I’ve been a marketer for the better part of twenty years. But before last week, I’d never launched an iOS app. Still, as our small team toiled for months to develop a great app, I promised myself one thing: If the app wasn’t a resounding success, it wouldn’t be because it had been poorly marketed. That meant that what I lacked in iOS app marketing experience, I’d have to make up for in hard work and resourcefulness.
In this post, I’ll share everything I’ve learned, and outline all the tactics you’ll need to execute to market your iOS app like a pro. Here we go!
Produce Your Key Assets
1. Produce an App icon
Your app icon may be a tiny branding element, but it’s big in importance. The app icon creates your user’s first impression of the app. It needs to be striking enough to hold its own on the device’s home screen, surrounded by a swarm of other brands.
But there are other criteria to consider. If you had a brand before you had an app, then your app icon should maintain consistency with your logo. Unlike your logo, though, your icon has to fit a perfect square and look good even when it’s shrunken down to 29×29 pixels. Lucky for us, our designer was up to the challenge.
2. Design a Splash Screen
Your splash screen is the image that your users will see while they wait for your app to load. It should be visually appealing, of course, but not too intricate. After all, it may be displayed for only seconds at a time.
And to preserve the aesthetics of your splash screen image, you’ll have to create a version for each device and orientation you support. Need a little inspiration? Click here to browse a SlideShare gallery of splash screen ideas.
For our splash screen, my goal was to capture the feeling of a young reader sinking into an enjoyable reading session.
3. Create Product Images
To support your marketing efforts, you’re going to need quality photos of your app’s key screens. You can add panache to bare screenshots by mocking them up inside sharp photos of the devices you support.
You’ll also want to produce lifestyle photos that feature people using your app. Those will spruce up your landing page, social media posts, and other materials. If you don’t have the budget for a photo shoot, don’t worry. Sites like PlaceIt.net make it simple to generate beautiful lifestyle pics of your app.
While mockups and lifestyle photos are glamorous, raw screenshots also have their place. They’re the ones you’ll submit to the App Store to make the most of your limited real estate. And bloggers and journalists will often appreciate the flexibility of having unframed screenshots to use as they see fit.
4. Produce an App Preview Video
An app preview video is a short video that demonstrates your app’s key features in action. You’ll find many uses for this type of video when you’re marketing your iOS app. Here’s one of the best such uses: Submit your app preview video to the App Store as a dynamic alternative to screenshots. The killer combo of sight, sound and motion will shine the best possible light on your app.
And I’ll save you the trouble of learning this the hard way, as we did: Apple is pretty finicky when it comes to the app preview video. Its file size needs to be 500 Mb or less. Its duration must fall neatly between 15 and 30 seconds in length. And its pixel dimensions must precisely correspond to those recommended for the device you’re showcasing.
It’s worth noting that when you upload a video for one device, you can easily re-use it for another smaller device with the same proportions. The natural implication? Save time by producing app videos for the larger devices you support, then work your way down to smaller sizes.
5. Produce a Trailer Video
A short trailer video is another great tool to have in your arsenal. Here, your objective isn’t to step through all the features of the app, as it was with the app preview video. Instead, use the trailer to highlight the app’s key benefits and generate a little buzz.
We used our trailer video to promote the app through our social media. We also submitted it to app reviewers who requested it.
6. Design an App Review Guide
Speaking of app reviewers, here’s another app marketing asset you’ll put to great use. Put together an app review guide that you can send to journalists, bloggers an reviewers. Load it up with screen captures and in-depth information that will make it easier for them to review the app.
I created ours in PowerPoint, then saved it as a PDF. Why PowerPoint? Because that allowed me to also a re-purpose it as a SlideShare. Now, visitors to the site can either flip through the guide or download the pdf, which they can also forward to others.