Developers are undeniably among the brainiacs in the job market. They are good at communicating with computers, solving complex problems, and building different virtual products.
Yet, they often miss an important aspect of the apps they build – the art of marketing or, simply put, getting users to use their precious creations.
According to 44 Matter, there are over 80,000+ apps launched on the Google Play Store per month, and approximately 12,000+ apps are launched per week. That’s a lot and this does not include the Apple App Store.
This article delves deep into effective app marketing strategies that developers can use to scale user engagement and stand out from competitors. This article is mainly directed at developers but anyone can learn from it. Remember, no knowledge is a waste!
Know your audience and competitors
As developers, you have to know that no matter the app or platform you’re building, there’s a 95% chance that there are numerous others already out there. Although, they may not address your specific goal or the improvements you are integrating.
This is why you should conduct thorough market research and analyze your app’s competitors, as thorough research can save you a lot of time from unknowingly building an exact clone of an existing app.
So, ask yourself:
- Who are the intended users of your app?
- Is there already an app that does exactly what your app does?
- Is your app offering more value than your competitor’s?
There’s a term called Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which is the unique aspect of your app (or any other product) that sets it apart from competitors and appeals to your target audience.
Study your competitors to uncover their successful strategies, as you can learn a lot from seeing what the competition is doing. Use that to your advantage, analyze their app titles, description, updates, reviews, ratings, offers, comments, etc.
You may discover missing features and areas of improvement in their apps which you can incorporate into your app’s USP and get an advantage when marketing and attracting users’ attention.
With tools like Data.ai, you also can gain insights into your competitors’ marketing strategies and benchmarks.
Optimizing app store presence and SEO
There’s nothing more rewarding for a developer than users getting their app recommended to them naturally. Natural recommendations from search engines or app stores are organic growth for your app.
- SEO optimization for web platforms: when dealing with SEO for the web, think about keywords that are relevant to your platform’s niche and find ways to make it easier for search engine crawlers (like Google bots) to find your platform.
Use appealing titles and descriptions that fit users’ search patterns. Also, an attractive and informative landing page is crucial; if users can’t grasp the product’s value within 10 seconds, you need to improve.
Don’t try to outsmart the search engine algorithm; instead, work with it. Give it what it needs to easily find your platform. Optimize your platform’s performance speed, as users dislike waiting for slow-loading pages.
- App Store Optimization(ASO) for mobile apps: dealing with app store optimization is similar to web SEO but with a greater emphasis on the visual representation of your app. This includes the app icon, preview images, and videos which alone can significantly increase downloads as a picture is worth a thousand words.
Next, optimize the name and description of the app to get noticed by users when they search for specific keywords related to your app on the app store.
With some research and proper execution, the chances of the algorithm picking up your app increase, compared to simply uploading it and hoping for the best.
Leverage social media and influencers
According to Datareportal, over 4.80 billion people use social media, which is close to 60% of the world’s population. Getting your app used by just a fraction of these users counts as a huge success.
Now, the question is how to drive user engagement to your app using social media. Well, there are different ways to do this:
- Choose the right platforms: there are countless social media platforms, and they all have different uses. Thus, find the platforms where your target audience is most active, and focus on those platforms. For instance, if your app is work-related, LinkedIn would be a better platform to focus on than, let’s say, Tinder.
- Create valuable and engaging content: the possibilities for content creation on social media are endless, and it all comes down to your creativity. You can create valuable content that relates to your intended users, get into their communities, and even make use of memes. These are noticeable ways used to get apps talked about and get attention. Remember, “Content is King”.
- Harness the power of influencers and content creators: managing social media promotion on your own can be time-consuming, and it can be difficult to build an audience if you don’t know how to put yourself out there.
Influencers understand what clicks on social media, and most importantly, they have an audience. A Nielsen survey found that 71% of people trust recommendations and opinions from influencers (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
Contact influencers in your niche, tell them about your app and ask if they would be willing to promote it to their audience. Working with them can greatly increase the reach of your app, even though it might involve payment.
Trends and viral marketing
The action taken by Airbnb in the image above led to increased user engagement and brand awareness.
The idea behind this strategy is to find the latest trends and use them to promote your app. You can either incorporate them as a feature in your app or create content based on these trends. People love trends, and when your app is associated with a hot topic, it can attract a large user base in a short span of time.
It’s likely that users who discover your app through trends will voluntarily share it with others. When someone hears about your app from a trusted source, it carries more weight and credibility than any paid advertisement.
To create or join a trend, some techniques like meme content, challenges, or user-generated contests can be used, as they have the potential to go viral. However, keep in mind that starting a trend is not easy. It is unpredictable and can sometimes backfire or, worse, create negative publicity.
