According to recent research, only about 0.5% of mobile apps are ultimately successful. And one of the biggest and most consistent contributors to that failure is a struggle to gain traction, with 67.8% of mobile apps never reaching 1,000 downloads.
With so many apps struggling to ever make it beyond the launch, it’s crucial to have a dedicated launch strategy in place. While your app needs to be great, valuable, and intuitive for users to stay engaged, you’ll struggle to get visibility and downloads without a proper go-to-market strategy.
That’s what we’re here to talk about today. In this post, we’re going to go over creating the only go-to-market strategy for mobile apps that you’ll ever need.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is often used for software as a service (SaaS) tools and physical products to help them fine-tune their messaging, develop and execute a marketing strategy, facilitate testing, and ultimately launch their products successfully.
You can create a GTM strategy for your mobile apps, too — and you should. This strategy will detail the process you’ll use to launch your mobile app to potential customers, bringing it to the market, and getting things off on the right foot.
Your mobile app GTM strategy could include research and decision-making around the following:
We know this is a lot to consider, and it can become extremely overwhelming. Don’t worry — we’re going to walk you through it!
Ready to put together your mobile app go-to-market strategy? Let’s go through the process step by step.
The first thing that you need to do — and absolutely before doing anything else — is to define your product. You really need to understand it.
What exactly can your product do? What features does it have that make it unique, and that make it valuable?
What needs will it meet, what problems does it solve?
And, just as importantly, who can it help? What types of users will love your product and why?
Let’s look at an example. The site AllTrails has extensive information about over 200,000 nature trails, with professional and user reviews. Their mobile app has this same information but in a mobile-friendly format, making it easy to sort trails by length, rating, difficulty, and traits like “dog-friendly.” And, even better, it has the added bonus of letting users navigate on the trail by downloading the mobile app onto their phone.
This is a specific problem that it’s solving: access to trail information no matter where you are, while you also have the ability to use the app to navigate. That’s your value proposition, and it appeals to average hikers who need some help figuring out where they’re going.
Monetization strategies are essential to consider up front, because you’ll need to implement them early on. They determine how you make revenue, so you’ll want to choose carefully.
There are a few different app monetization options with extensive pros and cons, but here are the basics:
Keep in mind that many brands rely on a combination of different monetization strategies to maximize income and increase the odds of generating revenue from different audience types.
The game app Tile Crush, for example, is a “free” app and has the following monetization options:
This sets up a fail-safe scenario; at the very least, users are generating revenue by watching ads. But if the ads are disrupting their otherwise enjoyable experience, they can pay to remove them. Users who really love the app can pay to purchase additional features to help them progress through the game. No matter what, the app is generating some revenue from all user levels.
After you’ve selected the monetization strategies you want to incorporate, it will be easier to then choose how you want to price different aspects of your app.
When choosing pricing, you’ll want to consider the following:
Research is going to be imperative here, but you can also survey beta testers during the next step of the GTM strategy to find out what they’re willing to pay, and what exactly they’re willing to pay for. That can give you a good starting point.
Beta testing is an important part of your mobile app GTM strategy, because sometimes third-party users are going to have feedback that you (or even an entire team) might not have considered.
It’s important to have members of your own target audience test the app so you can get a realistic understanding of how real users that you want to reach will experience it.
If you’re creating a fitness app that shows beginners how to do basic exercises, for example, you may want to have an expert physical trainer review the videos to make sure everything is correct, but the beta test itself should be on users who are actually new to exercise. Otherwise, you won’t know if the videos are breaking things down enough to really explain well, and the app could fall flat.
When beta testing, make sure you ask the following:
Make sure you leave plenty of time from the beta testing to the initial launch so there’s time to make any changes needed before the app goes to market.
Your app store pages are going to play a huge part in your GTM success. Users need to navigate to your app page, view it, and hit the download button; if they don’t like what they see, they’ll just click away.
Your page must:
If you need help, you can follow our best app description copywriting tips.
You can also see a fantastic example here, which features PictureThis - Plant Identifier.
Their images show exactly what the interface looks like and it highlights their most valuable features — identifying, diagnosing, and caring for plants. Their description is to the point, and full of keywords. This is a good model to follow.
You need your onboarding process to be exceptional.
Your app onboarding process is where you essentially welcome users to your app and show them the ropes. Many apps have some sort of guided walk-through or brief tutorial, showing them where different key features are or how to play a game.
We cannot stress this enough: People will not continue to engage with your app if they can’t figure out how to use it or they don’t quickly see value from it.
Think about your onboarding process carefully. You don’t want it to be ineffective because it’s too short, but you also don’t want it to take so long that users get impatient.
The following best practices are often good to consider:
Here’s a great example from the Plant ID app we’ve already looked at. Their onboarding process immediately shows users how to take pictures of plants so that the app can properly ID it and offer relevant care tips.
Find more inspiring app onboarding examples in our post.
Make sure that your app analytics is set up before launch, because you don’t want to miss a single snippet of data. You want to have data about user behavior and app performance right from day one.
Choosing an app-focused analytics platform is crucial. We strongly recommend looking for an analytics tool that offers the following:
You need to have a strong marketing plan, and you need to execute it well in order to build and maintain momentum.
The second you take your app to market, your marketing campaigns need to start… which means you’ll want to have them planned out and ready to go before that happens.
So, the first thing you’ll need to do is to create your marketing plan, and determine which platforms you want to market on. While this will depend heavily on where your audience is expected to be, you’ll also want to think about capturing users at different touch points and different stages of the sales funnel.
For example, someone who wants to keep track of all their clothing and get outfit inspiration might do the following:
Keep the following marketing channels in mind:
When you’re creating your actual marketing campaigns, keep these best practices under consideration:
After launch, the work isn’t over, we’re sorry to say. The early days after you implement your mobile app GTM strategy and you do, indeed, go to market, can be essential.
You’ll want to keep a close eye on what’s happening in your analytics and watch for user reviews.
Make sure to monitor the following:
Know that you may need to pivot over time, and keeping a close eye on your analytics will be crucial. You’ll be able to spot issues before they become colossal ones and lose you serious users or revenue, and you can also spot great optimization opportunities to improve the user journey.
Taking an app from idea conception all the way to a fully-formed product isn’t easy, and neither is taking it to market with a successful launch.
That being said, the right mobile app go-to-market strategy can have a huge impact on your potential success. By following the steps detailed above, you’re much more likely to get off to a good start and to find real revenue through your app.
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