How To Get Featured in the App Store Through Cold Emailing

Many steps go into building a successful app with lucrative sales. Some of these steps come into play after the app’s construction has been finalized, like networking. Networking properly can be the difference between your application attracting a small, moderate, or large user base depending on which platforms you can get it featured on.

Apple’s App Stores are revered for their ability to drastically affect app sales when they feature an app in their main sections. The language app, Duolingo is one of many that can attest to this. The language app was featured in various sections of the App Store, leading to a steady growth in popularity and sales. This ultimately resulted in the app receiving one of the App Store’s highest accolades: best iPhone app of the year. This coveted position led to sales skyrocketing from an average 80,000 per day to hundreds of thousands.

Duolingo shot up to the top five apps in Apple’s App Store immediately after getting featured as the best iPhone app of 2013.
— Mashable

The power of being featured in Apple’s App Store is well-known, but with more than 2,600 apps submitted to Apple's App Store, daily, cutting through the stiff competition is tough. An excellent app, followed by excellent networking and advertising skills, is necessary to beat out competitors. The first step to selling your app successfully is understanding how the Apple App Store picks the products they feature.

There are 155 different Apple App Stores worldwide, allocated by country. Each store is run by a local editorial team ensuring that each app store’s offerings are curated to the consumer base in that corresponding country. For example, what is trending in the U.S App Store may not be trending in the Italian store for any number of reasons.

Each editorial team makes their picks based on what they believe to be the most relevant apps for their particular user base by studying what has previously been popular, current trends in tech, etc. The great takeaway here is that your company’s obstacle will be convincing a small group of individuals why their particular store should be interested in your app, rather than addressing Apple’s global stores, as a whole. Study your store’s habits in their featured sections and the types of apps or app trends that frequently get selected. All of this will help you prepare a relevant sales pitch to the editorial team.  

Start Collecting Email Addresses

A great platform to collect contacts is LinkedIn. Search for the appropriate editorial team/s by searching “app store manager,” and filter the results by location. Also, search the companies behind currently or previously featured apps in the store. These companies have a working relationship with the editorial team, and they may be helpful in initiating a connection. Also, their inboxes may be far less filled than those of the editorial team, which raises your chances of getting a response.

Collect email addresses using email-finding tools like Chrome plugins Name2email, Email Hunter, and the site All My Tweets. Learn how to use some of these tools from a tutorial in one of our earlier blogs.



Crafting the Email

Cold emailing can be tricky, requiring the composing of a lot of emails and a lot of patience for any responses. Here are tips on how to compose a captivating cold email:

Subject Line

A great email begins with a personalized subject line to the person or group you are contacting. Lines like, “For Lisa, we need your opinion on our app” or “To Ned, I think you will be addicted to this app.” While these examples aren’t gold, they do reflect the point, which is that it sounds like an email to someone the sender knows, without being too misleading. Sincerity and personality are key ingredients that will get your recipient to read your email happily. Don’t mislead them in the subject line, but don’t confine yourself to a rigid tone of voice because you don’t personally know them.

Body of the Email

The body of the email should explain your app and any details within the platform that make it stand out. On a general level, there are some assets that are always helpful to mention. Firstly, to apply to the App Store, it’s best that your app is only for iOS, at least in the beginning. The App Store understandably doesn’t want to have competition with their products, who would? Focusing on iOS alone shows the commitment your team has to join the iOS family.

Secondly, it fits Apple’s business model to incorporate universal design in your app. Universal design means your app is compatible on all Apple devices, i.e. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc., which is in line with how Apple likes to market their offerings. Noting these assets in your email will show the recipient that your app fits their market on a general level, but note, this information will only be useful to app store editors while companies with featured apps won’t be very interested in this information.

To convince the editorial team on a more specific level that your app is a fit, there are some points and material that you would be wise to include:

  • Answer the question - What’s in it for them?

    • Explain how your app will be an asset to their current digital offerings and why it is unique to anything they are currently featuring.

  • Attach a demo of your app so they can test it out for themselves.

  • Note any elements that you’d like them to focus on, regardless if you think it is blatantly apparent in the demo.   

  • If available, include any lists of current beta testers, waitlists for beta tester hopefuls, and/or positive reviews.

For emailing companies with featured apps, it’s best to include:

  • Some flattering remarks about their app after you’ve thoroughly tested it out.

  • A demo, preferably customized to the recipient team in some small way, to add a personal touch.

Just Keep Emailing

With 2,600 submissions daily, developing an excellent cold emailing strategy, and keeping it up, is the only way to break through and get your app noticed. It’s wise to contact a maximum of 3-5 people from the same team at a time, but don’t send multiple emails to the same contacts in the same week. Be consistent, but not spammy, by messaging on a bi-weekly basis at most. If your app receives updates while you are in the cold emailing process, mention these advancements. If you haven’t caught a recipient’s ear already, an upgrade might be the variable that helps get you there.