Coming up with a great idea, designing and developing your app is only the beginning of your journey. If you want to rack up those downloads and reach a wide audience then you’re going to have to devote some resources to app promotion. The charts are dominated by a handful of big name publishers, so if you want to break into the big time you need a proper plan.
Frustration at the current state of play
An App Flood survey of over 1,000 app developers of varying sizes found that 70% are frustrated with the current state of app marketing. It also found that over 80% of small developers have less than $5,000 set aside for marketing. With limited resources it’s vital that you laser focus your efforts to get a decent return on your investment.
Get the basics right
The first thing you need to do is create a landing page for your app. This is where you will direct your advertising efforts, social media promotion, and content marketing. It should be compelling and concise. Give the elevator pitch, some sexy screenshots or video footage, and prominent download links to the app in the relevant app stores. Co-ordinate your promotion efforts, so you are talking in a consistent voice.
Use a professional writer to craft an app description that grabs the attention and explains what your app is about. The number of badly written app descriptions with typos or a lack of explanation is astounding. The app description is really important because it’s often your first chance to grab a customer’s attention. You should also commission a press release and include screenshots.
Creating a story and wooing the press
Sometimes an app will be such an interesting idea that it will capture the imagination, but that’s rarely the case, so you should think about how to make an interesting story around it. If it’s a game then it needs a hook that’s easy to explain. Perhaps there’s something unique about the inspiration for the app or the development of it. Maybe it ties in neatly with a contemporary news story or recent fad. Create a narrative that you can promote to the press, through social media, in your advertising, and on your website.
You should also appeal to the press for reviews. Start with your favorite app review websites. Approach them respectfully and ask if they’d be interested in trying out your app. Never send out a mass mail, take the time to check the name of the writer or editor you are approaching. It doesn’t hurt to engage in a little flattery, but make it as sincere as possible. Make it easy for them to get a free copy of your app, offer your story, and provide press materials, such as high resolution screenshots or videos that show off your app to best advantage. You can create video content tutorials and walkthroughs and post them on YouTube, there’s no need to incur any major expense this way. Do not keep prodding them, be patient.
Use a freemium model
By making your app or game free you can secure a much larger user base. According to App Annie a full 93% of games app revenue went to freemium titles in 2013. Gartner predicts that by 2017, 94.5% of downloads will be free apps. A price tag will severely limit your audience, so if you need the app to make money consider advertising, in-app purchases, and subscription models. At the very least you should have a free trial period or a limited free launch.
This is really the tip of the iceberg. If you have any existing apps in the store then use them to promote your new release. Test out different ad networks and see what works best for you. Always remember to measure and analyze your efforts, so you can make changes to improve the effectiveness of your promotions.