How to Market an App in 2019
According to Statista reports, mobile apps are expected to generate revenue worth 189 billion US dollars by 2020. This will be through both Play Store as well as In App advertising. As of March 2017, Google Play Store had 2.8 million apps whereas Apple App store had 2.2 million mobile apps for download.
Here we are going to discuss how to market an app to ensure that your app is found by the customers. Mobile app marketing is not much different from marketing of any product. It's the nuances that are different, which we will come to later.
Like any product, how to market an app must be divided into three phases:
- Pre-Launch - This covers the time period from the time you decide to have a mobile app until you actually launch it.
- The Launch - This covers the period from launch till the first few weeks.
- Post-Launch - This phase starts after the initial novelty of the launch has worn off and should ideally continue till the life cycle of the mobile app.
The moment you decide to have a mobile app developed for your product or service, you need to get hold of a mobile app development company to assist you in that. I am an advocate of using a mobile app development company and not doing it in-house because I believe that every job should be done by a specialist. You, of course, have the option to differ on this.
Anyways, this is not the topic of discussion here. What I want to impress upon you is that parallel to app development process, you should know how to market an app. Do not leave it till the end, when your app development process is in its final phases. Trust me; this will save you lots of headaches later.
How to Market an App: Pre-Launch Phase
Here are some tips for how to market an app during the pre-launch phase.
1. Set a Release Date
Setting the deadline for any task is important. When you think of how to market an app, setting a launch date is the first thing you should do. If you do not set a release date for your mobile app, it will take to get delayed for one reason or the other. It is better to set a date and then work backwards from there.
2. Do Market Research to Know your Visitors
Before any app marketing strategy can be outlined, you need to research the market and identify the ideal customer for whom you are building the app. All your subsequent actions should be geared towards this ideal customer persona you have built.
3. Perform Competitive Analysis
Before you enter the market, you must know what you are up against. It is essential to perform a competitive analysis of the mobile app market. Keep yourself updated about the competitors’ latest development by subscribing to their blogs and newsletters, and general industry news.
4. Define Your Brand Messaging
The brand messaging of the app must be very clear and if possible, written down in a style guide. Having anything in black and white helps in communicating the same to others. When an app has a clear brand message, customers identify with it and engage better.
5. Be Prepared for PR Exercise
When the time comes for actual launch, you need to give out lots of PR materials to the agencies, be it online or offline. So, keep PR kit containing press release, logo image in multiple resolutions, app screenshots, etc. ready in advance. If you do not get the images right, the whole PR exercise would be rendered useless as potential customers are not able to see them properly.
6. Use a Website, Microsite or Landing Page
Chances are that you already have a website for your business. If yes, create a landing page dedicated to the mobile app you are planning to launch. Take care to give relevant information and visible download link for the app. If you do not have a website, it would be a good idea to develop a website dedicated to the mobile app. G2Crowd covered the topic in great detail on the landing page and how to market an app.
7. Prepare for E-mail Marketing
If you already have emails of people who could be interested in the mobile app you are planning to launch, good. If not, start collecting the emails so that you have a big list of people to whom you can send the launch email.
8. Define App Monetization Strategy
Often businesses get so carried away by the whole idea of launching the mobile app that its monetization strategy is overlooked. At the end of the day you are here to make money and mobile app is a means to that end. You are engaging with the customer so that you can monetize your product or service. Prepare your app monetization strategy at the beginning and incorporate it during the app design and development phase itself.
9. Draw up a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is an important part of digital marketing. Content marketing strategy is an integral part of digital marketing. You already have the customer persona. Identifying the target market and keywords that you want to optimise for. After that, create a content marketing calendar for all digital channels like blog posting, social media, newsletters, etc.
10. Set up Social Media Accounts
In today's online work it is essential to setup dedicated social media account for your mobile app. If your business social media accounts already have a huge following, who are also potential customers for your mobile app, you can use the same accounts. Put in details of the app and place in the banner so that everyone visiting it can see. Ensure that social media content marketing strategy must be separate for your business and the mobile app so that neither of them get neglected later.
How to Market an App: The Launch Phase
You have set the launch date, prepared for the big day and launched with fanfare. Now what? This is what we discuss in this section.
11. Start App Store Optimization (ASO)
App Store Optimisation is the SEO of app Marketplace. This makes app description and keyword density used therein very important because almost 80% of users find an app by searching on the app platform. Take care to ensure that app description, headline and screenshot are optimised for target keywords.
12. Select the Right Mobile App Category
With so many mobile apps available, you can expect to have stiff competition in whatever the category you choose. Usually, your mobile app would be eligible for more than one category. Take care to choose the correct mobile app category where you can be sure of reaching the target segment and more downloads.
