How to Successfully Promote and Market Your App

Stories about successful apps are everywhere — Mint, Flipboard, Uber and many others. The companies behind these successes built apps that quickly rose to stardom, and along with that notability came large amounts of revenue. But many apps, even the most /creative, innovative and well built, don’t experience this type of success. Why?

App stores are inundated with applications. Android users have over 1.6 million apps to choose from, and Apple’s App Store users can select from 1.5 million. The competition is fierce. Understanding how to promote and market your app places you ahead of the competition, as you gain the ability to reach users on a much larger scale.

How to Promote Your App

Before taking any steps to promote your app and start wondering how to market an app, there is one decision that you need to make. You must be clear about your target audience. Who will download your application? Who will you serve? Are there several different segments or only one?

Once this decision is made, all other marketing efforts can be tightly focused, and as a result they will be more efficient. Here’s a few methods for growing your app’s user base more effectively.

Build a teaser website.

This will be your hub for spreading information and capturing email addresses for people who are interested in your application. Your site should be simple and effective, and it should also include a place to blog.

Start blogging.

Using basic SEO principles, write content that will draw people to your website and encourage readers to subscribe to your blog. Once subscribed, you can offer valuable content, but you should also share information when your app launches. Social sharing, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, can also be leveraged to share content and connect with potential users.

Generate a plan for blogger outreach.

Who is blogging in the niche that your app targets? You need to find these people, because they are influencers who can launch your app to stardom. Ask for an opportunity to guest blog to get in front of their audiences. Typically, you will include a biography at the end of the post, where you can place a link to your app.

Make the app free at the launch.

Don’t create another barrier to download, especially when you’re building up reviews of the app. Any blogs discussing the app can promote it as free.

Create a podcast.

In addition to your blog, you can create a podcast that is focused on your app niche. Publish on your site and also on iTunes. Or better yet, repurpose your podcasts into blog posts, or guest blog posts, to leverage your resources and reach more people.

Develop a product video.

When developing your app website, create a product video that tells the story of your app’s development. Stories are powerful marketing tools and help you capture the attention of the visitor.

Create an interest-driven Facebook group.

What niche does your app target? Created a targeted Facebook group, where people with common interests related to the app can get together and socialize regularly. You will build authority in the niche as the group owner and gain traction for your app.

Consider using Facebook ads.

Target your specific niche, with the ability to leverage demographics and interests. When you drill down and focus on a highly targeted group of people, overall advertising costs will be lower and your ROI will be higher.

Leverage social media marketing.

Host a Twitter chat to engage with people who may use your application. Take for example RunKeeper, an app that has a great blog with lots of content, including tips for runners and success stories. They share the content on Twitter, but also host a chat, where they can bring together people with common interests and build authority and meaningful connections.

Capture ratings.

A higher rating in the app store translates into more downloads. So if your users love the app, ask them to spread the word. For example, Localytics uses segmentation to identify people who frequently use your application. You can then target that group with in-app messaging asking them to rate your app.

Regardless of which marketing strategy you select, it’s important to synchronize your promotions. Attempt to have almost everything appear at the same time before your app launches. This results in your target market seeing your app in several different places and thinking, “Gosh, I really need to check that app out — it’s everywhere!”

Marketing an App: What to Avoid

Some app developers make the mistake of opting for email marketing. Generally, email marketing can be effective when it’s highly targeted and integrated with your other marketing efforts. But trouble can occur when blanket or form emails are sent out with information about their applications.

You can also skip press releases when promoting your app. This method may have been effective several years ago, but today, there are millions of apps available. Press releases about new apps are often discarded, resulting in wasted money, energy and time.

And finally, skip the “for pay” review sites. They often get less traffic than expected and, equally important, it’s unlikely that your target market is using those sites to make purchasing decisions.

The Next Steps

Every app developer has a different strategy, and a different budget. But the most important aspect of marketing your new app is the willingness to try many different tactics. A “one size fits all” marketing approach doesn’t exist because of the variety of preferences and review processes of your target audience. There is no one-size solution to how to promote an app; you have to consider your target audience and how to best reach them.

A willingness, however, to attempt different marketing tactics and measure those results will create a winning strategy that will result in more users downloading your app, as word spreads quickly.

6 Tips to Get You Started With App Store Optimization

Launching your app? Learn the best app store optimizations to improve visibility and increase downloads.

The moment has come, you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your app, and you’re ready to launch. Once it finally launches, there is nothing worse than all your hard work translating to disappointing performance. Downloads are stagnant, and what you thought would be a huge success is quickly fizzling out. What happened? Why do some apps take off quickly while others fail?

