7 Resources to help you

Are you baffled when it comes to figuring out how to get an Apple feature?

Have you been wading through blog posts on getting featured by Apple, only to be confused by conflicting suggestions?

We understand how important an Apple feature is, and after helping many of our clients successfully pitch their apps to Cupertino for that elusive featured spot, we have a great feel for what works and what doesn’t. So, we’ve put together a list of the seven best resources for achieving an Apple feature. Read on, dear reader!

1. Thinking like Apple

The first crucial resource is learning to think like the folks working on the App Store. Dan Counsell has a real good handle on this, having managed to get many apps featured by Apple. His contribution to The Next Web will help you learn how to think like Apple.

One of Counsell’s top hints is to make sure your app is fully universal. That means making it available not only on the iPhone and iPad, but also on the Mac. When Apple literally has hundreds of productivity apps to choose from, for example, they’re going to heavily favor a universal iOS app that’s also available for the Mac. Taking things a step further, you should also make your app available on Apple Watch and/or Apple TV, as appropriate.

2. Apple’s App Store Marketing Guidelines

It’s essential that you pay attention to Apple’s App Store Marketing Guidelines. If your marketing strategy is in violation of these guidelines, your app doesn’t have a chance of being featured. Fortunately, the rules are easy to understand and follow. Just read through them and take Apple’s advice for how to market your app on the App Store, and you’ll be one step closer to getting featured. A side bonus is that you could also get more downloads leading up to that featured spot.

Peter Fodor had the opportunity to sit down and speak with a former member of the App Store Editorial Team, a truly rare opportunity. One of the biggest takeaways was the discussion of how the team narrows the field of apps that are being considered. Early on in the process, before the editor even reads the App Store description text, the list is truncated based on the app icons.

Editors scan through all possible sources and preselect what’s new, updated and worth the attention. All those apps are represented by the icon on a large grid. Then the editor truncates the list. Just by watching icons and names, the editor removes all icons which doesn’t match the quality level expected by Apple. Next, the editor removes a bunch of apps based on their screenshots which represent how the app works. Poor graphics, messy UI, misspelled screenshots and more are all reasons to delete the app from the list of potential candidates.

This means, when it comes to following the App Store Marketing Guidelines, is that you should make sure you feature your app and focus on its functionality in marketing graphics and text, not on the functions of the Apple product the app runs on. You want to highlight what your app does, and nothing else.

3. Sam Vermettes’s tips on Crew Blog

Mikael Cho sat down with the maker of Transit, Sam Vermette, and picked Vermette’s brain about how the developer has been so successful in getting his apps featured by Apple. The resulting blog post is chock full of great tips and suggestions, making it required reading for anybody seeking their own Apple feature.

Probably the most important takeaway from Vermette’s tips is to focus on building a quality product. You want to build an app that not only your users will love, but even more importantly, that Apple will fall in love with.

4. Apple’s latest technologies

Steve Young points out some excellent strategies for getting an Apple feature in his article at Entrepreneur.com, including one of the greatest resources you have to get Apple interested in featuring your app: the latest iOS technologies. Make sure your app takes advantage of the latest frameworks and hardware, and highlight that to Apple. Whether you’ve integrated with a gamepad controller, Apple Watch, or the latest improvements in the current generation of iOS, make sure you let Cupertino know that you’re paying attention and following their lead.

5. Your soft launch metrics

Apple will want to know how your app has performed since you soft launched it, so keep an eye on your metrics. They’ll be interested in such things what you’ve accomplished during soft launch (retention, feedback from users, average revenue per user, ratings, etc.) Don’t make Apple do the legwork to find out this information; include it in your pitch.

6. Your pitch

With all of this information and these resources, it’s down to your most valuable resource: your pitch. Fortunately, we have a resource to help you develop your pitch. In our article detailing how a cold email resulted in an Apple feature, you can learn how to craft your pitch and find the best person to send it to.

One of the best things to keep in mind is to keep your email as brief as possible. Don’t just go on and on about your app, repeating yourself. Highlight the important features and advanced iOS technologies you’re using, include your video and social proof, and be succinct.

7. Your persistence

The final piece in the puzzle is a resource that’s also important when you’re trying to get coverage from the press. Persistence is key in attaining an Apple feature, so don’t be afraid to follow up on your emails or even try getting new apps featured. Before its smash hit “Angry Birds,” Rovio toiled for six years trying to find a winning formula. They produced 51 unsuccessful games before they finally found that combination for success, so bear that in mind. Keep trying, approach different App Store business managers, and just don’t give up.

Get that feature rolling!

These resources will point you in the right direction for an Apple feature. The rest is up to you, so get cracking! Your app could be the next Best New App or Game.

Jeff Butts