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Making Waves in the Apple Store

|Nov 9|magazine13 min read

Written by: Barry Jinks, Founder and CEO, Colligo Networks

 

The iPad is not only for personal use. Workers in their droves take their iPads to work.  Enterprise software vendors are not only watching but also acting on this new space.  But how do you bring your app to market and successfully get it listed in the top rankings in the Apple store?

Before rubbing your hands in glee at the prospect of reaching millions of new customers, there are things you should take note of as you develop and market your new business apps.

Bring the ‘Apple Twist’

The lessons we learn in basic marketing (price, product, promotion, location) apply in the Apple store, but you have to apply the ‘Apple twist’, that is: align with the ever-changing environment of the Apple store, paying attention to competition, users and the inner workings and rules of Apple.

Let’s dive in.

Sweat the Small Stuff

To make people devoted to your app, offer features that no other competitor has. User experience is critical, so make sure it’s optimized for the touch interface. Productivity needs to thread through every design element.  Thorough testing is a must. Businesses don’t have any patience for apps that crash or mangle their data.

Take Care of Business

Make sure it’s an app that helps business people on the go.  How do you know?  You ask them. 

Many apps listed in the business category are really just rebranded consumer apps. But businesses usually need more. Like increased security.  It pays to select and work with one or two customers through the development phase of the product.  They can give you critical feedback from real-life scenarios.  If you want to sell a business app, make sure it is ready for business.

How to Slice the Apple

In quick succession, marketing your app is all in the details.

This one is pretty obvious.  Giving a deep discount for a period of time will get you noticed. Happy users ensure your news travels across the web and on social media sites.  Effectively this can result in tens of thousands of downloads and a rapid rise in the Apple rankings, which means even more eyeballs on your app.

Read up on the Apple store SEO.  Your search rankings will depend on your title, the keywords you specify in iTunes Connect and the names of any in app purchases. Your app’s description text does not contribute to its search engine placement. 

Make the most of the 100 bytes Apple gives you for your app’s keywords.  One way to maximize on this is to separate keywords with only commas, not commas and spaces. Shorter keywords are better than longer ones and use small updates to your app to optimize your keywords.  Check regularly where you rank for your search terms and use services like AppCodes to check on what keywords your competitors use.

As you will be contacting review sites, bloggers, review editors and offer giveaways to readers (you will, right?), you will quickly run out of the 50 promo codes Apple provides for your app.  It takes about a week to pass Apple’s review, so consider submitting your first update on the day you launch.  That way you know the next 50 promo codes are only a week away.

And on that note, you can reuse unused promo codes.  Your 50 codes become precious property and although reviewers have the best intentions to get to your app, some will never download it.  Rather than letting them go to waste, we learned from a blogger how to test which codes have not been used. See how to here.

Don’t mess up your placement in the new releases list. Pick a release date a few months in the future.  That way, when you launch your app you know you will hit your target date.  Once the app has been approved you can set the date back to the actual date you want to release it.  The alternative is that you miss your release date and your app will slide down the ‘new releases’ list to a few pages back.

Follow users’ behaviour. There are plenty of free services that let you add tracking code to your iOS application to give you stats on how users find and use it.  Find the right one for your type of app.  It will give you invaluable insight.

Use third-party tools for sales reports. There are a number of free services that provide better data than iTunes Connect.  We use App Annie.  You provide App Annie with your iTunes Connect credentials and it will, once a day, pull the sales data from iTunes and combine it with data they gather from the web.

Create specific pages for your iPad customers. Let’s not forget that people may search for and find your app using the iPad, so make sure you have specific pages and, even mini-sites, that are rendered properly.

Localize by country store. The world is now your oyster, so don’t forget to look beyond your borders.  Pay attention to localizations by country store to reach international customers.

About the Author

  1. Barry Jinks is Founder and CEO of Colligo Networks, the leading provider of SharePoint apps for managing email and documents in SharePoint from anywhere, on any device.  In 2011, Colligo introduced Colligo Briefcase, its iPad, iPhone and iPod app for accessing SharePoint content, which has reached the top 20 business Apple Store rankings in Canada, the US, New Zealand, Germany, the UK and Sweden.