The answer is simple: It doesn’t matter how great your app is if customers can’t find it. The majority of apps, 63 percent, are discovered through app store searches, according to Forrester. With more than 1.5 million apps available, if you aren’t found through basic searches, you are missing out on a core segment of your audience. Rising to the top of search results, however, is made easier through app store optimization.

What Is App Store Optimization?

For years, developers have used search engine optimization (SEO) to drive more traffic to websites. ASO is similar in strategy; however, instead of driving traffic to a website, it’s focused on driving traffic to your app through increase rankings in app store search results. You can think of ASO as app store SEO.

The primary goal of ASO is to increase the visibility of your app. Once you start driving more traffic to your app page, downloads will naturally start to increase, which will provide additional traction for getting found in search results. But to accomplish this, you must understand the language potential buyers are using to find your app, and then carefully integrate those keywords into your app promotion.

Getting Started With ASO

Getting started with ASO requires you to stop thinking like a developer and start thinking like your customers. Really think about who you expect, or want, to download your app. And moreover, understand the words they will use when searching for your app. Once you have a grasp on this, it’s important to integrate that information into the right places. Here are a few app store optimization tips to consider:

Title. Keywords should be used in the title. In fact, apps that use keywords in the title rank 10.2 percent higher than those that don’t. But you might be wondering about keywords. Should you just use your best guess, or is there a more exact way to find them? One approach is to use a keyword tool, such as Sensor Tower and App Annie.

Description. When uploading your app, you can include descriptive content about your app. This is very important and serves two purposes: helping people find your app through using the right keywords, and encouraging people to fully commit download your app. Pepper keywords into the description, but also ensure that the content is engaging, informative, and provides enough information about your app to get users to download it.

Category. Apple recently broke its app store into subcategories, which allows apps to rank higher in search results for specific areas. Since you can select only one category, it’s important to select carefully. Look for categories less saturated with competitors that fit your niche market.

Getting Found: A Few Other Considerations

There are typical on-screen criteria for ranking high in search results, such as title and description. But other criteria can also weigh heavily on your visibility. For example, how many times has your app been downloaded? At first, this number will be low. But over time, as you get more downloads and that number rises, so will your rankings in search results.

Another important factor is ratings. When people download your app, what do they think of it? Are they giving your app a good rating? If so, this will also help you get found. One way to influence ratings is through the use of a plug-in that prompts users to review your app after using it. If your app has a solid user experience you should see some positive results!

Tips for Getting More Downloads

Downloads affect visibility, but how can you encourage more people to download your app? One strategy is creating a more engaging experience than your competitors’. Here are a few considerations:

Create an app video. Many people are visual. They want to understand the look and feel of your app before downloading it. Developing a quick trailer can move the sales process along. Be sure and showcase the usability and key features users will get when they download.

Provide a screenshot of your app. At a minimum, you should screenshot your app so people can quickly see what it looks like. From the buyers’ perspective, the less mystery about what they’re downloading, the better. Buyers want to be educated.

Create a demo. If your app is not free this is a key step. People want to play with your app before paying a fee to purchase. Create this experience through a demo, which will ultimately increase downloads — and rankings.

Upload an app icon. This will create a consistent brand experience for the user as they quickly recognize your app. This becomes increasingly important as you gain word of mouth traction and people begin to seek out your app.

The Next Steps

When thinking about ASO, it’s important to realize that it’s not a perfect science. You may not get it right the first time, and that’s okay. Using this strategy takes time and a lot of experimentation as you figure out which keywords your audience is searching for, and how best to enhance your app’s performance.

But the time you invest is worth it, because as you monitor and tweak over time, you’ll achieve the right balance. As a result, you’ll significantly enhance your app’s ability to get found in searches.

Key Takeaways

  • Be patient. Successful ASO requires experimentation, and trial and error.
  • Be willing to invest time. You likely spent a lot of time developing your app, and by investing time in ASO, you will solidify the long-term success of your app.
  • Make ASO an ongoing process. Continue to tweak the keywords that you’re using and see what performs best.
  • Keep tabs on the competition. What keywords are other people using in your niche? Could you borrow some? Or can you differentiate and use completely different keywords to get found?
  • Focus on a high-quality experience in everything you do. This will lead to more positive reviews and downloads, and help you rise to the top of search results organically.

As you launch your app consider all of the suggestions and refer back to this handy app store optimization guide to be sure you have all your bases covered.