As the global popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to grow, the competition within mobile app developers also intensifies. More than 1.2 million apps are available between Apple's App Store and Google Play, however roughly 700,000 of these apps are considered "dead," meaning they have never been updated.
In an increasingly busy market, it's not easy to get your app discovered. Thinking that a great app will get discovered on its merit could land you in serious trouble. Developers need to invest time in creating an app marketing campaign to spread the word.
Here are seven ways to market your mobile app:
App store optimization (ASO)
With the app stores overflowing with apps, ASO could be your secret sauce to success. Search is the second most popular method people use to discover apps, with 63 percent of Apple App Store users relying on search to discover apps. Here are some tips to get started with ASO:
- Optimize your app title, description, and keywords to improve the search ranking of your apps.
- Associate your content with a variety of keywords pertaining to the app itself and your business.
- Do not use the keywords in the app's title again in the keywords section, as the app title is also searchable. Instead, utilize it to include important keywords that aren't in your app title.
- Keep descriptions short and sweet -- use bullet points and short sentences to keep the reader engaged.
Maintain a strong social media presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Google+ to interact with fans and followers. If you cannot invest time and resources in creating a presence in all these social media sites, find out which one of these is used by the majority of your target audience and build a presence there.
- Use these channels to spread the word, engage with users, and reply to their queries promptly.
- Organize contests that encourage people to share your updates. You can include relevant sharing options at certain trigger points within your app to encourage people to share their experience.
Allow others to invite their social media community to download the app and encourage them to share their experience with your app.
Build a standard, mobile-friendly website
A quality website will not only impress bloggers and journalists, it will also give your audience a chance to take a look at the various features of your app during their decision-making process. A well-planned website that highlights the features of your app clearly could help convert an on-the-fence-visitor to a customer. You can also consider maintaining a developer diary showcasing the development process of your app as part of your blog. It is also important that you optimize your website for mobile, as a lot of users will visit your website from their smartphones and tablets.
Create a readily available, high-quality press kit. Include attractive screen shots and the app's icon in various sizes, a press release detailing the history of the app, updates, and news. Make this press kit available on your website so that journalists and bloggers can download it easily. This also creates a good impression on reviewers who hate dealing with large email attachments.
Create a list of influential app review websites and plan a detailed outreach much before your app is launched. Reviewers get lots of emails every day and it is up to you how you can capture their attention in a few lines. Also, reach out to your industry influencers via social media channels and give them an opportunity to preview your app for free. Not everyone may respond, but even if one does, your app stands to gain some exposure giving your app credibility and continuing to raise awareness.
Be creative and use multiple outlets to increase awareness and spread the word about your app. Developers behind the hit game Ridiculous Fishing had just nine days before the release date to draw in their audience, yet they managed to do a brilliant job. They started with launching the game trailer on Vine, which was unheard of. They also decided to have a "fake, fake" launch of a new social network called Byrdr. The fake launch was so successful the hashtag "#ByrdrWillSolveIt started trending globally -- people started signing up for this supposed new social network, which in turn resulted in numerous downloads for Ridiculous Fishing.
Reward existing subscribers
Thank your loyal fans for using your app by sending push notifications to their phones offering discounts, more lives in a game, etc. Make sure not to over-use push notifications, as it may result in people getting irritated and deleting your app. You can also consider doing something novel like offering additional feature updates only they have access to. This forms a relationship between you and your fans and shows your appreciation for their continued support.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"Smartphones, apps, and uses concept" image via Shutterstock.