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Struggling with your mobile app launch? Learn the dos and don’ts


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Working with so many mobile app developers, and launching quite a few apps myself, I can usually tell the difference between an app owner/ developer/ marketer who planned well towards the app launch/ Push campaigns, and the one who didn’t. Which one are you?

Few times a week, on average, I get an urgent help request from an app developer seeking to be rescued from the oh so famous app promotion challenge. Usually, behind the phone there’s a co-founder of a startup company, an indie developer who is launching soon, or one that has just recently launched an app. These chats tend to be so similar that I usually get a feeling of Déjà vu, while feeling empathy every single time. Coming (usually) from a technical background, they feel they are on unfamiliar, unstable grounds, when suddenly (suddenly?) needing to deal with marketing. To a person coming from a world of binary logic, with clear rules of actions and results, marketing feels like an unbearable discipline. Unclear, speculative, risky, costly, many times unmeasurable… who can get along with that, they ask me? What guarantees can you give me? What commitment?

Yes. Sounds like marketing. But we can bring it closer to world that engineers and programmers can understand.

App developers constantly look for the “right” formula. The secret recipe. Do-this-get-that. And they are frustrated, as not only can’t they find one such formula for marketing their apps, but they can’t even asses who is the ultimate expert that can help them succeed in this field. You know, the one who can split the sea in two and find the Holy Grail, fast.

Last time I checked, I didn’t have any secret recipe, nor do I call myself the “ultimate expert”. But I do help mobile app developers with building THEIR ultimate marketing plan, among other things. Why had I written “their” in capital letters? Because their unique recipe is based on their target, their budget, their operational knowledge and their team spirit and support. Sorry fellows, no one Holy Grail here. No one secret recipe.

Still, many successful developers say that the workaround planning their marketing activities, in a structured, hierarchical way, made all the difference for them. They can cope with their challenges in a logical way, and get closer to achieving their goals because they have an A-Z organized and methodical plan in hand. They know where to start. And they know where to go from there.

When I talk of a mobile app marketing plan (also launch plan) I do not mean an academic masterpiece. I do not mean a management board business plan, including a SWAT analysis and complex 3D graphs. Nope.

I mean a step by step, practical action plan. Imagine an excel worksheet that contains the main activities to take, organized by priorities, which are defined taking into consideration budget limitations and your specific goals. Imagine columns of execution dates, the exact “how to” guidelines, expected results and allocated budget for each action.

It’s the marketing equivalent of a product requirements document (PRD), if you like.

Why can’t you make it without such a plan? Well, unless you are the next YO or Flappy Bird (never heard of them? Seriously? In short, nobody, not even them, knows why they made it. Google it for more info), you will need to put some (by some I mean a lot) effort in order to succeed. It’s the same as: Unless you win the lottery you most likely must work to make a living, right?

And as long as you are willing to work hard for your app’s success, your chances of making it very much depend on how organized and focused you are around your predefined targets.

So far stating the obvious, but you know what? I meet many mobile appreneurs who are so confused around the area of mobile app marketing, that while they do run promotional activities, such as social, PR, ASO and acquisition, they just follow the crowd when choosing how to go about it. They don’t have a clear strategy behind their decisions and they fail to focus on their own goals and priorities. The consequence is that they lose momentum, they miss opportunities, they forget critical steps on the way and they tend to significantly increase their marketing spend. Mobile app marketers are no exception here. It’s a common disease. Let’s shake the disease off!

Chances are that if you will not be working according to a detailed plan, you will find yourself, standing still, not getting any closer to your goals and not enjoying any significant revenues down the road.

OK, I understand. No future without planning. What can I do about it?

  • First, decide on your goals. DOWN TO EARTH goals please. Don’t say “I like everybody in the US to know my app and want to download and use it. Also, consider the budget, please. Set as clear goals as possible. Don’t be afraid to define an initial number of installs per platform (after 30 days, a quarter). Don’t forget to set usage and retention goals (e.g., an absolute number of active users a day or as a percentage of the whole user base, plus a number of users taking significant actions within a predefined period, like social sharing, in-app purchase, etc.) and set monetization goals as well, if possible (desired ARPAU goal for example).
  • Now, prioritize your goals. That’s hard, I know. What is the most important goal of them all? Not all mobile app development companies define the same goals. While many are interested in number of installs and revenues, others may be more interested in user loyalty and retention. Brands, for instance, can be focused on usage and many of them do not even have a direct monetization model attached to their app, because they have different expectations from it.
  • Define the activities that are optimal with regards to:
    • Your optimized goals
    • Your available budget

Yes, but how?

We (at have decided to let mobile app developers enjoy our mobile app marketing e-book for free (with email sign-up). That way they can easily learn how to organize their priorities and tactics around app marketing, no matter what their budget level is. Click on the image to sign up with your email and get it:

Use the e-Book get some concrete help with setting your goals and budget, going over the wide app marketing activities that are available and prioritize the tactics that are most appropriate for what you are trying to achieve.

Mobile app marketing is a comprehensive and methodological profession that demands a lot of understanding and expertise. But it’s no rocket science. You can execute a lot of marketing activities by yourself, especially if you have budget limitations, and yes, you can become a valuable app marketer, even without years of expertise. BUT, you will need to put a lot of time and effort, learning, going through professional trainings / courses (F2F or online ones). As long as you don’t run blind, and as long as you are organized and methodical in the way you plan and operate, you should be ok.

Appgo2market is a website that trains mobile app professionals about all aspects of app marketing and promotion. The website provides downloadable templates and tools. Click here to learn more.

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Elli is one of Co-Founders, a mobile expert and a mentor. Having years of experience in the mobile and marketing industry promoting popular mobile apps and B2B related services. Presenting specific expertise on users' acquisition strategies, PR, social media, product marketing, BizDev integrations and more
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