Multiple surveys have indicated that many online shoppers prefer purchasing on apps to websites, citing such reasons as ease of use and speed. Naturally, more brands are now making the smart move and developing apps for their businesses. These days, such a move is a lot easier since we now have no-code platforms that enable people to create apps without code.
However, the benefits of having a mobile app for your business are endless. But you also have to promote it; otherwise, nobody knows it exists, and it might as well be a toy on your shelf.
Now, the question of when to promote arises. At first, it may seem like promoting your app should begin after you have launched it, but that’s not quite right. You should already be drumming up awareness even while it is under development.
The genius of starting this early is that you can look at the response you get and gauge what it is that your customers are looking for. When it’s time to launch, you can be sure that your app will hit home. App promotion doesn’t end here, though. Since there will still be people you haven’t reached, the campaign must continue.
Now, knowing why and when to promote your app is all well and good. But what good is any of that if you have no idea how to go about it? That’s what we’ll be discussing in this post. So, buckle up, and let’s see some tried and true mobile app promotion strategies you can apply.
1. Website Announcements
Announcing the launch of your app on website platforms is one surefire way to let people know it’s out (or coming soon) and convince them to download it. It’s also incredibly potent for gathering contact information and generating leads. Even though most users prefer to make purchases on apps, websites are still the go-to source for information. You can leverage that to reach a broad audience.
Now, you can embark on this on your website or host it on other websites, or you can do both. Either way, one thing you should keep in mind is that your web announcement should be easy to spot. It will do you no good if it’s squeezed into a corner and visitors to the site can’t even see it.
2. Email Marketing
It wouldn’t be surprising if you, like many others, believe that email marketing is obsolete, but you would be wrong. Even though other means of communication are now available, emails are still very popular. According to a 2018 study, 75% of consumers said they most often use their smartphones to check email, and 68.9% viewed marketing mails 2-3 days weekly. Evidently, email communication is still very much a thing.
Now, digital marketing usually involves the exchange of such information as contact address, phone number, and email. For instance, users usually have to sign up with their email addresses to engage with a business via its website. Suppose then that you’ve already been engaging with your customers via a web platform; you likely have most if not all of their email addresses. If this is the case, then you have a very economical way to let them know about your app. All you need to do is send them promotional emails.
However, there is such a thing as doing it wrong. Too frequent emails, and you might get the online equivalent of a restraining order. Too long emails, and your audience won’t even bother opening them. That’s why you must pace your emails well and keep them short and simple.
3. App Store Optimization
App store optimization is like search engine optimization but for mobile apps. You already understand that one of the next steps after creating and testing an app is to publish it on an app store. However, you will also agree that there are a billion apps on any given app store, whether Google Play or Apple Play Store. That implies lots of competition in in-app searches. So, how do you get the app store to give your mobile app some priority and make it more visible?
Enter app store optimization, a set of things you can do to make that happen. To optimize your app for better ranking on an app store, you need to:
- Create a unique title and maintain it. That title should contain a well-researched keyword that fits the most frequently relevant searches.
- Create a clear, concise, brief, and eye-catching app description.
- Programming features and offers into the app to inspire positive reviews after downloads.
4. Referral Programs and App Discounts
One of the marketing strategies that has been gaining traction in marketing circles is referral marketing. It’s a strategy based on a simple principle: “People talk. And if they will, let them talk about my business” – in a promotional way, of course. Marketers have been using this to significant effect, with 82% of B2B salespeople saying that the best leads come from referrals.
Already, we understand that customers tend to spread the word about products they enjoy. However, referral marketing takes it up a notch by encouraging referrals through rewards. This rewarded referral system is something you can also apply in mobile app marketing, especially if you pair it with app discounts. For example, you could offer specific discounts on app services or in-app purchases to users who successfully refer someone into the fold. This incentive will drive them to refer others actively, and before you know it, your mobile app will be viral.
5. Social Media/Paid Marketing
These days, marketing on social media has become a significant part of business for a lot of marketers, as many as 90% as of 2016. This is not surprising given the level of social media engagement worldwide. So, why not leverage that as well?
Mobile app promotion on social media can go in two ways: organic and paid advertising. Organic promotion on social media, at its simplest, has to do with having a social media presence. Typically, you wouldn’t need to spend much or anything on this. However, you can add momentum to your mobile app promotion by, say, paying a very influential social media figure to post about your app.
Alternatively, you could pay the developers of a particular social media app to promote your app on the platform. This is essentially social media paid advertising, and there is no overestimating the exposure it will afford you.
Gamification is an exercise in incorporating gaming aspects into your mobile app to keep users engaged and hungry for more. This, in turn, optimizes retention rate, session frequency, return on ad spend, etc.
To keep users interested, developers of gamified apps leverage principles of cognitive psychology to ensure they ( the users) get rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. This encourages them to utilize the app more frequently. The game elements could be anything from quizzes, and scavenger hunts to raffle draws or even daily bonuses. Whichever ones you incorporate into your app, you will gain a competitive advantage and can easily meet your growth objectives.
7. Public Relations and Publicity Campaigns
Engaging in some PR is another way to go about mobile app promotion. You can hold a couple of press releases or engage in interviews with any local newspaper or some tech bloggers. Or maybe you can host a launch party. Either way, a well-planned and executed PR campaign will help you create some much-needed buzz about your app and your credibility.
8. Buying In-store Boosts
It may excite you to know that some app stores offer special services that you can buy to boost your app’s search standing. For example, Apple debuted Search Ads, a kind of paid advertising in the App Store, along with the release of iOS 10. Search Ads allows you to bid on specific relevant keywords so that when users search those, your app comes up first. Apple Search Ads have an average conversion rate of 50%, demonstrating the potential impact they may have on the success of your app.
So, when deciding on an app store in which to publish your app, you should look for any such boosts and make good use of them.
Mobile app promotion and acquiring users are not easy to do. Some of these strategies we’ve looked at may appear simple, but you can’t get your dream user base in one day. It requires time and patience – and lots of those, depending on the project, your target, and your strategy. But in the end, it’s worth the time and energy as it will shoot your business to a whole new level of scalability.
So, which one of these will you try first?