There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. Here are some things that can improve the chances that your app won’t be a dud when it gets released.
- If your app is the Instagram for Tumblr, a mix of Pinterest with a dash of Google Hangouts, or something of the like, forget about it. Be the You of You with a mix of You with a dash of ease.
- Make sure you have an user experience visionary who’s a member of your target audience on your core development team
- Have the app made by developers who truly understand the problem the app solves. For games, this is some type of boredom or subconscious sense of ability superiority. For productivity apps, be the quickest way someone can solve a particular problem within an user experience that represents something about the user’s current or desired lifestyle. Facebook had a very unique strategy for this which we’ll get into in the next post.
- Beta launch the app with exclusive access given primarily to people considered influencers in your market.
- Get your pre-launch beta sign-up page featured on betali.st... or at least, startupli.st.
- Make sure your app or site can be viewed with relatively the same quality and functionality on each platform it’s available on. Avoid bad reviews from outliers this way. Bad reviews typically rise to the top of Google search for some reason. 54% of people, according to my private 1-man guestimation research team, perform searches on new apps before they use/download them.
- Get as many niche publications to write rave reviews about your app as you can
- Make sure your app is Googlable with third-party sources listed from 2-10 in search results under your official site’s listing at No. 1 (Ensure this by having your app’s name in your official site’s domain name and ensuring you’ve claimed the site in Google Webmaster Tools).
- Remember that a Facebook fan page will have little to no effect on your viral success. Really. Just because everyone else is jumping off a bridge with moderate success doesn’t mean you have to, too.
- Have a Twitter account for the app that further helps your users solve the app’s underlying problem while serving as a public form of customer support. Tell as many good jokes as you can here.
- Post entries about the app casually in forums or to answer relevant questions in Yahoo! Answers and maybe even Quora
- Have features in your app that make it easy for and/or incentivizes your users to share their experiences, activity, or accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter, (maybe) Tumblr, and Google+.