Sell Apple, and Apple will sell you.
If you’ve got a knack for app development, then you’ve dreamt of being featured in the App Store. Getting noticed by Apple is a surefire way to the top, and almost ensures a developer’s success by putting his/her creation at the forefront of the mobile app frontier. Through our company, PreApps, we have worked with over 2,000 apps in the last 18 months with many becoming featured by Apple. Here, we show you the staircase to the spotlight, the creme de la creme: five crucial steps to getting noticed—and featured—by Apple.
1. Highlight the latest iOS features.
Apple is self-promotional. As a developer who needs its attention, its wise to integrate your app’s functionality with the latest features of iOS. Let your app show off how great the iOS platform is, and how its features are specific to the App Store. It must be indicative of not only what you can do, but of what iOS can do for the consumer.
2. Reach out to Apple directly.
Provide insightful comments and information on how your app could increase traffic to the App Store. Networking is important in the mobile app industry. Referrals and direct contact will at least get your name into the Apple sphere of consciousness. Shoot them a message on LinkedIn, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Be wary of being over-aggressive. Less is more.
3. Make it creative, innovative, and the best in its class.
In 2014, Apple saw the inception of 1.2 million apps with 75 billion downloads to date. As such, the competition in a sea of apps is rough. Apple won’t care for apps that are difficult to navigate. Even if the concept is great, your app won’t help anyone if its purpose is buried under harsh graphics and accessory functions. It should be clean-cut, precise, and harmonious in the combination of its core function and aesthetic.
What does your target demographic need? What can consumers stand to benefit from downloading your app? Stick to your app’s five biggest strengths, and improve on those.
4. Create effective screenshots and a demo video.
The images and effects you use should be appropriate for your app’s purpose. If it’s an adventure game, use thrilling music and dynamic characters. Take an example from Clash of Clans, the iOS Store’s highest grossing game of 2014, having reported a gain of $829 million and a daily download rate of 128,896 installs. It is well-polished, high quality, and has a cartoon art style that appeals to an audience of all ages. Its success stems from using high-quality visuals to spin a classic strategy game to better fit the mobile market.
Ask yourself: Is your app stimulating? How does the art look? Is it too expensive? No aspect should be overlooked.
5. Market to family, friends, and social media.
Start by contacting family and friends to spread the word. This is where you can get your first honest reviews.
Consider creating a website for the app, complete with enticing screenshots, featured text, and an app preview video. Have eye-catching banner designs ready. Make sure the personal brand of the app fits the marketing behind it: promotion for an app for meditation won’t be the same as that of an app for car-racing, or rock-smashing. Be intuitive about the app’s personality and about how you get the word out there.
If your idea is impactful and you are able to market it effectively—with an interesting, minimalist app design—then Apple will have no trouble falling in love with you. Just make sure to remember that Apple is in love with itself too, and hunts for apps that will highlight its own unique features. Sell Apple first, and success will follow.