At this point in time, over 2 million apps are available in Apple’s App Store (with similar numbers in the Google Play store), but very few have garnered significant revenue. With the proliferation of apps, even the best products need concentrated marketing attention to rise above the noise. Your marketing team has ideally been involved since the beginning, doing market research to identify needs and define objectives. Having a clearly defined value proposition is critical, but what are the key aspects to app marketing? How do you go about getting the word out to your target market?
As you would expect, there is not a singular answer. The digital marketing age is filled with a myriad of promotional options, and in some ways, there are too many choices. We’ll outline a few key platforms often used in marketing apps, but it’s not likely you’ll want to leverage them all. Knowing your customer base is essential to determining which options will be most effective — and which aren’t worth the time.
A solid website and app store description are essential components in every strategy. These two locations are prime real estate for YOU to present a clear pitch about your app’s benefits. Most consumers begin the discovery process using a search engine (or the search bar in the app stores) and you want to be there when they’re looking. Understanding how these engines work, and crafting your story in a way that enables the engines to understand your benefits, is a critical discipline known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are numerous factors that play into SEO, from how your site is written and structured to how often others refer to your expertise. Moz.com offers a great overview in The Beginners Guide to SEO.
These two assets can also be utilized as a resource hub for your other digital marketing efforts. There are some things you can do on your own to drive traffic to your page, like search engine advertising (SEA), hosting a webinar to draw attention, or initiating an email campaign. However, your reach will be limited unless you extend your network and get other people talking about your app as well.
An informative post on partner sites, blogs, or forums is a great way to spread the word. Your industry research can help identify key influencers, publications, and communities. Find ways to get your app into such users’ hands early and request they share the word about your app if they love it – and tell you if they don’t!
Social platforms are also valuable, particularly for consumer-facing apps. They create a sense of community among participants and, through the multiplying power of friend networks, they can be instrumental in spreading the word about your great new app. This in turn impacts traffic to your site, your ranking in search engine results, and ultimately sales in the app stores.
There are an incredible number of social platforms – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few. Each has its own strengths, but all require significant effort and content to keep followers engaged. Before launching into any one medium, take the time to develop a social media strategy that thoughtfully leverages particular platforms to support promotion of your app. And remember that social media isn’t just what occurs outside of your app. Consider building social sharing into the fabric of the app itself, encouraging users to brag to others as they accomplish certain goals.
While digital media offers numerous options for promotion, there are a variety of “unplugged” options as well. Sponsor a booth or a seminar at trade shows, conferences or other relevant events. Host a Meetup in your area. Write a white paper on a topic of industry interest. Enter your app into consideration for any relevant award or contest. And, of course, don’t forget traditional news/media/public relations outlets that speak to your consumer. Most newspapers and magazines have both print and digital versions, and your presence in one often means you get exposure in the other as well.
Get a deeper dive into this topic by downloading a copy of our book, Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps. It’s free in the iBooks store and available for a small charge on Kindle.