How to Launch a Successful Lifestyle App

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Even though your lifestyle app might be dynamic, powerful, and addresses challenges that your target audience deals with on a daily basis, there is no walk-by traffic in the app stores. The mobile app ecosystem is a hyper-competitive and oversaturated environment; for example, there are more than 2.87 million apps available on the Google Play Store. Your customers aren't going to find you by walking past your storefront, and they're unlikely to find your app by coincidence or happenstance. Ensuring subscriber awareness of your lifestyle app and the value it provides requires a multi-faceted Go-to-Market (G2M) strategy.

Smith Micro Software works closely with its carrier customers to create customized G2M strategies for each lifestyle app we launch. While each G2M strategy is different depending on the type of app and the goals of the carrier, we consider the following components to be required for a successful app launch.

Branding and "ownable" content

Your app's G2M strategy needs to reflect the overall marketing strategy of your carrier brand. However, the app brand is more than just a look and feel. It needs to reinforce brand standards and align with the users’ brand expectations.

Your ultimate goal should be to ensure the app is compelling, differentiated, credible, and worthy of a download. The app's strategic value proposition should communicate its differentiators while reinforcing your brand ethos. 

Limited-time Free Trials

Typically, lifestyle apps need to cost at least $5/month to be a profitable endeavor for the carrier and any software partner involved. As there are tons of “free” alternatives out there, providing your subscribers with a risk-free way to test-drive your app is essential to drive initial downloads. We’ve found that a 15- or 30-day free trial period is typically sufficient to prove the value of a carrier-branded lifestyle app.

To optimize the conversion rate at the end of the free trial, subscribers should have to opt-out of the paid version rather than needing to opt-in to continue using the service. This is a common subscription model that users have come to expect from mobile apps.

In-App Tutorials, Training, and Support

As is the case with any new product or service, people are going to have questions regarding functionality, pricing, and usage. For this reason, ensuring that your retail sales associates and support staff have the proper training and resources before public app launch is critical for a successful launch.

Sales enablement resources should be lightweight and easy to understand. Step-by-step activation cards, testimonial-based promo videos, FAQ documents, and objection handling guidance are helpful in this regard and will help your retail sales teams to confidently sell your new lifestyle app to subscribers.

Additionally, today's savvy digital consumers expect seamless access to in-app tutorials. Making this information available within the app supports a high user experience and is useful in driving adoption of features and functionality. Highlighting key features early on in the app experience will ensure that your users are aware of this functionality and know how to use it, which will lead to increased conversions and higher ARPU.

Proactive App Store Monitoring and Response

Carriers must be proactive in monitoring and understanding how to respond to App Store reviews, especially in the early stages of the app lifecycle. 

Don't underestimate the influence of peer-to-peer reviews. If your app has a low average rating in the App Store, people will be much less likely to download it. Plus, a bad ranking, as well as app uninstalls, will negatively affect App Store Optimization, or the "findability" of your app. You not only want to demonstrate that you're providing a high-quality app, but also that you're taking customer feedback seriously. 

Your team of responders should have a set of replies ready that they can use to edit and acknowledge accordingly. Users want to see that a negative review is acknowledged and that there is a quality, honest, and thoughtful response to the review. This adds a human element to the digital environment and shows that user opinions matter.

By the same logic, acknowledging positive reviews is prudent as well. Simply saying “Thanks for the positive review!” or “We’re glad you like the app!” is and easy and effective way of interacting with subscribers who took the time to write a review.

Comprehensive and Complimentary Promotion Strategy

For the best results, your tactics must leverage every aspect of a carrier's wide-reaching market presence, such as physical retail, digital channels, in-app, App Store, customer support, and more. Each tactic must be complimentary of additional efforts and coordinated so that it amplifies effectiveness. A comprehensive and integrated G2M strategy is more powerful and successful than one-off approaches. 

Messaging Focused on How Your Paid App Benefits Users

People will continue to pay for services that enrich their daily lives, solve their challenges, or both. Ideally, a carrier's digital lifestyle app should check both boxes. 

For example, Smith Micro’s white-label family safety solution, SafePath®, streamlines several aspects of our connected lifestyle such as digital parenting, family check-ins, and device security. Tier-1 mobile operators have found success with SafePath because it combines several different feature sets – such as parental controls, location services, and support for complimentary IoT devices such as wearables and pet trackers – in one app. Mobile subscribers are willing to pay $7/month for a unified service that makes life easier on multiple fronts.  

To ensure that SafePath remains relevant and continues to generate revenue for our carrier customers, Smith Micro is continuously adding new functionality to the platform that connected consumers will find valuable. Some examples include SafePath DriveMode – a feature set that promotes safe driving habits – and SafePath Home, a module that enables families to manage and control non-cellular devices such as gaming consoles and tablets within the connected home.

Interested in learning more about proven tactics for app marketing? Read our How to Build App Awareness and Drive App Installs blog.

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