27 Creative Ways To Promote Your App For Free

So finally you’ve built your mobile app and ready to introduce it to the world? Congratulations! But unless you market your application to the target audience, it will get lost in the ocean of other apps out there. A thumb rule is to spend about as much time promoting your product as you do to create them. If you spent three days writing a blog post, then spend the next two consecutive days distributing your blog post in as many outlets as possible, to target traffic. The more you promote your content, the faster and easier the process becomes. We all know that small businesses do not have a high budget to dedicate to marketing or promotional events. Even those who do have the money may find themselves only having a few numbers of channels or ways to promote their content.

I have gathered 27 tried and proven methods to guide you in marketing your app effectively. These steps will only cost you time and I am confident that if you follow them, you will have a significant increase in the downloads and number of followers then you have now. But keep in mind I would like to tell you all that this list is not in a specific order, so you should pick the ideas which appeal to you the most, and that you think will best fit into your existing marketing plan. Start with a handful—or even just one—and test what works for you and which doesn’t:

Free App Marketing

❏ Get in touch with customers

Marketing your app begins long before you ever bring it to market. Before you begin telling your development team to start building out your app with a billion different things, to reach out to your customers and talk to them. You can start by reaching out to not only your customers by first creating a list of every single person you have ever sold to but those who have only signed up to your newsletter. Send them an email and request them to spare 5 or 10 minutes from their daily schedule.

Your customers are very busy people so try to give your customers something in return for helping you. Incentivize your customers by giving them some form of educational content or a special discount. After you have their attention, to get an idea of what they might be searching for in an app, ask them a few questions.

To understand the expectations of your customers with your app as IIHGlobal does. During this process, you will begin to uncover gaps you may have never seen before and you will find that you have successfully build a bridge between your customers and yourself. By including your customers in the app creation process you are not only subtly promoting your app, but you are making sure that the app you make fits the people you are catering to. As customers are the backbone and pillar of any business. Someone rightly said, “ retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%”.

❏ Reach Out To Influencers

Promoting your application can also outstretch beyond your usual field of influence and often times, the foreign connections are exactly what your company needs. Developing authentic, honest, and mutually beneficial relationships with influencers will go a long way in helping you promote your app.

You are well aware of this that influencers are individuals with the power to influence the buying and engagement decisions of a certain group of people. Business owners who are reaching out influencers should be quite careful to not only present content that is truly relevant for the influencers but also for their audience. While some marketers often offer monetary compensation in exchange for influencer promotion, I personally recommend you instead of finding influencers that truly value and have an interest in your company. At the end of the day make sure your values, interest, and customers align.

❏ Leverage Your Mobile Website

If you have any existing website which is mobile-friendly and fully functional, then your site can be one of the greatest assets to promoting your app. At one point or another, all of your customers or anyone who is interested in your company will definitely find their way to your website. When they do, it is important they all know you have an app.

If you include your app in your site which could mean sectioning off a part of your site exclusively for the app. Such as towards the middle of the web page or the corner of the screen. While this method can bring in more downloads I would recommend taking an alternate…a 5% increase in customer approach. Instead of placing it solely on your site, whenever someone visits your site, you can have a pop-up page displayed.

This way, the app is the first thing your viewers see. The pop-up page which is a gentle reminder that you have an app and your customers are given either the option to continue to your mobile site or download the app.

❏ Feature the App in an Official Blog

In addition to including your app on your website, insert it in your regularly scheduled blog post is another promotion strategy you can have. You may do so by making a complete blog post solely about your app or by including a call to action at the end of your every blog post in order to invite your viewers to download the same.

While writing the blog post only about the app, you should write a complete story about your app and let your audience know the purpose behind it. Tell them how this app can facilitate along with its benefits and by making things easy for them. Include your app screenshots, links, and videos to help them get a better understanding.

❏ Feature The App in Your Emails

Your new app needs to be engraved into every aspect of your marketing, that includes all of your emails. As a business, a missed opportunity is when you will send out countless emails and not including your app in each of those.

