So you built, or want to build, an app. Obviously the creation of a successful app involves many moving parts and a multitude of steps. The research, planning, hours and effort required add up to a helluva process – but that’s only half the battle. To fully bring your idea to life there is an important final touch you can’t forget – user acquisition.
Given the competitive mobile app market, gaining usership can be a battle. With over 2,000 new apps published every single day, you better plan ahead and get your marketing act together if you don’t want to end up with a dead app. You worked way too hard for that.
Now that we have you a little rattled, don’t panic – there’s plenty you can do to get noticed.
Start with social media. For example, you can easily set up advertising such as a pay-per-install campaign on Facebook. Find out what tweeters are tweeting and get your hashtags rolling. While you do that, here’s a few tips that will help you get the visibility you need to get those coveted downloads and industry buzz:
Learn and Master ASO
You’ve heard about SEO and know what a pain in the ass it can be. ASO is certainly not the same thing, but a game you must play if you want downloads. App Store Optimization, ASO, is the sprint to get your app visibility in app store search rankings. Tools such as App Annie or SearchMan are helpful to manage and monitor your soon-to-be-climbing ASO.
Keywords are important in ASO, so be sure to carefully think about the title and description you put together. Think about what kind of search the user you’re targeting will type. For example if you were marketing Pandora, you would want to include keywords such as “online radio,” “free streaming,” or “music playlist.” Get inside your audience’s head and figure out what they will search to try and get to an app like yours.
Never, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Get your friends and family to download your app and ask them to spread the word. Even better, ask for their feedback and make the changes they suggest. Few people are going to care more about your success than your friends and family, and fewer still will give you the honest feedback you need to improve. Mom may not be the savviest app user, but she’s not afraid to give it to you straight.
Utilize the Blogosphere
Bloggers are always looking for a hot topic to muse about. Guess what? Your app is a hot topic and damn straight they should be talking about it. Tech bloggers not only love to get their hands on the latest technology, but vie to be the first ones publishing their witty thoughts on it. Comb through tech publications, find out where the early adopters chat, and fire away offering first time access to your app. Writers eat that up.
Keep in mind, while you may not have a ton of control over this, do what you can to coordinate publication releases at or around the same time. What this does is hits the Internet like a charging horse, click-a-clacking across the information highway to maximize hype and improve results. And hey, you’re a patron of the internet too – get involved yourself. Comment on the blogs, share on social media, be interactive and boost that buzz.
Become a Student of Your Users
Listen. L-I-S-T-E-N. Was that not clear? Listen to the users who took the time to download your app. People are happy to provide feedback because they want products they want (see what I did there). If you can fashion your app to something users really want, they’ll tell their friends and increase their own usage.
Don’t be surprised if they may have some pretty radical requests. Keep an open mind. While your vision for the app is certainly brilliant, try not to hold too tightly to these original ideas. There may be great suggestions outside the round-one-dev-box that can take your app places you never thought of.
Ratings and Reviews
Plug in functionality that asks users for ratings and reviews. Users don’t really care what you have to say about your app and what it can do. Users care what other users think and listen to their peers far more than you. Apptentive is a great app to get started with this.
Ask users for reviews and again, listen. Make the changes that affects common use cases as quickly as possible. The Internet is instant, it lives in your users’ pockets and purses. They are not a patient bunch and will speedily move on if dissatisfied.
Keep Users Happy
This is a no-brainer and a theme you may have picked up on. But seriously – keep users happy. ASO also looks at user behavior such as discard rate (how often an app is deleted), ratings, download counts and frequency of use. Ensuring your app is something they really want will increase their use of it, and encourage them to tell their friends how great it is. If you can keep your users happy they will have no reason to delete your app and rate it highly.
Happy users are the gold to go after in your marketing campaign. Publishing your app and getting people to use it can certainly be overwhelming – but you can do it. Mobile users want you to make their lives easier with a new fantastic app. Get the word out there, actively listen, and build a happy user base.