A major component of a mobile application’s design and launch is developing and implementing a comprehensive marketing plan. Your app’s success will depend on putting it in front of those users most likely to be interested in your message and brand. An actionable digital marketing strategy will increase your presence in the crowded marketplace before, during, and after the launch of your app.
Establish Marketing Goals, Objectives
You will never achieve goals that are not set. The first step in establishing an effective marketing plan for your app is to determine specific marketing goals and how they fit in with your overall business objectives. Beyond accumulating the most downloads possible, decide if you are looking to broaden your brand awareness, increase web visits, expand your reach into other areas of the market, or increase sales among a specific demographic metric. What you want your app to achieve will influence the marketing approach and the decisions you make along the way.
Integrate Frameworks To Track Targeted Users
Gaining a better understanding of the users’ behavior and actions on your app will help guide ongoing optimization and content decisions that maximize the app’s potential. Data collected from integrated frameworks are used to implement improvements to the app experience and adjustments in marketing strategies.
There is no shortage of online tools to better track and optimize your target audience’s user experience. It takes some research to figure out which framework integration and tracking tools work best for your industry and unique branding needs.
App Store Optimization Techniques
App store optimization (ASO) uses the same principles and guidelines as search engine optimization (SEO) to put your app in front of the user that is actively searching for your type of business and app features. Like conventional search engines, app stores use complicated algorithms to rank apps based on a specific set of ever-changing criteria.
ASO is an ongoing process using proven technical and content techniques to rise in app search rankings using keyword research to attract a target audience. Like SEO, the foundation of ASO is finding and adjusting the keywords searchers are using to find apps like yours.
Putting an ASO strategy in place is crucial to expose your app to the largest numbers of potential customers. It’s an integral strategy that we used when promoting Zutobi and use ASO to help us get recognized twice by Apple on the App Store.
Benefits to using ASO techniques to promote your app include:
- Puts app in front of potential users.
- Drives traffic to your app and website.
- Increase in organic downloads and user activity.
- Expands online presence and user base.
- A rise in downloads leads to increased sales, revenue.
- Saves on user acquisition costs.
- Grows mobile business and increases brand awareness.
Ads Can Save You a Ton of Money
In addition to using ASO to target consumers already searching for apps, digital advertising opportunities can help to expand your reach and create a buzz about your app. The right combination of email blasts, online paid ads, and social media marketing is an affordable way to generate interest before launch and after the app is up and running. Online advertising is an affordable, effective way to reach large segments of your target audience and drive them to download and become active on your app.
Use Multiple Platforms to Expand User Base
An app marketing plan is designed to target specific audience clusters based on your niche business and industry. Effective marketing plans expand your app user base by creating wide-ranging campaigns on a wide variety of channels and platforms. Take advantage of as many relevant outlets to increase your brand awareness among multiple platforms to reach as many potential users as possible.
If you provide products or services that serve different types of audiences, multiple campaigns should target those specific groups of potential users. Different audiences may prefer different mediums and visit different platforms. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer free business pages and groups, as well as paid advertising options you can use to promote your app before and after it is launched.
One of the most valuable assets and powerful marketing tools you have to promote an app is your website. Provide links and information about the app throughout the site using bold icons and clear calls to action. Make sure the branding elements are the same on your app and website to increase brand recognition and loyalty.
Retargeting Efforts Foster Return App Visits
Getting a user to download an app is just the first step. The key to your app’s success will depend on providing an experience that will make the user want to return again and again. Retargeting ads can be designed to reach users who have already downloaded and installed your app and have either not been active recently or used only the free version.
A hard sales approach is unnecessary for app retargeting ads. The target has already expressed interest in your business and has shown some level of investment in your brand by downloading your app. It often takes only a soft, friendly reminder to get users to return to the app. Show them value and offer incentives to encourage engagement.
Keys To App Marketing Success
Today’s consumers have many options to choose from when adding apps to their mobile phones or computers. More apps launch every day, and it takes a dynamic, comprehensive digital marketing approach to generate interest and increase download numbers.
The following are the keys to successfully marketing your new app.
Invest in Market Research
The best way to discover what it takes to rank high in app stores and become a download leader is to look at those that have achieved those milestones and figure out how they did it. Performing exhaustive market research can help provide the insights you need to compete in the crowded marketplace. You can learn a lot by examining how other similar apps are named, what categories they fit into, what keywords are ranking, and what makes them stand out above the others.
You will also be able to discover what kind of content and features your users want. For example, at Zutobi, our app is catered towards teens who are learning to drive for the first time. And when surveying users we found that teens wanted to know about common mistakes on the driving test, what hand signals are, how to parallel park, etc. By creating this content catered for our users, it helps retain our users, but also brings in new users!
Another often-overlooked tool that can offer a massive amount of input into the app user experience is to scan online review sites and pages. Reviews of competing apps can help you understand the elements users value and those functions and features they do not.
Start the Marketing Process Early
The marketing of your app should be included in the earliest plans. You can spend years developing, refining, and perfecting the ideal app for your market niche, but you will not succeed if enough of the right people are not aware of it.
Plan App Launch Date Well in Advance
Give yourself the time to plan and promote your app’s release date, buffering in potential unforeseen delays. It is better to have time to spare rather than rushing out or delaying the launch. A well planned and executed release can help give your app the attention it needs to quickly begin ranking in app stores.
Like, Share Incentives
Your users and customers can be useful marketing tools that can promote your app for you. App users respond to incentives that encourage them to share the app or content on it. Social media linking and sharing incentives can open up exclusive levels, features, content, or functions.
Proper Use of Analytics
Use the information gathered from advanced analytics tools to help make the best decisions for your marketing efforts. The data can be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to understand the context and focus on the metrics and trends that steer you in the right direction for your app to succeed.
Push Notification Management
Push notifications are great to reach app users quickly with valuable information and incentives. However, users can quickly tire of receiving too many notifications and will not hesitate to uninstall the app if it becomes overwhelming for them. Plan your push notifications judiciously and offer an easy way for users to manage or turn them off. You also need to keep time differences in mind if you are sending your push notifications that go to users in multiple time zones.
Flexibility Is Key To App Marketing Success
The marketing of your app is an ongoing journey that takes constant attention and the willingness to change things that are not working. Industry standards, app store algorithms, and user habits are constantly changing and adapting to new technologies and market trends. If a marketing strategy does not yield expected results, do not be afraid to wipe the slate clean and start over.
Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.