Any email that is sent out, whether it be from your newsletter, your tech support, or even the payment confirmation email should include a footer with one line advertising your app. Include details such as a link redirecting towards the download page and what can be accomplished through the app.

The emails still have their charm provided they are used under the right conditions and circumstances. According to a study by Exact Target, “91% of people check their email daily”. Capitalize by incorporating your app links into customer service emails, newsletters and also make it a habit to use it in email signatures.

Consider this example template:

Our new app (Insert app name here), helps you (insert what the app does). Click here (include hyperlink) to check it out!

❏ Create a Demo Video

Videos are an easy and simple way for you to showcase everything that your beautiful and well-built app has to offer. For the demo video, you can create a simple 30 second commercial with the principles of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle: Why, How, and What.

You can assign this task to a team to work on bringing this video together. The collective minds of more than one individual will help you finish projects faster and with fewer errors. Keep in mind that your demo video is not meant to stay the way it is now rather your videos, along with all your content, should be updated daily, weekly or monthly.

app video creation
Source:Wideo

Once you are finished creating your demo video, be sure to have a hold to your social media and other platforms to market your app. Your demo video can be included in your blog post, Instagram, and Youtube channels.

❏ Respond To All Questions

It is very important to be there as soon as possible since when users need to have a talk with you or ask something to you. It is a sign that you give value to each user. If users are not satisfied with you, they can pick one among plenty of apps that give the same service as yours.

❏ Consider Alternative App Stores

Do not rely only on App Store & Google Play; there are various other platforms on the online market where you can upload your app. According to One Platform Foundation, if an app is submitted on other relatively less popular stores, it will increase the expected downloads 200% more compared to Google Play.

These are some awesome app stores that you can consider:

  • GetJar
  • SlideMe
  • Opera Mobile Store
  • AppsLib
  • Amazon Appstore
  • AppBrain

❏ SEO Matters Here

Yes, here I’m talking about SEO, not ASO… what happens is your app URL shows up in search results when users key-in related queries; for example, when they look up music applications, you want your app to start turning up among the first 5 entries or sometimes before users hit the Enter button.

seo services london
Source: Lander

What all you need to do is just to identify the “best-targeted” keywords which you want to rank for. Also, it can analyze the keywords on which your app is currently ranking on, build some quality links accordingly to boost rankings.

For the above-mentioned purpose, try these two good tools.

  • MobileDevHQ
  • SearchMan

❏ Apply for Awards

Participating in the app awards is the most recommended way or channel and I would highly recommend you to take advantage of it. It can give you a lot of exposure, press, reviews and plenty of downloads. Although the chances of winning very much depend on app idea and your pitch, however, if you are able to get things right by the first time, you can expect a little stardom.

Here are some of the most famous app awards sites:

  • Appy Awards
  • Best App Ever Awards
  • AppCircus competition
  • Apple Design Awards
  • Appsters Awards
  • Ericsson Application Awards

❏ Reach Out Like Mr. Fantastic

Don’t rely on App Stores alone. Explore Google’s search engine and trust me it can do wonders to your app.

Let’s imagine if your app is related to music; search on Google with the term “music app for android” and see what results it shows.

google search music app

Among these top 5 results, at least four of them are high authority blogs which can be contacted to you’re your featured app. If you get this shot, you can kill more than a few birds with one stone. Getting your new app featured offers long-term advantages like:

  • Exposure
  • Targeted Traffic
  • Powerful Link-building
  • Rating & Reviews

❏ Join Entrepreneurs & Developers Groups on Social Media

Enhance your visibility on social media communities & groups, especially Google+, Facebook, and Linkedin, to become better known among app developers & entrepreneurs go.

Ask for their reviews & feedback on your app and offer them some free promo codes to try it out. Discuss current bug fixes, features, value their opinion and future updates. You can build a strong relationship with them which might lead to the opportunity to cross-promote each other’s apps without spending a penny.

❏ Create An Eye-Catching App Icon

With over 1.6 million apps in the Google Play Store and 1.5 million in the App Store, there’s a lot of noise in any category you choose you to have your app in. Due to that noise, most of the people choose to take an interest in apps, only when the app icon attracts them.

