Effective App Store Optimization (ASO) is often overlooked in the rush to bring an exciting new app to market. It is 100% understandable. Everyone is involved in building the best possible app your team can develop. However, it is essential to keep an eye on how your application will land in an already crowded area.
The world’s best mobile app is worthless if poor marketing and optimization causes customers to ignore you for something that looks classy.
Don’t wait until the last minute to involve your marketing and optimization teams. Issue routine invitations to peek at product development and ask questions. If your engineers complain when the marketing team asks them questions – that sort of thing happens – take action. Remind them that if your own employees have “dumb” questions about a feature or process, it’s almost 100% guaranteed that potential customers will too.
Fortunately, top-notch ASO isn’t out of reach for even the smallest of companies. Your ASO is likely to tell the difference between downloads and cricket singing. Make sure everyone on your team agrees with these five simple guidelines.
1. Pay close attention to your keywords.
This is where occasionally having your marketing team in the same room as your engineers can really pay off. The product development team may well use language and terminology that makes perfect sense to them, but leaves the average person in awe. As the discussions go on, try to have a dry-erase board handy. As one term becomes relevant, others may decline. The goal is not to arrive on launch day and wonder what keywords make sense for the market you are trying to reach.
2. Spend time optimizing the title and description for your app.
The same principles applied to sifting the relevant keywords apply here. It is likely that the scope and focus of any application project will change as the development process progresses. That being said, the initial title and description of the app store you start out with might just be unrecognizable the closer you get to launch. Try to keep an open mind during the development process. You may even need to change the product name and logo in light of the unexpected launch of another business. Most importantly, make sure your title and description describes in a concise and precise manner what a user is likely to expect.
3. Make your app look eye-catching.
Have you ever asked a friend to recommend a great app … only to be completely disappointed with how it appears on the App Store shelf? It’s much more common than most developers might want to believe. It can be hard to understand why a potential customer lets go of an app that does exactly what it’s supposed to do – and does it even better than any other – only because the logo looks amateurish. It happens. Keep this from happening to your project by allocating enough time for your marketing team to find something that stops a browser in its tracks.
4. Play multiple audience preferences.
Some potential customers prefer to learn about all the technical specifications of a new application. Others want to download it right away and take it for a test drive. Yet others are drawn to short, informative product videos that have high production values. In addition, some users have special accessibility requirements. As you develop your promotional material, do your best to go beyond your personal preferences. Offer concise, timely and customer-focused information in as many formats as possible. Make sure all of your promotional material is branded and instantly recognizable. If your brand new website doesn’t visually reinforce what someone sees in the App Store, you risk losing that person’s trust… and their willingness to download.
5. Do it better than the other guy.
Finally, make sure that a designated member of your development team is responsible for monitoring and reporting on what your competition is doing. By tagging a specific person to constantly spy on the alternatives available to your potential customers, you ensure that you don’t get caught looking. While all team members should, of course, have a feel for what is available, regular updates from a specific team member ensure that awareness permeates the project. It also encourages team members to think like “Omigosh, we can definitely do better than that.”
No doubt about it, for any app development team, launch day is an exciting time. Success is never guaranteed, even in the best of circumstances. However, there are things you can do to increase the odds. Make sure your app is search optimized – and looks great every time someone stumbles upon it – should never be left for the last minute.