Do you have a mobile app, or are you thinking of creating one? If so, you will need to generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of downloads. In this article I present 12 mobile app marketing strategies to reach tremendous scale, and generate many downloads for your app.
This article is just one section of my mobile app business book. You can check out the full mobile app business book on Amazon.
1) APP STORE LISTING AND ASO
The app stores are the number one driver of app downloads for the vast majority of apps. There are three things you need to do to optimize your app store listing to get the largest number of downloads possible.
The first thing to do is to choose the right keywords for which you will try to get your app to rank. If you are not experienced with keyword research, you can try to get an SEO professional to help you understand what keywords to try to rank for in the app stores, amount of competition per keyword and the amount of demand for the keywords. The SEO for app stores is called ASO (app store optimization).
Once you understand what keywords you want to try to rank for, create a professional app logo, beautiful screenshots, and write an amazing description and title that are rich with the keywords you are targeting, but also very appealing to people who will be reading that description when they will be deciding whether to download your app.
Lastly, once people get your app, make sure the app is engaging, and they actually use it. Work to increase the amount of time people spend using the app, and the number of times people open the app. Those are ranking factors that will help your app rank higher in the app store rankings.
If you do the above items well, you should be getting hundreds of downloads per day from the app store. If you are not, reconsider your keywords, and think about how much demand there is for them, and how competitive they are. Try to understand why you are not getting the downloads. Is the problem a lack of demand for the keywords you chose, or a competitive environment that is too difficult?
Lastly, make sure your app gets good reviews. The reviews are a big part of your app store listing. So first and foremost, your app must satisfy your users. Otherwise, everything else will be that much more difficult.
2) GET PRESS AND PUBLICITY FOR YOUR APP
Everyone wants PR, but less than 0.1% of new apps are covered by major tech or general news publications. And even the apps that do get coverage, either do that through hiring a PR agency (thousands of dollars a month), have great connections, or just have incredibly amazing apps. To get coverage for an app, being very good is not enough. The app and its story have to be amazing, because there are already thousands of good apps out there. The bar of quality to get PR is quite high.
Here is my tutorial for how you can get press coverage for your business. That tutorial is not just good for getting press coverage, but it is also great for generating links for your SEO and growing your social media presence because every time you get press coverage, you typically get a link to your site from whatever press publication covers your business, and you get a few social media mentions as well!
You can also purchase a publicity package on a very large radio show which will get you blog links, brand exposure via interviews, and social media links from legitimate and large accounts. Here is how you purchase that publicity package. For even more publicity, contact me directly. As a premium service I can get you an appearance in 4 of the top mobile app podcasts.
I can also interview you for 30 minutes on my YouTube channel to get you extra exposure on YouTube. Here is my business YouTube channel. Feel welcome to subscribe to the channel. There are over 300 business tutorials, all of which are free.
3) SOCIAL SHARING FROM SOCIAL NETWORKS
Most people understand that they need to be marketing via social networks, but do not quite manage to do that effectively. There are two general keys to effective social media marketing: 1) leveraging social media influencers in your niche and 2) expanding how broadly you think of social media marketing because social media marketing isn’t just posting to Twitter and Facebook. It is something that is far broader.
To think about social media marketing more broadly, consider that blogging and guest blogging is part of social media. Additionally, think about Quora, Reddit, HackerNews and other sites in your niche where content is shared.
And overall, if you are in your business for the long-term, when you think about social media, think about how you can position your business and yourself as the thought leaders and an authority in that space. There is much more on this in my marketing book which you can find at the bottom of this article.
4) SOCIAL SHARING FROM INSIDE YOUR APP
As your users use your app, there will inevitably be some things that they can do with friends or people they know. That can be playing a game together, sharing content, or as the case in my business plan apps, writing a business plan, marketing plan or a fundraising plan together.
Whatever features you create, think about whether people would want to use those features with people they know. Enable those features and you will get some lift in downloads from your users bringing you new users.
ANNOUNCING!!! TAKE MY FULL MOBILE APP BUSINESS COURSE
I am very excited to announce that I created an entire online course to help your app become successful. The course is available on Udemy, which is one of the top places online to create a course. Here is my mobile app business course.
In the course I cover
- How to promote your app like a pro
- How to make money from your app
- Common fundamentals of having a mobile app business
The course is almost entirely video, and there is over an hour of video tutorials on all the most important topics of creating a great mobile app business!
5) WEBSITE PROMOTION
Your website should also be generating downloads for your app. You can drive people to your website via SEO, social media, answering questions on Quora, posting on Reddit, participating in other sites within your niche, or via many other strategies.
You can do a few things on your website. You should optimize it for app downloads with big download calls-to-action (or “buttons”). Most mobile app sites are just glorified landing pages that are made for one thing only: to get you to download the app. The challenge with that approach is that there isn’t a lot of content on those sites to promote other than the app itself, which gives you few promotional angles.
To give you more flexibility in promoting your site, you can maintain a blog to create an unlimited amount of content, which you can then promote and target different SEO keywords. By promoting that content, you will then be able to endorse your app on all of those pages that you create and promote.
There are two options for your blog. You can maintain a blog on your site, or you can have an entirely different site for your blog like I do with Glowingstart.com and Problemio.com. The advantage of having a different site is that you can try different promotional strategies on the two different sites, and compare results. Plus, the topic of your blog will only loosely need to match the topic of your app, which will give you more creative freedom.
