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The Complete Guide to App Store Optimisation

Looking to maximise your app’s visibility in the app store? To get your app the attention it deserves, simply follow the key steps in this guide to ensure your app meets ranking criteria and rises to the top of the Apple and Google Play Stores.

It is crucial to understand the various marketing channels available to attract users and generate revenue. Once such channel is the very important, but often overlooked, technique of App Store Optimisation (ASO).

ASO is essentially improving your app’s visability on the app store to drive more downloads for your app.

When it comes getting your app discovered and downloaded by users, the numbers don’t lie:

  • Users discover and download apps through general app store searches 63% of the time.
  • Apps with keywords in their titles on average rank 10.3% higher in the app stores than those that don’t.
  • The more positive reviews and ratings you get, the higher your app will rank in such results.

There are a number of aspects that come into play when someone sees your app in the search results. To effectively optimise your app on the store, you need to focus on elements, including reviews and ratings.

If you have a vision for an innovative app that provides real value to users, here are the crucial steps to implementing an ASO strategy that maximises your app’s search ranking on the largest discovery channel available.

 

Step 1 – Understand why App Store Optimisation is important

In order to successfully optimise your app for the stores you have to know what Apple and Google are looking for. Once you know what is used for iTunes and Google Play to rank the search visibility of your app, you have to optimise for these particular factors.

According to Forbes Tech, the two main factors when submitting on iOS app to Apple are the app’s name and keyword searches. Let’s breakdown the important factors involved in ASO…

Names and Keywords

Your app’s name is the principal piece of meta-data that impacts it’s ranking in app store search results. Therefore, the keywords that your target users are searching for (More on that in Step 2!) should feature in your app’s name, as well as the description. While the app’s name and icon grab the attention of potential users, it’s a persuasively written description that ultimately convinces them to download your app.

Mobile App Development

The app store title for One Minute Closer features the app’s name and an additional five keywords (‘Free’, ‘FIFO’, ‘Roster’, ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘App’) that target users would search for. Source: iTunes

Ratings and Reviews

You can’t control an app’s ratings and reviews in the same way you can find and leverage keywords for ASO, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to influence them. These are two significant factors when you consider that 59% of people usually or always check ratings before downloading an app – even if everything else checks out.

Furthermore, a single star in your app’s rating can make a huge difference when attempting to reach target users. In fact, a 2015 Consumer Survey found that jumping from a 2-star to a 3-star rating directly increases your app store conversion by 340%. Managing ratings and reviews, gives your app the best chance to achieve a dramatic increase in active users.

Melbourne App Developer

Only 15% of people would consider downloading an app with a 2-star average rating, while over 95% would consider downloading an app with a 4-star rating. Source: Apptentive

Let’s now explore the app store optimisation practices you can use to maximise your app’s discoverability.

 

Step 2 – Research your target audience

Knowing who your app’s target users are is the foundation to implementing a successful ASO strategy. To figure out whom exactly benefits the most from being an active user of your app, you need to assess three elements of your target audience: 1) who you have designed the app for, 2) what demographics will get real value from the app, and 3) what is the problem it solves for them.

To systematically gather and interpret such information, you need to do market research. With effective market research, you can determine the likelihood of your app being downloaded in the app stores, as well as the motivations and behaviours of app users. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops with entrepreneurs and businesses, the market research to clearly define an app’s target audience usually comprises of two parts…

 

Primary Research – User Persona Modelling

The more you know about your users, the better and faster your can meet their needs. Creating user persona models helps you understand the behaviours and motivations of your app’s target audience.

With an understanding of your app’s target users, you should then place your created personas into scenarios: situations where desirable or ineffective app features become evident. Consider a day in the life of your identified key personas – waking up, working, evening routine etc. – and how your app interacts with them. Use these scenarios to determine the app features that satisfy the market and then prioritise features based on your primary research.

 App Developers Australia

An example User Persona, featuring the target user’s motivations, goals, bio and personality. Source: Xtensio

 

Secondary research – Industry Analysis

Once you’ve identified the app features that satisfy your target users, it’s time to validate your app using the plethora of collected data and existing research available online. If your app is focused towards a certain industry, sources like IBISWorld offer readily available Market Research reports across every industry in Australia.

To find out if users are actually searching for an app like yours in the app stores, use tools like App Codes to track out what keywords your competitors rank for. This will empower you to find the best keywords for ASO and make sure your app’s gets maximum exposure for search results.

 

Step 3 – Identify the right app name and keywords

With your most relevant keywords identified during your secondary research, you can now optimise your app’s name. To increase the visibility and traffic generated, the identified keywords should be in your app’s name.

You have up to 255 characters for your app’s name on the Apple App Store. This is a generous amount of space allows you to insert relevant keywords that will lead to more app downloads. However, don’t start keyword stuffing, as this is widely denounced and often penalised by Apple.

Keep the following tips in mind when picking the right name for your app:

On iTunes, your app name is shortened after the 23rd character on the search results and top charts pages. Even with 255 characters, make sure your keywords fit in logically.

On Google Play, you only have up to 30 characters for your app’s name.

As a result, it is essential so to put your best keywords at the start of the app’s name.

A general rule of thumb is to include three top target keywords in your app name.

While identifying the top keywords to maximise your app’s visibility, focus mainly on the keyword ranking traffic and difficulty. Traffic is the measure of a keyword’s popularity in relation to search volume, while difficulty is based on how intense the competition is to rank for a certain keyword.

Aim for the ideal combination of a keyword that gets a lot of traffic and very little competition. It may take time to find the perfect one, but it’s worth it for the boost your app will receive in the rankings.

 

Step 4 – Create a memorable and unique app icon

As your app’s visual anchor, you want your icon to stand out and be memorable to app store browsers. An app icon is the key visual that users interact with when they see your app for the first time.

So what are the key traits of a great app icon that screams ‘INSTALL ME!’?

Firstly, your icon will be seen on a variety of screens and in a variety of sizes. Therefore, it’s important that your icon is scalable so that it maintains its legibility. Big or small, the app’s icon needs to look good.

 iPhone App Developers Melbourne

An icon should maintain its legibility across multiple resolutions. Source: One Minute Closer

Secondly, your icon is confined to a 57×57 pixel space, so ensure it clearly communicates what your app does. App Analytics firm App Annie provided the following tips to designing a simple, unique icon:

  • The most effective icons provide a clear message through simple design.
  • The icon’s colours should pop while still representing the colour scheme within the app.
  • The icon must represent the core values of your app. This may be the app’s primary feature (E.g. Gmail’s use of a letter) or imagery within the app (E.g. Clash of Clans featuring a main character).

Using these tips will help you highlight the unique selling point of your app, converting browsers into engaged users.

 

Step 5 – Feature high-converting screenshots

The sequence of screenshots on the app store page shows what your app can do. Optimised screenshots convey your app’s key selling points and unique value proposition.

Mobile App Development Melbourne

Life Pulse on Android Wear tells a story to engage uses. Source: Google Play

When submitting apps for our clients, we recommend featuring screenshots that showcase how the app works.

Life Pulse is a perfect example. First, it hooks users with the app’s starting point (Entering your Resting Heart Rate). It then outlines the heart monitoring experience by visually explaining the key features the wearable app provides to users.

To find out which screenshots optimise your app’s conversion rate, use A/B testing methods. When you know which screenshots perform better, as well as the correct order to present them in, you’ll greatly increase your app store conversion rate and, in turn, the number of app downloads.

To A/B test potential screenshots on the app stores, StoreMaven allows you to not just compare your screenshots against each other, but also test your screenshots to industry standards. There’s a 30-day free trial, letting you discovering which screenshots maximise your app’s conversion rate.

 

Step 6 – Maintain your App Store Optimisation

ASO is a marketing practice that you have to keep monitoring and regularly tweak for sustainable app store success. The best practice to efficiently optimise your app is to keep leveraging keywords that rank well and maximise the traffic generated for your app’s page.

