The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your App: Expert Advice, Steps, and Best Practices

Mobile App Development

How do you take your application from the ideation phase to a live app?

How do you guarantee success on a platform like Google Play stores with over 70,000 apps released monthly?

But before getting started, it’s imperative to know how to launch an app. This is particularly intricate as 25% of people abandon mobile apps after only one use.

Whether you’re a budding or successful entrepreneur? Or a tech professional looking for more knowledge of how to launch an app?

You’re reading the most impactful article on the internet on the mobile application launch process:

What else? Here’s a checklist of steps to launching a mobile application:

5 Steps to Follow for Successfully Launching An App

Step 1: Pre-Launch Planning

The app research and planning phase identifies the core problem the solution aims to solve.

It studies competitors and target market response usage.

The goal of this phase is to ensure the solution meets the needs of the target audience, stands out amidst competitors, and has a clear roadmap.

Research and planning entail:

👉 Conduct Market Research

Market research entails gathering, and analyzing information about your app’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential market needs.

This entails gathering information on competitive products, market demand, customer base, and pricing.

By studying the market, you’ll identify where you fall short, and find ways to differentiate yourself.

👉 Identify your Target Audience

A target audience is a group of individuals that are recipients of your service.

To identify your target audience, consider demographic factors like lifestyle, geographic location, education, income, gender, and age.

For highly targeted ads, you may also consider interests, values, personality traits, and attitudes.

For example, if you own a cross-border fintech app payment system, then your target audience will probably be a foreigner sojourning in a foreign country, or businesses with a global remote team.

Identifying a target audience is important because it lets you brand your mobile application and marketing effort to best appeal to a specific group of users.

👉 Identify your Goals and Objectives

Your goals and objectives are things you aim to achieve from your mobile app launch process.

For this you should first identify the needs, challenges, and pain points your target audience might be facing. After which, you’ll center your solutions around those issues.

To spot the problem, it’s best to conduct market research via surveys, focus groups, or user interviews to collect data and insights on your target audience.

👉 Create a Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy is your company’s overall game plan for reaching your target audience and convincing them to use your app.

Your marketing strategy entails factoring all pre-launch steps above and using them to curate a unique selling proposition that sets your mobile app apart from your competitors.

USPs are features within your application that are not in other apps.

To create a marketing strategy, identify the key characteristics, benefits, or features of your app. This could include convenience, user experience, speed, affordability, etc.

Additionally, once you’ve identified your unique selling point and marketing strategy, then communicate it to your UX writer to create a clear and concise message within the app that communicates why your product or service is better than your competitors.

👉 Create a Budget

Creating a budget is an essential step to help determine the MVP development cost of bringing the application from ideation to the launch phase.

Follow the steps for creating an app development budget:

  • Define project requirements. Outline the features, functionalities, design, and branding you want to incorporate.
  • Determine your development team. You have the option to choose in-house or to outsource your app development process.
  • Estimate app development cost. Based on your project’s complexity, and team type, estimate your overall app development cost. Consider salaries, vendor fees, software and hardware expenses, etc.
  • Consider ongoing costs. Some popular ongoing expenses to consider are marketing, maintenance, and hosting fees.

Once you’ve created a budget, the next step in the mobile application launch process is adopting a timeline.

👉 Create a Timeline

A timeline helps you schedule achievable milestones for completing key tasks.

The varied timeline for application launching depends on the complexity of the tasks, the expertise of the team members involved, and chosen tech stack.

For example, here’s a timeline for creating simple software of minimal complexity:

  • Planning phase: 2-4 weeks
  • Design phase: 4-6 weeks
  • Development phase: 8-12 weeks
  • Testing and quality assurance phase: 2-4 weeks
  • App launching and post-launch phase: 2-4 weeks.

Note: These figures are only symbolic, as such, shouldn’t be considered as an exact timeframe. Reach out to our mobile app development agency for a precise timeline required to launch your solution.

👉 Create a Wireframe

A wireframe is a pictorial view depicting the overall look of the mobile application upon full development.

It’s a mockup or sketch of the expected design layout that outlines all the features and functionalities in the solution.

Wireframes typically include basic shapes, lines, and text to show where different elements will be placed on the page or screen, without including detailed design elements like color, typography, or images.

Wireframes serve as a crucial step in the planning process because they help stakeholders visualize the structure and layout of the product before investing time and resources in creation and marketing.

