Building an app is a difficult task in itself. From conceptualization, to market research, design, and development, it takes a whole lot of resources.
But if you are making something for the public, you know building it is only half of the work, right? If you want your app to reach as many people as possible, you will have to take another step: marketing.
Marketing is another beast altogether. And, it needs as much commitment as building the app. It's something you need to tackle even in the earliest stages of app development.
But the problem that plagues most solo developers is, "Where do I get the money?"
Traditional marketing does require quite a bit of cash. Advertising is one of the most lucrative industries, after all. Still, there must be something the rest of us cash-strapped individuals can do, right?
Of course there is. If you are on a limited budget, here are a couple of tips to get you started with marketing your masterpiece of an app.
Be Active on Social Media
No matter what your app is about, most of your audience will be on social media. And leveraging social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your app.
Seven out of ten American adults use some form of social media. Among them, the most popular platforms are YouTube (81%) and Facebook (71%).
You can sign up to all the basic social media platforms free of charge and craft your campaigns from there.
Social media makes it easier for potential users to find your app and see what it’s about. These platforms are an avenue for people to interact, giving you a direct line to your audience.
It is also a great avenue to answer questions and interact with users. When done well, social media marketing can build up your reputation. It can also generate word-of-mouth marketing.
Creative social media campaigns can generate a lot of buzz around your app. A lot of brands and apps have surged in popularity due to well-executed campaigns.
To launch a successful campaign, you will need some good market research. It's a good thing that most social media platforms will give you access to your account analytics.
It's a good practice to keep your eye on it, as your analytics provide a wealth of information. It shows which posts gain the most attention, your audience demographics, among others.
All these for an initial payment of $0. If you have the budget, you can transition to paid ads to target your desired audience and get more buzz.
Create a Website or Blog
Building a website is one of the most established ways to promote online. It gives users a one-stop-shop to get acquainted with your app and its many facets. A self-titled domain also gives your app more credibility.
You can add different pages describing your app and its features. Maintaining a blog is also an excellent way to provide updates and boost your search engine rankings.
But as most of us know, building and hosting a website can cost some money. If you're on a tight budget, don't worry, you still have some choices.
Many websites offer free website building and hosting, which can fit a variety of needs. Some popular examples are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. Building a website on WordPress is as easy as 1,2,3, as evidenced by the screenshots below.
Their free services will add their brand to your site domain. So your web address will be appname.wordpress.com, for example. If you want your own domain name, you will need to pay a monthly fee.
Still, you can check out their website builders, which are pretty user-friendly. You can use their drag-and-drop features for a more convenient experience. But if you want, you can also access the code for more control.
Reach Out to Influencers
With the popularity of social media, influencer marketing has seen a steady rise.
What are influencers, anyway? Influencers are social media users with a significant following. Due to their established audience, they become an attractive avenue for advertising.
A majority of marketing companies have a standalone content marketing budget. Seventy-five percent of them intend to have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing.
Most influencers have followers that trust and admire their lifestyle and choices. Partnering with an influencer is an excellent way to add social proof. It can also build your app's reputation.
There is a whole lot more to influencer marketing. You will need to take some thought when selecting who you want to promote your app.
Selecting influencers you're going to work with requires you to know your audience. Look for someone within the same demographic or someone who has the same interests.
More popular influencers often charge a more significant fee. So if you're on a budget, you might want to look at ones with a smaller yet still considerable following.
Working with smaller influencers or micro-influencers is not a bad thing. Micro-influencers are a popular choice among brands today.
Prominent influencers are now more like celebrities. Micro-influencers have fewer followers but often come across as more genuine. They can make organic content with a more robust audience connection.
People rely a lot on word of mouth when making purchases. They are more likely to follow the advice of someone they trust. Micro-influencers have this kind of relationship with their audience. Working with them can add a boost to your app.
Get Your App Featured
When it comes to promotion, nothing beats a feature from a trusted media outlet. It's one of the best ways to reach even more casual internet users.
This is where you and your team's PR skills come in. You will need to write pitches that you can send to websites where you want your app featured.
To get higher chances of approval, do some research about these websites first. What kind of content do they usually produce? What writing styles do they use? Tailor your pitch around these factors.
You can also reach out to official review sites and ask them to do a feature on your app. If you've already released your app, you could provide them with a download link. If it's still under development, you could offer demo videos and high-quality screenshots.
Some other ways to get featured are through podcasts, vlogs, or other media. Reaching out can be pretty time-consuming, so get your networking skills ready!
Work on Your App Store Optimization
On Google Play alone, there are already 3.48 million apps. How do you stand out from an ocean of competition?
Your marketing campaigns may be top-notch. Still, without ASO, you're missing out on most of your audience. A significant 70% of users find apps via app store search. Furthermore, 65% of downloads happen right after a search.
What does this mean? Pay attention to your ASO. If you can, create a campaign around it, but here are some key factors you should pay attention to.
- App Name. It needs to be catchy and relevant to your app's features.
- App description. Make sure to incorporate relevant keywords to help your app rank higher.
- Icon. Create an eye-catching icon that will attract users.
- Screenshots and videos. Prepare short videos and attractive screenshots that show your app at its best.
- Ratings and reviews. User feedback matters. Many users look at reviews before downloading, so keep up your customer service!
One last thing for ASO: Do your research and look at the top apps on Google Play right now. How did they structure their app page to attract and sustain the most users?
You can use a nifty tracker from the similarweb Blog to look at the most downloaded apps on Google Play. Data is an excellent way to study the factors that affect an app's performance.
We can never deny that funding makes a lot of things easier. But if you lack in this department, creativity can go a long way.
There are tons of ways to promote your app. Some of them cost money, but you can make up for it with some skill and hard work. Make do with what you have and can gain success from it.