71 Ways to Promote your Mobile App for FREE [#51 is Great!]

By Vivek | Last Updated on September 24th, 2020 8:13 am | 10-min read
How to promote your app

Google Play Store as well as iOS App Store turned a decade old last year. Truly, the mobile app market has reached maturity. Apps, these tiny slices of the web presented to smart device users through a dedicated non-browser interface, are big business.

In 2018, the mobile app market reached an estimated USD 365 billion in size, and it will grow to almost a trillion dollars in the next 5 years, according to Statista. This is an enormous market, comparable in dollar terms to the health food industry.

The methods of monetization vary from freemium to in-app purchases and advertising. The rising growth of smartphone users from 1.6 billion in 2014 to 2.5 billion in 2018 is the foremost reason for this growth.

How to promote your app?

A Gartner study shows that about 87.8% of the OS market is dominated by Android and 11.5% by iOS. These two have succeeded in completely eradicating other players in the smartphone OS market such as Windows and Blackberry.

Below are the 70 most effective ways to promote your app for free:

  1. Set a launch date

  2. It is essential to have a firm deadline in your mind. Hence set a launch date by which you will be ready and take the process of marketing from then. This also makes it possible to provide a fixed time to any agency or individual you involve in the marketing process.

    It is a competitive market – the world of mobile apps. If you are wondering why your app is not getting as much buzz as it should, you must think about promoting it. We have compiled 70 tips for you to get inspired and get going on your promotion strategy for your mobile app.

  3. Try paid advertising

  4. Nothing beats Adwords. But it has to be preceded by research about keywords and deciding the amount you can bid without going bankrupt.

    (Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)

  5. Research the market

  6. Before you finalize any type of strategy about marketing, research your potential customers thoroughly. Keep the target customer in mind while planning the marketing. This reduces the chance of wasting resources.

    Find out where your target demographic spends the most time and focus your marketing efforts on those channels. These channels could be anything from certain types of blogs, to particular social networking platforms, or podcasts.

  7. Study your competitors

  8. Before you can embark on marketing, you have to know what you are up against. It is rare for an app not to have any competitors when it is launched. An example would be Uber. But such apps are few and far between. Most of the apps that are being created have several forerunners due to the maturity of the app market.

  9. Decide a brand message

  10. What does your app represent? An app not only carries out a function but very often has a customized style. This is always decided by the target demographic. Is it a lifestyle app for physical fitness or will allow the user to track expenses. Decide its purpose and reason and write them down in lucid, crisp language.

  11. Engage in massive PR

  12. Of course, this will be dictated by the budget. As the date of launch passes and the app goes live on respective app stores, begin a PR blitz to showcase it. Use any and every tool at your disposal to get the word out.

  13. Set up a website

  14. Create a landing page or website for your app. It is not always necessary that you will always have a web version. But a website is important for disseminating information and providing your contact information and sharing your idea. Try Wix, it’s very easy and user friendly.

  15. Create a teaser page

  16. Build a teaser page on your website before launch. Display snippets about your app UI and describe what it will deliver. If you are lucky, you might even find users willing to contribute to your email list.

  17. Make a pitch to the tech glitterati

  18. This is a little iffy in some ways. Tech blogs (think Verge) and their gurus have plenty of followers. Trying to impress them with your app has its upsides. But they might think that it is not good enough or even necessary. That will be a blow to your self-confidence.

  19. Blog about your app

  20. This old SEO favorite is still one of the most versatile ways to spread information on the internet. Update it at least twice a month and keep offering a peek into how you are developing newer versions.

  21. Social media

  22. Any type of marketing of any variety of product or service is incomplete without an active presence on social media. Choose a few platforms that are most often visited by users in your target demographic and write at least one post a week. Write more often if possible.

    LeverageSocial Media

  23. Get recommendations

  24. Look for those who have influence in the field that your app targets. For example, if you have created an exercise app find a trainer who regularly writes for fitness magazines to review/recommend your app. This is different from asking a tech blogger’s review.

