How To Promote Your App And Increase Downloads

So you're building an app, but downloads are low or non-existent? Here's what you need to know about app marketing and generating buzz for launch day.

You’ve developed an amazing mobile app, tested it multiple times, and your app design is well-executed. From icons to content format, you’ve invested resources in perfecting your app. It’s available in the App Store and Google Play store, but there is only one problem – you’re not getting any downloads. At this point, you’re probably wondering, “What went wrong?”

First, take a deep breath. Many mobile apps encounter this issue. Here are some actionable tips to follow that can motivate potential users to click the download button.


1. Understand app store optimization

In the same way that online marketers and website developers use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve rankings, app marketers must use app store optimization tactics to enhance app visibility. The better your app ranks in the app store, the greater your audience reach and potential for increased downloads.


How does app store optimization work?

App store optimization (ASO) is the process of improving an app’s ranking to increase visibility in search results and top listings. It requires keyword research to identify product-related keywords that are easy enough to rank for and exhibit good search volume (i.e., people are actively searching for those keywords). Here’s a look at factors that influence your ASO strategy:

  • Title and Short Description: By inserting keywords in your app’s title and short description, you will notice an increase in app ranking. Users looking for apps that perform certain tasks will see your app in the search results, which can result in more app downloads.
  • Long Description: Use keywords wisely; avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Reviews: The more positive reviews your app receives, the better the rankings. When users discover an app, the first thing they do is read the reviews and ratings. If they feel it is capable of the desired utility, only then do they click to download.
  • Backlinks: Traditional guest posting (i.e., guest blogging), sponsored content, and content marketing strategies are proven to work. If you can acquire quality backlinks to your app website or store listings, you have a greater chance to improve app rankings in-store. When the App Store notices you’re backed up by solid referral sites, it will be willing to improve your visibility in search results.
  • Social Proof: Customers often investigate the authenticity of a product or service before purchasing it online. Some potential users will look for your website, read reviews, and even look you up on social mediaSocial media marketing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are open platforms for people to review your business, add comments, and even recommend your offerings. When users see consistent activity on your social media profiles, they will be more willing to download your app. This activity can indirectly improve your app store ranking.


2. Create a pre-launch app marketing strategy

Before you start developing your app, devise a marketing strategy. You need to get the word out to potential investors, app store managers, and your targeted audience.

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Take a page from Apple’s playbook. “Overall, the advertising and promotions of Apple are used tenfold when there is a new product launch. The hype created is so much that you just can’t ignore it. And this hype is continued until the product becomes a success.” They follow a pre-launch marketing strategy that consistently helps them build hype and create brand awareness.

“There are multiple types of pre-launch marketing campaigns, strategies, and methods one can use to get the word out about a new company or product. Ultimately, the entire purpose of a pre-launch is to laser-target a group of potential buyers for your product, service, or business opportunity and get them onto your pre-launch email list.” Here is how you can effectively create a buzz among ideal customers before launch.

  • Start marketing your app ahead of its launch date (i.e., pre-launch)
  • Never underestimate the power of email marketing long before the set launch date
  • Create and distribute engaging content (e.g., articles, videos, images) and interactive advertisements to get potential users excited about the launch
  • Engage potential customers by partnering with targeted media outlets and social media influencers (bloggers and vloggers) ahead of time with a content marketing and influencer marketing strategy
  • Leverage word-of-mouth marketing, a powerful tool, to acquire beta testers
  • Encourage pre-orders in exchange for exclusive discounts
  • Create an electronic press kit that includes app screenshots, videos, icons, etc.

The right app marketing strategy, especially an effective pre-launch strategy, can help build an audience that looks forward to a highly anticipated launch day.


3. Highlight app benefits

There are useless apps out there with zero downloads. You don’t want to be on that list! In fact, if you know your app doesn’t meet a specific user need and doesn’t add immediate value (e.g., entertainment, utility, etc.), step back and improve it.

When you develop an app, keep the needs of your users top of mind. You can add value and utility to your mobile app in a number of ways, which can include entertainment value or efficiency of daily tasks. Offer something relevant to your customers, and they will be motivated to download your app.


4. Offer pre-and-post launch rewards

Generate awareness for your mobile app pre-launch by using social media. Encourage followers to share your content with their friends and spread the word. In exchange for their efforts, offer high-value incentives. After all, who doesn’t like free things?!

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Similarly, post-launch in the app store, you can influence people to download your app and share a review by offering rewards and incentives. An increase in referrals and downloads will signal the App Store and Google Play store to give you a boost in their search results. You might even snag a feature in the “Top App” or “App of the Day” listings.


5. Grow app visibility with social media

Mobile application development companies often spend a lot of money to build an audience with paid ads, online and offline. Paid advertising often works well if you have the budget. However, it’s wise to supplement paid media with organic and earned media to improve your overall cost per acquisition (CPA). One way to drive cost-effective promotions is by using social media.

Social media can help improve brand awareness of your app as you interact with your audience. For example, Facebook is a popular paid and organic marketing tool; “97% of social advertisers chose it as their most used and most useful social media platform.”

If you want to leverage social media to increase app downloads, listen and be responsive across your social media platforms, share regular updates, ask for community reviews, and create hype with holiday offers.


Increase app downloads the smart way

Generating app downloads requires a bit of trial and error, and it’s easier said than done. What works for one app may not work for another. These proven practices can boost your visibility, which leads to more conversions over time. Ultimately, remember to deliver what your users need.


Khloe Hunter is a Digital Marketing executive for Appverticals.


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