7. App Marketing Guide

App Marketing Guide

So now that you know how to build your own mobile app (previous article), the next step for you to do is to develop a marketing strategy – which many of you forget – for its promotion.

Promotion of your apps is vital for your success because the competition is getting tougher and tougher as easy day passes by. Unless you don’t want all your hard work go down the drain, you’ll need to think of creative ways to make your app reach out to as many audiences as possible.

How do you do that?

You make your app stand out from the rest by creating an app marketing strategy.

Ideally, your marketing strategy has to follow each step of the mobile development process – from brainstorming functionalities and features to post-launch user engagement – to be effective.

So if you’re a small business owner wanting to dive deeper in the app development world, this guide will help you align your marketing efforts with your goals so that your app gets all the attention it deserves. Follow these eight steps to build an app marketing strategy that really works.

1. Know Your Audience & Goals

Image Credit: Vital Marketing

Knowing about your customers will help shape your app’s design and functionality. For example, a mobile app designed specifically for women between the ages of 18 and 30 will look and feel different than an app designed for men over age 40.

In addition, you must also know what your app goals are. Although it’s not possible to know everything at the beginning, but if you look at some of the most successful branded apps you’ll realize that they often have features that complement their products and services.

Image Credit: Impora

Take The North Face, the outdoor gear company, for example. Their branded app includes several features – real-time progress tracking, the bike trail and hiking finder, and social integration users to share their accomplishments with their friends – which help boost brand awareness and engagement.

Similarly, Thermos’s branded app points their users to the nearest public fountains to fill their water bottles based on user-generated ratings for convenience, cleanliness, and coldness of the water.

If you’re running a business, you can include some features that allow users to do certain tasks related to your business. For example, if you’re running an online store or a restaurant, you may include some features that allow your users to place an order online, view products and menus, and other things.

To know what features you’ll have to include in your app, first brainstorm for creative ideas. Just like the North Face and Thermos did for their apps, can you think of any value-added features for your business? If yes, go ahead and incorporate those ideas into your app; make it stand out from all other similar apps that plague the industry, which will also help achieve your marketing goals.

2. Perform Keyword Research

Did you know: 63% of apps are discovered through organic search?

That’s right! If you know what your target audience is typing to search your product, your apps have a better chance of being found on the Internet and downloaded than those who don’t.

Do a keyword research to know what your audiences are typing.

Keyword research is all about finding ‘profitable’ keywords that your audience are typing in search engines to find your products; it’s an important part of SEO and app store optimization (ASO) so that your app is easily discoverable on the Internet.

Also, set aside time to optimize your app for SEO – place keywords into the title and description fields in the mobile app stores (Google Play and Apple’s App Store) and optimizing landing pages on your website.

Optimizing your app is very important for its discoverability because Google stores app content found in search results. Likewise, choosing the ‘right’ keywords and content can boost rankings of your apps in the organic searches as well as in app store searches.

3. Building Your App’s Online Presence

Image Credit: Apptamin

Next, design icons, app themes, and marketing materials – articles, banner ads, and announcements – to build online presence for your app.

Then, create a landing page for your app. (If you’re on a budget, Unbounce offers pocket-friendly and highly customizable templates.) These freemiums will help you create an awesome-looking landing page where you can announce your app launch, collect email addresses from visitors, and provide links to the download page once it is released.

Also include content on your landing page for SEO purposes.

At this stage, begin your work on social media. Choose one or two popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, for example – where your target audience hangs out the most. This’ll help you reach out to people who are more likely to engage with your content and download your app.

To make sure you’re targeting the ‘right’ people, do a “paid social ad” to test your landing page. If you’re converting 3 to 4 percent, then know you are on the right platform and targeting right people.

Have a blog or an email subscriber’s list? Use these tools to promote your mobile app launch too. Know a journalist or someone working in the local paper? Reach out to them a week before and see if he or she will write an article or blog post about it.

4. Launching Your App

Image Credit: KeywordSuggest.Org

Now that you’ve created an online presence for your app, it’s time to let your subscribers know about its launch day. For this, send an e-mail notifying the subscribers about the launch day. You can also send another e-mail on the launch day.

Second, make use of social media sites to promote your app. If your realized most of your target audiences are hanging around on Facebook, use Facebook’s app-install ad tool to get people to download your app and build momentum.

If they’re using Instagram, reach out to industry influencers in your niche and ask them if they’re willing to promote your app through a sponsored post.

Thirdly, upload your app on major marketplaces, with online pages and links to all app stores.

Fourthly, if you’re running a brick-and-mortar business, place a signage outside announcing the launch of your app. Later, when your customers arrive, ask them to text you so you can send them a message with a link to your app.

