If you have a great app and are wondering what you need to do to get your app featured by Apple, then you will be happy to know that all it takes is a simple email. Read on to learn the 5 simple tips to keep in mind to pitch your app correctly to the people who matter.
But before we deep dive into the content matter of the email, it is important for you to know WHO that all important email should be addressed to. The App Store has an app store manager or editor for every app store category and also for different geographies who is essentially an authority on the Feature Section on the App Store. So the first step in getting your app featured on the Appstore is to identify the relevant manager for your app who, in most cases, can be easily done through a simple search on LinkedIn. Once you know your man (or woman), you can search for his email using easily available free online tools like Rapportive, Findanyemail.net or Email Hunter. I normally use Email Hunter since I find it rather effective and easy to use.
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With the right contact address, you get down to drafting an email that is going to catch his/ her attention. Putting together my experience of working with over 250 apps in the past two years, ten of which have been featured till date, I have come up with these 5 tips that you cannot ignore if you plan to reach out to Apple for a feature.
1. App Is King
It is only natural to be biased towards one’s own creation. And this is something you have to guard against. Before reaching out to Apple, get an outsider view on your app. Don’t ask your family and friends as they might hesitate to give you an honest feedback. Speak to some genuine users, acquaintances, people you might meet at a conference etc. and take their feedback. Find out if they feel the app serves a genuine consumer need. Does it match up to the other popular apps on the app store? Does the app look and feel world class? Creating an app and getting a few downloads is not enough. The app should have a wide appeal with a great design theme and strong functionality.
2. Personal Is Precious
An app store editor would, on any given day, be receiving over a 100 emails. How would you make your email stand out?
Begin with personalising the subject line. Keep it short and mention the person’s name. For instance if the app store editor’s name is Mark, you can have the following subject line – ‘For Mark – App Store Feature Request for StickMe Notes’.
Then begin the email by acknowledging his position and post and how it would be great to have him take a look at your app.
3. Is It Apple Worthy?
Any app that is featured by Apple goes through some basic filters. The first one being if your app serves a need or niche that users are searching for on the app store. Is it something users are ‘asking for’? Post the introduction, your email should talk about and specifically highlight the user need your app will fulfill so the manager sees value in what the app has to offer.
Another ‘good to have’ feature in your app is a high compatibility with the latest OS. Apple likes to feature apps that utilise and showcase the latest OS features and guidelines. If your app has a high compliance with the latest guidelines, make sure to highlight these facts in your email. For instance it would be good to highlight the fact that your app is using say the newly launched widgets and gesture controls features of iOS 9, do mention it in your email. A good way to highlight these aspects would be by first writing a short 1-2 line description of the consumer need gap your app serves and follow it up by highlighting the latest Apple iOS features you have used. If you are writing around the time of the new OS launch then it would good to mention that your app is compatible with the newly released iOS version.
NOTE: Do not forget to test the app on all iPhone devices to make sure your app renders well on all of them with the minimum compatible OS.
4. Digital Proof
Social proof adds credibility to your product and makes it easier for the app store manager to review and evaluate the quality of the app. If you have an App Store preview video (which I strongly recommend having), do share the link for it. It’s much faster and easier to understand the app features through video. The video will be a representation of the quality of your app so make sure it is top class!
Next, highlight some achievements of your app. It could be coverage in other leading publications or the fact that you have got a few thousand downloads in the space of a few weeks, some good 5 star reviews, a highly engaged FB page or a high retention rate etc. Discover what the app highlight is and be sure to mention it. And remember that sometimes it’s not about the achievements but about the potential. Your app may be serving a genuine customer need which has hitherto been ignored, in which case you should highlight this aspect.
5. Provide Support To Your Users
Apple looks at featuring developers who are reliable, stable and those who care for their users. One of the prerequisites to get featured, therefore, is to have an impressive website. Even a single page site that highlights the key features and screenshots is enough. Do ensure that your site has a mechanism for users to contact you in case of queries or issues.
Social media presence too makes your case stronger. Having a Facebook page and a Twitter handle with regular activity and engagement shows that you are serious about the app and want to serve your users. If you have presence on Instagram, Pinterest etc. then it’s an added advantage. Once you have this, be sure to mention all the links at the bottom of the email before your parting sentence.
Getting featured means increased downloads and Apple needs to know that you are ready to manage this increased traffic. Give them that confidence in you!
Additional Tip – Reach Out Early
From my experience of closely watching the app store evolve since 2010, I’ve observed that the newly released apps (in the past 2-4 months) have a much better chance at getting featured. This is probably because Apple wants to give the newer apps a good chance at making it to the top of the charts too, while also ensuring that the big names are kept on their toes.
Wrapping It Up
Finally after sending out that email, don’t be dejected if you don’t hear from Apple immediately. Wait for a few days and then follow up again. If you don’t get a response, then try reaching out to another app store editor in a different geography. You might get featured in another country. And you can then use that to reach out the folks in the US. If you still don’t get a response, work on your app to make changes, enhancements, improvements and then try again!
And if you do happen to get featured, then make sure you leverage it fully! Mention this achievement in your description and screenshots to improve the conversion rate on the app store. You can also use this achievement to reach out to other top media publications to cover or feature your app.