This originally started out as a brief link-style post to Aleen Simms’s recently released guide for preparing to launch an app, App Launch Map. However, I feel I have enough to say about it to warrant something a little more substantial.
I volunteered to be a beta reader for App Launch Map. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to glean a lot from it, as I had already launched an app and had read just everything I could possibly find about indie app promotion, from endless lists of marketing strategies to wild success stories and painful postmortems. What more was there to say?
I mean, there’s no formula for success in the App Store. This is often distressing to people like me, who literally spend most of their time thinking about and crafting formulas in code. There’s hope, though, in that marketing is largely about storytelling. Storytelling, like programming, is a craft that one can improve upon with practice and guidance. That’s where App Launch Map comes in.
Along with a bunch of really practical advice about things like building your product page, creating a website and press kit, and contacting journalists, App Launch Map begins with an incredibly useful section on crafting your app’s story. If you don’t have a strong, cohesive story surrounding your app—what it does, why it matters, who it’s for— it’s darn near impossible to talk about it to others in a clear, confident, and convincing way.
As I read through the guide on my iPad Pro, I opened up a blank note next to it and began to apply the step-by-step writing prompts to Snapthread. I quickly realized that Snapthread’s focus had changed so much from version 1.0 that I had sort of lost track of its narrative. As a result, all of my marketing efforts have suffered, from my screenshots to my emails to the press.
Aleen’s guide has brought me clarity. I just spent 3-4 hours creating new screenshots for Snapthread, and for the first time, I’m proud of them. Next on my list is a new press kit.
If, like me, you struggle with marketing, go check out App Launch Map. It’s $40 and includes all future updates for free. If you’re an indie dev with slow sales and are thinking about throwing some money into advertising, consider buying this instead. It’s very likely that there are things you can do to improve upon your existing product page/website that will help you more than buying ads.