Given that we are discussing, a successful app launch, we will be focusing on several crucial aspects of the preproduction, marketing and postproduction processes in particular. Thousands of applications are launched every year across all the four major operating systems, but only a handful of them ever gain the recognition they hope for. Much of that has to do with a poor product launch. So let’s discuss a few ideas on how to avoid that.
Decide on Your Market
We can primarily develop an application for three broad market categories:
- Existing markets with established and identified target customers/clients
- Emerging markets which are still in the process of development
- Untapped markets which are mostly unexplored or undiscovered
Decide which market you are planning to tap into, do your research on that market, and then plan the project accordingly. It eliminates doubt and double guessing to a great extent, allowing for faster, smoother development. Once you have that part figured out, it’s all about starting with a realistic strategy for developing, evaluating, and launching an app successfully.
Plan Your Marketing Accordingly
You are catering to the first group when your company is developing an app for a corporate client on contract, who has specific and properly defined set of needs and expectations. On the other hand, if a development team is in the process of developing and launching an app in their own perception, it must cater to either newly emerging markets or what the developers at least believe has the potential to become a new market.
We have already seen such projects come to fruition successfully, thanks to indie games like Shovel Knight and Rocket league. The former revived an almost forgotten subgenre, while the latter created one for itself. Taking a cue from all successful small applications launched in the last five to seven years, a small company or team of indie developers should exclusively focus on investing in marketing plans that only cater to the target market. Small companies do not have large marketing budgets and it is important that all of it is maximized in drawing in the kind of attention that they need for the launch to be successful.
Beta Testing Vs. Direct Launch–Choose Carefully
The truth is that all software applications eventually require bug fixes, security patches, updates, upgrades, core changes, new features, etc. However, that is a continuous process where developers keep finding and patching up bugs, while also making major/minor improvements with each new update. This is true for every developer, irrespective of how big or small the company may be, but what you decide to call it on launch day can be a make-or-break decision for the app’s success.
If an application is not ready for the intended client/customer but the project deadline is already here, it is better to launch the app in a beta test, aka early-access mode. An application in its beta phase should still be in a decent enough shape to show off what it can do, but it does not have to be perfect or bug-free. By simply calling it an early access launch, you are informing your audience about exactly what they should expect.
On the flipside, when a development team decides to launch an unfinished product like it is ready for the most part, they are essentially setting up their entire target audience for disappointment. If the backlash that CD Projekt Red’s $316 million Cyberpunk 2077 received on launch is something to learn from. Never set up your audience for disappointment on launch date! It can, and will, doom the reputation of any app developer, irrespective of their size or even prior reputation.