How to Market Your Mobile App on a Shoestring Budget

The global market for mobile applications is becoming increasingly competitive. Thousands of apps are being launched every day. The result is that innovative and well-made apps are often ignored.

How can a developer after creating an amazing app make sure it gets noticed in this sea of mobile applications?

Marketing can make all the difference. But along with a crowded market, a tight marketing budget is another big challenge facing app developers.

A small-budget app developer doesn’t have the deep pockets of big businesses to devise advertising campaigns.

So how can you market your app in a way that it gets noticed despite operating on a small budget?  Here are ten tried and tested marketing strategies that can help you win the battle.

1. Optimize for App Stores

App store optimization (ASO) is important if you want your app to get noticed in an app store. Since people haven’t even heard of your app yet, they can’t search for it by its name. To get around this problem, make sure you do keyword research related to your app just like you did when creating your website.

Optimize your app title, description and keywords to improve the search rankings of your app and associate your content with a variety of keywords pertaining to your app and industry.

2. Build a Teaser Website

Build a website that is solely for showcasing and promoting the app. Create it one or two months before launching the app. Mention the website URL in the app store description and include it in the signature of your emails so that a large number of people can get updates about your app from the website. Ensure you add social buttons on the website so that visitors can spread word about your app within their networks.

Before the app goes live, collect email addresses and promise to give early birds a perk for signing up or getting friends to sign up (referrals). Once the app is live, change the homepage of the website to a simple design with a clear call to action and download button.

3. Start a Blog

Post interesting articles related to your soon-to-launch app to generate excitement in your audience. Keep the articles informative or entertaining to attract more people. Update your blog periodically with the features of your app and welcome comments and feedback.

4. Use Social Media Effectively

Social media can help app developers, regardless of their size or financial resources, build a large audience over time whose collective promotional strength can rival that of any big mobile app advertising campaign. In AppsFlyer’s Mobile Advertising Measurement report, analysts found that using social channels improved three metrics for app marketing campaigns: user quality, conversion rates, and volume.

So ensure you use social media, one of the most effective channels of marketing, to promote your app. Maintain a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. to interact with fans and followers. Use these channels to spread the word, engage with consumers, and to reply to their queries promptly.

5. Use Promo Codes and Giveaways

Promo codes are a great way to start spreading the word on paid apps. Some companies post a bunch of codes on Twitter, allowing their followers to grab them before anyone else. Others give them away weekly to fans who answer app-related questions correctly.

You can issue a 100 promo codes while releasing your app. Promo codes expire after few weeks, can only be used once, and those who use promo codes to download your app cannot review it. So make sure you use your promo codes wisely.

To create a buzz around your app, organize contests that encourage people to share your updates. Give away small prizes weekly to the social media audience who participates in these contests.

6. Create a Product Video

Social video marketing is a quick way to get the word on your app out with minimal expenses.  Use videos to show people the usefulness of your app. Create a six-second Vine mobile app trailer to drive app awareness on Twitter.

7. Lower the Price of the App

If you are going to be charging for your app, consider offering it at a promotional price during the launch.

Many app developers list their app at $1.99 and then put it on sale for $0.99, or reduce the price just after the launch.  Adding ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ to the title or to the keywords along with mentioning them in the description will result in more people discovering your app.

You can even offer your app free of charge for a day. Changing the price tag of your app to ‘free’ will generate a boost in downloads.

8. Integrate Social within the App

This will help users share the app with others. You can also give an incentive to the users to encourage the sharing, thus prompting them to share more and building popularity for your app.

For instance: Candy Crush Saga, a massively addictive game, encourages users to log in from their Facebook accounts to play. Integration of the game with Facebook made it go viral.

9. Promote the App Online

App sites (AppAdvice, 148apps, AppStoreApps) can generate a lot of buzz for your app. Make a list of forums, review sites, news site, blogs, etc. and start getting active on them. Participate in conversations, comment on articles, and request reviews for your app. There are even awards you can win, which will give you a lot of press coverage.

Also, reach out to industry influencers and bloggers in your target audience to review your app. If they do oblige, their reviews will grant your app credibility as well as exposure.

10. Use Cross-Promotional Networking

You might have noticed a lot of apps showing ads that promote other apps. Look for apps that have the same audience as yours but are not direct competitors, and promote your app via such apps.

The world of mobile apps is highly competitive. Use these ten inexpensive marketing strategies to create a buzz around your app, improve its visibility in app stores, and ultimately increase user downloads.

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