.

How to Launch An App Successfully

We’ve broken down our process into 10 essential steps that highlight what to consider when it comes to launching an app. These app launch strategies are based on a variety of success stories, with each step playing a role in making the most of your app launch.

1. Determine the market and value proposition of your app 

The first and most essential question is: “does my business need an app?”. We mentioned that there’s never been a better time to launch an app, but that doesn’t mean an app works for every business. It’s essential to have a baseline understanding of your target users and how an app can help them. A trusted partner like Blue Label Labs can help clarify these questions.

2. Understand the logistics behind building and launching an app 

Make sure you understand the resources behind building and launching an app including the costs, the roles involved, and the timeline. In terms of marketing, an ideal time commitment to a marketing partner would be, at a minimum, two months of strategy, three months of split-testing, and a good 12 months of optimized promotion post-launch.

3. Select the right partners for your app launch

This is crucial for its success. Partnering up with agencies that specialize in app development and app marketing will ensure you’re using your resources effectively. But not just any agency will do. When it comes to marketing, finding a partner with well-rounded experience and a proven track record across various industries can be a huge help as no two apps are alike. Key services like digital strategy, app strategy, design, content creation, social media management, and ad management should be a part of their portfolio. Again, you want a partner who knows all the components that go into a successful app launch. 

Beyond that, it’s essential that you get along with the agencies you choose — and they get along with one another. Launching an app requires a lot of coordination and cooperation, especially between agencies, so having partners that are aligned and work well together is essential to a smooth launch.

4. Develop a thoughtful go-to-market strategy

While it’s tempting to jump right into the deep end of marketing, it’s critically important to walk before you run and map out a thoughtful go-to-market strategy. At func, we group our marketing strategy into what we’ve coined as “the three pillars of app marketing”:

  • Awareness. Why your app? How does it work? We explore how we’ll introduce your app for the first time and create intrigue with your target users while also communicating the value of your product.
  • Conversion. This is a big one. We determine how we’ll drive those initial downloads and get people using your app for the first time. You need your app to convert when it launches or risk getting lost in the shuffle of the multitude of other apps.
  • Loyalty. Nothing’s better than a repeat user. We build our app launch strategies beyond conversion to achieve ongoing use beyond the initial download. This is often overlooked, but it’s pivotal to the success and longevity of any digital product. 

5. Activate your brand on key digital channels 

Anchor your brand online pre-app launch by reserving your domain and creating a website. Also, make sure to grab your social media usernames to protect your brand prior to entering the market and to lend legitimacy to your product. Your website and social channels can be leveraged for data collection from target users and to generate interest pre-launch.

6. Produce evergreen content and a variety of assets for testing 

Having content that is always relevant, no matter the time, provides consistent value for a potential user. Explainer videos are tried-and-tested pieces of evergreen content that can live on your website. In fact, nearly 70% of people say they’d prefer to watch a short video to learn about a product or service than read about it. And by including one on your landing page or point of download, can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%.

It’s also wise not to put all of your eggs in one marketing basket. Instead, a variety of diverse creative assets should be split-tested through digital advertising prior to your app launch to see what resonates most with your target users. This includes micro-videos, images, user-generated content, plus a variety of messaging and variations tailored to specific digital channels.

7. Split-test early and often prior to a new app launch 

This is extremely valuable in that it allows you to identify your top-performing marketing variables in a cost-effective way prior to launch. Test all the variables you can — geotargeting, placement, creative style, messaging, incentives, behaviors and interests. Always prioritize data and user feedback over any assumptions you may have. Cater to what’s resonating with your target users, not to your own bias. This will allow you to quickly scale up in an effective way and maximize your marketing investment.

8. Enter the market with momentum

It’s essential to build an engaged audience prior to the launch of an app so you can hit the ground running. The last thing you want is zero interest when you launch the app you’ve spent a significant amount of time and money on. While split-testing, build a list of prospective users in order to generate excitement and ultimately accelerate the growth of your user base. Some simple but effective ways to utilize an email or phone number list include:

  • An introduction to your product and its features
  • User feedback/testing
  • Product announcements
  • Special offers and incentives
  • Reviews

9. Leverage feedback and encourage reviews from early adopters 

Utilizing pre-launch feedback can help optimize both your product and its marketing materials. This is a constant process that starts pre-launch and should continue post-launch. It’s critical that your product evolves to become more impactful for users. 

Encouraging early positive reviews will support your product’s legitimacy. Most users consider reviews and ratings before installing an app, and it also improves search ranking within the App Store and Google Play.

10. Scale top-performing app launch campaigns and expand your marketing

Leverage pre-launch data to make the most of your app launch. Steer your budget and resources towards top-performing ads. Activating additional marketing initiatives like influencer campaigns, ambassador programs, and App Store Optimization (ASO) over the course of your marketing campaign will also drive downloads and increase revenue.

Again, this is a process. After launch, at least 12 months should be committed to marketing in order to maximize your app’s reach, and ultimately its success.

How to make an app successful? It’s a process.

As we’ve stated, there’s never been a better time to launch an app, but it’s a risky and expensive undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. These 10 essential steps are merely the tip of the marketing iceberg – for a look into an app marketing scope and some other points to consider, click here to learn more. Bringing in agencies with experience and a roster of talented people eases the burden and allows you to focus on making your product the best it possibly can be. At func.media, we have a proven track record of app marketing across a variety of industries. Our results-driven app launch strategies don’t just work – they exceed expectations. We’ll work hand-in-hand with you and Blue Label Labs to ensure the successful launch and longevity of your product. If you’re thinking about launching an app, let’s talk!