So you’ve created an app that you plan to sell, now you’re done, right? Nope, not even close! Developing your app is just step one. Marketing and promoting your app is the key to its commercial success, starting with announcing it. We talked to one successful Xojo developer who has several apps in the App Store. He told us that he spends 50% of his time on development and 50% of his time on marketing. Marketing. You think it’s just something for the Pros or people with a big offering, but it’s not.
Making sure everyone knows about your new app or latest update is really important. I have been in PR/Marketing for many years and have seen it all! The biggest mistake I see is developers forgetting to put a link back to their website or sitelet when talking about their app. In announcements and on social media it’s so important to make sure people can find you easily! Here are the 3 most essential steps you should take when announcing your app (or release) to the world.
Step 1: Generate Buzz
If your release has something interesting in it that customers or prospects might like or talk about, do what you can to generate buzz. The best thing to do is to create a preview trailer that can be shared on your website and social media. This can be done easily with inexpensive tools like iMovie’s trailer feature.
Don’t keep it a secret, people like to be informed – blog about the development process on your website if possible. Don’t start too early though, make sure you are at a point where you are fairly certain it will be shipped within the next few weeks.
Step 2: Spread the Word
Writing a good announcement is really important. It should communicate four primary things:
- Your name (or your company’s name)
- The app’s name
- The URL to find your app
- The main point of your app
All of these items should appear in in the first paragraph. If you have an announcement that goes into features, benefits and more, great. But keep in mind that the majority of your readers will not make it past the first paragraph. Get your main idea across early.
Know your audience: who is reading this announcement? Customize it to them and their goals. Are they your prospective users? Are they members of the media? Are they other developers? Speak their language. Keep it fun and have a sense of humor (if applicable), showcase your brand’s voice. People are generally more inclined to give you their attention if you keep it interesting.
Another thing to consider is where the announcement will be posted. It is good to have a list at the ready for when you are going to ship a release. It is important that you collected email addresses of people on your website and your customers so you can email them about the update, you can send it to bloggers, post it on complimentary forums, like the Xojo forum. See “How To Get Your Announcement Posted.” If you send it to me, it might make its way onto our social media feed or the Xojo newsletter.
Step 3: Write A Press Release
Press Releases should always be written in third person. A good model we like to follow is:
- Summary of your announcement (main idea) in the first paragraph, callout main new features and number of fixes/improvements.
- Next paragraph should be an overview of your app itself. What is the value proposition? How is your app useful and to whom? What does your app make easier?
- Quote from a CEO/developer/employee or customer (or both) are great things to include here. They can showcase how the important new features are useful or innovative and give real life examples to support your main idea.
- Include bulleted list of important features of the release
- Contact information – how to find your app and yourself.
What to do with it? We recommend compiling your own media list of writers who have written about your subject before. You can submit news on tons of websites. Also, you can submit your press release on relevant newswires, like PR Newswire or prMac. Don’t forget to post it on your own website!
The marketing work is never done. It involves a lot of trial and error. But announcing your app is the first step – if people don’t know about it, then what is the point? Hopefully these tips will help you write better announcements and develop your own process for announcing releases.