It’s also important to consistently update your app so that you keep improving the user experience and performance it provides. Apps that are continually updated are deemed to be high quality and user-centric by the app stores and mobile consumers.

The average update frequency of the top 500-ranked apps is between 30 to 40 days. As a result, you should be aiming for this too. By providing users better versions of your app with each update, your ratings and reviews will organically increase. Additionally, better app store ratings and reviews, will help your app rank prevalently in the search results.

 

Before optimising your app…

Now that you know everything involved in implementing an effective ASO strategy, you can see how the path to startup success doesn’t end when your app is launched. That’s just half of the journey.

With this guide, your app can soar up the app store rankings and maximising visibility.

Can you recommend any other tools and resources for App Store Optimisation? We’d love to hear about them.

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An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mobile UX and UI Design

A User Interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good. 

Looking to create a successful mobile app? creating a great mobile user experience should be your number one priority.

When implementing a great user experience, consider the interface.

It’s often difficult to grasp the difference in the User Experience and User Interface design processes.

The concepts are often used interchangeably. This is because they work closely together.

But when it comes to the design disciplines involved, they refer to very different specialties in mobile app development.

Related: Here’s a Quick Way to Design Your Very First Mobile App

In this blog, we look at the importance of UX and UI design. As well as the differences between the two.

 

Melbourne App Developers

This is a great way to show differences between UX and UI design. Source: Medium

 

What is User Experience Design?

At Launchpad, our User Experience Designers outline the end-to-end experience. Showing what users engage with when using a mobile application or website.

I’ve been the Product Manager for an array of mobile apps. I’ve come to notice that the UX process is a science.

The information is laid out from screen-to-screen. Then we show how end users interact with it. This is the result of the UX Designer working with entrepreneurs and businesses.

They collaborate to define and plan business goals.

Goals that make sense for the consumers who will use the specific app features.

A UX Designer is focused on an app user being able to complete a certain task. Done through research, wireframing, prototyping and user testing. The UX process ensures the user can ‘do a certain thing’. Which was established through certain business goals in an intuitive and seamless manner.

What has happened for the User Experience to reach this point?

The UX design process has likely spent countless hours. Defining the business goals, prototyping the mobile experience and fitting it in the operating system (E.g. iPhone and iPad Apps). Done so that the experience is built and integrated with existing navigational flows.

They know the best practices that will lead to the most seamless experience. For a user, from how to layout an entire screen (big picture) to the intricate details (small picture).

An example of this may be when to use a dropdown box rather than a text input field. Or segmenting button types (primary, secondary and tertiary). And considering the app onboarding experience, and much more.

Related: What do Successful Apps have in common? These 7 Essential Onboarding Strategies!

What does a User Experience Designer do?

As such, a UX Designer needs to ensure that an app logically flows. In other words,  build an experience that feels intuitive and right for the user. An app is intuitive when the user can go through screens without have to think about what they are doing.

Like a scientist, the shared set of known basic UX Design principles have been established. All through trial and error when producing a desired outcome.

Therefore, a UX Designer needs to find the solution to a problem as quickly as possible. Selecting from a list of potential paths that lead to the same result. A UX Designer is like a doctor. In the sense that the can prescribe a number of different types of medicine to cure your cold. But based on their knowledge about you, they choose which one most suitable.

 

What is User Interface Design?

If your interested, this was previously noted in a different blog.

UI Design involves taking the output from the UX Design. Then turns it into an art. The UX process defines what a user does on a page or within the navigational flow of an app. On the other hand, the UI process defines how that page/flow looks and feels.

UI Design is an art form. It focuses on all the aspects that make a mobile app beautiful and fun to use, Considering graphics, colours, animation, etc. The UI components on any given screen come together. All to provide the overall aesthetic feel for any given mobile app.

App Development Australia

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

 

In an article about the distinctions between UX and UI design. Dain Miller captures the essence of great UI Designers. They design for emotion.

What does a User Interface Designer do?

A UI Designer takes wireframes and prototypes to a completely new level. By making sure that users feel in their element when using a mobile app. It’s not just a mix of flat and material designs coupled with some pretty pictures. The UI Designer is building a state of mind. Where the user feels 100% comfortable and confident with the mobile app.

For example, the UX Designer may outline that tapping a button directs a user to another page. The UI Designer takes this information to create a visual signal to the user. Showing that they are being directed to another page. This happens through the button changing colour to signal the next page is loading.

This is why we consider UI to be an art form. It’s not just about building overall visuals that put mobile users at ease. A great UI Designer considers every single interaction. They do so to provide those small, yet critical cues. Which visually signal a very simple and pleasant message to the user. For example: “You’re doing great, you’re on the right track, keep going.”

 iPhone App Development

UX Designer vs UI Designer. Source: UX Motel

 

The Difference Between UX and UI Design

The image below presents the most common difference in the outputs of UX and UI Designers. The one to the left is part of a UX wireframe done on Lucidchart. It’s predominantly black and white with a simple layout of the elements. On the right side is a Photoshop version of the Life Pulse Android Wear App.

Android App Development

 

In Career Foundry’s guide to UX and UI designers. The expected deliverables for each role were summarised as follows:

Australian App Developer

 

One of the deliverables to note from the list above is the wireframe. The wireframe creation includes a variety of conditions. Which are triggered by different elements throughout the app. Creating wireframes often feature a list of conditions the developers must follow when coding. For instance, tapping on the X button directs me to the Y page. The UX Designer is responsible for calling out all these specific details.

When it comes to the UI Designer, they are responsible for redlining each app screen they create. Each redline provides intricate detail into the typography, padding, graphics etc. it refers to. Essentially, all elements on an app screen are specified by pixels. To ensure the front end is implemented correctly.

So why do great UI Designers undertake such a time-consuming task when creating a mobile user experience? Well, as the late Steve Jobs so succinctly put it: “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”

 

Key Takeaways

We focused on the main differences between UX and UI Design when it comes to mobile apps. While both processes cover different areas of expertise. With many sub-specialties, there is a great degree of fluidity between them.

A mobile app that looks great but is difficult to use is an example of good UI and poor UX. But what about an app that is usable but looks horrible?
It likely has a great UX process and not-so-great UI.

The UX and UI processes should be your first priority to create market-leading user experience.

What do you think makes a great mobile user experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ready to design a successful mobile app?

Contact us for a free 1-hour discovery session.

Take the next step today.

 

Australian App Developers

 

 

The 6 Best Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” is exactly that – old! The new version of the saying should be “fast and ready wins the race”.

In business, time is money. You can’t create more time in a day but by increasing your productivity on tasks, you can save a lot of time and money. Therefore, increasing your productivity makes money!

To help you do just that, here’s our list of the best money saving, productivity apps available.

Related: The Top 6 Traits of a Game-Changing Entrepreneur

Evernote

First up is Evernote. This is one of the most popular productivity and business apps.

Evernote is a note taking and organisation application that saves information via cloud. It is widely assessable and currently available on most platforms including iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.

Evernote’s beauty lies not on the surface, but really emerges when the application is used to its full potential. A lot of apps allow you to take and organise notes, copy information from websites, make to-do lists, read online content or send emails, but Evernote allows you to do all this and more!

Melbourne App Development

Evernote’s iPhone App. Source: iTunes

With its inbuilt search features and tags, Evernote makes it effortless to sort through 1000s of notes and acquire information or jog your memory on experiences or information you wrote years ago.

Evernote has a seemingly endless amount of features, so its purpose is really only limited by the user and their needs.

 

Free WiFi Finder

With business these days becoming more and more mobile there is a clear desire to be connected with your employees and customers round the clock. Working out at lunch or pitching a new proposal to clients or investors at a restaurant will almost certainly bring up the need to be connected to the internet.

As satellite internets can be a costly and annoying expense, the idea that an application can find all the free WiFi locations around me is pretty exciting. Most will probably require you to purchase a small product, coffee or cake etc but that is a small price to pay for the luxury of mobility at the tip of your fingers.