5. Your App Marketing Strategies

There are two ways to promote your app: paid or organic.

The promotion type you’ll choose will depend entirely on your budget, the niche you’re in, and your marketing goals.

Here’s an overview of each app promotion option:

a. App-Install Campaigns

App-install campaigns offer a wonderful opportunity to get your app in front of a large target audience on social sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

There’s also an advantage of tracking your ROI using this method, as you can easily see which ad leads to an app install.

Image Credit: Apps Builder

b. Paid Social Media

Paid social media is also a cost-effective way to get exposure for your app.

Here are a few great options you can try:

  • Promote pins on Pinterest
  • Promote images on Instagram
  • Place ads on StumbleUpon and Reddit
  • Post sponsored ads on LinkedIn

Image Credit: Social Examiner

c. Pay per Click

App stores don’t offer paid search at this stage. That’s when the search engine marketing option comes to rescue your day.

If you know how to use Google AdWords and Analytics, you can easily get good results.

However, note that the new iOS 9 update released in September 2015 lets users block ads, including Google Ads, in their mobile device.

Fortunately, in-app ads won’t be blocked. So, consider this option in your overall app marketing strategy.

Image Credit: Sleeping Giant Media

d. Email and SMS Text Campaigns (Organic)

Depending on the demographics of your target audience, text campaigns offer a higher ROI over other e-blast techniques discussed above.

If you choose this method, make sure to optimize your landing page for mobile.

Email blasts to your subscribers help boost downloads, but avoid purchasing lists, as they yield poor performance metrics and cost you a lot.

Image Credit: Mobile Marketing Francisco

6. Organic Mobile App Promotion (Organic)

For many businesses – small, medium and large – organic mobile app promotion through ASO, SEO, social media, as well as other marketing techniques are the most budget-friendly solution for boosting app downloads.

For this to work

Image Credit: Daily Fags

  • Make sure your brand website is up and running, 24/7.
  • People may land on any pages on your website; make sure your app has a download links in every pages of your website.
  • Set up a company blog and craft useful, relevant, and engaging copy to boost downloads
  • Visit websites in your niche and ask the owners if you can submit a guest post. (Many websites will place a link back to your site, article, or post, as long as you’re providing value to their readers.)
  • And do not forget social media. It’s an excellent tool to build brand engagement and awareness. The trick is to give your fans and followers some kind of a hook so that they’ll share your app. Nike’s app allows their users to share information about their runs – routes, distance, and time taken – on social media. Just like Nike, think about all the features you can add to boost social sharing of your app.

Here are few social media tips to follow:

  • Ask all your followers or fans to rate your app to help on your ASO efforts.
  • Give incentive(s) to your audience – free coupons or loyalty points – to promote or gain more “likes” for your app.
  • Create a video promoting your app; videos are the most effective content type on social media.
  • Be active on social media; check your account regularly and respond to comment and feedback.

7. Few Things to Know About App Store Optimization (ASO)

ASO is the best option for organic discoverability. About 60% of all apps are found through organic searches in the app store. Here are few tips that’ll help you get most out of your ASO efforts:

  • Find ‘right’ keywords and place them carefully into your app descriptions – insert them into titles and the first sentence of your description.
  • Create an icon that fits your brand image; use it consistently everywhere you promote your app
  • Include screenshots that highlights your app’s best features – this is the number one deciding factors for many users for downloading your app or not.
  • In ASO, factors such as ratings, reviews, and a number of downloads play a huge role, although they’re out of your control. To minimize negative reviews and ratings, offer an in-app channel for feedback so that you can tackle any issues with your app.

8. Keeping Your Users Engaged

According to a recent research, many people uninstall apps because of these reasons:

  • The app didn’t provide value or wasn’t useful
  • It was difficult to use
  • It got too many alerts and ads
  • There were many technical errors

Image Credit: Ad Week

As you can see, a number of downloads, positive reviews and ratings aren’t enough. You need to engage and re-engage your target audience.

Push-notifications is the best way to re-engage your users.

However, you need to use it wisely.

A generic message that says, “You haven’t opened your app recently” isn’t going to be effective.

The notification has to be contextual.

You have to understand where your customer is and what they’re doing and let them know how your app is going to help them.

For this, consider sending out the location-based message. For example, let your user know they can grab a special discount at a nearby store.

Conclusion

App marketing is an on-going process that begins with effective online presence, and then, it builds from there.

Remember to use analytic tools to keep track of your progress and build efforts that generate the best results for you. To build the momentum, keep on sending out well-timed re-engagement campaigns and push notifications.

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