Building a mobile app or planning to? Have you developed a strategy for how to market the app?
Developing an intriguing mobile app concept and actually building the product is an incredible step. Many developers and companies believe in a traditional business development approach of first building a product and then devising ways to entice investors or customers to buy into the product, reminding us of the adage build it and they will come (yes, I know the actual quote is “he will come” for all you Field of Dreams fans).
It’s not that the adage is wrong so much as it’s a very underachieving train of thought with regard to marketing of a product. Any developer or business exec for a mobile app company should be considering their marketing strategy WELL in advance of a launch.
To assure the success of your app, you need to be considering ways to generate intriguing content, build a eager pool of future users and how to spread positive brand awareness, before or at least during early stages of the app’s development.
Here are 4 points to consider for effectively marketing a mobile app before you’ve officially pushed it to the App Store and Google Play:
1.) Understand Your Target User
Start with understanding your target users and allow that to drive the rest of your marketing strategy.
Conduct research and understand who your user base will be. More than likely, you already have an idea of who your target users are but is it accurate?
Don’t be the person who thinks you’ll just wing it with your marketing plan because you know your app has incredible features and amazing functionalities that users will miraculously become aware of within in a sea of competitors claiming to provide the same experience.
Develop questions that you can ask members of your target audience to validate your assumptions. Their answers will steer you more confidently into the development phase of your application.
Conducting user research is a best practice that enables you to make sound adjustments or pivots to your app over time, assuring greater success.
Another good method is to create User Profiles of your user base in documents similar to what we did with our client Socialgrlz.
Flesh out your user profiles with information pooled by using methods like:
- Developing an idea board of who you’re target user is
- Distribute a survey to target users through the following avenues:
- Your existing email network
- user testing websites
- With your business team, collect your target users’ demographic and psychographic information
- Research any audience related info you can find on your competitors
2.) Building Brand Awareness & SEO for Your Mobile App
Know where your target users will most likely learn about your app or how they’ll search for it and arrive at the app stores distributing your app.
It’s very important that you DO NOT initiate working on SEO or brand awareness for your app until you have a thorough marketing plan as well as a solid understanding of your market and an audit of your competitors strategies.
Do your due diligence and show discretion in your plan to generate interest about your app. Here are a few recommendations to get started:
- Make a list of likely buzzwords and themes that will be affiliated with your app
- I recommend putting this material in a spreadsheet and should be re-evaluated at least once a month but ideally every two weeks
- Prepare a blog (ideally a website too) for your app’s users by drafting posts with content they may find useful. Make it habit now if it isn’t already to take note in a journal, app or on a voice recorder of blog post ideas/content
- This point (like most points on here TBH) should be it’s own blog post so look out for that or check here in the future for a link.
- The blog for the Mint app is an excellent example of what app business owners should aim for
- Set up social media accounts, especially the networks your target audience use the most
- Primarily do this to secure your app’s name on various networks
- Begin following influential bloggers/professionals/online personalities relevant to your target users. You’ll eventually engage these influencers about your app
3.) Identify How to Retain Users
As an excellent blog post from Kissmetrics puts it, “People return to your app because it has ongoing value for them.”
Recent data shows that 25% of apps are used only once and that most apps lose 90% of their daily active users after 30 days. Assuring retention of daily active users is not as challenging as some may think.
Presumably you’ve already established use cases for your app so combine those use cases with your user profiles (discussed during the first point) to produce trigger points you can inject to continuously delight and engage your users.
When we kick off new projects, we go through an exercise called “A Day in the Life.” This exercise encourages our clients to think about when their target user would interact with their mobile application within the parameters of their daily schedule. By identifying when and how a user would use your mobile app, you can strategize retention that lasts.
4.) Creating Buzz Through Media!
A nice and popular way to condince useful information about your app into one place is in a video showcasing the various functionalities of the app.
Evernote does a great job of this with their Scannable app video:
You don’t need much to produce a professional video showcasing functionalities of your app and it’s best you develop a plan for creating video content that your target users will appreciate when the app is available.
- Research guides like this on basics of creating a How-To or promo video
- Depending on your marketing budget, you can choose to hire a professional or shoot your own video
- If you’re hiring a video production company, there are several articles on how to choose the best company for providing you what you’re looking for so try searching “how to hire a video production company” and let those articles guide your process
- If you’re making your own video and don’t have a large budget, all you need is a camcorder typically costing no less than $250. These cameras with some basic video editing knowledge can produce professional quality videos.
- Most well reviewed camcorders on the market since 2013 should suffice (e.g. Canon Vixia series)
From fun instructional videos to clever social media posts, there are several creative ways you can help your target users see the potential of your mobile app.
So get excited and channel that excitement into developing a comprehensive strategy for marketing, retaining and upselling your future app users with amazing service and industry leading expertise! Woo!
Looking to build a mobile app or develop a better mobile experience for your audience? Let’s talk!
Dominic Swain | Digital Strategist | firstname.lastname@example.org