When a company or individual develops a mobile app, it enters a market where the difference between success and failure hinges on whether it can stand out from the crowd. To facilitate exposure for an app, developers must proactively promote their product on relevant platforms. Two methods, creating a website and social media profiles for your app, can work wonders for encouraging downloads for your mobile product.
One of the biggest challenges that mobile app developers face after the validation of their app idea is successfully promoting their new app. Regardless of the app's level of complexity or general concept, without savvy and effective promotion, your app faces an uphill battle when it comes to penetrating the market.
In order to market your app effectively, we suggest three separate but holistic strategies:
- Create a powerful and intuitive website and social media profiles for your app.
- Use influencers, brand ambassadors, reviews, and endorsements to promote your app.
- Cast a wide promotion net by placing your app on lesser known app platforms and stores and investing in paid advertisement.
I will explore each of these strategies in a three-part series of articles on mobile app marketing best practices. I will outline the essential components of app marketing, explain why they work, and walk you through how to implement each tactic.
We begin with the first series of promotion strategies that are critical to the success of your app: creating a web and social media presence designed to attract new users and generate buzz about your app.
This article guides you through of six tips for developing a website and social profiles for your new app and the corresponding steps required to accomplish them.
Tip #1: Create a Website for Your App
Since apps do not have the real estate to showcase their value proposition in detail, websites present an excellent opportunity to connect with potential users and convince them to download your mobile product.
A website is one of the most potent tools for generating leads, collecting contact information, and informing the public about your app.
In addition, websites provide a huge advantage when it comes to marketing your app to influencers or plugging your app on social media. With a website, whenever an influencer shows interest in your app, he or she can check out and direct their followers to the site.
Angry Birds, a gaming app, and Montessorium, the company behind popular Intro to Math and Intro to Letters apps, represent two prime examples of app-focused websites that serve to inform and promote a mobile app.
Steps to Begin Building an Effective Website for Your Mobile App
Step 1: Building a website is a formidable task. Fortunately, the process for building a site has become increasingly simple, thanks in large part to DIY platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. For a nominal, monthly fee, these platforms provide web hosting, analytics data, and an easy-to-use interface that makes building and managing your own site a simple task.
If your company possesses a larger operating budget or cannot afford to spend time building or managing your site, experts, such as professional developers or web design agencies. can be contracted to build the site for you.
Step 2: Web design is an incredibly complicated process that should not be viewed as a simple “step.” However, in the framework of the website development process, it is imperative that you understand the basic principles of web design and marketing. For example, minimalism, mega images, calls to action, and unique selling propositions are all design concepts that lend themselves to strong lead-generation.
Tip #2: Design a Landing Page for Your App
Landing pages are excellent tools to persuade people to click through for an eventual conversion, which in this case, takes the form of a click-through to your site or an app store to download the app.
In addition, landing pages act as superb marketing devices that both build anticipation and an interested audience for your app prior to its launch.
Essentially, a landing page acts as a teaser of sorts, allowing you to reveal information about your app in piecemeal fashion leading up to its launch
PhotoSquared, a mobile app for printing canvases from your phone, acts as a good example of an effective landing page (see below).
PhotoSquared's simple design, coupled with an easy-to-identify call to action, help convince users to download the app.
However, keep in mind that creating a landing page is a complex process that requires skills in copywriting and design in order to communicate your key message in a visually compelling manner.
Steps to Create a Well-Designed & Thoughtful Landing Page
Step 1: Design and build your landing page in advance of the launch of your app. Include a clear, attention-grabbing headline that alerts people to its unique selling proposition.
For example, PhotoSquared (shown in image above) sells 8’x8’ photoboards online. Their landing page clearly and visually shows their final product. In addition, they use a square shaped area at the top of the page to detail their app’s function, the price of their product, a free shipping offering, and instructions on how to use it.
Step 2: Ensure that the flow of the copy supports the goal of getting people to click through to your site or app store page.
Step 3: Incorporate key web design elements, such as minimalism, on your landing page, so that the message to download your app stands out. This involves using attractive, high-quality screenshots and images. Couple these concepts with a large call to action button that uses colors that stand out, so people can’t miss it.
The image of the PhotoSquared landing page above provides a template for instituting these key design concepts: a major call to action on the page ("Download our app in the App Store and Google Play"), large, stylized images of your product, and videos that introduce or review the product.
Tip #3: Perfect SEO for Your App’s Site
After creating a website, complete with an optimized landing page that showcases your app, invest in search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to help customers find your app’s site through search. After all, what good is it to have a great website if no one can find it?
Organic search traffic remains one of the best ways to get your product or service discovered on the web. Perfecting your site’s SEO could mean thousands more people get to know about your app each month.
Steps to Begin Developing a SEO Strategy
Step 1: Determine your target keywords. This is an old-school SEO fundamental that remains as valid today, as it did 10 years ago.
Researching relevant keywords to investigate where your app will be competitive should be your first step when building a comprehensive SEO strategy.
