App owners bringing a mobile app to market after its launch need a promotion plan in place in order to engage users and drive downloads. Through outreach to relevant individuals and platforms in the mobile app space, along with making use of familiar digital and traditional marketing methods, these owners may effectively promote their newly launched product.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
This familiar philosophical expression equates well with the process of promoting a newly launched mobile app. Among the forest of 3 million apps currently listed in Apple’s App Store, drawing exposure for a single app is like a tree falling in the forest when no one around to hear.
In order to stand out among the crowded application market, developers must have an effective app promotion strategy in place.
Recently, we began a series of articles dedicated to instructing app developers and publishers on best practices for effectively promoting a mobile app.
In the first article, we introduced the foundational elements for app promotion prior to launch, namely creating a powerful website and setting up social media accounts specifically for your app.
In this article, the second in the series, we cover app promotion techniques to implement after your app’s launch.
Three techniques, in particular, stand out for engaging app users:
- Tap relevant people and platforms through influencer marketing and by securing reviews of your app on news sites and discussing your product on review sites and forums.
- Pursue low-cost marketing tactics, in particular, email marketing and demo videos.
- Participate in networking events, like guest speaking opportunities and in-person presentations
This article outlines how to accomplish each of these techniques with step-by-step explanations of how to implement a series of tips.
Draw on People & Platforms to Reach Target Audience
One of the first steps to get exposure for your app is to target and connect with relevant parties within your target space.
Tip #1: Recruit Influencers to Promote Your App
Partnering with influencers in your industry space to promote your app helps you advertise your product to a broader market.
Influencers become social proof of your app’s usefulness because your target audience is likely to mimic behavior from someone they qualify as an authority.
In your case, convincing users to download your app is the ideal behavior.
As you seek out influencers to help promote your app and increase conversions, remember that micro-influencers can be just as helpful as big name influencers.
How to Recruit Influencers to Promote Your Brand
Step 1: Identify influencers through Google search or by using influencer search tools like Buzzsumo, Klout, or Followerwonk.
Influencer search tools help you identify the most shared pieces of content for a given topic or domain.
Then, you can reach out to the people who shared relevant content the most.
Step 2: Pitch influencers to promote your product.
Your pitch should contain the following elements:
- Persuasive language – convince them to promote your product.
- Information about your target audience and why you think they are the best way to reach that group.
- An incentive, like promoting their platform, sharing or liking their content, or introducing your customers to their platform.
Tip #2: Conduct Outreach for News Coverage & Reviews
Pitching channels that cover mobile apps for news coverage or to request reviews is another app promotion technique.
App-specific sites offer exposure to a serious audience of app users and enthusiasts and can elevate your app’s profile and exposure among prominent industry audiences.
How to Score Coverage or Reviews of Your App
Step 1: Identify sites that either cover app-related news or offer reviews of new apps on the market.
Examples of sites that offer app news and reviews:
Step 2: Pitch editors of target sites.
Some approaches to consider for framing your pitch include:
- Sell your app as relevant to a broader story about the app industry or anything app-related. (The goal is to have your app featured, complete with a backlink, in a news story.)
- Ask the editor if she is willing to review your app.
Step 3: Hire professional services to help get your app featured on an app news or review site, such as a public relations or content marketing agency.
These firms typically have relationships with journalists and other contacts, which they can draw on to pitch relevant stories about your app.
Tip #3: Discuss Your App in Relevant Online Forums
Before social networks played the role of meeting place for like-minded techies, online forums were the primary location for discussion.
In fact, even in today’s social media-dominated landscape, forums and message boards remain quite popular and may prove useful to your mobile app promotion efforts.
The two forums you absolutely need to target are Reddit and Quora, two of the largest and most highly trafficked sites—Reddit is 8th most popular site in the world, while Quora is trending toward the top 100.
Also, using Reddit and Quora for promotion is free and common.