  25. Set up a YouTube channel

  26. One of the most effective ways to publicize your app is through a dedicated YouTube channel. If a picture says a thousand words, a video speaks a million.

  27. Get positive app reviews

  28. Reviews are a significant factor in deciding if your app will be downloaded. Besides the tech blogs such as Mashable, there are plenty of app review sites. Get in touch with them and ask for a review.

  29. Become an expert speaker

  30. This is an extension of your YouTube channel and blog. Talk about your app if you get the chance. Try for some speaking engagements where you can share your understanding.

  31. Contribute to domain knowledge

  32. Going back to the example of fitness tracker, mingle with people in online forums who are asking about fitness. Share your experience in a non-promotional way. This will set you up as an expert.

  33. Create a video intro

  34. Do your users know how to use all the features of the app? Create a video and post it on social media.

  35. Start a community

  36. Create a Facebook group for your app. It could even be the business page of your app. This allows the different users to interact with each other and embark on a process of discovery.

  37. Giveaways

  38. Give away something to those who refer to your app, appreciate it or mention it in their blog.

  39. Dedicate time to app store optimization

  40. It is hard to rank on top of the app store. It is related to the number of downloads and review, but it also depends on how well you have described your app, categorized it, and stated its purpose.

    Some of the most effective ways to do this is by writing a good title and a long yet crisp description. The main point is to remember that your title must be catchy and easy to remember while still relaying all the relevant information in a precise manner. When you include relevant keywords, you would also automatically boost its visibility and organically lead the prospect to more detailed description.

    It is good practice to start with a direct line that showcases the primary function of your app, next add a detailed description of the features of your app in a bulleted and easy to consume manner. It is a good idea to brag by adding positive reviews from people, publications, or any media outlets.

  41. Engage your users

  42. After you have launched your app, it is vital to understand what your users feel. Take part in the feedback posted in the app store and make everyone who posts a comment feel special.

  43. Create informative infographics

  44. Though that sounds like a tautology, most infographics just fill the page. Put some thought into creating attractive and engaging infographics that readers of your content will love.

  45. Promote like there is no tomorrow

  46. In every communication from email and newsletters to blog posts promote your app. This goes against the grain for many, and it is better to employ someone else if you are uncomfortable.

  47. Use content discovery tools

  48. Use Klout and Buffer to magnify the reach of your blog content. The use of the best content discovery tools can cut down your PR time immensely.

  49. Interact with your social circle

  50. Publicize what you are doing to your friends and family. The links they post on their social media will be vital backlinks. They would also be able to provide the first few positive feedback in the app store.

  51. Facebook advertising campaign

  52. This is one of the most natural things to do now with literally thousands of ideas about how to run a Facebook marketing campaign.

  53. Give discounts

  54. If your app promotes in-app purchases give discounts on certain days to boost higher downloads.

  55. Be helpful

  56. Not all the activity that you do is marketing related. Be altruistic and cultivate a useful persona. Your reputation will lead to app downloads.

  57. Define the objective of your app

  58. What does your app do? Does it provide a fitness regimen, or is it a calorie tracker. Maybe it does both. State clearly what tasks the app can perform.

  59. Take part in a tech podcast

  60. If you are defining what your app does, why not also do it through a conversation. There are several big and small podcasts hosted on Spotify and Soundcloud that would be ideal.

  61. Hire professional PR

  62. This is necessary when your app has gained some traction. PR firms are expensive, but they do provide the second stage boost that every excellent app needs.

  63. Create a contest for your users

  64. Set up a contest for your users and ask them to hashtag your app or webpage. It could be goal-oriented and will make them feel good.

  65. Participate in app contests

  66. There are several contests for the most innovative app. Put your ingenuity at test by signing up for these contests. Find if you are really good at filling your niche with a thoughtfully made app.

  67. Launch with fanfare

  68. Invite the press and your core users to launch of a new edition of your app. Make it memorable with app store based theme.