Free WiFi Finder is available in over 50 countries which makes travelling abroad no problem and with the information accessible offline, you won’t need to be connected to the net which is definitely a smart feature.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is the king of cloud storage applications. Dropbox’s elegance lies in its simplicity – dragging folders from your desktop into your dropbox file allows you to transfer your files easily across many devices, and also to your family or friends with its easy-to-use sharing functions.

Australian App Developers

Dropbox helps backups your important files with storage via a  cloud. Storage space ranges from 2GB on a free basic account to 1TB with a pro account. Furthermore, it has an option to increase the security of your files. Whether you’re using it for work or saving personal files, Dropbox will make sure they are secure. With its stunning User Interface and functionality, it’s hard to overlook Dropbox as one of the best cloud storage applications out there!

 

Pocket

Have you ever stumbled across a great article that you just don’t have the time to read? I for one have fallen victim to this many times.

If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time throughout the day, to sit there and read these articles and find yourself staying up at night trying to remember where you saw the articles, then Pocket is the mobile app for you!

App Development Australia

Pocket’s Android App. Source: Google Play

Pocket, originally called Read It Later, started off as an application to save articles. Overtime  it has grown to accommodate to videos and images. The app lets you bookmark and has extensions along with compatibility to a lot of other apps. It also has built-in saving functions you’d find in other apps such as Flipboard and Pulse.

Pocket also improves the reading experience by displaying content without the usual chaos of ads, sidebars, buttons and more. Pocket’s new User Experience design, along with its clear, uncluttered reading spaces, makes it my choice for read-it-later apps.

 

Streaks

This app essentially is a motivating tool to help create good habits. I love how Streaks rewards you for continuously completing the same task, which helps forms good habits. It has an beautiful UI and is incredibly simple to use.

Streaks limits you to tracking six tasks at any one time. This ranges from tasks like remembering to brush your teeth to tasks that you can create and personalise. Knowing that not all tasks need to be done everyday, you can roster ‘days off’. Here, you don’t have to complete the task and it won’t break your streak.

Uber

The last few years we have seen the emergence of one particularly disruptive app that has completely revitalised the transportation industry. Welcome to the era of Uber.

Uber has seen enormous growth since its start off in 2009 with an estimated value of $85 Billion in 2016. Why so much growth you might ask? The necessity of being mobile these days is imperative and with a lower-cost alternative service that Uber provides, why go anywhere else?

As previously noted, Uber’s worldwide growth has allowed ride costs and waiting times to steadily decline. Furthermore, the rating system ensures that driver quality is relatively consistent, leading to an improved service quality in comparison to traditional forms of transportation. Ultimately, Uber is an essential app for the on-the-go entrepreneur.

Using these apps, will help you be more organised with daily tasks. As result, you’ll get the competitive advantage you’re striving for. Whether you use all of these great tools or even a completely different set of apps to improve productivity, we’d love to hear about them!

Leave us a comment below on any productivity apps that we may have missed.

7 Onboarding Hacks to turn App Downloads into Active Users

App onboarding increases the likelihood of new users becoming loyal customers of your app. Why should you apply onboarding strategies for your mobile app? Simply put, if users don’t understand your app right away, there’s a good chance they’ll never open your app again. 

The onboarding process is designing the first impression a user has of your app. Doing it correctly increases the chance of successful user adoption. The onboarding procedure highlights the key benefits and features to reinforce your app’s value. An app’s retention rate increases by 50% with a strong on boarding process making this practice is essential to app success.

Onboarding allows your app to build strong relationships with engaged users. When done poorly or ignored entirely, you risk users not understanding your app through a negative experience that leads them to potentially abandon your app altogether.

So what exactly are the key aspects to a great onboarding experience? Read on to find out the 7 best app onboarding strategies that are guaranteed to keep your users satisfied, informed and coming back for more.

 

1. Highlight Your Value Proposition

A lot of startups and businesses make the mistake of trying to tell users everything they can about their app, rather than showing how their app offering can improve the user’s life.

People don’t care about features – they care about what they can do with those features. That’s why you should always lead with the value proposition of your app. As previously mentioned, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains the benefit your app provides for whom and how your app does this uniquely well.

Now I’m not saying that impressive functionality and innovative features aren’t important, but in the long term, showing your users what they can do with those features is what wins them over. Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, said it best:

Melbourne App Developers

 

2. Emphasize Core Features

While your app’s value proposition should always come first for onboarding, your target audience still need to understand the main functions of your app. Showcasing the key features of your app to users will help them follow through with desired actions by utilising highlighted key buttons and callouts.

Remember, don’t go throwing in the kitchen sink when onboarding. Instead, just stick to the core features that demonstrate the value your app provides. Those less-essential-but-really-cool features can always be showcased later with your second, third or fourth app promotion. These additional features can easily be introduced by apps using in-app messages.

App Development Australia

One Minute Closer focuses on the key features that users care about in onboarding.

 

3. Only Ask Users For What You Need

Many apps require messaging permissions or data access in order to provide the most valuable experience. By using permission requests, you can ask users to allow your app to access this data.

When particular data is critical for key app functions, be sure to prompt the user to provide data access. This does not mean you should bombard users with permission requests during the app onboarding process. Research shows that 60% of users have chosen not to install an app after finding out how much personal information the app requested.

The best way to avoid losing potential users is to only use essential permission requests initially. Clearly state why you are asking for access to only these areas of their smartphone and how that information is vital to them getting value from your app. Save ‘nice to have’ permissions for when the potential user is an engaged app consumer.

 

4. Make It Easy to Sign Up

The sign up process is a can often become a barrier to app adoption, so you need to make sure the signing up to your app is simple, fast and easy.

If possible, you should always give users the option to log in to your app with an existing social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter. Not only do social network options allow users to access your app in one or two clicks, but it also helps them to build trust with your app offering.

iPhone App Development

Apps that let users log in with Facebook, Google Plus or email. Source: Kiip

 

To optimise your app user onboarding process, test a variety of login options – do more users prefer to sign up with their email address or via social? Do users prefer to sign up with Facebook or Twitter? Could you get rid of a sign up route all together?

 

It is also important to experiment with timing. Some apps require users to sign in as soon as the app is launched, even before onboarding begins, while others have more success prompting users to sign up after the onboarding process.

 

5. Keep It Quick & Don’t Overwhelm Users

Stick to the basics when prioritising your app’s on boarding experience.  You don’t want to force users to swipe through countless screens before they even try your app!

Get your point access with app screenshots and illustrations rather than written explanations. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one feature explanation per screen to ensure that users don’t become overwhelmed. It is recommended to include progress indicators as part of your onboarding process.

 Wearable App Development

Progress indicators show how many onboarding screens users need to read through. Source: Life Pulse

 

Progress indicators are often presented as parallax images or small circle that provide the user with a sense of build-up and movement. These indicators help users understand if they are near the start, middle or end of your app’s introduction.

 

6. Avoid the Obvious

An efficient app onboarding experience gets to the point. Therefore, you need to trim off any redundant fat to keep the onboarding process as streamlined and quick as possible.

Stating the obvious is a waste of time. App users understand that a camera icon will launch their device’s camera function, while most users will know the type of icons associated with liking and sharing functions, just as long as they’re not too different from the norm.

If you’re not deviating too far from standard design principles, explaining an app’s navigational framework is largely unnecessary.

 

7. End With a Call-To-Action

To guide users towards the next step to take at the end of your app’s onboarding experience, consider integrating a direct call-to-action (CTA). Prompting users to get immediately involved with your app helps them get excited about the app and grow towards being engaged users.

Mobile Music Streaming Service Spotify implements an effective CTA technique. One look at Spotify’s homepage makes it pretty clear that their goal is to get users to subscribe for a paid premium account, while the CTA for the free sign up option is very much secondary.

