Everyone in general is looking forward to the holidays, but you, the mobile app entrepreneur in particular, should be more than excited.
The holiday season is a season of giving, gifting, buying and indulging. The proof is in the pudding, as Flurry estimates suggest that 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated on Dec. 25, 2012.
And what's a new phone without apps? On Christmas Day alone last year, new records were set when 328 million apps were downloaded worldwide for iOS and Android devices.
It's anybody's guess what's going to happen this year with the recent launches of iOS and Android devices creating quite a stir in the market.
So you, the developer, have much to look forward to. But don't sit back and expect people to flock to your app. Make changes and promote it to capitalize on this once-in-a-year opportunity. Here's how.
Go crazy with promotions or marketing. Whatever you've been doing to market your app, do it 10 times over. This is the season to make the most of, so get your A-game out.
Customize your app, description and screenshots. If it ties in well with your app, go ahead and create a special holiday version or simply update it with holiday season backgrounds (think snow falling over a beautiful landscape marked with Christmas trees). If not, simply update the description to talk to holiday season shoppers and update the screenshots of your app that showcase the glee of the holidays.
People naturally turn to all things associated with the holidays and this will make them more likely to download your app.
Limited-time discount or free offer. If you've got a paid app, consider discounting the price during a certain period of the holidays, and certainly during Christmas week. You could also go all out and offer it completely free to the users. In return, you'll have high potential for word-of-mouth publicity and an opportunity for press and blog mentions on your promotion. WhatsApp messenger was offered for free for a limited time during the holidays in 2011 and 2012.
12 days of Christmas. Run a promotion on your social media channels such as Facebook or in the offline world where you give certain people your paid app as a gift every day. If your app is free, then you can gift them an amount they can redeem on the app store for movies, songs or apps. In the iTunes store, go to the bottom of the page and tap 'Send Gift.' Select the amount and type the email addresses of the people you wish to send the gift to. This will draw a lot of attention and publicity to your app. Google Play gift cards are available at retailers such as Walmart, Target and Sam's Club at their outlets or through their websites.
Gift virtual goodies. If your app falls in the freemium category, you can offer users a free pack of coins or some relevant virtual goodie that otherwise they would have to pay for. The idea is to generate word of mouth, which is the best way for your app to get accelerated downloads.
Customize advertising. If you're advertising your app on social channels or on other apps, customize it to suit the holiday season, not just in terms of the design, but also in terms of the messaging. For instance, pitch your app as the perfect gift to give to their friends and family.
And remember to make changes before Dec. 21, when Apple shuts down iTunes Connect through Dec. 28. There are no approvals on updates, price changes or new releases during that time.