  69. Look for staff

  70. If you are looking to expand and employ, make it a part of your promotional strategy. Those who are looking for a job would download your app to find what they will be working with.

  71. Advertise traditionally

  72. You could do good old fashioned marketing through paper advertisements, magazines, and radio. It still works.

    Advertise Traditionally

  73. Make SlideShare a part of your marketing

  74. Create a presentation, and probably that will impress people enough to download your app.

  75. Do unconventional marketing

  76. Where do your app users congregate- university library or maybe a gym? Target them directly. Make a surprise appearance and pitch your app.

  77. Try Mix

  78. Websites like Mix and Discuuver curate useful links that no one has heard of. Use them to the hilt to gain name recognition.

  79. Feature on Amazon

  80. This is a side of the business you can no longer deny. Amazon Appstore is a lucrative source of downloads.

  81. Be noticed as a guest blogger

  82. Contribute to other blogs and websites in your domain. Guest blogging is the fastest way to build your reputation stack.

  83. Get referrals

  84. Gift your users a premium account if they can refer a few new customers. Make sure they know of the offer through app-based notifications.

  85. Develop an email list

  86. Send out newsletters every month informing your subscriber base. Use email addresses from your website contact form. Encourage app store users to mail you.

  87. Get on Quora

  88. Quora is beneficial for marketing and generating new users. Keep answering questions clearly and lucidly and talk up your app.

  89. Be polite with negative reviews

  90. If someone writes a rude review, maintain a positive interaction with them, and try to get to the bottom of the problem. Negative reviews teach you more than positive ones.

  91. Provide QR coded business cards

  92. Affix a QR code to your business cards, which has the link to your app store site.

  93. Categorize your app wisely

  94. Choose the right category for your app in the app store. Do not list a Productivity app under Tools.

  95. Give out custom wallpapers

  96. Distribute wallpapers among those who love your app. If they actually use it, then the name of your app is known by everyone who can see their screen.

  97. Cross-promote

  98. Get a strategic tie-up with another app and promote the use of the other. This will lead to bleeding the users of one app into the other. It could happen very well through in-app advertisements.

  99. Be a part of new app discovery sites

  100. Several websites have contests for new apps. Subscribe to as many of them as possible.

  101. Distribute small freebies

  102. From key rings to mouse pads distribute something with your app name on it. People love freebies and would take an interest in your app.

    Distribute freebies

  103. Ask for feedback

  104. Your app should have a pop up that asks users to leave reviews. This is a truly tried and tested method of app marketing as well as feedback.

  105. Encourage invites

  106. Have an in-app method for users to invite others to use the same app. That is how Uber and Instagram have grown.

  107. Use metrics

  108. Keep track of how users use your apps through an app analytics tool like Flurry. Based on the feedback, refine the upcoming app versions.

  109. Pin it on Pinterest

  110. App Pins allow Pinterest users to download Android and iOS apps. Run a contest among your existing users to pin it on their page.

  111. Get on editor’s choice

  112. Impress the app store editors and try to make your app enter the Editor’s Choice list. Be part of hand-picked apps that get more attention with their design and creativity.

  113. Collaborate with a coupon site

  114. Select a coupon service and run a marketing blitz. Coupon codes are easily tracked, and that adds to their usefulness as a marketing tool.

  115. Get users to open your apps

  116. If someone has installed your app but does not use them much get their attention through push notifications or advertisements.

  117. Ride into Reddit

  118. Reddit is one of the best places to get noticed. Run an advertisement campaign or just answer questions. Make sure they all have a link to your site or app.

  119. Include a friend invite

  120. Include a feature that lets users get their friends and family on board. Referrals could be compensated in some way.

  121. Co-market your app

  122. Go into a tie-up with other apps that will display your app as an advertisement. This is the best way to feed off a particular group of users for each other’s benefit.

  123. Use LinkedIn

  124. LinkedIn groups are a great way to let your peers know about your app development. Unlike other social media, LinkedIn groups are the perfect place to showcase your talent.

