Mobile apps are constantly changing. As apps shift away from being independent channels and turn into comprehensive mobile strategies instead, developers have had to adapt to stay competitive.
All industries have recognized the enormous influence of mobile gadgets and mobile apps. More specifically, companies have started to evaluate it as a critical part of their business strategy. It is no longer acceptable to merely have an app for the sake of having one. This is why businesses must also rethink how they market their apps. In the past, most companies developed their app by hiring mobile developers, using simple DIY app makers, or learning how to build an app internally and then using traditional marketing channels to promote it. Now that the trend of using mobile apps has exploded across all industries, companies with the most successful apps are the ones that dedicate serious time and resources to marketing their apps to get them into the hands of their customers.
Between 2014 and 2015 alone, studies showed that the number of people using mobile apps surpassed those using desktops by approximately 200,000, coining 2015 the “Year of Mobile.” However, since mobile has evolved into the dominant channel that customers use to connect with their favorite companies and brands. In fact, many mobile experts determine that the “Age of Mobile” is upon us. No matter what title we call this new age, it is vital for companies that want to stay relevant to create a mobile environment where their customers can both shop and engage with the brand.
12 Strategies to Market Your Mobile App in 2021
Let us begin this strategy list under the premise that you have created an app to meet a need in the market. You have spent lots of time and effort to not only satisfy consumer needs but also profit from the app. Alternatively, you may have created this app as part of your overall marketing strategy to gain compelling, actionable user data and put it towards more effective market research. Whatever reason you have decided to create your mobile app, the one thing that remains constant is that it needs to be used to succeed.
Even for an experienced marketer, it is essential to remember that app marketing is a whole new game, and it needs different strategies and approaches. Effective mobile app marketing should cover every user interaction from the moment that customers first learn about the app to the moment when they become loyal users. Successful marketing involves defining a target audience, learning how to reach them, communicating with them, and analyzing their in-app behavior to make continuous improvements so that users move through the acquisition funnel. The ultimate goal of a mobile app marketing strategy should be to drive repeat engagement and turn users into loyal advocates for the app. To create a strategy that will be successful, the process should be divided into three stages; the awareness or pre-launch phase, the acquisition stage, and the retention stage.
The awareness stage
The awareness stage of a mobile app marketing strategy happens before the product is even launched. It is designed to build brand awareness and product visibility. Before you can even reach the awareness stage, you need to have a complete understanding of your brand messaging and positioning. Your brand story and messaging will resonate more with customers than individual product features will. Though intangible, your brand story reflects your values and encourages customers to connect with you on a deeper level.
Beyond the awareness stage
Ultimately, by defining a brand position, you give your users a chance to connect with their product on a deeper level. After building brand awareness, the next stage is acquisition. With a user acquisition strategy, it is essential to use different methods, be creative, and continually refine the strategy. The aim is to get as many downloads as possible in the first week after launch to rank higher in app store search results. In this stage, you must track where app downloads originate from the moment that users begin to download the app to focus on the most profitable channels and improve on the others. Finally, the retention stage is supposed to turn acquired users into lifelong ones. After all, if no one is using the app, it is not yielding business.
Let us now look at some strategies which can effectively market a mobile app in all three stages.
1) Determine a release date
While people have different opinions of what should be step one of a mobile app marketing strategy, the first step is determining the release date of a mobile app. This is because planning far in advance gives you adequate time to prepare for a hard launch. It also gives you a clear picture of any problems that may occur as well as the contingency plans that might need to be put in place. Additionally, since different app stores have review processes that may delay a release, you need to plan for unforeseen issues.
2) Conduct market research
Before you begin any development work, you need to identify the key people in your specific app category. After all, it does not matter how thorough your marketing efforts are if your app does not address a user pain point. Customers who feel their pain points aren’t being met can easily move to a competitor who has built a solution that addresses these pain points.
The goal of this process is to discover who your target user is, what they value, and the central pain point that your app should address. To get this information, you – as an app developer – need to understand the multiple user groups that would potentially use your product and acknowledge that each user persona has a unique user journey.
The concept of user personas is designed to outline a target audience and help companies coordinate design, business, and marketing decisions to attract the right audience to the product. User personas highlight everything about a potential user’s demographic, background, mobile preferences, interests, and unique identifiers.
Once you understand your user personas, then you can develop a product that solves their problems. In-depth user personas also create the foundation for user journey design and help you to customize every aspect of your mobile product to your users’ preferences and needs. Companies need to know that everything from branding and in-app content to functionality, features, platform choice, and monetization strategy needs to resonate with target users.
During this time, it is also important to remember that your company’s app will have competition. For this reason, you need to do a competitive analysis of your top competitors by making a list of their current prices and their monetization model. It’s also important to make note of their app store ranking, user experience pros and cons, and notable reviews. You need to think about what would make your app stand out from your competitors. Moreover, you need to ensure that your app does not replicate any poorly-made features or UX elements that users have previously reviewed negatively.
3) Market early
It might seem like a waste of money, but marketing your app before you launch is very important. Many app developers only start promoting their app when it has been published in the app store. Successful companies know that app marketing begins long before the hard launch. These companies understand that an approach focused on marketing will help them to build exposure beforehand. Even though they may not have an app yet, they can provide value to potential users and nurture that relationship.
