5 Ways To Promote Your App Without Spending a Ton of Money

Marketing & Promotion
Posted 11/14/2015 1:19:24 PM by KATIE MEURIN, Director of Marketing with Zco Corporation

5 Ways To Promote Your App Without Spending a Ton of Money
The app stores are crowded. Bringing apps to the market and making them discoverable among your competitors can be difficult. Having a solid marketing plan in place before releasing your apps can increase the chance of being noticed. 

There are plenty of marketing strategies that can successfully promote your app – you are either going to have to give time or money to your marketing campaigns. In this post we’re sharing some options that will fit into a low budget plan. Ultimately all your marketing tactics should create some curiosity among your intended audience. 

1. App Store Optimization – Keywords & Reviews

First of all, make sure your app can be found by users. Most apps are found via search, so your app name and description should be accurate and compelling. What need is your app satisfying? If you were looking for an app like yours, what search terms would you use? 

A good keyword tool can do an amazing job to analyze which keywords are most frequently searched for within the app stores. You’ll want to include these keywords in your keyword string in iTunes or within your description for Google Play.

Say you build a mobile game about tigers and you want to use “tiger” as one of your descriptive keywords. Look in the app store and see what apps come up for the word “tiger”. When I search the word “tiger” in Google Play, the first app that comes up is Wild Tiger Simulator 3D. It looks like this app has about 17,000 reviews. So until your app has 17,000 comparable reviews, don’t expect to rank above this app for the word “tiger”.

If this seems out of reach, try to find more creative keywords with less competition. This is, in my opinion, the best bang for your buck that you can do to help get exposure for your app. And it can be just your time, not even your money. Many people make the mistake of not choosing keywords at all, choosing keywords that have too much competition, or choosing keywords that don’t have enough traffic. 
Once you have sensible keywords, spend some time building reviews. Encourage friends and family to download and review the app to get the ball rolling. Start with your personal social networks, but don’t forget dedicated social media profiles for the app. 

2. Social Media – Building a Community, Pushing Out Your Message

Building a real community around your app can be done on social media. You can set up a page for your app on any popular social networking site and keep the page active with engaging content – about your app, but also about related news items, entertainment, and viral memes.

Only start what you think you’ll be able to manage on a regular basis. One or two well-maintained accounts are more effective than ghost towns on twenty networks. These pages can serve as your customer support centers where you can easily interact with your audiences. One of our customers that does a great job with social media is Cooking Planit. They regularly share recipes and food facts that relate to their cooking app, and have almost 9,000 followers as a result!

3. Paid Advertising – Click to Install

You don’t have to spend all that much to get results from paid advertising. Ads on social networks, search engines, and within other apps can help boost increase your app’s visibility and downloads. Links can be provided from your ad directly to corresponding app stores.

Before you start an ad campaign you must choose an ad network that matches best to your app promotional targets. Different social networks offer targeted advertising where people naturally spend time online. Facebook attempts to match users’ interests with ads, while YouTube shows video ads in front of related content – this type of social media ad campaign can be started for as little as $5. 

4. Public Relations – Launch, Release, and App Reviews
A press release is a good place to start for getting the word out. Spreading a press release over the news wire via a distribution service is relatively inexpensive, and you can also send the release directly to bloggers and news sites. 

Don’t forget to include a link to the app store listing!  This won’t likely drive a surge of downloads for you, but it will help establish credibility for any word of mouth Google searchers. An example: I hear about a new dating app called Mazlo Dating, so I Google it, and the first organic result is from their press release.

One another effective strategy to boost your app downloads is submitting it to app review sites. Blogs that recommend apps give your app more credibility when they review it positively. Here is a list of app review sites. Some may ask for money to bump you up in line. Make sure you take the time to read their best practices for submitting apps – everyone likes a little something different. Some want promo codes, demo videos, brief descriptions, pictures, no pictures, etc. 

5. Networking – Word of Mouth, Target Audience

Nothing beats work of mouth. Face-to-face interaction and in-person demonstrations of your app cement your brand in the minds of viewers. Most small cities have networking groups – check meetup.com or your local chamber of commerce for events. 

Finding the right audience to network with is important. For example, if your app is a children’s game or an educational app, then presenting your app at various kids’ camps, fests, and fairs will be advantageous. Similarly, if your target audience is golfers, then you can go to country clubs and golf expos and interact with those attendees. 

The right app marketing can get your app noticed, downloaded, and making money. And don’t give up! Give yourself time to start getting the word out; it’s rare for apps to become an overnight success. My best advice in general is to focus on getting your app reviewed in iTunes and Google Play – it is such a strong signal of credibility.

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About the author: KATIE MEURIN, Director of Marketing with Zco Corporation

Katie Meurin is the Director of Marketing with Zco Corporation, a custom software company in business since 1989 that specializes is mobile app and game development. In addition to helping the company build relationships with new clients, Katie helps existing clients with app store optimization.

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