  125. Stream it live

  126. Take the launch party online and stream it to every user. Let all your users know about the new version and its features.

  127. Use classified ads

  128. Do it the way it used to be done. Classifieds for trainers is a perfect place to market a fitness app. Depending on your category, you could use this as a valuable source for new downloads.

  129. Reach out to influencers on social media

  130. Use viral marketing to its fullest by collaborating with influencers on social media. Just a few mentions of your app name by right people will bring hordes of download.

  131. Make the website mobile friendly

  132. Make your website a part of the promo by creating a prompt for a download. Make sure the website has proper optimization through AMP.

  133. Get on alternative app stores

  134. It is hard to rank on top of the app store. It is related to the number of downloads and review, but it also depends on how well you have described your app, categorized it, and stated its purpose.

    Have you thought of GetJar? There are many alternative ways of sideloading an app without going through official stores.

  135. Join developers groups

  136. This is a surefire way to get you noticed. The more you converse in these groups, the higher is the likelihood of being in touch with those who would want to be in partnership.

  137. Spend time on the App Icon

  138. Probably the most neglected part of the app. Design an app icon that is eye-catching yet tasteful. It is a way to get others to download since they are curious about the sleek icon on a user’s phone.

    Spend time on the app icon

  139. Screenshots that speak

    Just dropping random screenshots of your apps as the content is not going to do the trick. They have to be meaningful and either showcase or solve a problem.

  140. Highlight the best angle

    As a part of your promotion or marketing activities you would have to approach multiple outlets from time to time. While doing this, you must have a clarity of your strengths and the unique points which offers value to the app users. Prepare a strong elevator pitch that you can deliver to anyone, anywhere. Whether it is a grocery store owner, a journalist, or even a venture capitalist, you must know how to sell your concept!

Do you really need to promote your app?

After having worked with multiple clients from various niches and observing them and their processes, I have often seen that they put in a lot of effort, money, and resources into creating the perfect app. However, not all of these perfect apps gain great success.

In fact, there are some great looking apps with brilliant features and functionalities that got only a dozen downloads. These companies after a certain period start questioning whether their app is good enough and delivering what their target customers need. Unfortunately, under this misguided doubt, many have taken the harsh decision of shutting their app down as they fail to see it going anywhere.

Frankly, this is a really bad decision. You have put in a lot of hard work into making your app what it is today. There is no point in flushing it down the drain!

No matter how great your product, if people do not know that it exists, they can’t possibly buy it. This holds true even for your app.

As a thumb rule, it is important that you spend at least as much time promoting your app, as you spent perfecting it. The more you promote your app, more will be the people who find their way to it. Now, most small businesses do not have massive budgets to allocate to their marketing efforts and even those that do, are wary about it.


There are so many strategies for marketing an app. Of course, you can’t use all of the above at the same time. Spend some time with the article and find the ten that appeal most to you. Start simply and find out what works for you. Develop further activities based on your experience and feedback

Here’s something a little extra, just for you! A BONUS video from Appy Pie that has a few tips to help you get started with your app promotion journey!

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About The Author

Vivek Srivastava, co-founder, Appy Pie, is a digital analyst and writes extensively about website and app promotion. He has over 8 years of experience in outbound and inbound digital marketing, website analytics, social media, conversion rate optimization and business analytics. Before entering the Digital arena, Vivek covered technology news for TV channels, Local Newspapers and Radio Channels. He also has a keen interest in music and he enjoys playing music instruments.

App Builder
  • Nick

    I also include the link to download my app everywhere; on my website, in my email wherever possible.

  • Jason

    I also include the link to my app everywhere; on my website, on my microsites and subdomains, in my email; practically everywhere possible.

  • Mark

    Great Ideas, Bang on. To add to what you mentioned, i created a video about benefits of my app, got a few ‘influencers’ to tweet the video.. worked well

  • Found this article very useful. Thank you 🙂

    First Crush
    Catch It First ALWAYS!!

  • Nice Article. ASO is very important indeed !!.

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