So, you have built an app for your customers but wondering how to deliver it to the hands of people.
Building your app will not lead you to the top of the store charts.
There are millions of different apps in the market and it’s not an easy job.
New apps are released in the market daily.
Are you interested to learn the marketing tactics to promote your app?
What if there are tens of thousands of apps already in your niche?
Do you want to stand out from the crowd and start driving downloads?
In this in-depth guide to mobile app marketing, I will show you the tips & tricks to make your app visible in the market.
The Importance of Mobile App Marketing
Your mobile audience will have a different unique set of needs and desires than other channels.
Decoding how to market an app might be a hectic task. There are a variety of apps with different marketing strategies, all tasting varying levels of success.
The use of apps in promoting a product or service became necessary when mobile technology exploded a few years ago, with many people accessing the internet through mobile devices rather than desktop.
App user acquisition marketing is how app developers find their audience.
A right mix of app marketing campaign can make a huge difference when it comes to building an audience for your app.
Mobile users love apps because it’s user friendly and all the tedious navigation menu of large websites are bypassed.
It doesn’t matter how powerful and useful your app is, unless you actively market it, it’s as good as nothing.
Most of the companies have a long-term app marketing strategy and the competition is very high.
However, with the right promotional strategy, you can be able to compete faster than you think
Before we look at the mobile app marketing strategies to promote your app, let’s consider the three step-process.
Step #1: Defining the purpose of your mobile app
Identify what customers want in your product or service.
As a marketer, you should focus on customer’s pain points rather than considering the market share or segment.
When analyzing an idea for your app, keep in mind your target audience. If it’s not fulfilling the user’s expectation, then it’s waste of time and money.
To justify the cost of creating a mobile app, you need to define its purpose.
No matter how effective your marketing is, if your app doesn’t serve the purpose people are looking for, then all your marketing efforts will go in vain.
The purpose of your mobile app must be linked with the value it’s going to give to your customers.
Remember that your mobile app doesn’t have to be out-of-the-box to fulfill a specific requirement.
Users should have a clear picture of your mobile app. Make a simple and clear introduction to your app in one sentence.
With some exceptions, every mobile app should sync with social media to enable people to share useful content or offers with their friends.
But that’s not enough. It should equally help people understand your brand better.
When you are equipped with this, then it is high time to build your mobile app that is precisely targeted to do the work.
No matter how customer-friendly your app is, if you are going to sell your mobile app, you have to mention the “reason “why users should download and use it.
Step #2: Validating your distribution channels
How did you find your favorite mobile app?
Is it through a friend, from the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or someone sent you a direct link?
It doesn’t matter how. The app developers and marketers were keen on distributing it.
They used the right distribution channels to get the app directly to the customer’s hand.
You should also follow the same thing. The ultimate measure of your mobile app success comes when users find success as they download and use it.
Distribution refers to the process of getting your product into the hands of your target customers, whether it’s an individual customer or a business user.
You need to identify an effective distribution channel(s) to reach your target customers.
Be aware that your mobile app’s success is linked to the purpose and not your consumer.
To successfully market your mobile app, you need to validate your distribution channels.
All social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc are distribution channels.
A website or a platform that allows you to promote your app is a channel.
All channels are not created equal. All these distribution channels might not be ideal for your app marketing.
For example, if your app is business-related, then LinkedIn will play a vital role as it is designed and developed exclusively for business people.
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay didn’t build the platform for the “auction psychographic”.
Instead, he built the platform so that people can sell personal items easily.
So what about Facebook?
Well, correct me if I’m wrong. But I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg created the social platform for paid advertising.
He wanted to create a portal where people can connect with other people. It is as simple as that.
In validating the distribution channel, you need to know which particular site or platform that you choose to promote your app stands for.
Doing so will help you a lot in making your ad copy, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and more.
Step #3: Choose your Revenue Model
Everyone looks for inspiration. It could be an inspiration for the day, for a week, a month, or the one that lives with you 365 days a year.
In the same manner, the motivation to continue with app marketing will fizzle out if you don’t have a source of income.
Even if you’re generating income from other sources other than the app, you get admired and excited when you come to know that your project, product, or idea is of immense value out in the market and people are eager to purchase it.
Unfortunately, many app developers have sleepless nights trying to choose the right revenue model.
Don’t get me wrong: not all apps are developed to make money. This usually happens:
– When your app is born out of your hobby. You are doing it for fun.