Wireframing is done via design tools like Figma, Adobe XD, or physical papers.

Upon completion, you should have a wireframe that meets the requirements of stakeholders.

Once that’s sorted, the next step in your mobile app launch strategy should be creating the application.

Step 2: App Development

App development is the process of writing the hire application developersnecessary codes required to create a live, interactable solution that runs on the desired operating system.

App development involves designing, coding, QA and Beta testing, and deploying software applications for desired platforms, of which the most popular are iOS, Android, and Windows.

Here’s where you’ll need to hire application developers, UI/UX designers, testers, and other technical team members

👉 Design the App’s Interface

This is the process of designing user interfaces for software applications or websites to enhance user experience.

For this, UI designers use various design techniques and principles, including color theory, typography, layout, and visual hierarchy.

UI designers start by researching the target audience and identifying their needs, behaviors, and preferences.

They then develop wireframes and prototypes that represent the structure and functionality of the interface.

UI design also involves testing and refining the interface based on feedback from users.

By observing how users interact with the interface, UI designers can identify usability issues and make necessary adjustments to improve user experience.

👉 Develop the App’s Functionality

Here, app developers write the requisite code required for the application’s functionalities to function.

By functionality, we mean the specific features and capabilities of the software.

The functionalities in an app vary with the specificity of your app idea.

For example, a finance application should have the following functionalities: budgeting, account management, payments, loans, credits, etc.

While for gaming apps, the functionalities will be different.

👉 Test for Bugs and Errors

Testing for errors and bugs is an important software development aspect. In this stage, a QA tester and senior developers will check the source code for bugs.

They’ll also run multiple QA test procedures like:

TestsDescription
Unit testingThe QA tester checks individual components of the mobile app, like specific modules or functions to ensure they work as expected.
Integration testingThis test checks how different components interact with each other.
Functional testingQA testers carry out functional testing to ensure that the functionalities meet stakeholders’ expectations.
Performance testingThis entails testing how well the application performs over varying conditions like under heavy load or high traffic.
Security testingQA experts test the security features in the application, such as encryption and authentication. This test also helps comply with requisite regulatory laws and guarantees the security of your solution.
Usability testingThis process tests the application’s user experience and interface to ensure that they’ll guarantee maximum satisfaction.
Regression testingThis entails retesting the app after updates or changes have been made to ensure new errors or bugs haven’t been introduced.
User acceptance testingThis tests the app with real users to ensure it meets their expectations and can serve desired goals.

👉 Optimize the App’s Performance

For top-notch performance, make a comparative analysis of the effectiveness, and load time of your mobile application vis-a-vis alternatives.

In case there’s a lag, identify the bottlenecks.

Use profiling tools to identify the slowest part of the application.

Other ways to optimize the app’s performance include efficient algorithms, optimizing data storage, minimizing network usage, optimizing user interface, and using background processes.

Once the application is well optimized, and in tune with stakeholders’ expectations, the next step in how to launch an app is preparing it for Apple’s and Google Play’s stores.

For more information on application development processes, then read this article.

Note: This step is a very technical one, as such, you require experience, and technical knowledge to manage a team of programmers effectively. For top-notch cost efficiency, then you should consider outsourcing mobile application development to a vendor.

Step 3: App Store Preparation

An app store is a platform where users can access mobile applications, download, and install applications to their mobile devices.

Basically, the app store is a market for mobile applications.

Before you make your application available for a suitable platform, do the following:

👉 Choosing the Right App Store

Choosing the right app store is a key characteristic of having a successful application launch.

For the right store, you should consider your target audience, type, store policies, in-app purchases, geographical reach, and competition.

For example, if you’re targeting users in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East, then it’s best to launch your product on Google Playstore.

This guarantees a maximum reach in those regions since most smartphone users there are on the Android Operating system.

👉 Meet App Store Requirements

Both Apple and Google have different app store requirements.

But first, let’s consider their similar requirements:

  • They require that apps are functional, without bugs or crashes.
  • Both Apple and Google stores prohibit the inclusion of inappropriate or offensive content, including hate speech, violence, or pornography. They also require that apps respect user privacy and not collect unnecessary personal information.
  • Apps in both store must not infringe on intellectual property rights.
  • Apps must have professional design that is consistent with given guidelines.
  • Apps should be optimized for performance, with quick load times and smooth operation.

