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5 Ways to Make Your App Take Off

Want your app to be the next Angry Birds or Pinterest? Try these expert strategies for getting it downloaded by the masses.
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There are more than a million apps you can download to your mobile device. That’s good news for consumers, but not so great for developers. There’s so much competition in this noisy space that becoming the next Angry Birds or Pinterest is no simple feat. But there are a few things you can do to get your app noticed. Try these expert suggestions:

1. Market your app far ahead of launching it.

According to Jesse Waites, author of “The Secrets Of My App Success,” it’s critical that you understand who your target market is and where they hang out online during initial product development. Find relevant Internet forums and meet-up groups and make them aware of your upcoming product. This is a great way to get feedback about your app before you even launch, as well as collect a database of potential customers. He says you should also have a widget on your website to collect the email addresses of these future customers so you can notify them when you finally release your product.

2. Get reviewed.

Getting your app reviewed favorably is obviously a fantastic way to get people downloading it. iOS developers should definitely check out ManiacDev.com, which has compiled an exhaustive list of Apple app review sites listed in order of Alexa ranking. Many of these sites also review Android apps.

3. Try Corona by Ansca Mobile.

Corona is the world’s No. 1 mobile app development platform and many developers have found that by using it not only do their apps work better, but they get more downloads. That’s because Ansca Mobile has partnered with some review sites and podcasts for apps such as 148apps.com, CrazyMikeApps.com, AppShrink.com, Experimental Game Dev Podcast, and MadDog Podcast.

Another great feature of the Corona platform is that it can quickly publish an app to multiple marketplaces simultaneously: the Apple App Store, Google Play (Android’s new name for its marketplace), Amazon (for the Kindle Fire) and Barnes and Noble (for the Nook Color tablet). And it’s cheap; a yearly subscription is only $349 or $199 if a developer only wants to build to one platform.

4. Use your online karma.

Denis Harscoat, co-founder of the action-tracking app DidThis recently got tech pundit Robert Scoble to feature a video blurb about the app on his YouTube channel. But before approaching Scoble about DidThis, Harscoat spent quite a bit of time making thoughtful commentary on Scoble’s blog posts so that when he wanted Scoble to check out his app (at a conference they were both attending), it was easier to get his attention.

Harscoat says DidThis also gleaned a lot of exposure after accumulating Karma points on Hacker News by engaging on the site. Later when he submitted to the site a link that touted his app, Harscoat’s network of supporters strategically up-voted it. “The key is to be genuinely part of a community where people care about certain things your app has a match with,” He says.

5. Get found when someone searches for “great apps.”

For as little as $95 you’ll get a year’s worth of promotion on GreatApps.com, which by way of its URL alone is getting about 40,000 unique visitors every month.  The marketing company also owns the singular domain GreatApp.com (minus the “s”) so when someone searches the Internet for “great apps” or “great app,” GreatApps.com almost always lands at the top of the search rank (even without quotes). And for every 50 apps that join its platform, GreatApps.com issues a press release touting them to more than 2,000 media outlets, although if you want to be included you’ll have to buy the highest level of membership, which is $495.

Have other strategies worked well for you? If so, tell us in the comments about your app and how you’ve had success marketing it.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Mar 21, 2012




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