One of the best ways to generate interest for an app before it’s launched is to release sneak peeks of what’s in progress. A sneak peek can include any aspect of the application. For example, it might be a a landing page that communicates the branding of the app, a crop or full screen of an element of the app, a short video preview, or even a feature list.
For the accomplished developer, the motivation behind sneak peeks may seem straightforward or intuitive but many devs don’t bother with them. As mentioned above, because of the anticipation and community support that a sneak peek creates, those that use them increase the probability of launching a successful application. Here are some tips and examples of how to do a successful sneak peek:
1) Build a Killer Splash Page
Something as simple as a splash page can be the earliest way to do a sneak peek. A splash page can showcase colors, branding, and the overall style of the app. An additional benefit of a splash page is that it can be used to gauge whether there is even any interest in the purpose or the functionality of the app before it is even built.
Tapmates’ Screenport – http://screenportapp.com/
2) Share Images on Community-Driven Sites like Dribbble, Forrst, or Ember
The design community has really come alive on sites like Dribbble, Forrst, Ember, and comparable outlets. These sites are specifically built to share sneak peeks. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that they also represent free places to get extremely quality feedback from the best in the business. There’s no better way to generate interest in an app by having peers and potential customers actually influencing the final product.
Oliver Reichenstein’s Dribbble icon shots for the upcoming Text Machine –
3) Create an Interesting Video Preview
It’s not necessary to be a professional videographer to develop a good video preview of an in progress app. In fact, simple is better. Showcase the key features of an app and include some upbeat background music or interesting narrative. Remember, what you want to highlight is the promise of the app. The actual app does not need to be completed at this point.
Preview of Prizmo for iPhone – http://www.creaceed.com/weblog/prizmo-previewmovie.html
4) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Text
Text alone may not provide a compelling sneak peek. But, when combined with a visual, it can be extremely powerful and should not be overlooked. Developers sometimes even post entire app descriptions, asking for feedback on them, before the apps are even submitted.
App Description Preview for PlainText –
5) Take Advantage of Your Networks
While some of these outlets are based around networks, don’t forget to share sneak peeks with existing social media outlets like Twitter, websites or blogs, or even e-mail newsletters. Take advantage of all networks available and target different types of audiences with these sneak peeks, to get broader perspectives and generate more interest.
If you found this information useful, then you’ll love my book App Savvy: Turning Ideas into iPhone and iPad Apps Customers Really Want (O’Reilly). Check out App Savvy or order it now on Amazon.com.