Your great app idea does not mean squat without a customer base that is going to buy it. So how do you build a customer base or community to launch your app? Actually, you can begin to build your app’s customer base early in the development cycle, preferably in the brainstorming stage before any coding begins. Once you have your app named or brand nailed down it is time to get busy with your web 2.0 infrastructure.
Start by creating a website, build a blog (that you will actually blog on), and establish all relevant social media profiles to leverage the ability to market your product directly to your customer. I suggest at a minimum establishing a Twitter channel and Facebook fan page in the name of your app or developer company name. This is the infrastructure you will use to market directly to your customers.
Now it is time to begin to build momentum about your new app. Start by blogging about what it is exactly that your app will do (if possible), your apps functionality, the importance your app is going to mean to your customers, basically tease your customers all throughout the development process to build interest. This process should not be overlooked as it is here you begin to build relationships with potential customers. Communicate with them, answer their questions, ask them questions about what they want in an iPhone, iPad, or Android app. Any relationships you can make here may payback big dividends when you launch your app. This is the beginning of your community.
So far all of the suggestions on building a community have been pre-launch, now it is post launch and this is where you have to have a long range plan. You need to look beyond your current app or at least ahead to the update of your new app that has not even launched yet. This is counter intuitive, but necessary. You have the opportunity to build an email list through your iTunes or Android Market app descriptions. Take advantage by providing customers an email address to contact you for any issues whatsoever. An additional opportunity is to put an email capture function right into your app. The email list you build here will be huge in future app launches or other sales opportunities you want to market to your customers. Tips to create, increase, and keep a happy customer base (community) are: 1) answer customer questions in a timely manner 2) Fix any bugs ASAP 3) provide updates with customer provided feedback in mind 4) provide new content at no charge, additional levels, new functionality, but give them customers more for their money. These tips will most definitely keep your customers happy and your community growing.
Building a community for your new iPhone, iPad, or Android app does not need to be a monumental task. Plan on spending a 1/2 hour a day to complete your marketing functions and to begin building your community. Yes, there may be days you need to spend more time in this area, but I have seen this pay off and pay off big. I will provide a case study on developers who have build successful communities and have reaped the monetary rewards from doing so. MV