To make your app icon exceptional, it should:

It must have a unique shape that stands out among the crowd.

  1. It should have a limited pallet of colors – 2 is enough to create the contrast
  2. You should avoid using a photo – as it blends in too much!
  3. Avoid a lot of text, it’s barely readable anyways
  4. Be creative!

Testing your app icon out on hundreds of different wallpapers also doesn’t hurt. These are some good examples of great app icons

  • You’ll notice Squarewallet really stands out by using a simple design but a great use of color to almost make it look like a hologram.
  • Some top app makes use of a simple palette of colors to make their icons stand out and build a recognizable brand.

Finally, some of the most popular mobile apps with a cherry on the cake have a great take on the idea of holding a logo icon over text.

❏ Take GREAT Screenshots

Just take a screenshot of your app and dropping it in the app store, while simple, does a really poor job of getting across what you’re trying to show to that potential user.

Adding more visual elements and captions to your screenshots is the best way to turn a boring task management app, into a high download winner.

Let’s take an example of Vine: Vine’s app page is able to put you in a scenario wherein just by having a look at the screenshots, you can completely understand the features offered within that app. It makes it a simple choice to not to download or download.

vine camera
Source: imangoss.net

❏ Optimization of Your App – ASO

App store optimization (ASO) is, at its core, search engine optimization (SEO) for the App Store and Google Play. Just like SEO, app store optimization focuses mainly on search relevance, keyword relevance, and the keyword density in your description.

As per the data, with almost half of iPhone users in the US find apps through search, and your app description is one of the most precious things you can focus on in your app marketing efforts.

In addition, it’s really simple to get started with competitor research through pipelines like Annie App where you can search something like “healthy recipes for women or men” and see what apps show up along with their ranking.

app store optimization
Source: Leanplum

❏ Build A Great Landing Page for App

A great landing page is a must for any business, even if you don’t have a mobile or any other app. Having a great landing page is similar to always having a great business card, just in case you ever need it, it’s good to have with you.

A great example of a great mobile app landing page is Spendee which has all the elements needed to acquire users, engage users, inform users, and help them share easily.

Breaking it down, while the page has multiple links out, the two most noticeable links are the Google Play Store and App Store buttons. They’re multiple times larger than the social sharing buttons, great to have as they stand out just as much as the images to the right of helping the visitor and for them to the site share the app.

app landing page spendee
Source: HarborDev

As you scroll down, each panel has a single call to action, which takes to directly back to the main call to action –in order to download the app.

The second last panel even has actual users of the apps as well as social proof from news outlets.

❏ Must include App Download Links On Your Website

Having an app landing page is awesome, but the question is do you have traffic going to your business’s website already. Have a grip of those existing visitors and customers to get more of them to download your app.

  • Existing Banner on the Website: Make a small attractive banner for your website that pops up somewhere non-intrusive.
  • Social Network Profiles: If you already have hands in social media games and have a Linkedin page, Twitter profile, or Facebook page, make use of that space to promote your app. An easy and uncomplicated banner with the name of your app and where to find it is all you need.

❏ Reach Out To Press

To reach the crowd, get your story published. Before reaching out journalists, make sure that you have everything a journalist will need. They are:

  • Your summary app guide which includes what is your app, how beneficial it is and why you developed it.
  • Screenshots which include lifestyle pictures and app screenshots as much as possible. As your media kit will reach many journalists, so it would be tedious for people to see the same images everywhere.
  • Design portfolio which includes all logo sizes, icon sizes, banners as much as possible.

❏ Use Your Social Network

Social media, despite the heavy focus by most businesses, is still very under the utilized channel of promotion. Sending a message once is good, but sending it multiple times over a month or two is even the best option. The typical page of Facebook post reaches 16% of the page’s fan base. Now if you were to take the same message, re-write it 4 or 5 times and send it out once a week for 5 weeks, you’re theoretically reaching 80% of your Facebook audience page.

social media marketing
Source: Mashable

See how this makes a big difference.

When you launch something like a mobile app, it’s a great achievement for the company plus it means any number of things for your customers. Make sure customers getting the message by reposting the same content but with a different message.

