Launching an iPhone App – Pre-Release Essentials

“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.” Joyce Brothers


The prerelease of an app is as, or even more, important as the actual release. You need to iron out all the details during the prerelease stage to make sure that all bases are covered when you finally release that app. Here are seven things you need to remember for the prerelease of an app:

Perfect Pitch – Singing Your Praises (Blue box)

The pitch about your app should explain its key features and benefits. This is different from a full-blown press release that will come in handy once you release your app. Here are some tips in preparing the perfect pitch:

  • Prepare different versions of different lengths and purpose. Start with three versions: single sentence, single paragraph and few paragraphs long.
  • Be concise. Leave out the extenders and stick to your app’s key selling points.
  • Make it easy to read and understand, especially if you’re targeting busy bloggers or journalists to write about your app.
  • Be truthful.
  • Make it interesting so the press and your target market will pick it up.

Branding – Your Logo 

I cannot understate the value of a company logo. It will establish the connection between your company and your app. Thus, you have to make sure that it’s already available at the prerelease stage. Your company logo should:

  • Have a high-resolution version that is downloadable from your website or included in your press kit to make it accessible to press people or to anyone who needs it.
  • Use scalable, vector-based image and saved as an EPS file for use in the print medium. A large 300 dpi bitmap image saved in a lossless compression format like TIFF or PNG will suffice.

In addition to your company logo, you should also have copies of the logos of your partner establishments as your contracts may require the inclusion of these logos in the press coverage.

App Icon (Red box)

Your app’s icon is important because it will be the face of your app. For the prerelease stage, your icon should:

  • Have a high-resolution version for press and marketing purposes. This will also be useful when you design other elements like your app’s website and Twitter profile background image.
  • Use scalable, vector-based EPS files. Large 300 dpi bitmap files like PNG or TIFF will suffice. If it’s in PNG format, the background should be transparent. If it’s in TIFF or high quality JPEG format, a default white background should be used.

App Logo

Your app logo is as important as your app icon. These two items will be the faces that will represent your app. Thus, you have to exert great effort in working on these two items. The things you need to remember for your app icon are likewise applicable for your app logo.

Screenshots (Green box)

Screenshots are highly important during the prerelease stage. Since your app has yet to be released, people would most likely have no idea about what your app can do. Hence, some screenshots to exhibit your app in action will surely help. But we’re not talking about any random screenshot. Your screenshot should:

  • Show how fun and/or productive your app is. For instance, if you’re releasing a game app, show a screenshot of the game in action with the player earning a high score.
  • Exhibit your app as being used to its full potential. It should appear realistic and genuine.
  • Show that your app looks valuable and worth purchasing.

Video Trailer

People are highly visual. While screenshots and other still images are lovely to look at, videos about your app will even be more visually appealing. It will also make describing your app easier. Here are some things you can do to your video trailer:

  • Make it engaging.
  • Show a video walk-through of your app.
  • Use a movie-style approach complete with credits, music and visual effects.
  • Upload it in YouTube as it has the potential of being viral.
  • Make sure that your trailer is an actual representation of the app that Apple’s review team has approved.
  • Release the trailer before releasing your app to help boost awareness. This will allow you to preempt reviewers who may want to create trailers about your app but end up with an inaccurate depiction.
  • Invest on a high-quality video trailer. It does not have to be so expensive but you may want to refrain from filming your trailer with your iPhone or iPad. Make sure to achieve proper lighting and focus.
  • You can use screen capture software that records your app running in the iOS Simulator for a high-quality resolution.

Dedicated Website

Your app should have its own website. This will make your app accessible to the press and to consumers who need additional information. Here are some tips to help you build that website:

  • Web Hosting. Find an affordable web hosting company that will meet your specific needs. There are a lot of companies in the market but you must get recommendations from other developers. Make sure that its server uptime is reliable with very little or no offline periods. The service provider should also have a 24/7 support system that can resolve server issues quickly. I usually use Bluehost for this kind of site – cheap, reliable, and unlimited domains.
  • URL. Keep your website’s URL as short as possible to avoid being truncated especially in the iPhone version. It should have recall such that it can be easily associated with your app. You can use web forwarding services so your app’s URL can be redirected to a page in your company website. In the alternative, you can opt to use sub-domains. Your URL should likewise be search engine optimized by using descriptive and keyword-friendly terms.
  • SEO. Your website should be search engine optimized. Don’t take for granted title tags as they appear on search engine results. Description and keyword meta tags are likewise important as search engines analyze these when crawling your site. Your website’s content should be rich in optimized keywords to improve your search engine rankings. Images should also include the alt text parameter so search engines can read the intended description. Make sure all your links are working so as not to affect how your site is indexed in major search engines.

COMMENTS

  • Chaz June 27, 2012

    Carter, Quick question read through a little bit of the blog. Was wondering though what is your average budget per app? and also what ad service(s) do you use? Thanks for the feedback

  • Carter Thomas Carter June 28, 2012

    Hey Chaz,

    When you say budget, do you mean cost to develop or marketing budget? Marketing budgets definitely range in scope. If I was working on a big app ($50K+) I would recommend having at LEAST 50% of that for a marketing budget. You can get by with barebones and use a 10% figure, but almost always it’s relative to the size of the development project.

    For ad services I use Revmob which you can check out here https://monetization.revmob.com/ – these guys pay me about 4x what anyone else does. Its one line of code to implement and you can control the entire campaign from the dashboard so you don’t need to do app updates if you want to change something. Some of my apps have hit $120 eCPM using these guys, which is about 100x what I make on AdMob. True story.

    Hope that helps.

    Carter

  • Clem November 27, 2012

    Where do I go to have an app developed without getting it ripped off/pirated in the process?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas November 27, 2012

    You can pretty much go anywhere as long as they sign an NDA and all that. Typically the better their english, the more you can trust them with legal issues. At least that’s been my experience.

    Good luck!

    Carter

  • Dan Williams January 5, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    Thank you for what you contribute here, this resource is gold! Why do you need to set up an individual Website for each app as opposed to creating a page for each app as part of your company website? is it beneficial from a SEO perspective or is it simply seen as being more professional?
    Thanks for your time,
    Dan

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas January 9, 2013

    It’s kind of a personal preference. Rule of thumb:

    If you’re building a brand, each page should be a new app.
    If you’re promoting the app, the website should be standalone.

    Good luck!

    Carter

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