So, you have an idea for a mobile app — now what? The days when all it took to market an app was to list it in the mobile app store of your choice are long gone. In fact, the competition is fierce! According to TechCrunch, as of June 2014, the Apple App Store had over 1.2 million apps — and counting. To stand out, you will need a solid marketing plan. Here’s what you need to know about getting started with mobile app marketing.
According to MarketingLand, long before you develop your app, you’ll need to start planning its branding, keywords, and competition. It’s not enough to have a great looking, fully functional app. You need to create a brand that your target audience can relate to. You need your target audience to be able to find your app out of the hundreds of similar offerings in the app store. And, you need to know what your competition is doing and show how your app is better and different.
Branding – What constitutes branding? Think of your brand as your identity. Branding covers everything from your app’s name, logo, and app store icon to the look and feel of the app itself. Your branding must be consistent across the app and throughout all of your marketing materials including your website, your download page, screenshots, business cards, advertisements, and even your sales reps’ uniforms. Ideally, your target audience should be able to recognize you based on consistent branding.
Marketing an App Begins Before Developing Your App
Keywords – How will your target audience find your app out
of many similar ones? Keywords. They’ll search for apps using traditional search engines and the search tool found within the app store. For example, if a user is looking for a notebook app with a recording feature, the keywords used might be “notebook with audio app” or “notebook app with sound.” Do your research to find the most likely keywords and then use them appropriately in your app store description and website pages. Try to include a keyword in your app’s name if possible.
Competition – Do you know who your biggest competitors are? Find out! Not only can you see their advantages and disadvantages, you can also see which categories they are listed under so that your app can be listed in those same categories. Don’t assume that your competitors have selected the best categories, however; try to find relevant categories that your competitors may have overlooked.
Other App Marketing Considerations
Genwi recommends additional marketing considerations in its App 101 Marketing eBook: app distribution, app store optimization, digital enhancement strategy, traditional marketing tactics, and analytics and success metrics.
For example, Genwi suggests analyzing your website traffic to learn which mobile devices your audience uses. For example, if the majority of your mobile users access your site using Android, you’ll want to distribute your app on Google Play. Genwi also recommends setting up your Google Play and Apple App Store developer accounts sooner rather than later to prevent potential delays.
Both the Apple and Google Play app stores are considered to be the dominant locations for mobile apps as iOS and Android are the two dominant mobile operating systems. Regardless of which app store you are listing your mobile app in, you’ll want to optimize your listing to ensure discovery. According to Genwi, you should have the following:
Moving beyond the app store, mobile app marketing can benefit from many traditional and digital marketing strategies such as: newsletters, print materials, press releases, article marketing, guest blogging, SEO- and mobile-optimized landing pages, social media campaigns, YouTube videos, and pay-per-click advertising.
Your Marketing Job Isn’t Over Once your App is Launched and Live
Once your mobile app is live, traffic is flowing, and your target audience is converting, you can sigh a breath of relief — and then get back to work. Marketing a mobile app is an ongoing project. Define metrics of success (such as revenue, number of downloads, or number of registrations) and use analytics to ensure that your app is succeeding. Your success metrics should align with your business objectives.
Genwi recommends using Google Analytics, Omniture, or Flurry for tracking analytics, each of which can be integrated into your app.
Finally, make sure to request feedback from your users. App store reviews influence other users to download (or not download) mobile apps. Positive reviews build trust and pre-sell your app via word of mouth advertising. Negative reviews provide you with the opportunity to improve your app based on actual user experiences. Be responsive to both positive and negative reviews. By addressing negative feedback head-on and improving your app as a result, you will demonstrate your commitment to your app’s success and ongoing development. This, too, builds trust. In addition to app store feedback, consider submitting your mobile app to third party review sites where you’ll get additional exposure.
Marketing a mobile app requires a great deal of planning starting soon after the idea for an app pops into your head. It is an ongoing process that doesn’t end once sales start rolling in.