13. Start Promoting on Social Media Channels
This is time for how to market an app on social channels. As discussed earlier, you should have the promotion strategy in place before doing this. It is a good idea to include offers and giveaways as part of promotion. Write a blog post on your website or blog and give links for download within the post.
14. Define Paid Marketing Strategy
Using paid marketing is also a good idea to implement during this phase. Depending upon your target segment you can choose to go for paid marketing on two or more channels. Be sure to collect enough data to be able to analyse the impact of your strategy.
15. Be Seen Everywhere
Line up appearances in interviews, podcasts and webinars around launch time, both before and after. Be sure to select where you will appear based on where your ideal customer is expected to be present.
16. Do Guest Posting on Established Websites
Guest posting on high ranking website in your app category can help you send out a good word out among potential customers. However, this could prove tricky if you have not planned in advance. Take care to include guest posting strategies in the content marketing plan you have created during the pre-launch phase. And this is the time to implement the strategy; the guest post can the link back to mobile app landing page or app marketplace directly.
17. Get Reviewed by Influencers
Influencers in your category should be an important part of your app marketing strategy. Reach out to them to review your app and mention the results in their blog posts, social media posts and other conversations. Ensure that you have an app that is worthy of review by the influencers. You will need to pitch to the influences with the USP of your mobile app, like eye catching mobile app design, super friendly interface, fastest load times, etc.
18. Perform Community Building or Forum Discussion
If you have a strong branding and messaging associated with your mobile app you can go for building communities and forums around it. This will keep discussions alive long after the launch. Being active on these communities and forums will also give you an opportunity to be in touch with your customers and solve their problems even after the download.
19. Focus on Customer Service
Keeping in touch with the customers and providing them an effective service is essential to keep the ball rolling. A negative feedback here and there, especially in the initial launch phase can have be a huge set back to your app marketing efforts. Providing immediate customer service is necessary to stop negative publicity.
20. Make Easy to Share Your App
There is nothing like mouth to mouth publicity. It’s just that it has taken the form of social sharing in the online world. The app should give the users options to share your App while they are using it. Sit with your app designers to include links and buttons to implement this strategy.
How to Market an App: Post Launch Phase
Once the app is launched and the ball is set rolling it is easy to go slow on app marketing. But, as with any product or service that a business is trying to sell, you need to continue the marketing search for continued profits. Here are some ways for how to market an app in post launch phase:
21. Track User Acquisition
Data is very important for any marketing strategy. Keep a track of information related to number of users and catching with your app, number of conversions, profile of customers, etc. This will enable you to focus the app marketing efforts on the correct target segment.
22. Ask for Feedback, Reviews & Comments
Customer engagement after they have downloaded and used the app is essential to continue further downloads. Encourage the users to review the app and provide comments. Give them the option of doing this on the app marketplace or any of your social media channels. More the number of channels where they can provide feedback, higher the probability that you get one. If you get a negative feedback, solve the problem immediately. This will go a long way in convincing future customers that you care about your app.
23. Map the User Journey to Re-engage
Don't forget about the user once they have downloaded the app. Continue engaging with them on various online platforms so that your app does not fall into disuse. This is essential if you plan to have in-app ads or provide a premium version later.
24. Use QR Code for Offline Marketing
Amidst all the online marketing action, offline marketing should not be neglected. If you have a brick and mortar store, advertise the app there, providing easy links or QR codes.
25. Attend meet-ups
Attending industry meet-ups where you can mention your mobile app is a good way of promotion. You will need to reach out to the organizers and show your interest. Most of them are usually on a lookout for participants.
26. Get Speaking Engagements
Similar to meet-ups, speaking engagements are good ways of continued promotion. However, here you need to exercise some control and not be very overt with the marketing. Mention it in your bio, which will probably find a way to all delegates. Also, drop that you have launched an app during informal discussions.
27. Engage on Social Media Channels
Remember the social media accounts you created? Or the e-mail list collected? Continue engaging with them through regular posts, newsletters, sharing information and of course, app performance.
28. Consider Apple Search Ads
If your app is available for iPhone or iPad, using the Apple Search Ads platform is a good idea. According to AppAnnie report, 65% app downloads on iOS app store happen through organic search.
29. Mobile App A/B Testing
When sufficient number of users have downloaded the app, you can perform A/B testing for the app. This will help you in providing the best possible experience to the users after analysing test results.
30. Make Continuous Updates & Maintenance
As you collect reviews and feedbacks from users, incorporate the suggested changes after due diligence. Keep adding features to your app, however minor. When users receive an update notification, they feel that you are invested in the app and care about its users.
We have discussed many strategies about how to market an app. You can choose to implement all or only some of them at a time. Start small and see what works for you. Just remember that data collection, analysis and fine-tuning of the strategy is essential for the success of your mobile app promotion strategy.
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