App Development Melbourne

Spotify’s homepage features an effective call-to-action. Source: HubSpot

 

Not only does the headline give this away, but so too does the colouring of the CTA buttons. The ‘Go Premium’ CTA is coloured lime green so it pops off the page. In comparison, the ‘Play Free’ CTA is plain white to blend in with the rest of the page. This contrast is done to draw potential Spotify users to the premium CTA.

 

So the App Onboarding Process Is Over – What’s Next?

In most cases, users want be able to know ‘everything’ about your app within the onboarding process.

Therefore, it’s important to make resources available to users that allow them to continue learning about your app’s functionality after onboarding. Your most loyal and engaged users will seek out these informative materials, so make sure you have them ready!

What is the onboarding process for your app? How could the onboarding experience your app provides be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

5 Tips to Growth Hacking Your Personal Brand

First coined by entrepreneur Sean Ellis in 2010, a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth”. In this post, we outline five growth hacking tactics to help boost your personal brand and, in turn, expand the overall marketing strategy for your app startup.

A growth hacker differs from a conventional marketer in the sense that all of their efforts and strategies focus on lasting growth. The word hacker represents the fact that these tactics for growth are not mainstream or “by the book”. This does not mean they work outside the limitations of the law of course, but this approach to marketing is often unconventional and very creative, bypassing mainstream marketing techniques and promoting huge amounts of growth – often with little to no cost at all!

The term “personal brand” refers to the total experience others take from you. This includes the thoughts and ideas they have of you and how they recognise you as a person.

Having a good personal brand attached to an app startup and/or enterprise mobile app is a great way to promote consumer loyalty. For example, real estate tycoon Donald Trump uses his name extensively on his businesses and products (E.g. The Trump Organisation).

Growing your personal brand is a great way to set yourself apart and be unique. Setting aside some time and effort into growth hacking your personal brand will lead to much better results when implementing your overall marketing strategy over traditional marketing alone.

Social is a standard place to start when you’re talking personal branding and is my go-to place to promote growth. 

Mobile App Development

Traditional Marketer vs. Growth Hacker. Source: Inbound Marketing Agents

 

Social Media

Social media is more often a place where users or potential investors go to find out about you. So why not show them what you want them to see?

It’s important to be true to yourself on social networks while keeping the values and contentions of your brand in mind. Just as it’s essential to be relatable, you must also be professional and valuable. Make sure your profile photos show a unique, fun side of yourself, while still keeping them polished and professional.

Make use of the different social networks available. Find out which one your potential app users flock to and concentrate on those. If you’re an online marketer, try LinkedIn or Twitter. On the other hand, if you’re into retail you’d do better focusing your efforts on Facebook or Instagram. Regardless of your industry, first you must identify your target audience, find out where they “hang out” online and then focus your efforts on those social hubs.

Remember, if you’re trying to grow your personal brand as quickly as possible you want relevant followings from people within your industry, who can then share your valuable content, not your second aunt, twice removed.

Personal Brand

The benefits of a powerful Personal Brand. Source: Buffer

 

Identifying Your Strength

The first step is to find your strengths when creating content for your audience. Releasing content that you’re passionate about and well educated in is the quickest way to finding your niche. This will promote brand loyalty and a good volume of app downloads while identifying yourself as an industry expert. With consistent writing and insightful content on your social sites and blogs, you will soon propel yourself to becoming the to-go guy in your field of work!

Once the hard work is done and you have an interested group of strong followers, they will want to listen to more of what you have to say. This will give you the opportunity to start talking more openly on subjects that might interest yourself, further broadening your potential audience.

 

Stay a Student in Your Industry

Along with releasing consistent content to your audience, you must stay hungry and continue learning. Educating yourself in the latest news and information keeps you at the forefront of your industry. It’s not enough to simply learn new things, you must share what you learn to get the credibility as a professional in your field.

Learning doesn’t stop at content, finding new ways to present your information via social networks, videos or even webinars is a great way to keep relevant and continually grow your brand. Rachel Perkins, Associate Director of Social Media at Michigan University, insists “Personal branding doesn’t end once you get a job. You are constantly building your brand, especially as a student or young professional”.

 

Be Yourself

Many people believe that you have to portray your brand, speak or act a certain way to be successful. This can be painfully strenuous and tiresome as even the smallest falter in your brand’s image can have a tremendous effect on its reputation.

Instead, be real with your audience and just be yourself. People connect better to people and would prefer if they really believe they were communicating with a real person instead of a ‘fake’ persona.

Remember to tell a compelling story that includes your ups and downs in life. Remember back to when Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, got fired from his own company? He came back years later, smarter and more refined, eventually reforming Apple to become the powerhouse we know today. That’s a relatable story and did wonders for his personal brand. Everyone has their own unique story full of excitement and who’s better to tell that story than yourself?

iPhone App Development

The evolution (or lack thereof) of Steve Jobs’ personal brand. Source: Fast Company

 

Networking

Networking online and in person is mandatory to growing your personal brand. According to Lynne Sarikas from Northeastern University, “LinkedIn doesn’t replace networking—it makes it easier to find the right people with whom to network. While it can be a great enabler in the job search process, it does not replace the power of building relationships.” Sharing good content and creating a mass following is a great place to start your personal brand but definitely not the whole package.

Speaking to clients and professionals will help promote your brand and give you opportunities to talk at big events. Start small and always speak with confidence and vindication. This gives you the opportunity to voice ideas and share your knowledge. It’s also an amazing way to meet new people and promote networking growth.

Building your personal brand won’t be a achievable overnight, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. It’s one thing no one can take away from you and will be with you for the rest of your career. Needless to say, it requires consistent maintenance and tweaking but using as many of these growth hacks as you can will help skip a lot of time between being a nobody to someone that stands out as an industry leader.  

Are the any other Growth Hacks we should consider for Personal Branding? Let us know what works for you in the comments section below.

4 Steps to Skyrocket Your Mobile App Strategy

All great mobile apps start with a clear strategy that guides them towards success. If you have a game-changing idea for an app, this article will show you step by step how to define your mobile app strategy to ensure that your app is designed, developed and launched with maximum effectiveness.

So you have an innovative app idea that you believe will attract users and generate revenue. To do that, you need to create a mobile app strategy that puts your app concept on the right path towards startup success.

A clear mobile app strategy is a key ingredient to successful app startups that attract loyal user bases and generate ongoing revenue.

With many considerations to take into account, this may seem like a daunting task. But worry not, because this step-by-step guide will show you how to create the most effective mobile app strategy to give your innovative idea the execution it deserves.

 

Step 1 – Understand your key business objectives and the market you’re entering

Your key business objectives will drive the overall strategy for your mobile app. In order to gather the essential information required for the best possible mobile app strategy, you need to understand and note where your startup is, the app store marketplace it will operate in and the user personas of your target audience.

The significance of this initial stage in the overall mobile app strategy cannot be underestimated. The business goals you want to achieve with your app are the foundational base to startup success.

To best understand the objectives you want to reach with your overall strategy, these are the main areas you need to focus on (starting from the highest priority):

 

  • Key Performance Indicators & Targets

Don’t think just mobile app – think big about your mobile app startup company! What exactly does your startup want to achieve in the next five years?

You should understand your company’s yearly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), how it will generate revenue when launched and through what channels. What’s your revenue target for the first year? For example, your revenue target may be a 50% Return on Investment generated via a freemium monetisation model.

This ensures that the mobile app strategy you create is aligned with your startup company’s KPIs and targets as a complementary tool. In short, you want to define what ‘success’ means for your mobile app through measurable desired results.

 

  • Target Audience – Mobile as a touch point

Mobile is not a channel. It is a touch point where users can quickly interact with apps in a convenient and seamless manner. This is how your potential users think when interacting with their smartphones and, therefore, how your startup should think.

The best way to provide a valuable touch point to your app’s target audience is by understanding how users will actually interact with your app. Once you know that, you can capture the sweet spot where your mobile app will provide the maximum amount of value for both existing and potential users.