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4) Create a website or landing page
An appealing landing page or website for an app is essential because it contributes to the first impression users have of a business. Since they can act as the display for an app, the ideal landing page should be clean, attractive, user-friendly, and work well across all browsers. It has become a standard practice to create a pre-launch landing page or at least a teaser video for a product.
Once the landing page is done, companies can recycle the content by putting it in the app store, on social media platforms, or even use it in paid ads. In addition to building hype around an app, having a pre-launch website is a great way to do early SEO by starting to build domain authority. Once you’ve set up your website, you should collect emails to keep your followers updated. In these updates, you can let your contacts know when your mobile app launches and when you have new updates and features.
5) Prepare your press kit & other materials
Depending on your level of marketing you need to make sure that you have both physical press kits and electronic press kits available for relevant press and promotion groups. You also need to compile a media list of potential media professionals and bloggers who you would like to target. It’s important to make sure that all the content you send to these contacts covers all the essential points about the app. You also need to make sure that you have a system to send out your information to the relevant parties to maximize media coverage.
6) Promote on social media
While a social media post may not be as in-depth as an article or written blog post, social media can have a tremendous effect on the popularity of your app. A targeted advertising strategy on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combines digital marketing with more traditional “word-of-mouth” advertising, such as promoting and reposting people who use the app. Once people start talking about an app, the app itself will begin to gain traction as it gains more followers. Companies that gain enough traction will also achieve success.
The key to using social media properly is to go where your target audience is. For example, let’s assume your app targets specific age groups. In that case, you would need to identify the social platforms that are the most popular with the people in your target demographic and focus on them.
7) Create a content marketing strategy
Along with having a website and promoting on social media, you need to create a content marketing strategy to establish authority in your niche and attract followers. There are many benefits to having a content marketing strategy. Some of these include; driving traffic, conversions, and brand awareness; creating a brand around the app by being an expert in your niche; building trust with users through content; using blog content for email marketing to re-engage contacts or for social media.
8) Optimize your app store page
App Store Optimization involves optimizing your App Store page to rank higher in search results and convert at a higher rate. Reports have shown that 65% of apps are discovered from a direct search in the App Store. The higher an app ranks, the more visible it is to potential users. The increased visibility will lead to more downloads, which will help get the app noticed by editors. Optimizing effectively depends on a few factors, which include title and choice of keywords.
A great title should hook users in and get them to click on the app to discover more information and features. Keywords should also be strategically placed in the title for best results and should also be included through the listing so that the company shows up when users search for industry keywords.
9) Establish two-way communication
Once the app has been launched, you need to establish two-way communication. This is because the more aligned the app experience is with a user’s needs and preferences, the more likely it is that a user will continue using the product. Studies have shown that brands that use in-app messages to communicate with users will see higher user retention. In-app messages don’t require a lot of effort on the part of the app developers. These are notifications that do not require immediate action but do provide a call-to-action at some stage. They can include warnings about app issues, payment failures, or version upgrades.
Another way to increase user retention is through push notifications. Statistics have shown that companies using push notifications have boosted user retention from 56% to 180%. Furthermore, giving users an incentive to use an app can go a long way. Using mobile-specific rewards, specialized content access, coupons, special promotions, and other offers will help drive conversions and encourage engagement.
10) Ask users for feedback
When people use your app consistently, this is a sign that they have made a connection with the product. As the app developer, you should allow them to express their opinions with a popup invitation to leave a review. Even so, you should remember that this tactic should not sacrifice user experience. App developers need to think about when and how they want to ask for a review and make sure it flows well with the user experience. The more strategically the popup is placed, the better the chances are for positive reviews.
11) Use influencers
Influencers, also referred to as key opinion leaders, are the newest version of the traditional celebrity endorsement. However, instead of convincing celebrities to use and talk about a product, you can get social media influencers to promote your product on their pages. At the moment, the only thing that carries more word-of-mouth influence than a positive referral from someone a customer knows is a positive endorsement from someone well-known and admired. For a brand, collaborating with influencers is often much cheaper than securing a celebrity endorsement. Influencer marketing can also be a lot more effective when done correctly.
12) Monitor Results
Finally, once the app is on, and the marketing is underway; this does not mean that your marketing efforts are over. You need to keep a close eye on your key performance indicators as the launch moves ahead. By closely monitoring how people use an app, reviewing the user feedback you obtain, and being attentive and responsive to the input, you can quickly address any bugs and keep building meaningful features.
In order to monitor your growth effectively as an app developer, you should also monitor analytics coming from your marketing efforts. With this information, you can see what strategies are yielding more traction and adjust the less effective ones.
A mobile app is now an essential thing for companies that want to remain relevant in the digital landscape. Nevertheless, it is not enough to just build an amazing app. On the contrary, your success as an app developer relies more heavily on an effective mobile app marketing strategy that differentiates you from the competition. Whether you choose to do this on your own or with the help of professionals, it is essential to develop a clear picture of every stage of the process. This way, you’ll know what to do if problems arise.