Effective app store optimization (ASO) often gets overlooked in the rush to bring an exciting new app to market. It’s 100% understandable. Everyone gets caught up in engineering the best possible app your team can develop. However, it’s vital to keep an eye trained on how your app will land in an already crowded field.
The best mobile app in the world is worthless if poor marketing and optimization cause customers to pass you over for something that looks snazzy.
Don’t wait until the last possible minute to get your marketing and optimization folks involved. Put out routine invitations to peek in on product development and ask questions. If your engineers complain when asked questions by the marketing team — this sort of thing does happen — intervene. Remind them that if your own employees have “stupid” questions about a feature or process, it’s almost 100% guaranteed that potential customers will as well.
Thankfully, top-notch ASO isn’t out of reach, even for the smallest of companies. Your ASO is likely to mean the difference between downloads and the sound of crickets chirping. Make sure every member of your team is on board with these five simple guidelines.
1. Pay a great deal of 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 citizen scratching their head in bewilderment. As discussions take place, make every effort to have a dry erase board handy. As one term rises in relevance, others may fall. The point is to not get to launch day and wonder which keywords make sense for the market you are trying to reach.
2. Spend time optimizing the title and description of your app.
The same principles applied to the sifting of relevant keywords apply here. It’s likely that the scope and focus of any app project will evolve as the development process moves forward. That being the case, the initial app store title and description you start out with may well be unrecognizable as you get closer to launch. Try to keep an open mind during the development process. You might even need to change the product name and logo in light of another company’s unanticipated launch that takes place. Above all, make sure your title and description concisely and accurately describe what a user is likely to expect.
3. Give your app an eye-catching appearance.
Have you ever had a friend recommend a great app…only to be completely underwhelmed by how it appears on the app store shelf? This is far more common than most developers might want to believe. It can be difficult to understand why a potential customer passes up an app that does exactly what it purports to do — and even does it better than any other — only because the logo looks amateurish. It happens. Guard against that happening to your project by allocating sufficient time for your marketing team to come up with something that stops a browser in his or her tracks.
4. Play to multiple audience preferences.
Some potential customers prefer to read up on all of the technical specifications of a new app. Others want to download it right away and take it for a test drive. Still, others are enticed by short, informative product videos that have high production values. Additionally, some users have special accessibility requirements. As you develop your promotional materials, do your level best to rise above your personal preferences. Offer up concise, timely, and customer-focused information in as many formats as possible. Be sure that all of your promotional materials are 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 confidence…and willingness to download.
5. Do it better than the other guy.
Lastly, make sure a designated member of your development team is tasked with the responsibility of monitoring and reporting on what your competitors are up to. Tagging a specific person to consistently snoop on the alternatives available to your potential customers helps ensure that you don’t get caught looking. While everyone on the team should, of course, have some sense of what else is available, regular updates from a specific team member ensure that awareness permeates the project. It also encourages team members to think along the lines of, “Omigosh, surely we can 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. Making certain that your app is optimized for search — and looks great whenever someone happens to stumble upon it — should never be left for the last minute.