– If you want to promote a “premium app” with this free one. It’s totally fine.
Let’s take a look at the different app revenue models.
One time, up-front fee – The most straightforward, but not the most desirable. The reason is that you are supporting an increasing number of users and you have to get even more users to fund your future development costs.
Up-front fee + in-app purchases – This is probably the hardest sell because you are asking people to pay twice. It only works in certain niches.
Free + in-app purchases – Most of the ridiculously profitable games in the world use this model. It should be one of the first revenue models you should explore.
Free (“lite version”) +paid version – This can be a great model if you have a strong value proposition that can be showcased in a free version of your app.
Free + advertising – Advertising is generally a four-letter world, but it can be a good revenue model if you have no other options. Consider offering an in-app purchase that removes the ads.
Subscription – A model that is becoming increasingly popular because it provides recurring income to cover future development costs.
Cross Promotion – As I mentioned above, you may want to create a free app to get a ton of users. You can then promote your paid app within the free app.
Which revenue model is best for your app?
That depends on the type of app you have.
Don’t make people see you as a desperate marketer. Instead, offer them some valuable features for free, but also provide the option to upgrade if they like the app.
One of the main reasons why monetizing an app is easier than a website is because of its two-way communication approach.
A mobile app allows a digital connection between the user and the brand so that both parties can connect, communicate, and share thoughts.
For example, if I download your app on my android phone or tablet, you can send me direct messages and I can respond.
You can even alert me of the latest offers, discount coupons, or new features and when I take advantage of them, you will be intimidated.
Through the GPS feature in mobile apps, an app developer can find exactly where you are downloading from and how you use the apps.
A website isn’t a two-way communication channel. Except you have live chat features and other interactive components.
Customers are obligated to visit your website to know what you have in store for them.
Apps are not like that. There is no need to visit the business website. The app provides all the answers.
With this brief explanation, you can see the potentials of your mobile app.
If you decide to monetize today, you will make extra income to support your business.
Having said that, let’s explore the 20 powerful marketing strategies to market your mobile apps and get significant results.
1. App Store Optimization
How sure are you that your app will be seen amid millions of other apps?
It’s been a general problem among app developers. With more than a million apps in the Play Store and the App Store, getting better visibility for your app is very important although it is a tedious task.
And with search being the most common starting point, your app must rank highly for its primary keywords and key phrases.
Make sure you use the main keyword that you want to rank for in the app title.
For example, if you want your mobile app to show up on App Store or Play Store, assuming that your main keyword is “cab booking”, then your app’s title should flow in this direction:
– Cab booking app
– Quick cab booking
It is not necessary to be exactly these titles. But you know what I’m talking about.
It’s not about developing your app, but how to get them to your target audience.
Just like you optimize your website to rank in Google, you need to optimize your app to appear at the top of a search result in the app store.
The higher you rank, the more likely you will attract potential new users.
2. The Viral Loop Marketing
Viral loops are great tools to increase the number of users for your mobile app.
Create something worth sharing, such as high scores or shared experiences, and make it easy for users to spread the word about how great your app is.
Viral loops help spread the word about your app because they invert the traditional marketing funnel, enabling your users to market your app for you.
Viral loops can be created through good app design, including incentives, invitation-only features, shared experiences, and other referrals to set your loop into motion.
3. Make an Affiliate Program
Affiliate programs are similar to the invitation system within the viral loop.
The difference is that affiliate programs usually provide cash incentives for their members.
You provide links and content for your affiliates to share with their audiences.
Shopify’s affiliate program is highly rated for a few reasons.
They offer high commission, create great content for affiliates to share, and offer support.
This leads to affiliates happily promoting your app to their audiences.
4. Build an App Landing Page
A great landing page for your app is important since your website is often the first impression of your business for many users.
Your website can act as a “gateway” for your app, so make sure it’s attractive, user-friendly, and works well across all browsers.
Landing pages are strong promotional tools that often act as the starting point of a customer’s journey.
5. Attract Your Audience with Video Marketing
Video is already the most popular form of content and is leading among all consumer internet traffic.
Create videos that you (and your users) can share on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and Facebook.
Videos can range from app tutorials to content that supports users to get to know your brand-what do you stand for and what problems do you solve.
Keep the videos concise, no longer than 60 seconds, and make sure the call to action can be understood without audio.
6. App review and Rating
Even before many people buy new stuff, they will research to find other peoples’ opinions before deciding.
Apps are in no way different. Reviews and ratings persuade potential new users to hit the download button.
