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Marketing Your App in the Apple Store

The dos and don’ts

If you’ve recently launched an app in the App Store, there are a few things that many people have likely not told you about its success. To help you get ahead, we’ve helped uncover some of the secrets to making your app successful. Now, you’ll find many articles that start with “How to build a great app,” but we’re going to go ahead and assume you’ve got that part down (including making it universal.) If you’re not that far yet, have no fear–we can definitely help you. Once you’ve gotten your app listed in the App Store, you’re ready to start garnering downloads.

We’re not saying it will be easy to get those first hundred, thousand, or even hundred thousand downloads. But here are some actionable tips that can help you begin to get more downloads for your app.

1. Build for iOS first–and maybe exclusively.

This one is simple. If you give exclusivity to Apple, they will be more likely to feature your app. You can let them know you’re only building on iOS for the time being, but only do this if it’s sincere.

2. Pay attention to releases.

If you’re launching an app in Summer 2016, it would make sense to take advantage of the new offerings of the iPhone 7. A touchscreen display rumor seems to be getting some traction, so if your app can take advantage of that feature, you’re more likely to get exposure to the Apple community.

3. Get featured. Or not.

With millions of apps in the App Store, there are a small number of apps featured. While it’s a great ego boost, a featured app doesn’t make sense for every product. What does make sense, however, is getting featured in your category.

This doesn’t even necessarily mean getting featured in your App Store category–this could mean getting featured in an industry blog, or by another reliable source. (If you’re a PR newbie, check out our blog post on the topic here. Remember: featured apps are chosen by Apple employees for quality, but also to increase the likelihood someone will come to the App Store and download something. If your app is a B2B pitching tool, it doesn’t have mass appeal. So stick with your niche. But stay friends with the Apple people anyway.

4. Pitch it.

So, do you think your app has mass appeal? If so, actively try and get it featured. Communicate with the team who approves apps, and genuinely ask them for feedback. Communicate with staff on Twitter. RT other App of the Week picks. Lastly, just ask. Email appoftheweek@apple.com.

What not to do:

1. Pay for reviews.

This goes for any marketing relating to your company. Put simply: don’t pay for reviews, fans, or friends. It isn’t genuine, and customers can suss it out from a million miles away.

2. Ignore reviews, either.

There’s nothing worse than getting reviews and ignoring them. You can make vast improvements to your product using this information. Also, great reviews increase the likelihood of others downloading your app. (Duh!) You can use tools such as AppBot to help monitor these reviews.

3 Stalk an Apple employee.

So, above we said it helps to be in touch with an Apple employee. That means building a relationship. Don’t stalk them, though. This actually goes for reporters, reviewers, and bloggers as well. Be persistent with communication, but be genuine. Interact on social media in a meaningful way, but don’t email them Every. Single. Day. There is no better way to get blacklisted.

4. Try old-school, black hat SEO stuff.

While this isn’t really regulated the way it is on webapps, it’s not looked kindly upon. Since featured apps are actually picked by people, keyword stuffing doesn’t work.