Google Trends is a fantastic tool to keep track of trends.
Partnerships and networking
Developers love working solo, and some have the mindset that they can do everything on their own. But here’s a reminder — two heads are better than one.
- Partnership: with all the strategies that have been mentioned, it can either be too much pressure or marketing just isn’t your strong suit. And that is fine; the next step is to hire someone with marketing skills, and if you’re on a budget, find a friend who you’re positive is passionate about your app and can become your partner.
Having someone by your side is a huge plus, as handling developing and promoting an app on your own can be exhausting. By having a partner, you can get fresh ideas, share the workload, identify potential pitfalls, and brainstorm effective marketing strategies.
Another option is to partner with apps in your niche and form a mutually beneficial relationship. For instance, if you have a fitness app, you can partner with a nutrition app; that way, both apps can leverage the other’s user base and create a seamless experience.
- Networking: when it comes to networking, this can come in different forms, from attending events related to your audience or interacting with individuals that have worked on apps similar to yours. Networking comes with a lot of perks; it is not what you know, but who you know.
Quite often, individuals or businesses that make the most noise are the ones who are more likely to receive attention or assistance. If you want to get noticed or have your needs met, you need to speak up, network, make your presence known, and actively advocate for your app.
Just a single connection with the right person can get you on the path to app growth and get you investors, which gets you funds for marketing strategies like paid advertisement.
Usually, this is the main medium used in all aspects of marketing, as it is known to be one of the fastest ways to raise awareness for your app in front of a large audience, especially when you’ve just launched the app.
The efficiency of ads depends a lot on your target audience. If you’re targeting developers or technical people in general, paid advertising might not be the best approach. Such individuals are allergic to ads and have a knack for ad blockers. Check out this resource for tips on reaching this audience.
A brief walkthrough of the paid advertisement process goes like this:
- You start by determining your target audience as this helps you focus on users that are most likely to be interested in your app.
- Next, locate advertising channels that your target audience is constantly using, like Facebook, TikTok, or Google Ads.
- Now comes the creative part — the ad itself. You’d need to create an ad that clearly showcases your app’s USP in a manner that sparks interest and captures viewers’ attention while remaining brief. It is tough, as everyone does it, and quite frankly, nobody likes watching ads!
Always have a budget for paid advertising so you don’t go overboard. This will allow you to consistently run ads, measure their effectiveness, and eliminate overspending.
Tap into AI tools
Ever since the launch of ChatGPT, the world has officially entered the AI era, and AI is here to stay. It has completely reshaped various industries, including marketing.
Marketing has, thus, gotten easier for those with no prior knowledge or financial resources for it.
These tools can be used for marketing as they are capable of doing most of the hard work by creating valuable content for your target audience, analyzing trends, gaining insights into how successful competitors scaled their apps, or reducing the time needed for market research.
Connect through transparency
Think of this as a foundational element that can be used to support your marketing efforts.
Many developers employ the “build in public” approach, which has gained popularity and even has dedicated hashtags on Twitter like #buildinpublic, #codinglife, #DevDiary, #DevCommunity, etc.
Consider these practices:
- Regularly share updates by keeping your audience informed about your app’s progress and new features as this makes them feel involved in the journey.
- Share your personal journey as a developer, how you conceived the app idea, your vision, and challenges. People love listening to stories and this builds exposure and authenticity.
- Don’t be scared to seek feedback from people and the community. Encourage them to share their thoughts and suggestions as this builds trust and makes them feel connected to your app.
- Engage in conversations by participating in discussions related to your app’s niche, thereby establishing yourself as an active member of the community.
The power of transparency holds a lot as it deals with emotions. This strategy builds trust, inspiration and can attract an engaged and loyal user base.
- How can I make my app stand out from competitors?
Research what is missing in your competitor’s app, solve specific problems and improve performance. This can create a memorable experience for users and make your app stand out.
- How can I attract users to my app?
Use effective marketing strategies like knowing your target audience, leveraging social media, online advertising, content marketing, and ASO.
- How can AI be used for app marketing?
AI can draft useful app marketing strategies and advertising campaigns by just prompting it with what your app is about. This can save time and resources.
- How can you promote an app on social media?
You can achieve this by creating valuable content, using social media trends, running targeted ads, and partnering with influencers to promote your app.
- What are the best tools for app marketing?
Tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, ChatGPT, JasperAI, and Appfollow are among the best tools available for marketing.
When it comes to promoting and establishing your app’s presence, it’s unrealistic to expect immediate success or instant popularity. It is very rare for an app to blow up overnight.
Building a successful app, attracting a loyal user base, and standing out amidst competition is a gradual process. Rome wasn’t built in a day.