App launched. How to make it popular?

Julia Alexeenko
Jul 26, 2018

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The success of app launch is very much a question of finding your own solution for the classic “chicken or the egg problem”. To launch well, you need a lot of clients (who will book your service), and to attract more clients, you need more chauffeurs. Young companies often fail to get one of those two magic ingredients — because they think of an app-based system as of an ultimate remedy for their business.

But let’s face the fact — it’s 2018. An app-platform is a must-have. To “sell” the apps, you still need a bulletproof marketing plan. Over 50,000 apps are being released every single month. This means, to create a stable users community, your app has to stand really strong. Let’s see how to market the app from the very beginning.

What to do before launching the app?

The thumb-rule is “start as early as possible”.

The very first step is to analyze the local market situation. This includes:

  • Learn as much as possible about your competitors. Here you can find our marketing brief template with the questions to answer.
  • Try to find your unique market niche. Knowing the competitors gives you an idea of what you can do differently to create a strong brand that will be special to the customers.
  • Work on your pricing policy. Dumping can work well for young and furious brands. But it is a short-term strategy. You cannot attract clients by low prices alone forever. Another important part of your pricing is the drivers billing. Work out some reliable schemes that’d motivate drivers to work more.
  • taxi advertising costs

  • Create an integrate brand strategy. An example: Kaiian, our Saudi-Arabian client decided to become a “family-member” brand. Ever since, Kaiian behaves and advertises this way, and is profiting from enormous word-of-mouth waves.
  • Learn to know your target audience. Musts: Who you’re talking to? How to reach them? What are you going to share? How will you make your promo something worth talking about?
  • Try to get as much info as possible about the local ways of using popular communication channels. Our clients in Arabic countries enjoy the promotional power of Snapchat at full blast, while in the US the channel is losing its audience. Such things can be a real promotional goldmine. This and the previous steps may require some professional help, so we advice hiring a local marketing agency. Their prices are usually more competitive, while their knowledge of local specifics can be impressive.
  • how to promote an app

  • Start your outreach activities prior to launch. 6-8 weeks in advance is normally a good timing. Why so early? Because it gives people the time to get used to your services, which results in more clients. The same applies to drivers: the earlier they know how attractive the company is, the bigger the chance they’ll try working for it.
  • Set clear goals for your taxi app marketing campaign. Develop clear key performance indicators to be able to check up the success at every stage. And yes, monitor progress constantly: every day, week, month, year.

Kate Makovetskaya, Business development director in Russia (Zorka.Mobi Creative Mobile Performance Agency):

«Defining the key performance indicators is especially difficult for a new, unique product on the market. Analytical data from past advertising campaigns can make it easier. If there’s no data from the past available, try this:

  • Analyze the average market benchmarks use them as a starting point.
  • Use the experience of the market experts.

Anyway, after launching a marketing campaign, KPIs will need to be adjusted.»

Now, let’s deal with this horrifying term, “outreach activities”. Basically, what are the ways to reach out for an app-based taxi company?

There are two types of publicity you’ll work for before your app’s launch. First one is aimed to attracting drivers. Another one is attracting customers.
taxi marketing

Use social media for taxi marketing

To reach out to more drivers, you should know what communication channels they use. Uber has launched tremendous Facebook Ads campaigns before going live in San Francisco, because Uber’s marketers told them potential drivers spend a lot of time on Facebook. Where do your potential drivers spend time? Maybe they’re not on social media at all and you should rely on word-of-mouth initiated by a couple of “ambassador drivers”?

Ensure media publicity to promote your app

Getting some local media publicity is another way to breed curiosity among drivers-to-be. Think of TV, radio, newspapers. Share your story and tell how your service is different from everything they’ve had before. Small media often publish for free. Pitching to app review websites is also a good method, but take care you pitch to the source your target audience really reads. The more coverage prior to the launch date, the closer you get to solving the “chicken or the egg problem”

Promote your app online to get customers

As to the customers, one of the basic things to do is initial advertisements. To use it productivity to the max, start in advance. Use online promotion tools, such as Google AdWords to draw more users for your app. You can also launch Facebook and Instagram ads (or any other social media campaign) to prepare people to the app launch.

Online promotions are generally not so expensive as old-school offline methods, and are very effective: they provide widest targeting opportunities. However, online advertising is something needing proficiency and experience, so we advice you hiring a digital marketing agency to get it done well.

Do not forget to state your online presence. Now we’re talking about online promotion, mind this: creating and maintaining social media accounts is extremely important. Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, you name it — are allowing you to create real customer communities.
launch app
Things you place on social media also can go viral, because it’s easy to share content there. The more viral your promo is, the more clients you get, and the less you have to invest in advertising

Optimize your apps for store distribution

The last, but may be the most important thing ever needed before launching your app: a clear, bulletproof strategy for optimizing your apps for the store distribution. Here you can read our ultimate guides on App Store and Google Play store optimization. The first steps in optimization you can take on your own. Most of the tools you’ll need are accessible for free (at least for a trial period) and only require some serious analytical teamwork. On the later stages, it might be helpful to hire mobile marketers or ASO specialists to do the tough work.

Planning a budget for marketing activities

How to prepare a financial plan for marketing activities before the app launch?

Kate Makovetskaya, Business development director in Russia (Zorka.Mobi Creative Mobile Performance Agency):

«Ideally, everyone wants to see a beautiful “one-size-fits-all” budget plan. Sad enough, such thing will never be adequate to a real situation.

  • Collect enough information for a financial forecast. Use the data from successful cases, references and insights from other companies. Your product team or/and a marketing agency you’ll hire will need to provide realistic benchmarks.
  • Plan the essential marketing investments. Those will depend on how exactly you’re planning to launch the app: will it be a soft-launch campaign first, or an immediate, aggressive push-campaign? The specifics of the market, the number of competitors on it, and many other variables are to be considered while making a financial plan.
  • Be prepared the return on marketing investments is influenced by many factors as well. Monetization model, the reasonableness of it, how much it’s planned to earn from one user, etc. — a realistic financial plan can only emerge from all this data put together.

It’s clever to plan a marketing budget allowing certain number fluctuations: this will let you make more flexible decisions in the future.»

Okay, now you know the basics of preparing your app to a successful launch. Let’s proceed to the next step.

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