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8 Best Ways to Market an App (on a Budget)

8 Best Ways to Market an App (on a Budget)

A successful app launch gets people talking well before the app is available for download. One of the best ways to market an app is to generate interest ahead of a release. This strategy will drive stronger sales on launch day, and momentum will carry forward once people get their hands on the app and begin using it. 

Apple is a great example of a company that’s used this playbook successfully. People are eager to talk about Apple’s new product releases months before the products are available for sale, and then they line up to make a purchase when they’re released.  So, once you’ve created a proof of concept and have validated market interest for your app, get started on your marketing plan to get people talking! Here are the most effective ways of marketing an app before and after launch, even on a budget.

Why It’s Essential to Have a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a key tool for any new product. It lays out your market research in an organized manner, identifying your target audience by segment and their demographics, psychographics, and purchase behaviors. And it outlines your plan for making each of these segments aware of your app and your strategy for converting them to customers. 

Though its primary focus is mapping out your app’s marketing, your marketing plan serves other purposes as well. Marketing plans help with internal accountability, keeping your teams on track. They also help guide development by keeping your team focused on providing customer value. And there’s another important reason to have a marketing plan: landing funding for your app. If you’re going to seek investors, or even if you plan on crowdsourcing, your marketing plan is key to sharing the vision that will get others to buy in. 

8 of the Best Ways for Marketing an App

There are a lot of different ways to market a mobile app. Here are what we see as the top strategies for marketing an app while minimizing the bite out of your budget.

1. Spread the Word on Social Channels

Identify which social platforms your target audience uses. Consider Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and any other niche platforms your audience uses. Explore organic posts as well as ad programs and sponsored post opportunities. Also, consider adding social share functionality within your app to make it easy for your users to share with their connections. People who follow you are more likely to want to help you spread the word, especially if you sweeten the offer for them with an early view or a discount.

2. Run a Contest

A contest is a great way to drum up excitement before or after an app launch. Contests raise brand awareness that can fuel word of mouth. Hold a brainstorming session to come up with creative contest and giveaway ideas that reflect your brand personality. Incentivize people to download the app and use it for the remainder of the contest. Ask your followers to tag their friends and to share your contest or giveaway.

3. Partner With Influencers

Influencer marketing can be a highly effective way to create pre-launch buzz that will carry through once your app is available. The key is to find influencers that are affordable to work with and who are connected to those in your target audience. Find bloggers your audience follows, thought leaders they admire, and others they pay attention to, and then create an influencer marketing strategy around these folks. Provide them with early information about your app, give them pre-launch access, and offer an educational and engaging video. This tactic can help you to gain reach well beyond your existing network.

4. Create Teaser Videos

Video has been proven to increase engagement. Create a behind-the-scenes video or an origin story video to capture attention and build excitement. You can share videos on Instagram’s IGTV, Facebook Live, and Youtube, as well as in your blog and email. Consider running ads to promote them and to widen your audience. If your app is pay-to-download and people can place pre-orders, create a video that shares the story of a few of your customers who are anxiously awaiting your app’s release. And after your app is available for sale, you can create a video sharing user feedback.

5. Share on Your Website

Don’t forget to share your app on your own website. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and responsive so people can use any device to access it. Feature the app on your homepage, in an exclusive section on your site, and/or in a popup message that people will see when they visit your site. Write about your app in your blog with posts about the problem you’re solving and the benefits customers can expect. Also share customer feedback or interviews with users about their experiences. Include screenshots, links to the app, and a clear call-to-action in every post.

6. Let Google Work for You

Don’t forget about search engine optimization. Google, and other search sites, can help do some of the legwork getting the word out about your new app. SEO is a complex strategy, but it can be broken down into three primary elements: 

  • Technical SEO — Technical SEO ensures that the back-end of your site is built in a way that the search engines like. Typically, this means clean code, easy for crawlers to navigate and understand, and fast page load times.
  • Content Development — Identify keywords to rank for that your audience is likely to enter to find your app. When you write about your app, leverage the keywords you want to rank for. Each page or post should focus on one primary keyword and a collection of related secondary keywords.
  • Link-Building — Search engines view high-quality links as votes of confidence. Encouraging related websites or websites that attract a similar audience to link to your pages will help you rank more easily. Additionally, leveraging PR sources like Help a Reporter Out to pitch yourself (or company) as an expert on relevant source requests is another way to get linked mentions online.

7. Create a Great Landing Page

A landing page is a must-have for any app. Think of it as a digital calling card designed to draw people in and to convert them to customers. A landing page is highly targeted to communicate a very specific message, telling potential users how they stand to benefit from the app and what they need to do to start enjoying those benefits. The information should be minimal and include:

  • Headline
  • Your value proposition related to your audience’s pain 
  • Short offer description
  • Supporting image or short video
  • Testimonials
  • Call to action
  • Form  to collect information or a checkout process if you offer sales on the page

This article has some great tips for creating the perfect app landing page.

8. Get Featured on Review Sites

Pitch app review sites to get featured spots, which can provide thousands of new potential users. On review sites, you’ll share a summary of your app, the problem it solves, screenshots, links to promotional videos, a link to your app, and a promo code so they can download and begin using the app. Here are a few to get you started.

Top App Review Sites:

You Can Promote Your App on a Budget  

You don’t need a six-figure budget to market an app. You do need a solid understanding of your target audience, a strategic plan, and plenty of creativity. Focusing on marketing before your app is ready for release will help pave the way for a successful launch.

Considering creating an app? Reach out to learn more about how we help clients build successful apps. Get in touch.

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