Launch First Release
Customers have an overwhelming number of solutions to choose from, so how do you make them aware of yours? Kick off your first release by creating an effective AppSource listing and driving demand with marketing activities.
AppSource connects users to the Office solutions they need. When you publish your solution to AppSource, you reach your target audience more quickly and cost effectively.
Because AppSource lists thousands of add-ins, your solution needs to capture users’ attention, ensure that they understand what your solution does and how it will benefit them, and stimulate downloads. Publishing in AppSource allows you to:
- Expand your business with a new channel that complements your existing existing sales.
- Reach new customers and new markets.
- Distribute a single source for your code that all customers use.
- Drive awareness of what your services can do for users and organizations.
Create an effective listing
Make your value proposition clear to your customers and make your offering stand out by following these seven steps for creating an effective listing:
- Use a succinct and descriptive title.
- Create an impactful icon.
- Write an effective short description.
- Write a compelling long description.
- Use screenshots effectively.
- Provide an informative short video.
- Manage ratings and reviews.
- Create a listing.
- Understand validation policies.
- Review the submission checklist.
- Publish your solution to AppSource and within Office.
- Enable lead sharing with lead management.
- Update a listing.
Seven steps to create an effective listing for your solution
1. Use a succinct and descriptive title.
Make sure you’re grabbing your customers’ attention right from the start. Apply the following best practices:
- Keep the title short.
- Only use your brand or company name if users are likely to search for it.
- Communicate the key function.
- Make it memorable.
- Keep it consistent.
- Use the best practice naming pattern.
- Function + “for” + brand or company name (optional). For example, Small Business Invoicing for Contoso.
- Test your title with a small group of potential users.
- Consider SEO.
- Unfamiliar acronyms.
- All caps.
- The words “free”, “sale”, and exclamation points!
- The Microsoft product name that your Office solution works with.
2. Create an impactful icon.
Your icon should be recognizable and convey how your solution helps your customer get work done. Apply the following recommendations:
- Carefully select colors that follow accessibility guidelines and reflect brand.
- Develop a symbol or logo that conveys what your solution does.
- Keep it simple and clean.
- Avoid using words.
- Consider scale and how your icon will look in different sizes.
See Create effective listings in AppSource and within Office for more details about creating icons.
3. Write an effective short description.
Users see your short description in AppSource search results. Use your short description to entice potential users to learn more. It should be original, engaging, directed at your target audience. In your description:
- Describe the benefit of your app.
- Consider SEO.
- Highlight key points.
- Use available characters efficiently.
- Avoid using jargon or terminology that’s too specialized.
- Focus on the key features or capabilities available in your solution.
4. Write a compelling long description.
Use your long description to describe your solution in detail, including the main features, the problems it solves, the most common use cases, and the target audience. In your long description:
- Include popular search keywords.
- Describe the benefits.
- Convey how your Office solution is different.
- Show how it helps.
- Identify who it is for.
- Make it easy to read.
5. Use screenshots effectively.
Users might look at your screenshots before they read your description to learn what your solution does. Your screenshots should:
- Be clear and self-explanatory.
- Focus on your solution.
- Show how to use your solution.
- Use captions and callouts.
- Display the most important screenshot first.
- Use space effectively.
- Include awards.
6. Provide an informative short video.
Your video should be of professional quality. In your video:
- Deliver a clear, concise message about your solution.
- Highlight key features and the customer pain points you are resolving.
- Include no more than two to three minutes of content.
- Show common use case scenarios.
- Maintain consistent branding.
- Provide an honest representation of what your solution looks like and how it performs.
7. Manage ratings and reviews.
Good ratings and reviews lead to better placement and improve your customers’ perception of your product. Customers also use reviews as a forum to offer feedback and suggestions. When a user searches for a solution in a specific category, the search ranks the results based on average rating and number of ratings.
Drive traffic to your listing
With targeted marketing campaigns using standard web marketing mediums, you can drive awareness and potential customers to your site, increasing the acquisition of your solution.
To get started:
1. Plan your campaign end to end.
- Identify goals for your campaign.
- Determine your target audience.
- Decide on the best marketing activities to achieve your campaign goals.
2. Focus on the right channels and optimize for success.
- Identify which marketing channels will deliver the best results.
- Expect to modify and update campaigns as you collect data on their effectiveness.
3. Track success of your efforts with Campaign Tracking.
- Create a unique campaign ID for each external marketing campaign to measure the number of users who access your listing. Measure the effectiveness of your listing based on the number of users who view your video or install or subscribe to your add-in.
Prequalified customers who have already acquired or have shown an interest in Office are more likely to go further in the process, resulting in a higher conversion rate. Consider how to reach your prequalified target audience by focusing your campaigns where they will have the most impact.
Drive demand with marketing activities
Take advantage of your digital channels by engaging in marketing activities to help increase demand for your solution. For example:
- Create a dedicated product website that tells the story of your solution.
- Publish and showcase social media and blog posts, articles, or other relevant content.
- Conduct digital campaigns for targeted LOB or vertical markets.
- Release press announcements to announce your product offering.
- Sponsor or conduct industry events and trade shows.
- Run advertising campaigns in trade journals or through digital marketing.
Utilize marketing resources to develop your campaigns.
Reach customers more quickly with mail exchange
A mail exchange (MX) record tells senders how to send email for your domain. It helps direct emails to the email server configured to process email for that domain. Using free tools located at CNAME lookup can help you reach more qualified customers more quickly by allowing you to obtain MX records for your customer email list. (Make sure you are following any legal and privacy policies that pertain to your country or region.)