❏ Write An Announcement Blog

Announcing your app launch which is a big hit and as a company update is a great way to keep your customers informed about a major company change. You can hold your social media to drive traffic and cite the blog post in your email signature to make sure that those with whom you’re in contact with know you have a mobile app.

announcement
Source: Medium

❏ Link of Your App In Your Email Signature

It can mostly take weeks if not months for all of your existing customers to find out that you’ve finally launched a mobile app. But those some customers which don’t know, likely get emails from you weekly or maybe even daily.

Add a link to your app landing page or app download links to your email signature as a really easy way to drive downloads over time simply by sending the emails you normally send.

If you have a few people involved in your business, make sure they do the same.

app link in email signature
Source: CardTapp Support Portal

For example, if you had 5 people in your business each sending out an average of 20 emails a day (that’s a really low estimate), that’s 100 people that you’re able to inform about your mobile app per day. That’s 700 a week or over 3,000 a month!

The easiest thing can be the most effective in the long run.

❏ Market Your App In-Store

If you run a mortar and brick business, the best way to drive ongoing app downloads is to leverage your foot traffic.

By placing a QR code, or even just a sticker for the App Store and Google Play Store in your window, you are informing your customers that you have a mobile app. Something they may not know at the time.

Similarly, by having a QR code on your business cards, everyone that gets a card can have a direct link to download your app in their pocket.

❏ Join Linkedin & Facebook Groups

Linkedin is a massive social network with 500 million business professionals and Facebook has over 2 billion users. They represent many industries, many markets, and has groups for just about everything you can think of.

Social groups linkedin & facebook
Source: Elegant Themes

Find groups that are made up of people who closely resemble your ideal customers or your existing customers and share the app with them. Explain to them the benefits of using the app and why they should use the app.

If you find a big group, contact the admin of that group and then ask them to partner with you to market the app. It could be in exchange for a referral partnership or money as a paid promotion or where you pay for each download or each new customer.

❏ Blog Commenting

Take a look at blogs that are relevant to your mobile app. Identify or try to find the opportunity to add value by commenting on relevant blogs which makes sense. Be sure to link to your mobile app or to your mobile app’s landing page and also provide valuable insight. Typically this can be seen in the internet promoter space but it can also be used during mobile app promotion in order to get the traffic to your mobile app’s landing page or drive high-quality relevant links and download links.

❏ Post On Pinterest

Pinterest is a social network in which users are able to discover and share through pinning images and videos on their own boards and on others’ boards. Users should be able to have their own board, and search for content to place on their board, and search through the content of others which have on their board. It is mostly made to hold on to the best of what you can search on the internet into smartly categorized boards. Having your product on someone’s board means they have chosen to leverage on to your product and that anyone who views their board will be exposed to you.

Pinterest has released a new feature through an App Pin, which allows the crowd to download IOS apps directly from Pinterest. Meaning you can have pictures of your beautiful app and right next to the red “Pin it” button there is another blue button “Install”.

 

pinterest marketing
Source: WordPress.org

❏ Sincerely Respond To All Your Reviews

If your customers take the time to write out a review, no matter how long, you should take the time to answer back to them. So many companies make the mistake of simply leaving an automated message to all their customers. Not only will there is loss in customers but your ranking score will also drop significantly with customers who feel that their concerns are not being taken care of.

IIH review & respond

Regardless of what your customers say, let them know that you are trying to resolve the problems by listing out what steps you are taking to solve their issues and problems. Make sure to apologize in your comment if they are not satisfied with your solution and offer some way to make the experience better for them. If your customers are satisfied, thank them for their support and find some way to repay them for their kindness. After all, they are putting in the effort to help you succeed.

❏ Roll Out New Updates Constantly

Your customers should know that you are always making the app better for them. Apps that are not being cared for will be thrown away. Users will feel betrayed if you are not doing all you can to make the experience better for them. This is especially true if you still have not addressed many of the issues that customers rage about in the review sections. Keep your app content fresh and updated plus let your customers know that you are always planning something more for them to enjoy. 

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