6) CROSS-PROMOTE WITH OTHER APPS AND WEBSITES
This is one of my least favorite approaches, but it can work. Simply find partners that are willing to cross-promote with you. You can drive people to them, and they can drive people to your app. These can be mobile apps, websites, podcasts or anything else. The key is that you would get as much exposure as you are giving to your partners. Remember, whenever you are sending one of your users out of your app, and toward your partner’s app, you are killing engagement of your app, which is damaging to your app store optimization (ASO). For that reason, this is one of my less favorite approaches. So think twice about whether you want to do this.
7) PAYING FOR ADVERTISING
You can certainly get downloads by paying for ads on mobile apps and websites. This can be very viable, but only once you have established and proven your business model.
Also, keep in mind that your business model is not your revenue model. A revenue model is just a part of your business model. Your business model is all the moving parts of your business (marketing, monetization, various costs, etc.) and how they play together.
If you are able to generate enough revenue per customer to cover the costs of buying customers, then paying for advertising is very viable. But for most apps that are starting out, this isn’t the best option. Here is an article on the difference between a business model and a revenue model.
8) EMAIL MARKETING AND GROWING YOUR EMAIL LIST
As part of maintaining a blog or via features inside your app, you can collect the email addresses of your users. That will enable you to get instant exposure and your own PR whenever anything noteworthy happens.
For example, if you have an app update, a new blog post, a new YouTube video, or anything else, you can send an update to your email list and drive them to your new offering. In addition, you can also make money from your email list by notifying them of things you are selling, or other kinds of offers.
9) SPEAK AT EVENTS
Speaking at events can be beneficial to your business in a number of ways. Of course, the obvious benefit is that the audience may download your app. That is only a minor benefit compared to the potential of speaking engagements.
If there are reporters in the room, they may include your app in their story. And if there are bloggers in the room they may blog about your app. That will get you links for SEO and possibly give you a social media boost. Additionally, the conversation of the evening will be focused on you and your app, which can result in plenty of feedback about your product, further introductions and beginnings of interesting business relationships.
10) CREATE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Having a YouTube channel may not immediately make sense, but it actually makes amazing sense for a number of reasons.
First, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Many potential new users can discover your app there and you can drive many of those potential users from YouTube to your app.
The next best thing about YouTube is that its videos can be repurposed in many ways. If you want, you can place your YouTube channel inside your app. Having videos people can watch inside your app will help you increase time spent on the app. You can also embed the same videos on your website, which will increase the time people spend on your website, and possibly the ranking of some of your pages that have your YouTube videos. Additionally, your YouTube videos may show up in actual Google search if your actual website doesn’t. And if all that wasn’t enough, YouTube videos are more likely to be shared because people like videos and it is often easier to consume video content rather than read text. Plus, if all else fails, you can make money with YouTube videos by placing AdSense ads on them.
YouTube is possibly the most versatile platform. And your videos can be used for many purposes.
11) KEEP YOUR APP FREEMIUM
Have you noticed that most apps in the app stores are free? That isn’t because developers don’t want to charge you and don’t want to make money. It is because the app stores make it much easier to promote free apps. And by virtue of that, paid apps never end up ranking well in app store search, and most consumers never discover most paid apps.
So the common approach is to make your app free to download, which would help to make your app more competitive in search. Once your app is competitive in app store search, and is getting downloads, hopefully you will be able to figure out how to make money from your users. Check out the article on the freemium business model to learn more about its benefits.
12) GOOGLE SEARCH (SEO) OF YOUR APP URL
I saved this tricky strategy to get downloads for last, and it is a good one. While you cannot really track how many people click or see your app’s URL in Google search (not your website URL, but the Web URL of your actual app), it does show up in various searches and you can do SEO for that URL in order to get it ranking well. In fact, often it will outrank your website because it is on a very strong domain which is iTunes or GooglePlay. So try to see what keywords your app URL ranks for, and try to point some links to it in order to get it to rank well in search.
13) ESTABLISH A LARGE PRESENCE ON ANY PLATFORM
Just like establishing a large YouTube channel may be a great way for you to generate downloads for your app, any other large platform may be equally as good as long as you can establish a large presence on it. Think about what platform may have the most natural audience for the kind of app you have.
BONUS POINT – BECOME A GREAT MARKETER!
Whether you plan to work on the current app for years, or build other products, whenever you build something in the future, you will need to promote it like an absolute pro in order to maximize the sales of whatever you are promoting! The better you become at marketing, the more products you will sell. For that reason, try my marketing plan book which I wrote with the intention of helping people become great at promoting their businesses, and reach great scale. Here is the marketing plan book on Amazon.
TRY MY MARKETING MOBILE APPS
I created some of the top marketing apps on iOS and Android. The apps have a number of tutorials, and give you access to ask me questions any time. Here is my Android marketing app. And here is my iOS marketing app.
Here is the list of most of my mobile apps for business. And if you prefer books, here are my two business books. If you are looking to learn marketing, the marketing plan and strategy book may be especially interesting for you. My intention with it was to make you an absolute marketing pro!
More mobile app tutorials
Mobile app marketing playlist:
Mobile app monetization playlist:
Mobile app business strategy:
Mobile app development playlist:
WATCH MY MARKETING PLAYLIST ON YOUTUBE (10 HOURS OF TUTORIAL FOOTAGE TO MAKE YOU GREAT!)
Here is the playlist of marketing videos. Even though this has just one YouTube screen, the videos will play one after another. There are over 50 videos in this playlist.
Learn Android app development to program your own apps
Are you a non-technical app entrepreneur? If so, you might be struggling with finding a good app developer to partner with, and hiring developers is expensive. This is why I made a mobile app development course together with another engineer Val Okefor. The course will help you make your own apps so you can finally make your dream app a reality.
Here is a preview of the Android app development course:by