SEO, Thought Leaders

How to Market Your App Beyond SEO

March 5, 2020

by Elisabeth Chin

Content Strategist, Praxent

SEO can't stand alone. Learn how to invest in online advertising, perfect event marketing, deploy social media marketing, and complete other strategies that will help market your business's app.

Implementing a current and thoughtful SEO strategy with a continually updated keyword list and supporting content strategy is core to driving traffic to your app’s site. For best results, however, don’t stop there.

5 ways to drive traffic to your app

Combine SEO efforts with at least two or three additional marketing tactics. For best results, you’ll want to diversify traffic sources. Here are 6 marketing methods for getting your app in front of the right audiences and inspiring relevant visitors to check out your site:

  1. Invest in online advertising
  2. Use referrals and partner marketing
  3. Deploy social media marketing
  4. Perfect event marketing
  5. Use email marketing
  6. Track 5 marketing key performance indicators (KPIs)

To get started, choose a few channels to focus on initially such as organic, email, paid search and referrals. Then slowly test other channels as resources become available. Use these strategies to market your app beyond SEO.

1. Invest in Online Advertising

Online advertising is often worth what you pay, as long as you’re reaching the right audience. There are two main categories of online advertising. Both use Google’s Adwords (now known as Google Ads) to implement paid methods for driving traffic to your app’s site:

App Campaigns

Google App campaigns: Create apps that land directly on your app store page. Place these ads across the Google Search Network and Google Display Network.

Adwords Remarketing: With remarketing, you pay Google to display banner ads to people who have already visited your site, urging them to take the next step and visit your store or download the app.

Paid Search

Adwords has tools that make it easy to advertise to people searching for what you offer. The tools include:

  • Competitor Campaigns: Display an ad for your app when someone searches for a competitor's product.
  • Event-Specific Ads: Display an ad for your app when people search for events relevant to your target users.
  • Target Keyword Phrases: Display an ad for your app when people search for the keyword phrases identified in your SEO strategy.
  • Branded Search: Display an ad when people search for your company or app.

When someone clicks on an ad, it takes them to a landing page. Landing pages are your chance to turn the click into a download of your app or a method for getting in touch with them again. Here are some important guidelines for creating effective landing pages:

  1. Always include a clear call to action in the landing page: This call to action should connect visitors with a registration form of some sort, such as a link to download and become a registered user of the app, or a link to register and download an interesting piece of content to pique their interest in your app.
  2. Make sure the content of the landing page is consistent with the content from the ad: Never advertise falsely by saying one thing in the ad and something else on the landing page.

Create landing pages that leave visitors wanting more. Make sure their impression of your app is a positive one, and leave them with something of value, even if they don’t download your app right away.

2. Invest in Online Advertising

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. There are two types of referrals you can leverage:

  1. Current app users
  2. Organizations that are friendly to your business

Equip partnering organizations to spread the word about your app to their audiences:

  • Scan your pool of partnering organizations for non-competitors who target the same audience as your app
  • Cooperate with them for email blasts or a social media push
  • Pay for banner ads to be placed on their sites

During the first few weeks of a new user’s experience with your app, you can harness word-of-mouth marketing to extend reach into your users’ networks. Build into your on-boarding process easy ways for users to expose others to your app via social media. As part of your ongoing marketing efforts, incentivize current users to share the app with their network.

  • Create a social sharing campaign or referral contest with prizes.
  • Allow users to post photos to social media directly from the app.
  • Engage active users on social by mentioning them or reaching out to them directly.
  • Include a social sharing CTA upon registration.
  • Create login options that link to social or email accounts.

These mechanisms will widen the reach of your app’s exposure to audiences who are similar to or connected with your existing users.

3. Deploy Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is about interacting in meaningful ways with current and potential app users. When starting out, try to identify which social media channels are most popular with your target audience, and focus your efforts there.

  • Prominently feature social profiles on all site pages.
  • Refine your target audience on social channels by creating lists or groups of relevant influencers.
  • Frequently engage with influencers around relevant content through the social media channel.
  • Encourage influencers to post about the app by giving them limited free access to conduct a trial and write a review or by mentioning them in online content.
  • Run highly targeted, paid social media marketing campaigns, tracking how much site traffic is driven through the ads.

Use social media to start and join productive conversations about topics that are relevant to your app and interesting to your target audience. Expect your social media reach to build slowly over time as you nurture connections, grow in understanding about your audience and strategically extend your influence into targeted relational networks.

4. Perfect Event Marketing

Events are a great opportunity to make powerful connections with influencers and your target audience and can boost website traffic or compel people to take next steps toward downloading or sharing your app. Here are some basic ways to do that:

  • Include a button to download the app in all pre and post-event communications online.
  • Nurture potential users toward engagement with your app by offering useful content or takeaways in exchange for signing up for an email list or filling out a form.
  • Provide all event registrants with printed fliers about the app.

Measure event marketing success by tracking the quantity and quality of contacts added to your database as well as any app downloads or site visits directly driven by event communications.

5. Use Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods available. The goal of email marketing is to keep your app at the top of people’s minds and to provide an easy access point for those who might be interested in learning more.

  • Create a two to four-part email campaign to an in-house email list of people not signed up to use the app. Write email content about the app and its value. (Data providers like Zoominfo or Clearbit offer helpful list-building services.)
  • Send a monthly newsletter email highlighting events, new app features, and thoughtful articles that will resonate with your audience.
  • Make sure each email contains links back to your app site. Interesting blog posts often work well for encouraging clicks.

For each campaign, track the number of emails opened and the number of clicks made back to your site. Tweak your content over time with A and B testing, continually adjusting language and content type based on the results.

6. Track 5 Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

It is crucial you understand conversion rates and other success metrics so you can identify your most and least effective marketing efforts.

drive traffic to your app

Measure all efforts to drive traffic with key performance indicators. Here are 5 KPIs that provide insight into which channels and types of traffic to prioritize and which ones to tweak:

  • Website visitors by channel: How many visitors are directed to your site via organic search, social media, direct contact, referral, paid advertising, email marketing or other means, respectively?
  • Website conversion rate: How many visitors to your app’s site actually download the app?
  • Database size and quality: How many relevant contacts are you able to directly reach with your marketing efforts?
  • Database engagement: How many people from your database respond to direct outreach?
  • Cost per sign-up by channel: For each type of marketing, how much does it cost to drive one new download?

By tracking your marketing performance, you can adjust and improve your overall marketing performance.

Smart Marketing Improves App Performance

Cutting corners is not an option for smart businesses. Apps that don’t work or don’t resonate with users become wasted investments. Conversely, quality apps that never make it into the hands of the right people or fail to remain top-of-mind in their market space also become wasted investments.

Not only do you need a quality app that’s been properly designed and built for its user base, you also need to have a strategy in place for driving user adoption as soon as you’re ready to launch.

Within the first two weeks after downloading, your on-boarding process should provide timely and relevant information that helps new users see value in the app right away.

While your on-boarding process works to retain users, your marketing strategy should continually expand exposure of your app to the right audiences while funneling interested and qualified people toward downloading and actively using your app.

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