Appromoter MD Ed Vause presents the ten commandments of app marketing

#3 – First impressions count

Appromoter MD Ed Vause presents the ten commandments of app marketing
Ed Vause is the managing director of appromoter, an app marketing service for developers and journalists. Click through to read the first and second commandments of app marketing.

Imagine that you've got a shop. Not any old shop mind, but a teeny tiny one that's only a few feet wide.

Now imagine that the shop is not on the high street but on a back street. Finally, imagine that all the people passing your shop are sprinting by and paying very little attention.

Then imagine that when they do come in, you've got to slog your guts out to make them take something home, even if it's free.

Welcome to the world of the App Store – a place where your average browsing customer has the attention span of a gnat. As such, you've got an incredibly small opportunity to persuade them that your app is worth a look.

That said, it's amazing how little importance some developers place on this make-or-break window. That's why the Third Commandment is: First Impressions Count and here's how thou shalt obey…

It's all in the name

Don't try to be too clever with your app's name. Customers rely on the name to give them information about what the app does for them.

If your app is a cupcake-baking app then call it 'Cupcake Baker' or '1000 Cupcake recipes'. In other words, call it something intuitive and obvious. 'Mama's Secrets' or 'Sweet Paradise' won't do you any favours in the App Store.

You've got just 24 characters (including spaces) before the name truncates, so bear this in mind. It also looks as if there is a benefit in including a key search term in your app title, although this debate is ongoing.

Eye candy

Do not underestimate the importance of your app icon.

App Store search results contain four pieces of information and the icon is the most prominent of the four. Your objective is to visualise the benefits of your app without the use of words.

Your app name is one of the other four so don't include your app name or any other words in your icon. If artistic creation is not your strength then employ a specialist.

One approach is to find an icon you really like, contact the developer and ask them who designed it. If you'd like a recommendation then the guys at appromoter can point you in the right direction of some talented icon designers.

Be top heavy

Assuming that people do click through, you've now got to hit them with a great app description.

The first two lines are the most important as this is the point at which the text truncates and the user has to click on 'more' to reveal the rest of the text.

If possible start your app description with an amazing review, quote, score or other proof of past success such as 'from the creators of the multi-award winning XXXX that has had XXX downloads in XXX countries.'

Customers respect pedigree and achievements so don't be afraid to shout about yours.

Once you've described the game then give the customer some bullet point key features. Don't forget, your app description can be changed at will, so keep it updated with great review comments, awards you've won or news on how well it is doing on the app stores – '#1 in 10 countries!' – stuff like that.

Sexy screenshots

The final tool in your armoury is your screenshots. For the App Store you can augment your screenshots with text or animations to highlight key features and benefits.

Note that when sending screenshots to journalists and reviewers you should send straight shots without augmentation or you risk losing your opportunity to get reviewed.

We also recommend making your iPhone screenshot landscape just like your iPad one. Sure, the customer has to turn their phone on the side but it looks a lot nicer.

And the rest

Hopefully, this has given you some good pointers on getting your app into good shape to make it attractive to your potential customers.

As for quality, press releases, media outreach, videos, keyword analysis, social networks and the myriad of other things you need to get your app noticed – we'll leave them for our future Commandments.

To find out more about appromoter and the services it offers, take a look at the company's website or receive up-to-the-minute updates via Twitter.