For example, Ben Philabaum, a freelance app developer, drove approximately 700 downloads of his app by sharing a link on a sub-Reddit about solving an iPhone problem.
To market on Quora, reverse engineer your marketing process.
- First, identify the specific use cases for your application.
- Then, find all relevant threads where this topic is discussed.
- Finally, once you locate a relevant thread, respond in a way that shows how your app is relevant to solving a user’s problem.
How to Promote Your App on Forums
Step 1: Make your intentions known. Be straightforward about your intentions to use online forums and message boards as platforms for promotion.
Step 2: Don’t immediately spam forums with promotion posts.
Ease into your mobile app promotion instead pushing your app on the forum community immediately after becoming a member. Avoid coming across as overly aggressive because it may result in an expulsion from the group.
Step 3: Engage with forum communities. When you’re new to a forum, prove that you provide value to the group by discussing relevant topics of interest with your fellow forum members without a clear agenda.
After establishing your credibility on the forum over time, start to promote your app by mentioning it in discussions (but only if it’s relevant to the discussion and actually helps to solve problems that other people are posting about).
Step 4: Build a page for your app.
A product page on Quora provides another way for you to engage with a digital audience and solidify your presence.
The process to create a page is simple and straightforward:
- Click on the “Create Topic” link in the right sidebar on the site’s results page
- Name the topic as your app
- Include a short description
Invest in Free Marketing Tools for App Promotion
Tip #1: Use Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the best ways to market and raise awareness about a company’s products or services, partially because open and click rates for emails have remained stable over the last few years.
Given its stability and proven results, developers should take advantage of email marketing for mobile app promotion campaigns.
Step 1: Use an email newsletter to send updates about your new app. Email updates and announcements generate interest in your app by providing a steady flow of information that keeps readers updated on your app’s progress.
Step 2: Link to your app’s site or its page in the App Store in your email signature. This way, you’re constantly pushing app promotion whenever you hit the send button!
Tip #2: Create an Explainer or Demo Video
Like email marketing, creating an engaging, entertaining, and informative video for your app can be an incredibly effective and cheap means of promotion.
Dropbox is one example of the positive effect of explainer videos. Before launching its video, few people knew about Dropbox.
Other examples of successful app explainer videos include Google Now, Google’s personal assistant technology, and Gigtown, a platform for booking performing artists.
Step 1: Create a script that sells your app based on its unique selling proposition and explains its key components. This script should be short, sweet and to the point – brevity is key to a successful explainer video.
The ideal time frame for an explainer video is approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 2: Hire a professional to do the voice-over for your app explainer video. This is non-negotiable! A professional’s voice conveys authority and persuasiveness better than your colleagues or you ever could.
Step 3: Use music in your video. Music helps your explainer video connect with your audience emotionally, increasing the likelihood that they’ll try your app.
Participate in Networking Opportunities
It’s easy to neglect in-person marketing in today’s digital marketing-dominated landscape. However, in-person speaking and network opportunities are excellent chances to boost awareness for your app.
Tip #1: Networking and Presentations
Step 1: Prepare an elevator pitch that explains your app’s features, functions, and purpose.
Practice your elevator pitch to ensure that it comes out smoothly and confidently, both of which go a long way in making a pitch persuasive to the listener.
Step 2: Make a good first impression with potential leads, clients, and contacts who you meet in person.
Step 3: Establish trust and intimacy with your network contacts.
Ideally, you meet others who share similar professional interests in the app industry. In your networking conversations, do not hesitate to position yourself as a problem solver who can be counted on for good advice.
Partnerships & Connections Support Mobile App Marketing
For your app to be successful, people need to know about it, in particular, your target audience. The three techniques outlined in this article aim to help expose your apps to the masses:
- Influencer marketing
- Crafting video and email content that showcases your app
- Attending in-person events to meet your target audience
This sounds like a lot of work - and it is. However, if carried out effectively, these strategies help drive more downloads, higher engagement and greater exposure for your mobile app.
About the Author
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.