If you’ve built modern mobile apps, you probably already know that coming up with the idea for the app/game and coding it is really only half the battle.  Success is largely determined in the marketing strategy you adopt for your app.  There are quite a few strategies that you can take and you can likely mix and match them, but there is no one “silver bullet” that will make your app an instant success.  This post is the first in a series of five that will give you an idea of some of the ways you can help your app become a success in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

toughThere’s a statistic that was published by analytics vendor Localytics that states that only 26% of all mobile apps downloaded are ever opened more than once.  That’s actually a little higher than the numbers I’ve heard around mobile app circles, but still that number is quite astounding.  What it means is that for a myriad of reasons, most users are interested enough to open your app but quickly lose interest and either delete right away or never open it again.  Those odds are not good, so if you intend for your app to be popular, you need to adopt a strategy that will give you an edge and compel your user base to make use of your app more than once.

There are multiple things you need to do before your app is ready for consumption.  One is to have a great idea (this is pretty much non-negotiable in my opinion).  Second, you need to build it the right way (i.e.:  great functionality, application flow, pleasant interface and intuitive app design). Third, you need to figure out a way for your app to make your users awesome in the moment.  All this before your very first user even thinks of downloading your app. 

At the same time as building your app, you should be thinking about how you’ll market it once it’s ready.  Over the next 5 days, I’ll be posting an entry per day discussing some of the strategies you can employ to help make your app or game more successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Making your apps available on as many markets that make sense to support, not ALL markets possible

The context of this first post is about understanding which geographies you can make your app available in.  Your first answer to “which countries should your app be available in?” might be “All of them, of course!”, but keep in mind a few things.  The correct answer to this question is that you should assess which countries your app will have value to users and how you will be able to support those users with your app.

For example, there is a fantastic app called “Where’s Timmy?” that RedBit Development created and published that is a consistently popular one in Canada.  While there is nothing that limited Redbit from making the app available in every single market, the purpose of the app is to locate the closest Tim Horton’s coffee shop from your location.  Tim Horton’s is very popular in Canada and growing in popularity in the US, but has no presence in Europe.  As a result, Redbit did not publish the app in European countries but did publish it in Canada and the US.

Another consideration to take into account is localization.  Making your app available in many markets may require you to support many different languages for your apps.  You must make a judgment call as to which languages you wish to support.  While this adds to the complexity of your app from a maintainability perspective, it enhances the local user’s experience while using the app.  By localizing the content of your app to the appropriate language and culture considerations, you will likely have better adoption and better ratings for your app in the Marketplace.

Markets Supported by Windows Phone

So with that said, what markets are currently supported by Windows Phone?  The graphic below shows which markets are supported (countries highlighted in yellow are markets that have been supported since launch in November, 2010 while markets highlighted in green were added just recently).

SupportedMarkets

 

Marketplace distribution and targeting the right locales is one of the strategies for being successful in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  Stay tuned for further Marketplace strategies over the next few posts on the Canadian Mobile Developer Connection, where I’ll talk about the trial API, pricing strategies, differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications and finally, how you can get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

This post is the first in a series of five posts on strategies for being successful on the Windows Phone Marketplace.  The second post (trial mode and the art of the upsell) is here.  The third post (pricing strategies) is here.  The fourth post (differentiation using Windows Phone-specific features like Live Tiles and Push Notifications) and fifth post (how to get promoted in the Windows Phone Marketplace) are upcoming on this blog.