How long have you been sitting in front of the computer developing the next killer iPhone app? 50 hours? 100 hours? More? How much money have you put into becoming a registered developer, paying artists, hardware, software, and training? The day has finally come to submit your hopes and dreams to the whims of the Apple approval team and hope that you don’t get that fateful rejection email in your in-box. But… did you forget something?

In order for your app to succeed, you need a strategic approach to marketing it. With almost 100,000 active apps in iTunes, the likelihood of your app being “discovered” and succeeding on its own gets harder every day.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a developer say, “That’s okay though… I’ll get to the marketing thing once the app gets approved and goes live”. By waiting until an app goes live, the developer looses a number of significant marketing opportunities right off the bat.

To start, one of the most important components of your marketing, Search Engine Optimization, can ONLY be performed before your app has been submitted, or when uploading a new binary. Too many developers we have worked with didn’t realize this, threw a couple of keywords into the keywords field and figured they would come back to it later… they simply wanted to see their app in the store. We even read a story of one developer that simply didn’t use keywords because they were worried the wrong keywords would get them a rejection and their application was Halloween themed meaning a delay would render their app useless. Unfortunately.. having no keywords will render your application practically useless as well.

There is also a period of a few days at most where your natural browsing will be higher. The default browsing of iTunes is by “Release Date” – giving you first page visibility when a consumer wanders into your category. Depending on the category, you might be on the first page of this listing for close to a week! This is a great time to take advantage of the boosted sales and use a blitz marketing campaign to drive yourself into the higher rankings – shooting to either get in the top 100 listing, or get noticed by Apple and featured.

Social media is another tactic that requires some pre-planning. Most social media tactics rely on “followers” of your content. If you have not started building a following before you launch.. you are already missing out!

Finally your PR buzz is much more effective if its about a “new” product. Reporters are less likely to cover a story about something that has been sitting available for a while unless there is something new and unique about it. “Company X releases a new app that is the first to do Y” is much more of a story than “App Z is still in the App Store and still not doing that well even though its a good concept..”

Already launched? Its not optimal… but its not too late either. Drop us an email and we will be glad to take a look at how your app is being marketed.

  1. Nice article and very note worthy.

    Comment by Amir — October 20, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  2. So many developers that I meet completely miss the boat on this. For many, it takes a several weeks in the App Store before they realize they’re buried and need help fast. The glory days of just throwing anything into the App Store and getting millions of downloads where amazing, but short lived. Excellent and extremely relevant article!

    Ryan – iPhone app reviews and Marketing services for developers

    Comment by Ryan — October 20, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

  3. Thank you for this great info. I’ve been doing the Social network thing and promoting as best as I know how, but I had no idea of the importance of Search Engine Optimization, and my app is only a fee weeks away. You just might have saved my ass. Thanks.

    Comment by Brian — October 21, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  4. Perhaps you could write anarticle on the dos and Donts of using search engine optimization and keywords. The best ones to use and maybe ones that Apple frowns upon? Any other good advice before submitting would be most helpful and appreciated.


    Comment by Brian — October 21, 2009 @ 10:50 am

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