App User Lifecycle

Mobile Startup Best Practices for Your First App Launch

What are some best practices for startups who are about to launch their first mobile app? As a Founder or CMO, first determine whether you believe a mobile app is critical in providing your target customers access to the problem you are solving, or if acts as an extension of an experience that could be better served via desktop.

As a start, first do your customer development research to understand the needs of your potential customers, and where online they are currently solving these problems. For example, if you are interested in launching an e-learning tool, find out what type(s) of content your customers want to consume (video, games, quizzes, books) and if this is generally most often consumed via mobile, then build for mobile-first.

Next, there are a number of key activities you should perform in advance of a launch. As a general guideline:

– Perform customer development research with your target customer groups. Find out if what you plan on offering is solving a real pain. Incorporate these insights in to your product development roadmap and marketing message. **Note** – this stage is often missed and is highly critical in your company’s future success.

– Determine the key features to build that will solve the the problems your customer are experiencing. Also look at your differentiation points and competitive landscape – what is your ‘secret sauce’?

– Develop your marketing messages – what’s your succinct value proposition and PR angle?

– Build your early evangelist list – draw these from your customer interviews, friends and family, and early beta user groups.

Set up your mobile mar-tech with the following tools:

1) Attribution to measure user acquisition campaign effectiveness,

2) Analytics + engagement tool such as CleverTap to track your users’ behavior and execute campaigns to keep them active on your app, and

3) Email marketing (if applicable) as an additional re-engagement technique. There are many more, but at a bare minimum set these up to have a working ‘engine’ so as you start to put dollars in to acquisition, you have a working, and not leaky, retention funnel.

– Run small pre-launch test campaigns (with A/B tests) to determine which channels & demo’s download your app at the lowest CPI’s. Also start to learn which customer segments have the highest net promoter scores and are therefore the most likely to share.

– Determine 1-3 key metrics to track with goals, beyond # of downloads and active users. This could be LTV, or # of swipes, ratio of user types on the app, etc.

When you have found channels and customer segments that are repeatedly downloading, and staying engaged and retained on your app, go one step further and hit your short-term goals for your key metrics.

Have you made it? Congrats. Now you’re ready for launch.

For more mobile engagement tips and best practices, check out my Quora channel here. 

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