As a newcomer to app development, I was quite determined to hit the ground running when my first app launches in December 2018. After all, if my app is to compete with more than 3 million or so other apps currently in circulation on smartphones and other devices, I really have to try very hard and get it right the first time.
As a lifelong subscribers to the learning-by-teaching effect, I started my app marketing plan by writing this blog on how to market your mobile app. The step-by-step checklist section is a bonus for readers, who are patient enough to read this article right through to the app marketing checklist section.
You can consider the app marketing checklist to be a “pull out” section of this article. It can help you get your app content marketing plan off the ground.
App pre-launch: to attract new users to your mobile app
This may sound blindingly obvious but you should test your app thoroughly before it is released. Sometimes developers are in such a big rush to release an app that they never fix some obvious bugs. For a small app developer, if your app is buggy, you will lose people who are interested in it. And when your app is not fit for purpose, they will of course tell their friends not to bother with downloading your app. And of course, they will leave bad feedback and ratings for your app. Once your app is tested and ready to release, you should move on to the next most important source of organic traffic for a new app: App Store Optimisation (ASO).
App Store Optimisation, ASO
Even if you live under a rock and have never built a website in your life, you will have heard of SEO (search engine optimisation). ASO, or app store optimisation is the equivalent of SEO for apps. It is know by a few other names, including app store marketing and mobile app SEO. Investing some time in your app’s ASO will help your app rank higher in app stores such as iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Store.
There are many good tutorials on ASO out there but for your app pre-launch, here are the basics of ASO you need to consider.
App stores contain their own internal search engine. Like main search engines such as Google or Bing, they have their own algorithm which they use to rank apps. The key factors they consider when ranking apps include:
App content quality
User value signals such as reviews and ratings
The long and short of ASO is to get the following right when submitting your app to the App Store or Google Play.
- App name and subtitle: It is very important that this field contains core keywords for your app. Use about 3 high value keywords that user search behaviour research indicate your potential users will use to find your app.
- App keyword fields: You should research the keywords that describe your app, and the ones users’ behaviour on the app platform suggests are popular. Give priority to long-tailed keywords but use a mixture of short and long-tailed keywords overall.
- App ratings and reviews: We have all been persuaded to download an app with loads of positive reviews over apps with poor reviews. You must take your ratings and reviews seriously. Whether the review is positive or negative, you should respond to it. You can learn a lot by paying attention to reviews that mention a flaw or improvement you can make to your app.
- App downloads: Deploy all resources at your disposal to get the initial downloads going. The more downloads your app receives, the more user value associated with the app, which in turn could see your app ranked higher.
App marketing after launch : getting your app downloaded
Once your app is launched and available for download most of your marketing will now be geared toward driving and encouraging people to download your app. When I was in the middle of writing this article, I filled up my car at Tesco petrol station. Looking at the receipt I was given at the till, the second part to my receipt said “download the new Waves Customer App”.
I know most of you do not have a petrol station you can conveniently use to market your app, but if you have other assets, doing stuff related to what your app is about is a cheap way to advertise your app and get more downloads. When Hope Spring Ecards launched an app, we told all our existing desktop computer users that we now have an app available for download at Hope Spring Cards.
Still using the Tesco Wave Customer App as an example, when I search the App Store for the app, I could not find it. But when you look at the advert on the receipt from Tesco, there is a website for the app. You should consider creating a website for your app. On the website, signpost the download link for your app on Android and iPhone. This way, if potential users cannot easily find your app on App Store, they will visit your website and find a direct download link.
Mobile app marketing checklist
If you have read this article on marketing your mobile app from the top down to this section, bravo and well done. If you are just looking for information, or a download of the top mobile app marketing checklist, that is great too. Here is the list I have compiled so far. If you have a mobile app marketing tip that is not on this checklist, please feel free to add it via the comment section.
1. Give your app name a lot of thought… In a perfect world, app names should not matter. However, given that keywords in the app name are one of the most important factors the App Store and Google Play use to serve 56% of people who find an app on their platform, the right app name could help you succeed, while the wrong name could see your app sink without a trace, no matter how good it is.
2. Build extra time into your app release date. After you have decided your app release date, ensure the selected release date gives you enough time to fix unexpected problems, and accommodate the review process delay that could occur after submitting your app for review at Apple Store or Google Play.
3. Target your launch date to coincide with or avoid a particular date or event. You should certainly avoid launching your mobile app on a day a big brand game or app is due for release. Look for a date that will be kinder to your app launch. A good example could be launching a greetings card app around Christmas, when there will be many people searching for ecard apps.
4. Define your target audience and know them inside out. A scatter gun approach to app marketing is unlikely to succeed. You must do thorough research on your target audience. Your research should be so detailed that you even know the influencers they follow. Defining and knowing your audience will help you to reach them using the language the best respond to.
5. Shout your USP (unique selling proposition) from the rooftops. No one ever invests a lot of time and money in a mobile app that is just like existing mobile apps in that niche. You need to make a list of things that set your app apart from the competition and place it right at the tip of your marketing. This will show users why they should abandon the app they use at the moment in favour of your app. Sometimes your USP could be very simple, it could just be that your app is the only app in that niche that is available for download in a particular country where no such app exists at the moment.
Mobile app facts and stats you may find useful
- As many as 63 percent of all app downloads are directly attributed to app stores.
- Users abandon 1 in 4 apps after using it just once.
- 20% of apps are abandoned right after download.
- Although Android has the larger share of the app market, when researching what platform you should develop your app for, your target audience may be predominantly using iPhone. This means bucking the global trend by developing for iOS is the right thing for you.
- An average smartphone user has over 60 apps installed on his/her mobile device.
- An average smartphone owner spends 2 hours and 15 minutes a day using apps. That means they spend one month a year on apps.
- An average smartphone user uses about 30 apps each month. They use about 9 apps a day.
- Google play store has almost 4 million apps (3.8 million to be precise).
- Apple store has about half the number apps, at just 2 million apps.
- Total app downloads in 2017 was 197 billion.
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