However, they’ve differences in requirements, which should be considered:

Apple’s minimum revenue share percentage for in-app purchases is 30%.Apple requires each ios app to be reviewed by an Apple employee before being released to the store.Apps must support the latest Apple products.Apple charges $99/year.Google Play Store charges a revenue percentage of 15-30%. 30% of the first 1 million dollars, and 15% afterward.Google uses an automated process that can take less time.The app here must support the latest Android operating system.They charge a one-time fee of $25/year.

👉 Create an App Store Listing

An app store listing is a page that provides users with information about the software.

It is an essential part of promoting an app and convincing users to download and install it.

Here’s how to create an app store listing:

  • Choose a name and icon
  • Provide a clear and concise description
  • Provide videos and screenshots
  • Choose the appropriate category
  • Provide contact and support information in case of errors in app downloads.

Once you’ve created the listing, the next step in the app launch process is keywords optimization:

👉 Optimize Keywords for Google’s Search Engine

For your app listing to be effective, it’s imperative that people are able to find your product.

A way to ensure that is by inputting requisite keywords within your description.

Here are some tips for optimizing your app store keywords:

  • Find popular keywords related to your software in app stores. Focus on those with high search volume and low competition for the best app store optimization. So many mobile apps don’t optimize, so they’re hardly seen.
  • Opt for keywords that accurately describe your mobile application. Avoid generic or irrelevant keywords as they’ll lead to low-quality installs.
  • Use long-tail keywords.
  • Use the full character limit. Use the full 100 characters limit.
  • Regularly update keywords based on trends, feedback, and changes in the market.

Once you’re done preparing for the actual launch process, the next step is actually launching–this makes it available to download on app stores.

Step 4: Mobile App Launch

By app launch, we mean the process of uploading the developed mobile apps to the store for download.

For a successful launch, you’ll need to synergize your marketing campaign with the process.

Here are ways to do that:

👉 Select a Launch Date

Consider your development timeline, both for building functionalities, fixing errors, and making improvements.

Also, check the calendar for holidays, or any major event in your industry as coinciding dates may make people not pay attention to your product.

In addition, keep an eye on your competitors’ launching dates. Avoid launching on the same day as your target audience may overlook your product.

👉 Build a Buzz Around the Launch Date

Building buzz and anticipation around your app launch date are critical for ensuring its success.

Here are some strategies you can use to generate excitement and promote your app:

  • Create a landing page to showcase your app’s features, and collect email addresses for early access.
  • Share updates and teasers about your product on social media accounts.
  • Reach out to influencers to help promote your application.
  • Offer pre-launch incentives.
  • Create a demo video.
  • Leverage press and media.

Leverage Social Media and Other Marketing Channels

Leverage social media to enjoy the luxury of being part of the online conversation.

Doing this provides you with a straight line to make your brand known to consumers.

With an effective social media strategy, you can identify those interested in your mobile app, and gain timely feedback required for early-release adjustments.

Additionally, you should also consider other marketing channels like e-mail marketing, SEO marketing, and digital advertisements.

👉 Monitor Reviews and Feedback

Reviews and feedback are cues to what users truly think about your product.

As marketing campaigns are important to attract users, so are feedback and reviews for keeping them.

Focus your marketing strategy on portraying areas of your solution with good reviews.

Step 5: Post-Launch

Post-app launch activity in a tech startup refers to the ongoing efforts required to maintain and improve the app after it has been launched to the public.

This includes a range of activities, such as:

👉 Analyzing App Performance Data

This process involves collecting, measuring, and analyzing information based on an app’s usage to improve its user experience, performance, and overall effectiveness.

Track app downloads for free mobile apps, and subscriptions completed for paid ones.

Key metrics to analyze here include:

  • User engagement
  • Retention rate
  • Conversion rate
  • User acquisition
  • Bugs and crashes.

Another important activity in the post-launch phase is making improvements based on user feedback.

👉 Making Improvements to User Feedback on App Stores

As user feedback comes in, the support team and mobile app developers should brainstorm on adjustments to prevent negative reviews.

These negative reviews provide you with a sneak peek of issues users are currently facing.

By making improvements to user feedback, you’ll:

  • Enhance user experience
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Increase app rating
  • Gain a competitive advantage over alternatives.

👉 Update Mobile Apps Regularly

This is an important aspect of the post-launch activity that entails releasing new app versions to the public.

This new releases aim to improve the user experience or solve a problem inherent in earlier app launches.