So when you’re creating your overall strategy you must understand how the touch points on your mobile app can satisfy user needs. Mobile is an enabler for your app to help users get the value they want as efficiently, smoothly and quickly as possible.

 

  • Competitor Analysis & SWOT Analysis

Analysing what your competitors do will more than likely reveal a shared set of best practices that will make it to your features list. However, you will also inadvertently discover things that competing apps do poorly or don’t do at all. Note these as a competitive advantage to gain a superior market position.

This competitor analysis activity was essential to the success of the world’s biggest disruptive app startups – they studied their market, identified something that competitors were missing but consumers really needed, and then built their successful app startup from there.

The last step before you start defining your mobile app strategy is the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The SWOT analytical framework helps you discover and overcome the biggest problems your app startup would face, while also raising awareness to external threats and opportunities that can influence your potential market position.

The main benefit of a SWOT analysis is that it makes you self-aware of all the internal and external factors that could impact not only on your whole mobile strategy, but ultimately the success of your app startup.

 

Step 2 – Define your Mobile App Strategy

After you have clarified your business objectives and the market you’re entering, you are now in an ideal position to think about your overall Mobile App Strategy. A high-level strategy will include user stories for your mobile app, the resources needed for product execution and the technology stack required for a successful app startup launch.

 

  • Start building the Mobile App Roadmap

What is your vision for what the mobile app should be in order to be a success? Your entire mobile app strategy will hinge on getting this right. Consider this is a two-fold question:

  1. What’s the idea?
  2. How will the mobile user benefit from the idea?

Once you have your overall app idea clearly identified, you need to plan all the components that need to be implemented in order to execute your mobile app strategy. At Launchpad App Development, we refer to this as the roadmap.

A roadmap provides a visual representation of all the work our strategists, designers and developers will do to create an app that delivers real value.

Melbourne App Developers

Sample Mobile Application Project Roadmap. Source: ProductPlan

A roadmap provides a visual timeline for our team and our clients to communicate project milestones that align the business objectives with an app concept’s set product deliverables.

Considering how a roadmap simply represents X amount of time for any given deliverable, it may periodically change if there is a shift in priorities or because a project task has taken longer than initially anticipated. However, for a professional app development agency, you should expect 80% of the roadmap to more or less remain the same throughout the app development process.

 

  • Determine the Technical Feasibility

When we run Rocketfuel Workshops with our clients to help them build best-in-class apps, it’s at this stage where we do a technical review of the app’s functionality to plan the optimum technical implementation method. We do this to ensure that the underlying technology of the mobile application is aligned with the client’s defined business goals.

We refer to the technical aspects that need to be established as ‘non-functional requirements’. You may not consider these requirements when you’re using mobile apps, but they are critical to an app’s success in the market.

The bottom line is that you need to have the foresight to make informed business decisions with technical certainty. Establishing this internal alignment will ensure that your app will not only look and feel great to use, but also perform seamlessly when launched.

 

  • Choose Agile Development as a core component of your Strategy

The main reason to apply agile development methods is because app requirements and business needs ultimately evolve over time based on user feedback, industry shifts and other insights.

Because these needs and requirements change constantly, the best way to develop your mobile app is with an iterative approach: adaptive planning, innovative development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement to produce what your app’s target audience wants.

At Launchpad, we apply a powerful agile framework so that our developers can use their extensive coding experience to deliver iterations as often as possible, while being adaptive and flexible to change.

Again and again, the agile development framework has proven to be significantly more productive and efficient than any other development methodology. Providing a target audience with easy solutions to their problems and adapting to their regularly changing needs should be a key element to your mobile app strategy and entrepreneurial mindset.

 

Step 3 – Determine your App’s Product Strategy

  • Create your Product Strategy by defining clear user stories

You know what the end goal is and who your users are. So what would it take to deliver on your app idea? Now that you’ve documented everything you can think of to make the final mobile app, you need to outline the specific user stories you want your app to excel at.

The number one secret I can provide here is to focus on one or two main user stories. Rather than overwhelm the user, focus on doing a couple of user stories really well.

This is the secret behind most successful apps. For instance, I use Uber when I want a quick ride, Instagram to share photos and Shazam to identify a song. That’s what makes these apps great – when I want or need something, I go to them.

If you nail down primary and secondary uses of your app in a way that the customer’s mindset is to always open your app to accomplish a task, you’re setting yourself up for success.

 

  • Define your target audience – who will use your app and why?

Knowing the types of users that you should build your app for will help you more accurately determine the most valuable functions and features required. This is where user persona modelling comes into play. Personas are an effective tool to create the right product for the app’s intended target market. This helps you understand the motivation of your app’s target users and, in turn, define the product features that satisfy the market.

This exercise is essential to defining requirements and creating user experiences that cater to as many user types as possible and, in turn, increasing the user adoption and long-term viability of your app. It also leads you towards the right mindset of building the app for your most common denominator. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to design your app for 80% of all its potential user types.

Melbourne App Development

An example User Persona, including the intended user’s bio, goals, motivations and personality. Source: Xtensio

 

  • Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

All app entrepreneurs should clearly outline not only the strategy for measuring the effectiveness of their app, but also set specific periodic targets to make sure what is achieved matches their original targets.

The metrics you should track to clearly measure the effectiveness of your mobile app strategy are as follows:

  • Startup/Business Metrics – Revenue, Market Share, and Increase Customer Satisfaction (NPS Score).
  • App Metrics – New Users, Active News, App Rating and Retention Rate.

Tracking insightful data has never been easier with so many tools now readily available. The secret is knowing what to track and doing it well from the beginning.

 

Step 4 – Assemble your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Finally, you’ll need to know how to implement your strategy. You need to define the MVP and processes that the developers need to deliver the project on budget and on time.

 

  • Define your Minimum Viable Product 

Depending on the complexity of your app concept, you may have identified more than 100 potential features that can be included. The next step is to take all of these features and rank them very simply as ‘must’, ‘should’ or ‘nice’ to have features.

With the features you have ranked as ‘must haves’ for the initial launch, you are now left with your MVP. This is the leanest version of your app with only the most valuable features that address the problem the product solves and demonstrates the core value of your app offering.

As previously mentioned in our ‘3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea’ post, the MVP is not the same as the best app offering. Your app is not yet at the ‘sweet spot’ where the maximum number of users are satisfied by the minimum number of features.

Mobile App Development

The minimum viable product has fewer features than an app at the sweet spot.

The MVP is a much earlier iteration than this ‘sweet spot’. It’s the leanest app you can launch to attract users while providing additional time to start developing non-MVP features.

These non-MVP features can be based on your prioritised list of ‘should have’ and ‘nice to have’ features for future updates, as well as insightful data you have gathered from users that have interacted with your MVP app.

 

Key Takeaways

There’s a lot to be said about developing a successful app. It gives our team a great sense of empowerment and creates real value for clients and their app users.

A strategy for developing a mobile app is simple: think big, act small, launch, test and improve. However,  an effective mobile app strategy requires thought, flexibility and an alignment across your business objectives and app goals.

By following this guide, you will be well positioned to successfully build, launch and manage your app.

Are there any resources you would recommend for an effective mobile app strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Top 6 Traits of Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

No two people are identical, just like no great tennis or basketball champions are ever the same. What they do have in common are certain characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

It’s these certain skills and traits that allow them to surpass the average sportsperson and become the best. It may be amazing hand-eye coordination or incredible athleticism, both of which are vital to be a great sportsperson. I believe the same can be said for entrepreneurs. The art of being an entrepreneur might not involve skills as tangible as athleticism, but there are consistent characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs must possess. Below are the 6 skills and traits that separate the entrepreneurial greats from the rest.

 

1. Invest in self

The most lucrative investment one can make, financially or otherwise, is investing in their ability and knowledge. Many of the great entrepreneurs of our time stress that success in business is not based on academic credentials, but instead achievement through self-education. Entrepreneurs often define it more broadly as a burning desire to continuously better themselves and always being proactive in improving their skills and knowledge.

