OK, so imagine you’ve got this truly awesome, totally engaging app and you’re live in the App and Google Play Stores.

It’s all really happening – but now what?

The five-star reviews should start rolling in, right?

It can often be a depressing reality to find out you don’t automatically get an audience.

It’s tempting to look at apps like a field of dreams, you built it, now they should come! But apps aren’t a one-and-done. For your app to reach its full potential (and a wider audience), your work isn’t over. Successful apps are investments that need nurturing in the long term.

Apps that languish in the App and Google Play Stores remind me of the ‘Tamagotchi’; remember those egg-shaped digital pets popularized in the 90s? Their cute chirps and beeps were a constant reminder to feed and loved and pet them – or else (they’d up and die on you). Why are apps like Tamagotchi? Because many get out there in the wild, and don’t get the cultivation and attention they need to succeed, many end up on the decommission pile once it becomes clear how much recurrent resourcing and upkeep they need to make them popular and keep them alive (there’s now a Tamagotchi app by the way).

Ensuring you have staying power and a star-rating payoff for your mobile product is all about long term audience building and retention (not to mention ongoing software planning and development).

So if you’ve just launched a new app in the App or Google Play Store (or if you’re trying to figure out what to do with the one you already have), where do you start? What to do once the post-launch hype has cooled?

Here’s a handy guide to that should help you see stars: