How to launch apps
Again and again
Do you remember when Facebook launched? Or when Twitter or Instagram did? Tik Tok maybe? No, me neither. When these startups launched it was not a big deal; launching our apps should not be either.
Launch early and often
If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late. - Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn founder)
Reasons to launch include:
Market test our idea, before we have a product to share. See how much interest it generates. Testing Our Business Ideas explores ways to do this.
Share a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) through different channels, e.g. social media and on-line communities. Analyse the response and adapt. The MVP should do something useful, but not be a complete solution. Crafting Our Business Plan explores channel types further.
See how well product updates land with users, e.g. Google tests button design variants with subsets of users.
Airbnb relaunched many times before finding a successful approach. The first launch was based on people sleeping on air beds; hence, the Air in the name.
Options to consider include:
Soft launch. A simple web page with a short description and register interest button meets the need, e.g. Chairing.it. Here’s how you can Get Your Own Website setup.
Friends and Family. Share our product or idea with those we know and trust. Observe how they interact or respond. Feedback is likely to be biased so use with care.
Network contacts and strangers. Approach those we do not know well in a friendly, open way. Focus on the potential benefits to them. I engaged in conversations with people in cafes and asked them to play my iPhone game Conxy. Many did and I got some very useful feedback.
Social media. Branding Ourselves explains why and where I share things, including Twitter and LinkedIn.
Online communities. Launch to every relevant community we are a part of. Understand how they work, e.g. Sub Reddit’s have different rules. Write in a conversational way with a focus on the value we offer. Options include: Product Hunt, Hacker News, The Next Web and Indie Hackers.
New product feature. New offerings represent an opportunity to create excitement and engagement. Making Our Ideas Contagious explores ways to help, including using triggers and social currency. The ability to directly engage people with relevant content, e.g. via email, can be highly effective as discussed in 1000 True Fans.
Press. User Growth explores publicity options, including creating a press release on your website, e.g. see Scarper app website Press section.
30 Steps Mobile App Launch post by Apptentive
How to Build a Billion Dollar App book by George Berkowski
How I Develop App Ideas post by Phil Martin
Launching is no big deal and there’s no limit to how many times we can do it. So as Mrs. Doyle in Father Ted would say, Go on, go on.