All great entrepreneurs invest time in reading, learning and mastering their skills in their field of work. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin said “I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new”. They realise that every piece of information learnt is an opportunity, and passing it up may just give the competition the edge they need to get in front.

Melbourne App Developers

Continually educating yourself by reading books, online blogs (like this one), academic articles and, most importantly, learning from other successful people will keep you ahead of the game. Remember, YOU are the most important asset of your business.

 

2. Self confidence

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Most entrepreneurs agree that at the start of a venture no one will see your dreams and ideas as you will. Yet they ignore the naysayers and have confidence in what they truly believe they can achieve. No one will sit behind you telling you what your vision will look like and how you should strive to achieve greatness except for yourself.

Mobile App Development

Source: Forbes

 

3. Time Management

The ability to manage your time is essential for any entrepreneur. This is especially true in small businesses or startup ventures. It’s about managing your time to create space where you might not have originally thought possible.

A common problem that all entrepreneurs face is not having enough time. People assume that everything has to be done by themselves, when in reality, there won’t be enough time to do so. Especially in the early days when you may be trying to juggle a full time job, family and other commitments.

“Entrepreneurs understand that one person cannot do everything themselves.”

Being able to delegate tasks to others, when you may not have the time or the skill set to do is also a main component in time management. A good entrepreneur realises that they will not be the best at everything. Being able to identify strong points in others and delegating them tasks where they might be more efficient than you will free up time to be able to focus on other important tasks.

 

4. Salesmanship

Your ideas are only as good as your pitch. You have to sell your concept and ideas whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or negotiating business direction with business partners or other stakeholders. It’s no good having the answer to one of the world’s problems if you can’t sell your solution to the people you need to win over to make it happen. You also have to create a need for the customers to buy your product/service and it has to show a clear solution to a problem they pose.

Not only do entrepreneurs have to create the sale they also have to be able to keep everyone happy. Research shows that for most businesses, revenue comes from about 80% of recurring customers and only 20% from newcomers. This is certainly true for mobile apps.

The apps that generate the highest revenue are free to download and the revenue often comes from small subscription fees, in-app purchases or ads designed to continue users to spend. This is why customer satisfaction is the highest priority in business because in the end, it’s the customers that dictate whether you succeed or fail.

 

5. Perseverance

A good entrepreneur sees their vision with crystal clarity and never lets failure or naysayers get in the way. Failing is a part of life and most definitely a part of business. You may learn some of your greatest lessons by failing and as long as you have the perseverance to keep going each failure will become a stepping stone closer to success.

Business is a long distance marathon, not a sprint. If you have ever had the chance to speak with someone who participates in long distance running they will tell you that it’s your mind that will try and give out on you first, not your legs. The same can be said when it comes to entrepreneurship.

 

6. Inner Drive

Entrepreneurs possess a passion for success beyond that of the average person. Whether they had a tough childhood, coming from a household where money was a rare commodity or they were given all the tools from a young age to do well in life. Entrepreneurs have a deep inner drive that pushes them past the expectations of that of an average person.

No one can tell you to dig deeper and push harder then the next guy. Well, they can, but probably to no avail. It’s the true passion for their work or the crazy idea that they can change the world and make a difference that is the driving force that keeps an entrepreneur’s inner fire burning. Consistently striving to better themselves and their businesses.

One day you’ll look back on your life and ask yourself these questions: What did I contribute to society? How has my existence affected the people I co-inhabited this earth with? Will the mark I leave behind hinder or improve the world for generations to come? True entrepreneurs are answering these questions at work everyday.

So do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? If all these points resonate with you then I you are already on your way to entrepreneurial success! If not, there’s still time! You’re reading this blog because you want more from yourself.  Above all else, it is your inner drive that truly defines your success.

 

12 Effective Channels for Marketing Your Mobile App

An effective app marketing strategy requires a blend of traditional and new channels to attract users and generate revenue. In this post, we share the 12 best marketing channels to optimise your app’s user acquisition and retention strategies.

In 2008, the Apple App Store was launched with only 500 apps. With the App Store came a new marketplace to create mobile experiences that transcended entrepreneurship, industry and international distribution boundaries.

In the eight years since then, the pursuit of app store supremacy has led businesses and entrepreneurs towards a variety of mobile app marketing and distribution channels that continue to be shaken up by the latest technological innovations and social trends.

Related: The Biggest Mobile App Trends You Can Expect In 2017

In my role as a Product Manager since 2012, I’ve seen mobile app marketing change a lot, but one thing has remained constant all these years: To the victor go the spoils.

Taking advantage of the marketing channels available to you is the key to increasing the performance, popularity and profitability of your mobile app. To help your app thrive in the evolving business of mobile marketing, these are the 12 most effective marketing channels to use when launching a new mobile app.

 

1. App Store Optimisation

App Store Optimisation (ASO) is the process of increasing a mobile app’s ranking in an app store’s search results. The purpose of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page on the App Store or Google Play, so browsers can discover and download your app.

With 63% of apps being discovered through app store searches, you need to be well versed in the various elements that influence an app’s ranking, including the use of keywords and a high-converting sequence of screenshots.

However, there is more to ASO than just the content on your app’s landing page. To maximise your conversion rates for the lowest user acquisition cost possible, you should also be measuring the page ratings and reviews your app receives from consumers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to App Store Optimisation

 

2. Ratings & Reviews

At the core of mobile app marketing are the app store ratings and reviews provided by potential customers that directly influence your app’s assurance of quality. As Zomato reviews can make or break a local restaurant, a slight change in your app’s rating can have a dramatic effect on it’s app store ranking and, in turn, the downloads and revenue it generates.

A 2015 Consumer Survey on App Store ratings found that increasing the average rating of your app by just one star (E.g. from a 3.0 to a 4.0) can nearly double your expected downloads. Reviews are just as vital with approximately one-third of browsers reading at least seven reviews before purchasing a paid app.

App Developers Australia

In a survey of 350 smartphone users in the US, approximately 60% of respondents said that they check ratings before downloading an app.

 

3. Engaging Content

If ratings and reviews are at the core of app marketing, in-app content is the key ingredient to the growth and sustainability of your app. This channel is one of the few listed here that affects every tier in an app’s growth funnel.

Benefiting user acquisition and retention in particular, engaging content is essential to your app’s long-term viability. With 60% of mobile customers getting bored with an app after using it for a month, it’s vital that you offer something original and fresh every time they open your app.

Related: 7 Onboarding Strategies to Increase Your App’s Retention Rate by 50%

Furthermore, new content via frequent app updates plays a crucial role in user acquisition. Recent updates communicate quality assurance and continued developer maintenance to your customers, while trends over time (E.g. An increased app rating following a content update) directly influence an app’s boost in store ranks.

 

4. Paid Advertising

Similar to search engine marketing (E.g. Pay-Per-Click advertising via Google Adwords), paid advertising of your mobile app is a way to quickly reach a targeted audience and secure app downloads.

There is a variety marketing channels available for paid app marketing, from the app stores, to social media and even within other apps. While this marketing strategy is commonplace in digital marketing, incentivised Cost Per Install (CPI) and retargeting is still unique in the app marketplace.

Incentivised CPI relies more so on the strategic partnership between two apps rather than the app stores as an intermediary. In this shared monetisation model, one app ‘incentivises’ users to download the other publisher’s app (E.g. A mobile game may offer in-app currency if the user downloads a specified app). In return, the publisher who receives the download pays a small commission to the referring publisher.

App retargeting is a strategy to increase user retention by targeting your ads towards users who have already downloaded these apps. These ads provide a non-intrusive method to alerting current users of newly available updates and features, or simply reminding fleeting users of your app offering.

