Developing an app is an accomplishment. With so much time and effort involved in the entire process of development, test and launch, devising an effective marketing strategy would be the last thing in the mind of a developer.
In the App market, there exists the ‘problem of abundance’. With a surge of mobile apps in various app stores, success is not guaranteed even if your newly developed app has ‘everything’ in it. This is further aggravated with the high failure rate of various nicely developed apps at the app stores. The truth is, no matter how fantastic your app is, a solid marketing strategy is what ultimately sells it. The marketing of ‘promised value’ can act as a key differential.
It is essential to create a marketing plan before the launch for promotion and brand awareness. After all nobody is going to download an app that doesn’t s have buzz around it.
What is the strategy to create the marketing buzz?
1. Promotion Before Launch: Even before the launch of the app, various promotional content should be finalized – content development, reviews by various influencers, opinion makers and bloggers and banner designing for advertising, news releases, etc. Correct medium (portals and publications) can guarantee that the promotion is targeted to the right audience. This is facilitated by making an online presence through social media networks. Demo testing with a target group spreads awareness amidst the right audience.
2. Optimizing the App: Optimizing the app to search engine by providing the correct keywords in its title and description is important so that users can locate it easily. App optimization during the development process should be an essential step for discoverability in search query at the app store. (1)
3. Releasing Unique Features Early: To grow a user base, it is essential to release early, which draws investor attention. Releasing the primary features would help early adoption – setting the stage for growing user base in the future. Enabling a social sharing facility can further lead to enhancing user base. Adoption is typically fast if a unique feature is introduced at an early stage. For example a messaging app that has the capacity to target 50 or more people at time would attract interest. (2)
4. Get Discovered – With a plethora of apps in the same market segment you are operating, at the highest frequency is essential to make your presence felt. The audience wants to know that how your app makes their task easier and that is ready to be downloaded. Create a landing page and an email subscription option for the app. Focus should be to create awareness to drive traffic to the page. A multi-channel marketing strategy such as email marketing, banner advertising, and viral marketing can help promote apps across various channels. To garner maximum visibility the marketing process should continuous.
5. Make Users Your Marketers: Attaining the top position in the chart is difficult but once achieved, users can act as the marketer for your ‘great app’. Users can use the shareable features of the app to spread brand awareness among friends. They can use the app to share content, and social media to create the buzz around the app. Relationships can be forged through the shareable aspect of the app. Social media can be used to create profiles of the targeted users who can be engaged and re-engaged through content, value description, offers, and feature capabilities. Once convinced your true marketers do the viral marketing for the app. (4)
6. Revenue Model: It is essential to develop clarity over the revenue sourcing model. The most appropriate revenue model should be chosen. The app can be a paid app or an initially free and chargeable later on. The various monetizing sources of the app that can be explored include purchase options, advertisements, subscriptions, and product/service selling.
7. User Retention and Engagement: Retaining customers can be just as difficult as acquiring them. Push notifications serve as a source of user engagement. A solid user experience is essential to engage and retain customers. Feedback on user experience through ratings and reviews on the app page/app store are definite ways to boost credibility, retain existing customers, and acquire more. Allowing people to contact directly from the app through a mail or social media can help build engagement. Any negative review about a bug, problem, crash or additional feature requirement should be sorted immediately. Successful handling of user request leaves a happy customer and leads to positive reviews. (5)
Positive reviews increases app credibility as people download apps with higher positive recommendations.
Well planned pre-launch promotion, precise optimization, releasing unique feature early, enhanced discoverability, viral marketing, and positive review through high credibility are some of the killer strategies to fight competition and top the charts in the app market.
(3) Dholakiya, Prateek. “3 Strategies for Winning In the Hyper-Competitive Market for Apps.” 6 February 2015. Entrepreneur.com. 19 February 2015
(1,2) Kimbrell, Gideon. “Five Killer Marketing And Distribution Strategies For Your App.” 18 July 2014. Forbes Website. 19 February 2015
(5) “Marketing your new mobile app.” 10 October 2014. Smart Insights.com. 19 February 2015
(4) “The iOS app Marketing Strategy Guide.” Apptamin.com. 19 February 2015
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