Welcome back to our epic 4-part series on marketing your iOS apps!
In the first part of the series, we gave some ideas of things you can do during the pre-development and development phases to make sure you’re on the right track, and increase the chances of success for your app.
In this second part of the series, we gave you a lot of tips of things you can do when your app is released, from setting the launch date to sending a press release and more.
But what happens now that your app has been out for a few months? Is it dead? Should you move on to another project?
Not at all, with proper promotion and care your app can keep generating passive income for a long time!
In this third part of the series, we are going to focus on things you can do to keep interest in your app high and boost sales. Keep reading to find out how!
1) Updating Your App
The most obvious strategy to continue interest in your app is to update it! Here are some reasons why updates are a good idea:
- Customers expect it. These days your users expect your app to be periodically updated with bug fixes, new features, etc. If you don’t release updates, it may lead to unsatisfied customers or poor reviews.
- Potential good exposure. When a major new feature in iOS comes out (such as Retina Display or iCloud), if you can move quickly to introduce relevant new features into your app it might be a good opportunity for free exposure. Blogs are often looking for examples of apps that utilize new technology to point their readers to – and Apple is more likely to feature apps that take advantages of the new technologies/device capabilities.
- Possible increased sales. Releasing an update can result in increased sales as users are reminded about your app as they download the update, and in the long run as your app improves in quality and capability.
Of course, the big tradeoff of making updates to apps is the time and energy it takes. Right now Apple does not have a way to charge for updates to your apps, so it is not as easy to monetize as creating a new app is. There are some good discussions of the subject going around, such as this one.
The best apps to update tend to be non-game apps that you’re “in for the long haul” with, that are selling well on the store and have plenty of room to grow in terms of features and potential new users.
2) Effectively Using Mailing Lists
As mentioned in part one, a mailing list is one of the most cost-effective and powerful techniques you can use for marketing. A lot of people will gladly sign up for a mailing list when they like a product, to find out when similar products become available in the future.
About a third of our survey respondents are currently using mailing lists for their apps/companies:
“I let people know about [my mailing list] in the app, and I give a free ebook in return. That ebook is actually a compilation of material from a blog I made several years ago so it didn’t take me long to write, and it’s truly useful to people. So that gives people a reason to sign up for the list.” – Matthijs Hollemans
The reason we mention mailing lists in this part of the series is because if used properly, having subscribers is another great tool to extend the life of your app.
Think about a few examples for a second, I’m sure some (if not most) of you have purchased something online. It could be Amazon, Ebay, Victoria’s Secret, GameStop, Best Buy, Apple, etc.
When you created an account, did you notice the little check box that asked you if you wanted to receive news and info on products and discounts? How hard was it to tick that box for you? A few seconds at most!
But think about all of the good offers, news and discounts you’ve received thanks to this!
The fellas over at Code School are always letting me know of discounts, new products and even promo codes I can use at checkout for a discount. Amazon sends me emails every now and then on products I might be interested in at a highly discounted price.
Most of the time I disregard the emails, but quite a few times I’ve been surprised with a product I’ve been dying for, or with an excellent discount for my next purchase. What does this mean for them? More sales :D
Now take this example and apply it to your product. How will your customers know of a Christmas sale you are having? The release of your latest app on iTunes? An update with great new features?
They can’t unless you let them know!
“Subscribing is an option when you sign up to play the multiplayer game.” – Phil Hassey
A few of your potential customers will find you on the AppStore or on other sites, most will not. Don’t assume that people will find all of the information you put out there just because you submitted an update to your product or lowered its price.
By allowing users to subscribe to your newsletter, you can make sure this information gets to your customers and the people interested in YOUR products. It also keeps your product fresh in people’s minds – they’re more likely to then check out the updates or recommend your app to their friends.
You don’t need to be very tech savvy to do this on your own. There’s plenty of plugins and services that allow you to have subscribers and to incorporate that into your website or services. Heck even Twitter and Facebook are what I would consider subscriber-friendly.
By having a person follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook, you automatically establish a connection with them. Make use of all of these opportunities and make sure you have a way for you to communicate with potential customers.
Of course getting people to sign up isn’t always easy. Most consider newsletters as spam. Here are some tips on getting people to actually sign up:
- Brief description. Succinctly tell them what the newsletter is about and what the benefits of subscribing are. 1-2 lines at most, people don’t want to waste time reading a long description.
- Give something. Offer something free and valuable in return for signing up. For an app, maybe you could give a special unlock or reward in the app itself?
- Make it easy. It should be super easy to sign up – for an app, the users should just have to enter their email address and tap “Submit”. The more info you ask for, the less likely they are to sign up.
- Promise no spam. Promise not to send more than 1 email a month (and make sure you abide by this promise!) People are nervous about signing up for a newsletter that they’ll get spammed, so don’t be that guy ;]
- Promise not so share. Promise not to share the user’s email address with 3rd parties (and of course, don’t do so). Easy promise to make as indies ;]
- Consider sending regularly. It is sometimes advantageous to send a newsletter on a regular basis, as long as you can provide valuable content each time. This way you have a more steady relationship with your customers rather than only a periodic “why’d I get this strange email” blast.
Remembering one of our mantras throughout the series, put many eggs in many baskets. Subscriptions are only one of many ways in which you can keep attracting new customers while retaining existing ones for months to come.