Regular updates can help you stay relevant in the market.

It also prevents being outdated and losing your user base.

👉 Continually Promote the Application

Top-performing applications in app stores are those that are regularly promoted.

This phase guarantees a successful mobile app launch process as it helps to increase visibility.

It also attracts new users and keeps existing users engaged.

Now that you know the important steps to how to launch an app. Let’s help you get on some helpful tips:

Expert Tips on How to Launch an App

These tips provide experiential advice on thing to do before launching your app that can guarantee a successful application launch.

Tip 1: Research Your Industry and Competitors

According to Statista, Google PlayStore and Apple Store have a combined 5.6 million apps available worldwide.

However, only 0.5% of apps are successful.

Researching top successful applications within your niche of interest is a fundamental step to knowing how to launch an app.

What functionalities do top applications have? What’s their market size? How does your app compare to top competitors’ functionality?

Before you launch an app, first identify competitors’ weaknesses and strengths.

You can identify your competitors’ pain points and strong points by following these steps:

  • Identify competitors to analyze.
  • Gather Data about competitors using websites, social media, industry reports, etc.
  • Analyze data and reviews.
  • Use data to determine strengths and weaknesses.

Tip 2: Hone your Preferred Pricing Model

If you aim to monetize your application, then you need a purchasing format, taking into account the pros and cons of each option.

The 110,000 monetized apps on Google PlayStore have at least one of these pricing models:

  • Subscription-based
  • Initial download price
  • In-app purchases

The best model for your app depends on your goal.

You may also offer a freemium version, as it’s still the most effective means of introducing a new product.

However, if you’ve gained traction or have a robust marketing budget, then a paid app can thrive.

As an example, consider Slack. It has both free and paid models.

Its paid model offers unlimited access to history, integration with unlimited tools, HIPAA support, and more.

A paid or subscription model is ideal when connecting with a niche audience.

It’s best to first research what your competitors offer, and create a subscription plan your target users are willing to pay.

In-app purchases are another great option.

An example here is TikTok, as it currently has one of the highest in-app purchases. It’s completely free to watch videos.

But in-app gifts and badges purchased for creators offer a way to make a profit.

To determine your ideal price, ask the following questions:

  • How much do top competitors charge? What features does my app offer?
  • How much does it cost to keep the mobile application running?
  • How many paid subscriptions or in-app purchases do I need to break even?
  • Should I offer more features for users to upgrade or up-sell?

Tip 3: Be Keen on Aesthetics

65% of humans prefer to learn visually. Thus, ensure every bit of your app is aesthetically captivating.

Also, consider that 52% of users say the reason why they won’t return to a website is its user interface design.

So, ensure they are attracted to your mobile app before launch.

Likewise, use interesting visual assets within the app.

Check out the Handley App, an example of a visually appealing site we created.

Handley aggregates all your social media accounts into a single platform.

The design of this app is one of its most noteworthy features, and we’ve gotten accolades from its owners for a beautiful UI design.

5.9% of business apps on stores found are done via App Store search.

By optimizing your solution, you’re ensuring prospective users can see and download your product by searching for generic metrics.

According to MobileDevHQ, using the right keywords increases the likelihood of your app ranking by over 10%.

This increases the reach of your solution and guarantees the use of your product within the right target users.

Here is a checklist of ways to optimize for App Store search during the mobile launch process:

  • Input requisite keywords in Title and Subtitle.
  • Write an engaging app description.
  • Add engaging visuals.
  • Encourage user reviews and ratings.
  • Regularly update your app.
  • Monitor results and keep testing.

Tip 5: Include Testimonials in your Description

People need to be sure your app guarantee value.

A way to build user trust early in the app launch phase is to get early reviews and include them within the description phase.

Even if a new user doesn’t read your testimonial till the end, seeing a review in the description encourages them to believe in your product’s value.

Tip 6: Promote your App Before it Goes Live

Engage your promotion campaign even before launching your app. For this, create a website that succinctly details the features and benefits of using your app.

Ensure your website does the following:

  • Appropriately capture prospect’s emails.
  • Access to customer support for clarification.
  • High user experience.
  • Well articulated app value.

Firstly, your app’s landing page should be focused on capturing prospective user emails so they can be notified upon application launch.

They’ll help drive initial downloads, and get you early-stage reviews for better ads curation.

For this, you can create a website from scratch, or by using template builders like WordPress, Wix, etc.

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