How to Promote Your Mobile App for Free?
70 Best ways to market your mobile app – and a Bonus Video
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.
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.
You have spent countless hours designing and creating an app. But how do you reach your target audience? There is a vast array of apps about everything – from money to meditation, and everything in between.
How do you ensure that users download your app, and then keep on using and recommending it?
Following are 70 easy ways to promote your mobile app for free
Set a launch date
Try paid advertising
Research the market
Study your competitors
Decide a brand message
Engage in massive PR
Set up a website
Create a teaser page
Make a pitch to the tech glitterati
Blog about your app
Set up a YouTube channel
Get positive app reviews
Become an expert speaker
Contribute to domain knowledge
Create a video intro
Start a community
Dedicate time to app store optimization
Engage your users
Create informative infographics
Promote like there is no tomorrow
Use content discovery tools
Interact with your social circle
Facebook advertising campaign
Define the objective of your app
Take part in a tech podcast
Hire professional PR
Create a contest for your users
Participate in app contests
Launch with fanfare
Look for staff
Make SlideShare a part of your marketing
Do unconventional marketing
Feature on Amazon
Be noticed as a guest blogger
Develop an email list
Get on Quora
Be polite with negative reviews
Provide QR coded business cards
Categorize your app wisely
Give out custom wallpapers
Be a part of new app discovery sites
Distribute small freebies
Ask for feedback
Pin it on Pinterest
Get on editor’s choice
Collaborate with a coupon site
Get users to open your apps
Ride into Reddit
Include a friend invite
Co-market your app
Stream it live
Use classified ads
Reach out to influencers on social media
Make the website mobile friendly
Get on alternative app stores
Join developers groups
Spend time on the App Icon
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do your users know how to use all the features of the app? Create a video and post it on social media.
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.
Give away something to those who refer to your app, appreciate it or mention it in their blog.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is one of the most natural things to do now with literally thousands of ideas about how to run a Facebook marketing campaign.
If your app promotes in-app purchases give discounts on certain days to boost higher downloads.
Not all the activity that you do is marketing related. Be altruistic and cultivate a useful persona. Your reputation will lead to app downloads.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Invite the press and your core users to launch of a new edition of your app. Make it memorable with app store based theme.
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.
You could do good old fashioned marketing through paper advertisements, magazines, and radio. It still works.
Create a presentation, and probably that will impress people enough to download your app.
Where do your app users congregate- university library or maybe a gym? Target them directly. Make a surprise appearance and pitch your app.
Websites like Mix and Discuuver curate useful links that no one has heard of. Use them to the hilt to gain name recognition.
This is a side of the business you can no longer deny. Amazon Appstore is a lucrative source of downloads.
Contribute to other blogs and websites in your domain. Guest blogging is the fastest way to build your reputation stack.
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.
Send out newsletters every month informing your subscriber base. Use email addresses from your website contact form. Encourage app store users to mail you.
Quora is beneficial for marketing and generating new users. Keep answering questions clearly and lucidly and talk up your app.
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.
Affix a QR code to your business cards, which has the link to your app store site.
Choose the right category for your app in the app store. Do not list a Productivity app under Tools.
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.
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.
Several websites have contests for new apps. Subscribe to as many of them as possible.
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.
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.
Have an in-app method for users to invite others to use the same app. That is how Uber and Instagram have grown.
Keep track of how users use your apps through an app analytics tool like Flurry. Based on the feedback, refine the upcoming app versions.
App Pins allow Pinterest users to download Android and iOS apps. Run a contest among your existing users to pin it on their page.
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.
Select a coupon service and run a marketing blitz. Coupon codes are easily tracked, and that adds to their usefulness as a marketing tool.
if someone has installed your app but does not use them much get their attention through push notifications or advertisements.
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.
Include a feature that lets users get their friends and family on board. Referrals could be compensated in some way.
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.
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.
Take the launch party online and stream it to every user. Let all your users know about the new version and its features.
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.
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.
Make your website a part of the promo by creating a prompt for a download. Make sure the website has proper optimization through AMP.
Have you thought of GetJar? There are many alternative ways of sideloading an app without going through official stores.
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.
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.
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!