Encourage existing users to review your app with built-in, features that make it easy for them to write a review for you, such as a rating prompt.
You can also approach an informed, professional reviewer from an app-reviewing website for building authority and visible feedback.
Negative reviews aren’t bad, as long as you don’t take the criticism personally.
Reading and responding to reviews can be a great source for new ideas, identifying areas of improvement, and getting to know the potential users that you are engaged and listening.
7. Running App Store Ads
App Store ads are another excellent way to boost your presence and visibility by paying to rank instead of ranking organically.
You can consider paid app store advertising like a pay-per-click campaign, like how you do with Google Ads.
Paid app store ads place your app conveniently at the top of search results where a huge audience of potential users may be looking for it.
Easy Scanner runs an app store ad when you search for a “document scanner” in the Play Store.
Just pick a keyword and pay per click.
8. Making a Press Kit
Put together a strong press kit for your app so that you are ready whenever a journalist or blogger wants to showcase your work.
Take control of your app imagery that is being published by making your branded screenshots, logos, app icons, social links, company profiles, and press releases.
9. Publish Press Releases
Now that you have a solid press kit, regularly publish press releases to let the public know what they can expect from your business and that you are working hard on new features.
Create a press release that describes your app, who it’s for, and the problem it solves.
A comprehensive press release gives potential users a look at your company and a view of what to expect.
10. Having a Social Media Presence
What is the great thing about advertising on social media platforms?
Not only you can reach more potential users, but also you can target your ads to the right kind of audience for your mobile app.
If you want to get noticed, you should be on Social Media.
If you have a limited ad budget, highly targeted social media ads are more likely to drive more downloads.
In addition to boosting your app’s visibility, social media provides valuable insights about your followers.
Study about their interests, hobbies, demographics, when they are most active, and more so that you can fine-tune your ad strategy.
Engaging with your users is a must when implementing your social media campaign, but even better is resharing their content.
Show your potential audience how others are using your app and start real conversations.
11. Blog Regularly
Flex your industry expertise, improve your visibility on the search engine results page, and drive traffic to landing pages by blogging regularly.
Businesses that blog regularly receive more leads than those who don’t.
Blog content can also be distributed in email newsletters, repurposed on social media, or featured as an eBook or a downloadable resource on a landing page.
Guide your potential audience about your development process to build interest around your app.
Carefully research which keywords to target, start writing quality blog posts about those topics, and get links to improve your search.
12. Getting Help from Influencers
There is no denying it. Influencers have a huge amount of, well, influence.
But unless you have a massive budget to pay for an endorsement from an A-list influencer, you are going to have a look at a “micro-influencer” who aligns with your target audience.
The key here is to utilize any connections you may already have, but most importantly to find someone relevant to your brand and mission. Or else, any users you gained will quickly churn out.
13. Driving Downloads with App Install Ads
Ads are everywhere. So why not take advantage of that?
Run install ads on search engines and social media to drive traffic to your app and increase downloads.
Bid for relevant keywords and target segment audiences to get your app in front of the right people. This is a paid strategy but proven successful.
14. Engaging users with Retention Marketing
Push Notifications are alerts that appear on a user’s mobile device home screen or lock screen.
They are similar to text messages but the user should download the app to start receiving them.
The purpose of push notification is to
– Give a status update or alert (ex: news alert or flight updates)
– Notify users about new features, special offers, or an app update.
– Utilize location services to provide users personalized communication
Advantages of Push Notifications
– They help increase user engagement with your app.
– Most of the users prefer push notifications and find them useful
Rich Push Notifications
Rich push notifications are just like push notifications but can include an image, video, or sound files.
This kind of rich content helps your message stand out uniquely.
Users who received a rich push notification were more engaged in an app than users who didn’t.
In-app messages appear when your users are currently active in your mobile app. They are used for
– Confirming a purchase
– Requesting a review or rating in an app store.
– Giving a personalized recommendation or suggestion
– Showing product updates.
Benefits of in-app messages
– 4x increase in conversions. This applies to in-app messages that appear in response to a user action.
– More increase in app launches. This means your users are more likely to open your app again if you are communicating through in-app.
– Improved mobile UX. For actions like social sharing or entering information, an in-app message lets users accomplish something, and get right back to what they were doing.
15. Write Guest Blog to Promote Your App
Guest blogging is as old as blogging itself, but it’s very effective.
Show everyone that you know what you are talking about and share your industry expertise by guest posting on influential blogs.
