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Marketing Your Mobile App, Pre-Launch Stage

The awareness stage of a mobile app marketing strategy occurs before the product is launched. This stage is meant for building brand awareness and product visibility. Specifically, how will your target users discover your mobile app? Before beginning with the awareness stage, it is important to already have a thorough understanding of your brand messaging and positioning. A brand resonates with customers through its values and purpose, not through individual product features. Defining a brand position gives users the chance to connect with your product on a deeper level. Below is a list of steps and strategies to follow during the awareness stage of your marketing plan.

° Determine A Release Date
Compared to Google, Apple has a strict review process that may delay your release, or you may encounter a setback you didn’t anticipate. Planning far in advance will give you adequate time to prepare for your product’s hard launch and allows you to foresee and contingencies that may occur.

Pro Tip: When scheduling your launch date, pay attention to events that are going on in your space that have the potential to overshadow your app launch.

° Conduct Market Research To Understand Your Customers
One of the most common pre-launch mistakes is not doing market research properly. Before you begin any development work, you need to identify the key players in your specific app category. It doesn’t matter how thorough your marketing efforts are – if your app doesn’t address a user pain-point or addresses a pain-point that already has a thriving app solution in the market, then your product will simply not succeed. App Annie provides a substantial amount of useful app market data.

Pro Tip: Identify and research the most influential blogs, groups, forums, and websites your target audience visits, as well as any influencers they follow on social media. These channels will help you reach and acquire users.

° Create User Personas
A core objective throughout the awareness stage is discovering who your target user is, what they value, and the central pain point they experience that your product will address. There can be multiple user groups for a mobile app and each user persona will have its unique user journey.

A user persona is a partially fictitious depiction of your ideal user. User personas include everything about a user’s demographics, background, mobile preferences, interests, and unique identifiers. User personas also address the central goals of the user and the challenges they currently face. In-depth user personas create the foundation for user journey design and help you customize every aspect of your mobile product to each of your users’ preferences and needs. Everything from branding and in-app content to functionality, features, platform choice and monetization strategy need to resonate with your target user. By thoroughly outlining your target audience with user personas, you’ll answer essential questions that will guide your entire marketing strategy. For example:

• What is the central pain point this audience collectively experiences?
• What mobile operating system does this audience use? iOS or Android?
• What types of content does this audience engage with online?
• What tone, voice and content style resonates well with this audience?
• Are there any visual branding patterns that surface amongst this audience’s online activity?
• Do these users follow any reputable influencers in this product’s vertical on social media?
• What platforms are best to leverage for paid advertising?
• Are these users known to pay for apps or make in-app purchases?

Using personas to answer questions like these will help you coordinate design, business, and marketing decisions to attract the right audience to your product. If you haven’t properly researched your audience, you won’t be able to deliver a product that is relevant to their needs?

° Conduct A Competitive Analysis
Your app will have competition. Make a list of your top 5 competitors, their current price, monetization model, app store ranking, user experience (UX) pros and cons, and notable reviews. You could even go so far as to make a competitive matrix to determine how your app compares. Make sure your app doesn’t repeat any poorly made features or UX elements that users have negatively reviewed. Think about what would make your app stand out in contrast to your competitors. These are important considerations that should influence your entire app marketing approach.

° Create A Website, Or Landing Page
Mobile websites are the number one source of app installs. Creating a pre-launch landing page or at the very least a teaser video for your product has become standard practice. Once you have a video for your website, you can recycle the content by putting it in the app stores, on social platforms, or even use it in paid ads. In addition to building a hype around your app, having a pre-launch website is also a great way to do some early search engine optimization (SEO) by starting to build your domain authority. When you set up your website, collect emails so you can keep your followers updated and let them know when your mobile app launches, and when you have new updates and features. It is also beneficial to showcase 5-star reviews on the site; make sure reviews are authentic, or else your brand will seem insincere.

° Outreach Initiatives
One of the most overlooked aspects of marketing a new mobile product is outreach initiatives by contacting influencers, publications, and bloggers to secure backlinks and provide honest reviews. Make a list of contacts that are relevant to your industry or niche that might be interested in writing about, and reviewing your app. Keep your pitch concise with a link to your press kit or landing page. That way, if they’re interested in writing about your app, they’ll have all of the information they need.

° Promote On Social
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social platforms let you expand your web presence and allow you to directly communicate with your target audience. If your app targets specific age groups, identify the social platforms that are most popular with people in this demographic and focus on them. Make sure you consider the following:

• Is it clear that you have an app from the first glance of your social profile?
• Is the purpose of the app obvious?
• Is there a link to download it?

Post company updates, and features that will get followers excited about the launch. Create a hashtag and use it in posts when appropriate. Post and share not only promotional but entertaining and engaging content related to your app in order to build a community behind it.

° Create A Content Marketing Strategy
Start writing a blog months in advance of launching. When it’s time to launch, you’ll already be an authority in your niche with followers. Start simple and write a launch post, boast about the app’s features, showcase screenshots, and videos. Here are several benefits of content marketing for your app:
• Drive traffic, conversions, and brand awareness with content
• Create a brand around your app by being an expert in your niche
• Build trust with users through content
• Blog content can be used for email marketing to re-engage contacts or for social media

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