The global apps industry continues to grow massively – iTunes approved it’s millionth app back in November – yet it is still in its infancy. It’s a very exciting place to be working right now.
For hard working appreneurs the only stats that matter are the number of downloads and the rate of returning users – these are the magic numbers that investors want to see.
And getting there means marketing. Unfortunately there is a derth of case studies, research, advice and online chat about how to do this.
Most of the marketing advice tends to be either:
1. Buy online advertising to get your users (as eshewed by those platforms with ad space to sell) or
2. Get an influential person with large social reach to promote your app (as advised by smug people who’ve achieved this).
Neither of which is a valid strategy for most cash and time strapped start ups.
So, here’s a summary of a thread I found on Quora with a bit more useful information about how to market an app.
Essential actions to market your app
1. Identify your target customers and the pain point your app is solving for them
2. Articulate this in a value proposition and snappy description
Must do actions to market your app
1. Provide awesome screenshots (not to be under estimated)
3. Use social media to create a buzz – blogs, Facebook and Twitter were the platforms mentioned
5. Capture email addresses as soon as possible and ask early adopters for reviews
6. Engage with app influencers to secure reviews
7. Launch in phases
8. Identify your (SEO) keywords so your app is easy to find in the App Store
Jury’s out on these actions to market your app
1. Buy advertising space
2. Focus all your energy on marketing within the App Store
3. Learn how to do it properly by building one app purposely to throw away (Angry Birds was Rovio’s 57th game)
4. Have a lite and paid for version of your app
Have-fun-but-not-high-hopes actions to market your app
1. Get it featured on The Big Bang Theory
2. Ask Stephen Fry to play with it
One marketing tactic missed from the Quora thread is the importance of email marketing to drive downloads and engagement. Another is the clever (ie neither stalkerish nor so infrequent it’s irrelevant) use of push notifications within the app to drive repeat use.
It stands to reason that best practice for app marketing will evolve in 2013 though, like SEO marketing, it may well be a moving beast as the boundaries and rules set by the App Store change. But what then of Android? Time will tell.