You may not get a million downloads on your apps through guest blogging, but you will attract tens of thousands of new app users.
You just have to get serious with guest blogging. There is a lot of work involved in it.
The mobile app industry is one hell of a competitive zone, with more than a million developers out there in the market.
Despite the difference in areas of specialization, they all strive for one thing – recognition.
Guest blogging is a form of inbound marketing. Therefore, create your app visibility with inbound marketing, and beat your competitors.
Inbound marketing can be done in so many ways, but guest blogging happens to be the most effective.
You want to know why?
Well, guest blogging provides a situation where the blog owner gains valuable content, and the guest blogger gets access to a new audience. It’s a win-win for both parties.
If you wish to gain authority, qualified traffic, relevant links, leads, and sales in your business, you need to start guest blogging today.
There is no shortcut. Extra effort is required to create more engaging content, which is the major challenge for most marketers.
But if you can come up with engaging content, relevant to your products or services, you will not only increase your chances of generating more leads from your guest posts but also search engines, even as your posts start to dominate organic search for long-tail keywords.
Search engines like Google rewards blog which have trusted and relevant backlinks.
Many people believe that since Google Play Store is owned by Google, they can get more app downloads and subscribers if they optimize for keywords and backlinks.
The same rule that applies for organic search rankings seems to apply for app optimization as well.
I hope that you will start blogging right away, won’t you?
16. Cross-Promote with Your Partner
Cross-promotion is an ad exchange where you allow another app to advertise within your app and in return, they do the same favor for you.
Cross-promotion is a great way to generate new installs and to leverage your partner’s audience.
This is particularly effective if the products are complementary.
17. Measuring Your KPI
Don’t set it and forget it. Make sure how well your app is growing by frequently checking and analyzing Key Performance Indicators.
Regularly check KPIs like the number of app downloads, your daily active users, retention rate, and get a realistic idea of how well your app is performing.
Data doesn’t lie, and it can show you with insights on what strategies are working and who to target next.
18. Offer Contests, Giveaways, and Free Trials
Help your users save some money and chances are high they will show their appreciation by engaging with your app even more.
Provide some promo codes or offer free trials to drive downloads.
Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix all offer first-time users free trials to get them hooked on their services before subscribing.
19. Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is traditionally considered to be the process of driving growth, but it can include the use of social media, video, blogs, and other formats.
Some of the examples of content for your app are success stories, infographics, case studies, and more, as long as it’s all relevant to your app.
Content marketing helps show what your app does, how other people have benefitted from it, and what do you stand for.
Your content campaigns should appeal to both existing and potential users, with articles and videos on topics like app usage tips and even interviews with high profile users.
20. Try Traditional Advertising
Don’t be afraid of doing things the old fashioned way!
A traditional marketing approach can be characterized as any marketing strategy, a commercial channel, or a promotional advertisement that has a successful record of increasing business.
Formats like print advertising, telemarketing, broadcasting, billboards, direct mail, and even in-person sales can still be highly effective, and even refreshing in this digital age.
How do you know your mobile app marketing works?
Great marketing is made on thorough, accessible data.
But what are the metrics that truly measure how your app is performing against the goals you have set?
It is not only about the number of downloads anymore, although that number matters when you are launching a new app.
Well, let’s take a look at it.
Retention rate – The number of users who return to your app after the first visit.
Daily/Monthly active users – Your most important users are the ones who are actively engaging with your app, not just letting it idle on their mobile phones.
Session length – How much time do your users spend in your app?
Acquisitions – The number of users who download your app through a particular source, say, Facebook ads.
Screen flow – The paths users take through your app.
Lifetime value (LTV) – What kind of value do your users represent throughout their time as users?
App Marketing Analytics
App analytics is the foundation for any successful mobile app marketing strategy.
App analytics provide you with the insights you need to optimize your message that is resonating with your audience.
Intuition will only get you so far, and then comes the data.
Understanding data like preferences, location, and in-app behavior about your users allows you to optimize highly personalized app experience.
After all, mobile is intrinsically personal, so your strategy needs to be too.
Even if you have developed the next ground-breaking idea, mobile app marketing is paramount to your success.
Without app marketing to help spread the word, no one is going to ever experience it.
It goes without saying, but not every strategy listed here will apply to your app.
However, a well-thought strategy could be very effective in encouraging users to download and start using your app.
Once users have got your app in their hands, make sure to keep them asking for more.
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