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Launching your app? Tips to get into and featured in iTunes

Launching your app? Tips to get into and featured in iTunes

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So you’ve built an app, hurrah! Take a minute and congratulate yourself. That took some work. However, the work has just begun. You want your app to be successful, right? Enterprising programmers have started creating mobile apps for just about every task and situation under the sun. There are now iPhone mobile apps for everything from marking reminders on a calendar, navigating by foot or by car, browsing library catalogs, reserving hotel rooms, restaurant tables, concert tickets and seats on flights, trains or cross-country buses, checking gambling odds and even finding clean restrooms.

Needless to say, the applications market has become flooded, which has made it more of a challenge for programmers, developers, and startup CEOs to get their apps noticed. The best shot at getting visibility for a new iPhone mobile app is to successfully submit it via Apple’s iTunes Store and to have it featured therein. However, with new apps popping up all over the place like mushrooms on a forest floor, it certainly seems as though attaining a featured spot for an iPhone app is harder than it looks. Fortunately, programmers, developers and startup CEOs will have a better chance of getting their apps featured in iTunes by taking these steps:

Bring Your “A” Game
In order for an iPhone app to have a fighting chance, it must first be excellently designed. Apps designed and promoted by programmers, developers and entrepreneurs who are just in it for a quick buck are often shoddily built, as are most products fashioned in such a nature. This can cause an abundance of design and usability problems, which may prove fatal to revenue.

On the other hand, if programmers and developers are passionate about designing unique and usable software that fulfills its users needs, with just the right marketing, the money should follow soon after. With a neat, professionally designed user interface, a proven user base, and a healthy sales track record, Apple will take notice. Also, if an app is designed in such a way that it highlights the best features of the iOS platform, that will better the odds of attaining a coveted featured spot in the iTunes web store.

Look and Listen
This sounds really basic, but trust us on the power of listening to feedback. It also pays for programmers, developers and startup entrepreneurs to keep an ear to the ground as far as software trends are concerned. Invariably, ideas abound on both sides of the table at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), for example, and many can be gleaned from YouTube videos filmed at this event. Nonetheless, in this day and age, random people in such random places as grocery stores, bars, coffee shops and public transit vehicles just might wish aloud that there was an app for whatever it is they may need to do at the time. You just never know…

A Mac OS Version? Sure! Why Not?
If an iPhone app is also available for Mac OS and likewise highlights the best features of said platform, the chances of the app being featured become much greater because Apple tends to give priority to apps formatted for both mobile and desktop devices. This is in no small part because among Apple’s user demographics, there is a set of people who have a desktop or laptop computer that runs Mac OS but do not have an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. The opposite is also true, as many Windows users also use iPhones and iPod Touches.

Get A Hold Of The Press
Adequate media coverage is an absolute must for a successful launch with any product, but this frontier is perhaps most challenging when putting an iPhone app to market. Too often, people creating these apps leave the task of piquing press interest in their product until the eleventh hour or after the release date, which is far less effective than a well planned release.

More often than not, media coverage for a groundbreaking product does not accumulate all at once. Therefore, a buzz should be created within the blogosphere and on social media pages such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter all throughout the development process. A teaser page, complete with a professional demonstration video could also be helpful.

Talk Directly to Someone at Apple
Because Apple receives over a couple hundred app submissions a day, these app reviewers just might be jaded enough to even skip over the best-designed apps with potential for epic popularity. Therefore, if a programmer or developer contacts a person who works at Apple, particularly an app reviewer or just somebody who works in the iTunes division before submission, chances are that they will be met with useful and honest feedback. Although it may seem that these people are inaccessible and unapproachable, if they learn about a well-designed, popular and useful app, they’ll want to know more.

The best way for programmers, developers and entrepreneurs to contact Apple’s more influential people is to attend Apple’s annual WWDC, held every June at San Francisco’s Moscone West, and muster up the courage to sidle up to them and promote their app. If the reception is keen, the visibility may soon increase.

As there are about one million apps for sale on iTunes, winning the coveted featured spot is easier said than done. However, many apps are successful without being featured, as their popularity depends more on their reputation for both usability and fulfilling its user’s needs in a unique way via cloud computing. Nonetheless, having an app featured on iTunes does give an app and its programmers and developers a high mark of accomplishment and will certainly provide them and their product with a higher profile.