 

5. Loyalty Programs

The purpose of an app loyalty program is to convert casual users into highly active and profitable advocates. In the app marketplace, these programs are often implemented as:

  • Reward systems – E.g. A discount offer on a customer’s next purchase following a recent transaction.
  • Gaming achievements – E.g. Unlocking a new level after sharing your gameplay on Facebook.
  • A mix of mobile and traditional marketing channels where customers can earn loyalty rewards to obtain in-app incentives.

In 2015, coffee chain Starbucks saw a 7% jump in global store sales thanks in part to the My Starbucks Rewards program. Starbucks CEO and mobile loyalty innovator Howard Schultz said the growth of the company’s loyalty program “continues to be our most important business driver as new members contribute not only short-term increases in revenue and profit, but also to long-term loyalty for years to come.”

 Mobile App Development Melbourne

The My Starbucks Rewards program gives customers free drink or food rewards based on the number of stars earned. There are three levels —welcome, green and gold—with increasingly greater rewards.

 

6. Usability & Visual Design

A continuous collaborative effort between an app’s designers, developers and marketers, this channel is all about the interaction between your app and it’s users. As we covered in a previous post, providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is essential to a business’s long-term success. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.

This marketing channel is particularly important for user retention. A Search Engine Watch survey found that 71% of users delete apps after they crash. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Appiterate found that:

  • 71% of users will delete apps after they crash.
  • 42% of people uninstall an app due to a bad user interface.
  • 68% of users delete an app because of a poorly designed registration process.

To alleviate these threats to user retention, an understanding of both design principles and user behaviour is integral to an app’s market sustainability. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

 

7. Personalised Messaging

App personalisation, the ability to automate a unique experience for every user based on their preferences and behaviour, is the ultimate goal for app marketers. The logic here is simple: personalised experiences = better experiences = valuable and loyal users.

Personailised messaging is a form of one-to-one marketing where we can integrate everything we know about a user’s likes and dislikes into the mobile app experience. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshop, we user persona models and user stories to design a product strategy that drives customer adoption and retention.

Do you know the birthdays of your app users? Send them personalised messages with in-app incentives via push notifications.

As push messages become one of the primary entry points for users interacting with an app, being able to seamlessly transition from a text message to a relevant, personalised page provides a tailored in-app experience for each individual end user.

 

8. Word of Mouth

Having already touched on two methods of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing in previous listed channels – app store ratings and reviews, and reward program incentives – we’ll add another to the list: Making your app easy to share.

To do so, build in social sharing functionality (E.g. ‘Share to Facebook’) and social integration (E.g. The ability to access a device’s address book to send an automated SMS message with an app store link) to your app offering. Ultimately, however, referrals come down to creating an app that users not only love, but also love to talk about.

 

9. Social Media

Social media is an essential marketing channel to facilitate two-way communicating between you and your app users. The social media platforms available for app marketing allow for varying degrees of discoverability. This is influenced by how much the user experience or app product favours recency or permanence, which can be visualised by the following Social Longevity Spectrum.

iPhone App Development Melbourne

Social Longevity Spectrum. Source: Honigman Media

Where platforms like Twitter and Instagram place much more of an emphasis on being up to the minute, content posted on Pinterest and Google+ have more potential to be discovered long after they have been shared.

You can promote your app on any of these social media platforms in the same way you would a website or business with one important exception: mobile-specified paid promotion. Facebook’s App Install Ads, Twitter’s App Cards and Pinterest’s App Pins are all geared towards mobile advertising. If your budget allows, these paid promotion channels provide are a great way to reach your target audience.

 

10. Blogs & Multimedia

When it comes to marketing your app, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to position yourself as an industry expert and spread the word about your app. Adding a blogging strategy to your marketing mix will allow you to reach new audiences and boost organic traffic through search engine optimisation.

Another highly recommended medium for app marketing is video. A well-produced promotional video or app demo will help to communicate the value of your app and it’s unique features using basic audio and animations.  It will convert visitors of your app’s website and social media pages into users by visually showcasing the app and letting viewers make a buying decision in seconds.

 

11. Internet Forums & Social Bookmarking

We commented earlier on the effectiveness of social media advertising to get your app in front of a specified target audience. Internet forums and virtual communities are just as effective for the very same reason. As a no-cost alternative to paid advertising, online forums allow you to communicate directly with your target market.

Whether you’re creating a social network app or the next mobile gaming sensation, there’s bound to be a community out there full of potential app users.

Just be sure to follow the community’s code of conduct or recognised rules to avoid having your marketing efforts appear spammy or overly promotional, both of which may do more harm than good for your app.

 

12. Press and Influencer Outreach

To ‘go viral’ means that your online content resonates so much that it ends up being the latest big thing across the Internet. It is when your content gets liked, commented, retweeted, and talked about from the streets of Melbourne to Silicon Valley.

When it comes to apps, look no further than ride-sharing juggernaut Uber for an example of top-notch viral marketing. The enormously popular #UberIceCream PR campaign is where the company uses its fleet of cars to provide an on-demand ice cream delivery service in major metropolitan areas across 57 countries. The campaign led to coverage by major media outlets around the world and a frenzy of social media activity.

 Melbourne App Developers

The Uber-effective #UberIceCream campaign.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have Uber’s resources, but that doesn’t mean you can’t generate buzz for your app. To influentially announce yourself and grab the attention of potential users, take a grassroots approach to going viral. Reach out to your connections, key influencers, bloggers, and social media personalities in your app’s category to leverage their personal brands to promote your app.

When it comes to app press, there’s no bigger channel for distribution than being featured by Apple or Google in the respective app stores. Both companies frequently review apps and prominently display their top endorsements in their app stores—a feat that instantly and dramatically drives downloads for these lucky apps. Apple and Google want to show off what app entrepreneurs can do with their operating systems, so to improve your app’s chances of being featured, focus on the app’s design, usability and performance.

 

Before marketing your app…

And there you have it—the 12 best app marketing channels to help you drive market awareness and user adoption of your app towards a superior and sustainable market position

With the right research methodologies and strategies to map every step in the user’s journey, mobile app marketing should be seen as something all businesses and entrepreneurs can get behind: A measurable, results-driven extension to the traditional ways of promoting a product or service.

What other marketing channels should we consider for promoting an app? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you’re ready to launch a successful app startup, get in touch for a free 1-hour discovery session with one of our App Experts to help you take the next step with your app.

 

Australian App Developers

 

The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

What are the shared traits of apps like Uber and Airbnb that help them become impactful multinational companies? The answer can vary depending on industry and business model. In this post we share the four most common characteristics of successful app startups.

Not since the dot-com days of the late 90s has there been such a prevalence of tech startups. The rise of mobile technology and innovations such as cloud computing has spurred this latest round of tech entrepreneurship.

As the mobile revolution becomes mainstream, new business opportunities are being presented. At Launchpad App Development, we help entrepreneurs and emerging businesses realise these opportunities through iPhone, Android and Web App Development.

Here are the important qualities to achieving app startup success in the evolving mobile marketplace.

They are disruptive

One of the defining characteristics of successful app startups is Disruption. A disruptive app challenges the status of an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. – to such an extent that the traditional way of doing business becomes practically obsolete.

That’s easier said than done, and a lot more difficult than creating an app that follows consumer demand and market trends. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

So is a disruptive app created?

Clayton Christensen – who introduced the disruptive innovation theory in the Harvard Business Review – notes that disruptive innovation often starts from the low-end market foothold.

Consider an industry where companies try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services. In such an industry, these companies are paying less attention to less-demanding customers. This opens the door to disruptive apps to provide these low-end customers with a Minimum Viable Product.

Example – Uber

The taxi industry is tightly regulated and the drivers face strict obligations. In most cities, drivers need a special operator’s license in order to act as a taxi. Furthermore, there are restrictions to what cars they can legally drive.

In comparison to traditional taxis, Uber started in the low-end market by allowing anyone with a car to drive other people around for money. No special certification or knowledge was required.

As Uber’s network grew in each city, ride costs and waiting times declined and the rating system ensured that the driver quality was relatively consistent. With this improved service quality, Uber was able to move upstream to attack taxis directly – a classic disruptive move.

