So, you’ve built a killer new app. You’ve done the research, gone over the design and you’ve completed field testing. You’re satisfied that you’ve built something that will meet a demand in the market, that’ll speak directly to your target audience. Now you can just sit back and wait for the downloads to start ticking over, right? Well hold on there, did you know that the majority of apps (50% for iOS and 64% for Android) bring in less than $500 per app, per month? As the app world expands, so too does the competition for attention – while building an excellent app is one thing, it takes more than that to reach an audience and generate significant enough attention to justify the costs associated with app development and deployment.
Given this, app promotion is a key element of your overall app program. It’s no good having the greatest app in the world if nobody knows about it. What you need is attention, to make people aware of your great new offering and, ideally, to get them talking about it among their own friends and followers. So how can you promote your app in order to reach the widest audience? Here are four tips to maximise your reach.
1. Build a website or microsite dedicated to your app
You don’t have to go all out on a new website and it doesn’t have to be a sprawling, in-depth outline of all the features and functions that are included or made possible by your stunning new invention. Ideally, you want people spending time in the app, not on a website, so your app page website only needs to be a landing page with an engaging description and maybe a short video of the app’s features and how it works – ideally, how simple it is.
The whole ethos of apps is simplicity and making processes easier by giving users an app that can be used quickly and easily – layering your website for that app with pages and pages of content somewhat goes against that overall purpose. Simplicity is key, but it is important to have a web presence in some form, outside of the app store alone. This will ensure you’re meeting user queries via search engines and that you have a landing page to refer prospective customers to in other forums.
Also, worth including an FAQ on your site – and make sure the app download button is prominently displayed to filter users towards your end goal.
2. Utilise social media to reach your target audience
Paid advertising is often a hard call in the app world. Most apps are priced very low which means the cost of customer acquisition is often higher than the actual cost of the app, making it an unsustainable practice at scale. One way of getting around this is to utilise social media to get the word out about your app without spending up big.
The most basic approach on this front is to promote your app to the fans and followers you have on your current social channels. This is a no-brainer, your audience has already shown an interest in your offerings and they’re likely to be among the people you’d want to reach with your app. But on top of this, you also want to research who the influential sources are among your social media target audiences, whether it be specific people or groups or even related brands that have reached the people you want to get your content in front of. You can use basic Twitter searches to find relevant tweeters based on your target keywords, but you can also do more advanced searches in apps like Twitonomy or BuzzSumo to find the most relevant networks for your keywords.
Facebook’s Graph Search can be used to track down relevant users particularly if you want to target people interested in a specific brand, activity, or even rival apps. You can enter a search like “people who like ice cream” or “people who use dating apps” and you’ll get a listing of profiles relevant to your specific query. In this case, and depending on how specific you make your search, you may want to target these people with Facebook advertisement that has an option to do an app-promotion element which can help bring more users to your app.
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3. Contact bloggers relevant to your industry
Targeting bloggers can be a great way to get free promotion, and many of them are more than happy to write about your app, so long as it’s of use to them. I know, as a writer, it’s always a compliment to have people contact me based on my interests, and so long as it’s not overly promotional (i.e. your app has no specific relation to what I write about and there’s no logical motivation, other than you wanting to promote your wares, for me to mention it) I’ll generally have a look and see if it might be something worth sharing with my audience. Some companies add in offers to sweeten the deal, and this can definitely help, but just be sure to comply with any local regulations relating to endorsement transparency and the like.
Bloggers can be a great source for starting the conversation online, and targeted well, they can also become ongoing partners to assist with future development and promotional opportunities. Maybe, for example, you might reach out to them when your app is in development and seek their expert opinion. This sort of involvement could pay-off in the long term, as that blogger is much more likely to share news about your app if they feel that they’ve played a role in the construction of it.
4. Be aware of App Store Optimisation (ASO)
Just like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), App Store Optimization also operate around user search queries. If you want an app that helps you track your diet, you’re most likely going to look up ‘diet app’. Awareness of how people find your app is crucial as it will inform what keywords you should use in your own app description. Ideally, you want to try and include the relevant keywords in the title of the app itself – while major players might be able to generate buzz around quirky titles and nicknames, for most app makers, discoverability will be a stronger consideration than creativity in this process.
Research has indicated that up to 63% of apps are located via app store searches. That’s a lot of potential traffic to take into consideration. On top of that, studies have also found that having relevant keywords in your app title can increase your app store search visibility by more than 10%. While it’s not always possible to include the relevant key terms within your title, it is important that you do your research and establish what terms you should be including, in both your app title and app description, in order to maximise search traffic. Higher app ratings and downloads also factor into app search rankings.
Conduct ASO research by searching for your relevant key terms in app stores and seeing what ranks and why. The excellent keyword research tool keywordtool.io includes an ‘App Store’ option which will help narrow down your search queries and clarify what you should be looking to rank for – well worth a look.
And there you have it, four key notes to consider when looking to maximise promotion of your shiny, new app. This is by no means the definitive list of options, there’s a wide range of outreach and promotional devices that you can use to generate buzz and increase exposure for your app, but hopefully these notes will get you thinking and start you on your way towards developing the best promotion plan in order to generate attention and gain an audience for your new offering.