I have an idea for an app which help musicians collaborate easier. I'd like to setup a landing page website so I can start building a community and followers/users. Any tips on how I should do it? And mainly, how long can I wait? Obviously if users are eager and excited for the product I need to get the App out fast, so what's the fine line between not being too quick and wait for some traction and also not wait too long so the users lose interest?
I'd definitely go with something like LaunchRock. It will let you set up this page in minutes. You'll want to test your core hypothesis, namely that the value you think the app will provide is actually needed.
As far as how long you wait, I think the general purpose of a landing page like this is to gauge interest. You'll have to drive people to the page somehow. You can do this with ad words and social media relatively cheaply. You'll want to track how many people land on the page, how many people sign up for the waiting list, and how many people engage with you on social media about the app/idea.
You can usually tell pretty quickly if the idea has legs or not. If you are getting some interest and traction, then go ahead and invest in building the app.
I wouldn't worry AT ALL about how long people are on the waiting list. The focus should be determining whether or not there is a market. If you are solving a problem for them, you'll still be solving it in six months when the app launches.
In terms of timing:
Generally speaking, the longer you wait after someone has signed-up on a landing page, the less likely they are to convert when notified that the app is ready. You can "drip" teasers and other content to try and keep in their memory and keep them excited via email and you can also engage them directly via email outreach to do further customer development.
In terms of what a landing page should include, it should be a product shot or shots, and a clear message as to what you are offering with an email sign-up.
I suggest that after they have provided their email, you should try and create some extra engagement with the user. In your case, being that you're inviting musicians to collaborate efficiently, you have an opportunity to create some virality by getting the person signing-up to invite their collaborators to join early as well.
You don't want to launch to the app store until you have a polished app that is fully functional. You want to get people using a test version (via Hockey or Enterprise distribution) as quickly as possible. You can select your most excited sign-up people from your landing page as candidates for testing the app.
Happy to talk about this further in a call
Maybe a simple service like http://launchrock.co would work for you. You can get useful feedback and start list-building without investing much time/money? You could also invest a big more and do just an informative site with basic info, contact, etc. and start learning more about what the traffic looks like, how people find you, etc- that could be just a simple wordpress template.
Unbounce is nice too for A/B testing your landing page.
There's one thing to remind regarding a "coming soon" app's landing page: it should become later the real landing page for your app, once your app is live. So if possible, the domain / url has to be the definitive one. If you do that, then you can start SEO stuff early on with your landing page (and maybe some PR preview stuff during your Beta), and this page will already be searchable when you launch your app + you won't have to do all the SEO from scratch.
Regarding fine tuning your app's landing page and the related text (with A/B tests, for example), there's also a strong benefit: real A/B test on appstores is not really possible, so it's very hard (and long) to find what converts well. If you do that stuff on your landing page and then your app page, you can optimize and hopefully find the proper assets (icon, screenshots, text, ...) to get a much better install conversion on appstores directly at app launch.
Hope it helps!
At the very least, put up a landing page ASAP to collect contact info from random passers by.
Suppose the ideal lag time between "coming soon" and launch is 3 months -- just for the sake of argument. If it takes you 12 months to build and test the app before launch, which position would you rather be in?
(A) 9 months of passive data-gathering + 3 months of active pre-launch promotions
(B) 9 months of missed opportunities + 3 months of active pre-launch promotions
I do not want to focus on the tools, as there are many tools out there which can help you build a landing page easily: http://unbounce.com, http://kickofflabs.com, http://launchrock.co and http://launcheffectapp.com will do the job just fine. This is the easy part.
Instead, I would like to focus on something else: your content.
When creating a mobile app, you need to have a target group in mind. In your case, this target group is musicians. Your landing page should ultimately bring you subscribers that will convert to customers. I mean, there is no point getting the email address of 10,000 people if only 20 of them are truly interested in your product. You'd better get 1,000 addresses of people who really want your service.
How do you achieve this?
There are three crucial elements your landing page should include:
1) A short description of the app
2) A high quality image or video
3) An email field + a "subscribe" button
The description should explain what need your project covers, in an understandable and short way. Preferably, it should be approximately 160 letters, so as to be easily "tweetable". This is exactly what Steve Jobs did with the description of EVERY product he launched. This way, the audience could easily tweet what he said. Your visitors should be able to grasp the core concept of your service within a couple of seconds.
The image / video could include high-quality graphics or simply some screens of your application. It should enhance the description and give a "wow" factor as much as possible.
The email field should make a contrast to the rest of the visual elements of the page. Your visitors will be able to see it immediately. The subscription button should be visually highlighted and its text should relate to the action. Avoid using words such as "subscribe", "OK" or "Go". Instead, use something more meaningful, like "Notify me".
Personally, I like to include the following information as well:
- A list of 1-2 problems the application is addressing.
- A list of 1-2 main features / solutions to the above problems.
- Additional images or screens, if the design of the app is ready.
- Social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest).
- A press kit for journalists. Journalists covering the entrepreneurial news are constantly seeking for information about new projects. I do the job for them and provide a zip file with documents and images about the upcoming products.
If the page turns out to be quite long, I include an additional subscription field in the end of the page. Remember: your are trying to make people trust you and provide you with their email address.
How long should you keep the launch page alive? Well, this depends on what you are trying to build and how much time the development team needs to work. For small apps, a month or two would be fine, but most products take way longer. The time period does not really matter if you use your email list wisely.
There is no "too quick" or "too slow". Read on to learn why...
From my experience, people tend to forget. You need to remind them of your product periodically. Sending an email once a week would keep your subscribers engaged and will maintain a high desire for your product. Additionally, you could start a blog and post once or twice a week about the problems of your target audience and the upcoming app. Your posts should include a link to the app launch page. Share your knowledge about the pains of your audience and promise a solution. Starting a blog is easy and free, too.
Now, a few words about marketing and advertisements... Think twice before spending your whole budget on Facebook and AdWords. Although they can both work, in such early phases of a project, you need to focus.
Here is an action plan I suggest:
1) Build your launch page.
2) Create a blog, along with social media profiles.
3) Search Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest about groups and pages that your target audience likes and/or is member.
4) Publish a blog post once, twice or more per week.
5) Share your posts and your launch page on every of the above groups and pages.
6) Keep your audience engaged with regular updates and emails (do not email them more than once per week though). When you send them an email, always ask for feedback. This way, you generate trust.
7) Follow the leaders of the industry you are targeting and find the journalists who cover the relative fields. There are online tools that connect you with journalists. Talk to them in person and try to find out what they think about your product. Let them promote it via their media.
8) (Optional) Review and modify your landing page description and text according to the feedback you receive.
If you want to spend money on online advertisement, consider using the audience targeting tools by Facebook and Google. Specify you target group as strictly as possible.
One more thing: do not underestimate any social platform. Facebook is not the only solution. Each target group might use a different social website most. Here are two examples from my own experience:
1) I had developed a landing page for a Motion Application that targeted Software Engineers. 50% of the traffic was coming from LinkedIn and only 20% from Facebook.
2) Another landing page of mine was promoting a travel app. I had paid many thousand dollars on Facebook Ads and AdWords. However, the majority of my visitors was coming from Pinterest with no ads.