Uber Most Valuable Startup

Now worth $85 billion AUD, Uber is the World’s most valuable startup. Source: Statista

They have a well-defined Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits your app provides and how it does it uniquely well. It describes your target users, the problem your app solves, and why it’s distinctly better than the alternatives.

A significant part of defining a value proposition involves what Forbes writer Michael Skok calls the 4Us:

  • Unworkable: Does your app solve a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction?
  • Unavoidable:  Is it driven by a fundamental requirement for accountability or compliance?
  • Urgent: Is it one of the top few priorities in the marketplace that your startup is entering?
  • Underserved: Is there a noticeable lack of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right path toward a compelling value proposition.

Example – Evernote

Evernote’s value proposition is to “help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. From saving ideas and thoughts to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s distinct app offering makes it easy for users to stay productive and organised.

With a well-defined value proposition, you know that your target market is primed for the solution that your app provides.

They start with a small market

When it comes to successful app startups, there’s been a lot of talk about the huge market that’s readily available through the ever-evolving mobile platform.

While it’s true that a startup must eventually reach a large market to transform into a large company, it’s actually best to identify a narrow market segment to begin with.

As we covered in a previous post, starting with a small market helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in an insightful manner, while also underlining any issues that need to be rectified more quickly.

“Begin with a really small market, take over said market, and then expand that market in concentric circles.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder and early Facebook Investor.

 

Thiel advises in his lecture , “the greatest mistake you can make as a new startup is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories properly. And you’re going to be dealing with too much competition in one way or another.”

If you want to turn your app startup into a successful company, you should first capture targeted small markets and then help that market grow over time.

They provide an outstanding User Experience

By definition, a startup is a new company. They can’t be dependent on brand loyalty built over years or decades like their big, entrenched competitors can.

This is why providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to the business’s long-term success.

So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Easy flow and navigation – Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to be part of the app, it’s essential that you make it easy for the user to navigate from screen to screen, or from one feature to another. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
  • Understand your customer What is the profile of your typical customer (E.g. Age group, gender, their behaviour with technology, etc.)? The navigational features (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes) will differ from a 5 year old compared a 55-year-old mobile user.
  • Utilise the platform – Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, up or down) can bring a new screen and remove another, while a pinch can zoom into content or move out of the current screen as well. Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, platform-specified gestures should be offered to provide an intuitive navigation experience.

App User Experience

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: Business 2 Community

The User Experience your app offers should be an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether your app idea will grow into a successful startup depends on a variety of factors. They have common characteristics that can be identified.

Successful app startups are disruptive, have a well-defined value proposition, start with a small market and provide an amazing user experience. Making sure that your app concept has these four traits will set you on the right path to achieving startup success.

What additional characteristics do you believe lead to app startup success? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Blueprint to Designing Your App Icon

As the visual anchor for your app, you need to nail the icon design at the beginning. In this post, we discuss the best practices to creating a memorable and unique icon that entices app store browsers to download your app.

Uber may only be 6 years old, but that didn’t stop the $85 billion company from recently rolling out a redesign for its entire brand. In doing so, Uber completely changed its highly recognisable monochrome U-shaped icon into something that looks like:

a) A backwards ‘C’

b) An evil Pac-Man

c) It’s forever updating

d) All of the above

So what was Uber’s rationale for the new icon design?

The square is meant to represent the bit — a nod to Uber’s technology. The colours and patterns being introduced to the branding represent the atom — the people and things that Uber transports and the places where it operates.” 

Travis Kalanik, CEO of Uber

That sounds kind of cool and interesting, but Uber’s previous icon had imprinted itself in the minds of budget-conscious travellers everywhere. So why would the transport unicorn completely drop its familiar ‘U’ for a non-distinct shape?

Armin Vit opines for Brand New: “Let’s assume that it’s a matter of being used to poking an app icon for the last six years and that we just need to get used to poking at this new one. Even then, it seems like this is an icon for something else altogether.”

Uber App Icon

Uber’s new icon eating it’s way through the transportation industry.

An app icon is the one, singular piece of graphic design that users will interact with first each time they see your product. A great app icon becomes synonymous with what the app enables users to do and how it makes them feel.

So you’ve validated your app concept and now need to design an identifiable and unique app icon. But what exactly makes a great app icon?

We’ve put together an essential guide to designing an app icon that screams ‘Install ME!’… Without the unnecessary redesign 6 years later.

Scalability – Big or Small, the Icon Needs to Look Good

Your icon is going to be shown on a variety of screens, and in a variety of sizes, so it’s important your creation maintains legibility. It needs to look good on the App Store, on Retina devices and even as a favicon for the app’s promotional website.

One Minute Closer App Icon

An app icon needs to work at multiple resolutions retaining the legibility of the concept across the range of sizes. Source: One Minute Closer

When designing your app icon, consider the following scaling tips from App Icon Template:

  • Design and test the icon in multiple contexts and sizes.
  • Think simple and focus on a single shape or element.
  • Your icon should retain its recognisability when scaled.

As for software applications that let you design with this scalability, we recommend the use of Adobe Photoshop. If this is your first attempt at creating an icon, working with a free Photoshop template from AppIconTemplate.com is probably the best approach.

Simplicity – Clearly Convey What Your App Does

You have a confined 57×57 pixel space for your app icon. This is the first thing that browsers see when searching on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Do these potential users a favour by having your icon clearly convey what your app does.

You can’t always rely on users tapping your app to view it’s optimised screenshots on the preview page. Your icon should stand on it’s own.

App Analytics company App Annie provide the following rules of thumb to keeping your icon simple:

  • The most effective icons have a simple design and clear message.
  • Make sure the icon represents the core brand values of your app. This could be the app’s primary function, such as Gmail’s use of a letter or a gaming app using the main character.
  • The colours used in the icon should pop while still reflecting the in-app colour scheme.

Applying these rules of thumb will greatly assist in highlighting your app’s unique selling point.

Uniqueness – Stand Out in the Crowd

Let’s consider a user who downloads your app, closes their iPhone and then opens their menu screen later on. On a smartphone that’s already filled with apps, what is it about yours that is going to grab the user’s attention and stand out from the crowd? It’s an app icon that’s instantly recognisable and unique.

App Store Productivity Apps

It seems that uniqueness doesn’t enter the design process for Productivity apps. Source: idApostle

When attempting to create a unique icon, focus on a shape or object that stands out. Consider Snapchat’s ghost. The icon both sticks out and highlights the app’s unique selling point of ‘poof-it’s gone’ snaps.

Also consider choosing colours that contrast and pop, as this is often an overlooked way of positioning an app. Spotify does this well by pairing green with a starkly contrasting black. When a user browses the App Store for a music streaming service, these colour choices are what help Spotify stand out from competing apps.

Avoid Text – The App’s Name Often Accompanies the Icon

Words and images are separate representational tools. Combining them in what is supposed to be a visual representation often leads to a cluttered and unfocused experience that is difficult to decode. As such, you should avoid using copy or text in your app icon.

‘But this blog started with a Kanye-like rant about how Uber’s rebranding from a ‘U’ text icon to an unrecognisable shape was a mistake’, I hear you say.

Well first of all, I think we can all agree that this blog’s introduction made more sense than any rambling tweet from Kanye West.

Secondly, if you’re using a singe letter and validate it as a suitable fit, then the letter avoids being ‘wordy’ and becomes iconic by itself. However, this is more often the exception than the rule.

Your app’s name will be written next to the icon on the app stores and smartphone menu screens. Therefore, using text – especially if it’s your app’s name – is redundant.

Before designing your app icon…

An app’s icon is highly influential for standing out on the app store and engaging potential users with your product. Make sure that it’s scalable, simple, unique and visually conveys the app’s core value.

Along with the product strategy you plan to implement, nailing the icon design will put you on the right path towards a successful launch into the market.

Do you have any tools and tips for designing an app icon? We’d love to hear about them.