Step 2: Include social media promotion alongside your SEO efforts. Increasingly, Google emphasizes social media in its search rankings.
When something becomes popular on social, it positively impacts your rankings, thus increasing the exposure of your app to more digital audiences.
Step 3: Launch a dedicated link-building campaign to collect backlinks to your app’s site. Collecting authoritative backlinks helps enhance your ranking on search engines.
A few techniques that help collect links include reaching out to influencers, pitching your app to influential app review and news sites, and creating high-quality content by using tactics like the skyscraper technique as a guide.
Tip #4: Create a Press Kit for Media Coverage
Along with your SEO efforts, consider the audience segments you hope to route to your site.
Naturally, your target audience primarily consists of those most likely to use your app. However, secondary audiences, like influencers and journalists in your target space, should also be targets for promotion efforts. (For more information about influencer marketing, check back in for part two of the series.)
In order to reach out to these groups effectively, develop an app press kit to help launch and promote your app. An app press kit provides a quick and handy reference for journalists if they have questions about how to write about your app.
When you have media interest —whether from a blog, an app news site, or an app review site — it’s always best to have your promotional materials ready to share.
Steps to Create a Press Kit for Your App
Step 1: Put together a review guide to help media get up to speed on your app, such as a PDF that explains how your app works and what purpose it serves. Frame the review guide as an ultimate introduction for someone encountering your app for the first time.
The clearer and simpler the review guide, the easier it will be for journalists to understand it and give it proper coverage.
Step 2: Make your app press kit heavy on images. People are visual creatures, and high-quality images like screenshots and lifestyle photos help journalists better understand your app and its functions. Ideally, media also will use these images in their coverage of your app.
Step 3: Integrate branding elements like your app’s logo or icon (in PNG form) in the press kit.
If you choose to create promotional videos, make those live on YouTube for easy reference and include a link in your press kit.
In addition, include banner artwork for your app in case Apple wants to feature your app.
Tip #5: Create Social Media Profiles to Promote Your App
The network effect of social media makes it an incredibly effective promotional vehicle. If somebody with a large follower base shares or retweets your content, it can result in a wave of exposure for your little-known app.
Given the sheer number of users on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, not using social media for mobile app promotion would be a grave mistake.
Steps for Using Social Media to Promote Your App
Step 1: Start by creating social media profiles for your app.
In the header image, consider using screenshots of your app’s functionalities in order to give users a sense of your app’s offerings.
Make sure to include a link to your app’s website or to destination URLs which lead the user directly to the app store to see your app description and hopefully download your product.
The most important platform for app promotion is Twitter. Twitter’s own stats say that more than 80% of its users live on mobile and are actively searching for apps to download.
Step 2: Use Twitter’s ad-card format, a functionality that allows you to target users who are most likely to download your app, as well as encourage people to re-engage with your app. This approach to app promotion is particularly effective, given Twitter's user base downloads and uses 24% more apps than the average smartphone owner.
Step 3: When promoting your app on your social media stream, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, make sure to use the 80/20 rule of self-promotion.
The 80/20 rule states that just 20% of your social media content should push brand-related promotions, like an app, to your followers. The other 80% should promote high-quality, industry-related content from other sources. Following this rule avoids the perception of your social channels as too salesy or self-promotional.
Tip #6: Invest in Facebook Marketing
Facebook presents an extraordinary opportunity for mobile app promotion because of the significant amount of user traffic it receives.
Over the last decade, Facebook consistently invested in making their advertising platform for marketers robust, intuitive, and easy for users to identify and target specific audiences.
Steps to Begin Using Facebook’s Promotion Platform for Your App
Step 1: Educate yourself about how to promote your app with Facebook. Facebook features a dedicated app promotion opportunity that makes it easy to acquire new users and downloads. This tool also helps find and continuously engage new customers, which works wonders for user retention and satisfaction.
In addition, Facebook keeps meticulous track of your app installs and sales through its analytics data, which are also accessible to you.
Step 2: After setting up a profile for your app, create an ad. Facebook's ad platform provides very granular targeting options based on criteria, such as age, gender, location, and interests, all of which help to find target audiences before they have to find you.
Step 3: Use metrics (provided by Facebook) to gauge the performance of your ads. With this data, you can boost your spending for the ads that do well, which in turn increases the awareness, engagement, and downloads for your app.
Promote Your App Online & On Social Media
These six tips provide powerful and actionable methods for promoting your app on a website and on social media. Ultimately, it's worth your time to create a website and social media profiles for your app.
Even if you’re only able to implement a few of these six tips, you’ll still be ahead of the game with your mobile app promotion pursuits. Pick the ones that appeal to you the most or that you feel will bring your app the most success, and go for it.
Codrin Arsene is a technology writer and a senior product manager. His areas of expertise include digital marketing strategies, UX design, bottom-of-funnel conversion, and optimization. He is a Content Writer with Y Media Labs, where he writes on mobile app strategy, analytics, marketing strategies, and online business development.