Michael Jacobs is the creator of the iPhone app SocialLink and this is the second in his series of articles on the lessons he’s learned while bringing his own app business to life.
1) Create Splash/Web Page
The first step when marketing your mobile application is to create a webpage for your app. This step is one of the most important because it will help you draw immediate traffic to your app when it is released. When creating you webpage, focus on creating a page that is easy to read and that has visuals (screenshots) of your app. Also, the homepage should explain the value that your app provides so that customers searching around can understand why they need your app. It is a necessity that you have a direct link to your app on iTunes in a convenient place to drive downloads. You want to be able to catch your potential users as soon as they enter your website and get them to download your app so make sure your page looks attractive.
To create a website for your app there are a number of tools you can use which don’t require any programming knowledge such as Wix. With Wix, you can create your own web site through drag and drop operations and it’s particularly well suited for people with minimal computer skills. Moving up the ladder you should look at WordPress if you want to dip your toes a bit deeper and really customize your site. The beauty of WordPress ais the plethora of plugins and themes available for free in the community which makes it easy to drop in pretty much any functionality you can imagine.
2) Utilize Social Networks
Building a social following is a huge part of making a mobile application successful. Creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your app is critical to keep people up-to-date on the status of your app. By constantly posting new and relevant content to your readers, you will keep them engaged and thinking about your product.
Proper usage of social media means managing your time and creating great sharable content. People want content that grabs their attention and relates to them in some way. For example, there are many videos that have gone viral because they are either a) hilarious or b) engaging and informative. If you can achieve either of these, people will want to share your content with their followers and friends.
Also, when your users comment on a status or a tweet, make sure to respond! Creating relationships with your customers is huge, especially on social media. If you create your social pages and let them just sit, you will not see any return on your investment because, well, you have not invested any time or effort. Make sure that your main focus when marketing your app on social media is spending time and creating conversations with your users.
There are tools on the market which make managing your social media footprint easier. Personally, I like the Buffer App for managing my app’s social media profiles. Buffer allows you to control what messages you would like to post on different social networks and splits them up according to time so that your posts are automatically shared without you having to manually do it. Tweepi is a great online tool that you can use to bulk find and follow people on Twitter. If you are a real power user, then check out TweetAdder which is a powerful desktop application that automates most Twitter tasks and is a very good way to start building up your Twitter following.
3) Word of Mouth
Word of mouth will be one of the main ways your app is going to gain users. Just getting people to talk about your app will help spread the word and increase downloads. The great thing about utilizing word of mouth for marketing is that it is free! What makes your app different, disruptive, or unique? How do you provide mass value with your app? Get people talking about your app and what makes it special. Once people begin talking about your app and why it is unique, downloads will begin to rise.
Making sure your app is socially sharable is one of the easiest ways to market using word of mouth. This entails including social posts after a major feature of your app has been completed. For example with SociaLink, in an upcoming version we will ask to connect to the users social network pages and post a tweet and Facebook status saying, “Michael Jacobs and John Doe are now friends.” This is instant and free marketing for your application. Also, utilizing free press release distributions are a great way to get people looking at your app. Although press releases (printed and online) are beginning to become a thing of the past, you never know who will see it. A lot of the time, writers and contributors read press releases and which could lead to having some articles written about your app.
I hope that some of these insights help you market your mobile application. As my journey continues, I will be sure to share new and effective marketing tactics.