Akhil Chandra is the Founder & CEO of Studio Mosaic (www.studiomosaicapps.com), a full service mobile app studio that offers app development and marketing services to clients across the world. Akhil has over 10 years of experience in the technology and marketing space, that includes working with some of the biggest names in the telecom and mobile app industry in India. At Studio Mosaic, Akhil oversees the business development and marketing divisions and regularly consults app entrepreneurs, startups and large enterprises on their app promotion and app store strategies.
Do you have a great app with decent downloads and positive reviews on the App Store? Are you wondering how to get your app featured by Apple? What if I told you that all it could take is a simple email? Read on to learn about the 8 simple tips to pitch your app correctly and achieve the holy grail.
Since you are reading this article then you probably understand that the best app marketing strategy to boost your downloads without spending a single penny is to get featured by Apple in say, the ‘Best New Apps’, ‘What’s Hot’, ‘Hot This Week’ or other similar categories. Depending on the country and the category your app gets featured in, your daily downloads can go up from 5x to 50x and at absolutely no cost! The problem, however, is that no one knows the criteria for getting featured. And Apple will obviously not let us in on the secret 🙂
Putting together my experience of working with over 250 apps in the past two years, ten of which have been featured till date, I have come up with these 8 tips that you cannot ignore if you plan to reach out to Apple.
1. It All Starts With The App
I know this is plain obvious but it is surprising how easily many of us overlook this simple fact. The basic purpose of an app is to serve a genuine consumer need and it should also, in some way, be unique or different. This should be the primary goal. So if it’s a re-skinned game or yet another calculator app, then don’t even think about trying to write to Apple. Be honest with yourself on the quality of your app. Remember Apple always chooses an app that has a WOW factor for its audience – one that looks good and would benefit the consumer.
Once you have a truly differentiated product which you are really proud of, here is what you should do –
2. Reach Out To The Right Person
The App Store has an app store manager for every category and for different geographies. So there is one for US, one for Europe, one for the developing nations and so on. However what is important is for you to figure out where the appeal of your app lies. For instance, if you have a localised e-commerce app then it will be useful for the iPhone users of that country. Or if you have a global app with a worldwide appeal, say a photo sharing app, then you could reach out to the US editor, since US has the highest no. of app store users and therefore the highest impact. There are many different ways to find out the relevant store manager for your app. One handy tip would be to use a professional networking site like LinkedIn to filter out the right people and then figuring out the email id through free tools like Email Hunter. You may also contact other senior developers/publishers in your region to get information on the app store manager.
3. Keep The Subject Line Short And Personalized
A typical working professional gets over 50 emails per day. Apple app store editors would possibly be getting over 100, if not more. So how do you ensure your email and your app stands out in the clutter?
Here is a trick that I often use to attract attention – Personalize the subject line. So to reach out to a person named Jack, address ‘Jack’ directly in the subject line itself along with the name of your app. Additionally, spell out the exact purpose of your email in the subject line. So the subject line in the email to Jack could be, ‘For Jack – App Store Feature Request for xxx’ where xxx stands for your app name.
4. What’s In It For Me?
One of the most important things that Apple considers is whether the app in question is something that users are often searching for and therefore if it appeals to them. Additionally, it also considers the iOS compatibility of your app and how well it makes use of the latest OS features. Therefore, if your app is using the newly launched gesture controls and widget application of the latest iOS 9, be sure to mention it in your email.
A good way to highlight these aspects would be by first writing a short 1-2 line description of the consumer need gap your app serves and follow it up by highlighting the latest Apple iOS features you have used. If you are writing around the time of the new OS launch then it would good to mention that your app is compatible with the newly released iOS version.
5. Social Proof
Social verification helps build a credible case for your app, especially when little information is available about them. So it is imperative that you help the reviewer by making the decision making process easy for him. Talk about noteworthy achievements to build your case. It could be coverage in other leading publications or the fact that you have got few thousand downloads in the space of a few weeks, some good 5 star reviews, a highly engaged FB page or a high retention rate etc. Discover what the app highlight is and be sure to mention it. And remember that sometimes it’s not about the achievements but about the potential. Your app may be serving a genuine customer need which has hitherto been ignored, in which case you should highlight this aspect.
If you are requesting Apple to feature your app then you need to give them the confidence that you are a genuine publisher who means business and is there to serve your customers. Getting featured means increased downloads and Apple needs to know that you are ready to manage this increased traffic. How do you do this? Well for starters, make sure you have a website – even a simple one pager would do. But it is important to have one that clearly showcases how your users can get in touch with you in case of queries. Presence on Facebook and Twitter with regular activity is another plus. Having a press kit is great. A blog would be good too. The idea is to have multiple touch points for your users to get in contact with you. Once you have this, be sure to mention all the links at the bottom of the email before your parting sentence.
7. Don’t Be Pushy
Once the above checklist is ticked and you have a nicely drafted email highlighting the key benefits and achievements of your app, sign off by saying that you would love to hear their feedback for improvement. Even if you don’t mean it, it is good to show that you are humble and are willing to make enhancements, whatever needed, to improve your chances of being featured.
8. Do It Sooner Than Later
I’ve been keeping a close watch on the apps that are featured on Apple since 2010 and have observed that the newly released apps (in the past 2-4 months) have a much better chance at getting featured. This is probably because Apple wants to give the newer apps a good chance at making it to the top of the charts too, while also ensuring that the big names are kept on their toes.
Keep At It!
Finally after sending out that email, don’t be dejected if you don’t hear from Apple immediately. Wait for a few days and then follow up again. If you still don’t get a response, work on your app to make changes, enhancements, improvements and then try again!
And if you do happen to get featured, then make sure you leverage it to reach out to other top publications for coverage. Remember app marketing is an ongoing activity and often just one coverage/feature can set off a chain reaction to get your app immensely more exposure.
For more on this topic check out the following posts: