How to Create An Effective App Marketing Strategy?

People don’t just randomly buy goods and services.

Instead, their purchases are based upon a range of complex criteria. Ultimately, these criteria must create a ‘good feeling’ in order for the consumer to go through with the purchase.

“My selling purpose is to help get the good feelings they (the consumer) want about what they bought and about themselves”: from “The One Minute Salesperson” by Spencer Johnson M.D. and Larry Wilson.

To learn more about this process, listen to the complete audio book via this link.

The creation of this good feeling requires sophisticated and accurate marketing. This applies to all types of products, including apps.

A 2018 Gartner press release reported that “99.99 % of mobile apps will fail financially”.

Failure of a particular app’s marketing strategy is one of the main reasons for this. Read more about this in “9,999 in 10,000 mobile apps will fail: here’s why”.

In this article, I will explain how to create an effective app marketing strategy to give your app the best chance of success.

Contents

The 1st building block: A genuine business case for the app
The 2nd component of your app marketing strategy: A ‘Buyer persona’
The 3rd component: Perform competitor research
The 4th building block: A great app
Great customer support: The 5th building block
A great website: The 6th component
The 7th building block: ‘App Store Optimization’ (ASO)
Video content to promote your app: The 8th component
Blog: The 9th component of your mobile app marketing plan
Social media outreach: The 10th Component
Measure your app KPIs: The 11th component
Pricing strategy for your app: The 12th building block

The 1st building block: A genuine business case for the app

Before you start, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Why are you launching an app? Is there a genuine business need for it? Has someone else already launched an app for that particular problem? How big is the potential market? Have other apps already saturated that market? What do you need to do to dethrone existing competitors in that marketplace?

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Any app marketing strategy must start with a genuine business need.

Identifying this requires answers to the above questions.

Therefore, you will need to undertake a market survey first. If you have an existing business in this market then will you likely already have a mailing list. This is a valuable source of information.

If not, you need to collect email lists from vendors like Hoovers. To conduct your market survey, you can also consider platforms like SurveyMonkey. To get high-quality analytics from your survey results, you can use platforms like Tableau.

The 2nd component of your app marketing strategy: A ‘Buyer persona’

Assuming that you have validated the need for your mobile app business idea, you need to learn more about the consumers who will buy your app.

In the case of a mobile app, this can be quite complex. This is because it often involves quite varied consumers (just consider social media users, for example). Therefore, the right question will be who are the consumers that will use your app?

You need to visualize your users. Where do they live? What are the demographics? Where do they get the answers to their questions? Again, if you have an existing business, your customer data will help you build a real life picture of your buyers. Otherwise, you need to start from scratch and do the market research.

Read “How to build a buyer persona–the quick and dirty guide” to learn how to do this.

The 3rd component: Perform competitor research

Who else has already launched a similar app? How is their app performing in terms of market share/profit etc.? Are they operating a paid app or a free one? You should also take this opportunity to examine what features they offer.

Keep in mind that app stores like ‘Google Play’ or ‘Apple App Store’ have aggregate review statistics for apps. These are extremely helpful.

There are also range of other sources where you can get aggregate reviews of the apps that you want to study. Read more about the importance of this step in “What are the best app marketing strategies?

The 4th building block: A great app

In July 2018, Pokémon GO, the top-ranked mobile app globally earns nearly 5 times in revenue than Candy Crush Soda Saga, the 10th ranked app. This is the extent to which top-ranked apps differ from the other apps. Read more about this statistics in this Statista report.

To successfully market your app, first you must build a great app. The UX/UI design should be top notch. Read our guide “Mobile navigation menu examples” to learn more about this.

The app must offer a comprehensive range of features. In a market where there are often lots of free apps providing all relevant features, being short on features is just not an option.

The app needs to be as bug-free as possible. The reliability of the app should be top notch. Its response time should match or better the industry standards.  Security is another important aspect, especially given the increasing amount of data breaches taking place year on year. Security is a very important selling point for apps in regulated industries like financial services etc.

To get the best results, naturally, the mobile backend should be very robust and well-managed. My recommendation for start-ups is to use a reputed ‘Mobile Backend as a Service’ (MBaaS) provider. There are several options such as Google Firebase, AWS Mobile, Kinvey, etc. Check our guide “How To Choose The Best Mobile Backend As A Service (MBaaS)?” for more information.

Great customer support: The 5th building block

Mobile app users typically don’t have too much patience when it comes to a new app! If their first impression isn’t good, they often don’t use it again. In 2015, a staggering 25% of mobile app users abandoned apps after first use. With some improvements in terms of functionality and marketing, the number now stands at 21% in 2018. Read more about this statistics in “21% of Users Abandon an App After One Use”.

Read How We Helped a Marketing Company to Build a Back-Office Custom Ads Dashboard

Good customer support goes a long way when it comes to user-retention. Users should be able to easily locate a button for customer support. This will help them get immediate support in-app, i.e. as and when they need it. Clicking the support button should give them access to the required help, be this FAQs, or contact options. Apps in regulated industries like the financial service industry must ensure this help is very prominent to ease users’ concerns.

The company website and their social media channels should also feature  customer support options and information. This is important when the users are not on the app, for e.g., a user might have faced an issue with the app and can’t use it.

A great website: The 6th component

As I have already highlighted, the success of a mobile app depends heavily on digital marketing. Hence, a great website is ‘sine qua non’. You will need to create appealing landing page which are highly informative. Consider including the following information:

  • Name of your app, platforms supported, etc.
  • Features of the app.
  • A powerful ‘Call to Action’ (CTA).
  • A video that explains the app in simple manners, additionally, also promotes it.

Any landing page should be customer focused and only contain essential information. Naturally, this should be marketing orientated. The landing page should be short so as not to bombard your prospective users with excess information.

A/B testing, often called ‘Split testing’ of landing pages is very important. Read more about the importance of a great landing page in “Why is a landing page important? Here are 7 reasons to consider”.

The 7th building block: ‘App Store Optimization’ (ASO)

‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO) helps websites rank higher in Google search. Likewise, ASO helps apps rank higher in app stores. A high rank translates to a higher visibility. Use the following ASO techniques for a higher rank:

  • Title: The keyword in the app title should have the heaviest search traffic.
  • Keyword monitoring: This is how you can find the keywords that have the highest demand. Remember to monitor search volume for competitors’ apps too.
  • Provide a simple, jargon-free description of your app. Mention what problem it solves.
  • Create an icon for your app that visually conveys the essence of it.
  • Show screenshots of its’ key features.
  • The number of download ultimately impact your ASO ranking, but that’s not something that you can directly control.
  • Ratings and reviews of the app is another factor that determines your ASO ranking, and one that isn’t under your control.

Read more about it in “App store optimization – a crucial piece of the mobile app marketing puzzle”.

Video content to promote your app: The 8th component

Digital marketing increasingly depends on videos, hence, your app marketing strategy should include video ads. A promotional video for your mobile should address the following:

  • A clear demonstration that you understood your prospective users’ problems.
  • Your solution explained simply and in a jargon-free manner.
  • A CTA, which is persuasive enough. Clearly guide the prospective users to take the key action, for e.g., download the app.

I have already touched upon the promotional video when I explained the need for a great landing page. However, a promotional video goes way beyond the landing page. In this age of social media, marketing your video on platforms such as YouTube is a great force multiplier.

An important step towards including a video in your mobile app marketing strategy is to test it. Play the full video with sound, however, also play it in a mute mode. Does it make sense in the mute mode too?If so, you are good to go! Read more using promotional videos as one of the app marketing strategies in “Promote your app with video marketing”.

Blog: The 9th component of your mobile app marketing plan

Your marketing should never start after your app is ready. You should build your landing page, video content, etc. well ahead of your completed product. Similarly, consider blogging about your product from the get go, even when it’s in the development stage! Blog posts need to offer value to your prospective users while also engaging your readers.

This will build user engagement early in the marketing cycle. Your blog about the app should be well-targeted. You need to find the right keywords. There are many tools for this, for e.g., “Keywords Everywhere“.

Read “The ultimate guide to writing blog posts that rank in Google’s top 10” for more tips and ideas on this.

Social media outreach: The 10th Component

I mentioned earlier the importance of YouTube in the context of outreach for your promotional video. However, social media has a lot more to offer your app marketing strategy.

Firstly, you need to create a lot of very good content. This needs to be tailored to different social media platforms. This content needs to be aggressively marketed.

Remember to build a comprehensive presence in all major social media platforms. This includes Facebook, MaSpace, etc. To visually market your app, consider Instagram. Quora is an excellent Q&A forum which you should use for your content marketing.

Twitter allows you to promote your content. Facebook ads are great options for reaching a wider audience. LinkedIn remains an important platform.

You need to regularly post engaging content in the various social media platforms. There is also a need to engage users after posting content. Therefore, you should include high-quality graphics in your content. Consider using a tool such as Canva. Read more about it in “How to Maximize Your Mobile App Marketing with Social Media”.

Measure your app KPIs: The 11th component

Measuring key app KPIs is one of the important marketing strategies for mobile apps. Following are the key KPIs:

  • App downloads.
  • Daily active users (DAUs).
  • Monthly active users (MAUs).
  • Stickiness rate: How likely are you to turn a monthly active user to a daily active user?
  • Daily sessions per DAU: How often users are using it every day?
  • Retention rate, i.e., the % of users who returned to the app after the first use.
  • Average session duration.
  • App search results: This is relevant if your app allows users to search for products or other items.
  • Unresponsive gestures: If a user has used a gesture, however, the app didn’t respond, then this needs to be measured.
  • The average number of days to make the first in-app purchase.
  • Session interval: The average amount of time between sessions.
  • User sign-up: What % of users signed up for an account in your app?
  • The daily app launches: How many times is the app opened per day?
  • The number of screens per session: A higher number indicates that your app is engaging users.
  • The number of crashed sessions: Should be brought down as far as possible.
  • Screens with the longest and shortest visit duration.
  • Churn ratio: It’s the % of users that abandon the app.

Regular monitoring and course corrections are important in any effective app marketing strategy. Read more about these KPIs in “The insider’s guide to mobile app KPIs”.

Pricing strategy for your app: The 12th building block

Any guide on how to create an effective app marketing strategy will be incomplete without reference to pricing strategy.

Keep in mind that many mobile apps are free, hence, monetization can be a dilemma. You have the following options to choose from:

  • Free: The app is free and earns money from advertisements. You can promote the highest amount of downloads simply because its’ free. However, if you don’t get the desired user-base, the ad revenue will be less.
  • Freemium: A basic version of the app is free, however, users can pay and get a premium version. The other option is that the free version is for a limited time, beyond which users need to pay.
  • Paid: A simple option, where users pay once and get the complete app.
  • Paymium: User pays once to get a set of features however, they pay again for another set of features.
  • Subscription: You charge a monthly or yearly fee to users.

Read more about these models in “Everything there is to know about pricing strategies for your mobile app”. Pricing strategy is not simply to do with marketing strategies for mobile apps. It’s actually about creating a sustainable business model and, therefore, requires deeper thought on your part.

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