How to Launch an App and Lessons Learnt from iTunes

April 1, 2015 | Rob LaPointe

How to Launch an App and Lessons Learnt from iTunes
How to Launch an App and Lessons Learnt from iTunes

There is an art to launching an app. The goal is to get the app live and prepare marketing imagery and messages that will make the app appealing right off the bat. The faster you grow, the better. It’s difficult to jump in and know how to launch an app as a first-time publisher, but the system is very well organized and you will be able to find your way, I promise.

The Basics:

You need an app launch plan because there are a lot of things to do. From the very beginning, the first thing you’ll need to do is get an iTunes developer account for $99/year. This is the account you’ll use to manage the app and collect revenue from Apple.

Next, you need to prepare all the assets you need for launching an effective app store page:

  • App name
  • App icon
  • Screenshots
  • Description
  • The actual app, obviously (If you’re still looking around for the best way to build the app, you might want to hire a development team.Take a look at low pricing options here.)

    When the app is completed, you’ll need to submit it to the store. The first hurdle will be to fill out the massive form regarding what category of app you’ve made, what markets you are launching in & localized for, etc. etc.

    And then you submit for approval. Apple has a strict set of policies to follow, which you can read here. If they reject you, don’t panic, there’s probably an easy fix you can make and resubmit the app. Apple is loved by consumers for how they curate the store, but they are notoriously capricious to developers, sometimes rejecting apps for seemingly innocuous details. It’s just a part of the process.

    Meanwhile, you should build a website for the app. A simple one-page site with a catchy slogan, description of the app, and a link to the app store should be adequate. Make sure it’s designed well and looks fantastic because it will be pivotal to your marketing (and you’ll need a link to it on your app store page).

    Set up social media. Twitter and Facebook are musts, and situationally you might be interested in others like Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. These things are very useful for spreading awareness of the app. You get out what you put in, as they say, but at the absolute minimum, build the pages and post there once in a while. With all of those things together you have a solid foundation for launching your app and getting the ball rolling.

    How Does iTunes Work?

    Whether you are building an iPhone app or an iPad app it all goes through the same storefront, and that is the iTunes app store. iTunes is an incredible platform for distribution. You make the app, set up the store page and launch it, and that’s it.

    Millions of people can now download the product, and it costs you nothing out of pocket to distribute.

    Most enterprise corporations employ customized corporate app stores to distribute internal software in a similar fashion, which is a good testament to the efficiency. It’s a single repository of software for users. Apple has a similar store for Mac apps, but it works in tandem with all the multitudes of existing distribution channels we use for our PCs.

    In exchange for that central distribution service—which is our key to reaching consumers—Apple takes 30% of the app’s revenue. So if you sell the app for a dollar, Apple only pays you 70 cents. Fair’s fair, they need to support their store somehow, and if you don’t like it…well tough luck, there’s no alternative.

    Featured Apps

    There’s one more important service that the app store provides. As a way of curating their app store and helping their users find quality content, app store editors will pick apps to feature on the front page or on the category pages of the store. Open the app store to browse around and you’ll see featured apps, top app lists, and special collections of apps created by editors. This is a highly visible position for attracting anyone casually browsing the store, and it has an enormous effect on driving downloads.

    Getting featured should be a target for your app, but due to the way apps are chosen to be featured, there’s no way to guarantee you’ll earn a spot. The best way to boost your odds is to build an app with a great looking interface, an attractive icon, and name, and to market your app independently enough that you begin to gain traction on your own. Getting writers in media to talk about your app is probably one of the best tactics you can employ here. Once there is a bit of buzz about your app, you are sure to be noticed by the app store team, and your chances of being featured skyrocket.

    The Basics:

    You need an app launch plan because there are a lot of things to do. From the very beginning, the first thing you’ll need to do is get an iTunes developer account for $99/year. This is the account you’ll use to manage the app and collect revenue from Apple.

    Next, you need to prepare all the assets you need for launching an effective app store page:App nameApp iconScreenshotsDescriptionThe actual app, obviously (If you’re still looking around for the best way to build the app, you might want to hire a development team.Take a look at low pricing options here.)

    When the app is completed, you’ll need to submit it to the store. The first hurdle will be to fill out the massive form regarding what category of app you’ve made, what markets you are launching in & localized for, etc. etc. And then you submit for approval. Apple has a strict set of policies to follow, which you can read here. If they reject you, don’t panic, there’s probably an easy fix you can make and resubmit the app. Apple is loved by consumers for how they curate the store, but they are notoriously capricious to developers, sometimes rejecting apps for seemingly innocuous details. It’s just a part of the process.

    Meanwhile, you should build a website for the app. A simple one-page site with a catchy slogan, description of the app, and a link to the app store should be adequate. Make sure it’s designed well and looks fantastic because it will be pivotal to your marketing (and you’ll need a link to it on your app store page).

    Set up social media. Twitter and Facebook are musts, and situationally you might be interested in others like Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. These things are very useful for spreading awareness of the app. You get out what you put in, as they say, but at the absolute minimum, build the pages and post there once in a while. With all of those things together you have a solid foundation for launching your app and getting the ball rolling.

    About SDI

    SDI is a premier app development and marketing company based in Saratoga, CA. You can read more about us on our website, or get in touch at team@sdi.la. If you prefer to just give us a call, we’re more than happy to chat at 408.805.0495

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