A Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Mobile App

A Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Mobile App

A Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Mobile App

By: Lohit Sharma | 10 mins read
Published: Jan 4, 2022 5:24:00 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2024 01:49:19 AM

How many apps do you have on your phone? Have you specifically searched for them in the Play Store or are they popular ones?

If you look carefully, then most of the apps on your phone must be popular ones. You don’t realise it, but whenever you have to download an app, instead of visiting the Play Store and searching for it, you end up downloading a popular app, or the apps that show up in top search results.

Why does it happen? With over 3.3 million apps available on the Google Play store, how do you think it’d be possible for the apps to be noticed? It’s all because of successful mobile app marketing. Let’s understand what that term means.

What is Mobile App Marketing?

Just like any other marketing, mobile app marketing includes promoting a mobile app, acquiring users for it, and engaging with them. It’s a tactic to inform consumers about your app and entice them to use it. A primary goal of the marketing campaign is to increase the engagement of the app.

In other words, it could be said that it’s a process of creating marketing campaigns at every stage of the customer journey; from the moment they first hear about your app till they become a loyal user of your app. It won’t stop even after that.

Mobile app marketing begins with the pre-launch of a product and continues throughout the lifecycle. But why is it important to market the app? Is it not possible for users to download the app without the company marketing it?

Why Do You Need to Market Your App?

There are more than 5.4 million apps combined on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. According to statistics, 3.8 trillion hours were spent on mobile apps in 2021. People usually spend around 4-5 hours on the phone every day.

Considering the attention span is decreasing and there’s a cut throat competition out there to grab the attention of consumers. Therefore, having a well-planned marketing strategy would help your app to be seen. So if you’re planning to launch your app, then you've got to create a marketing strategy from pre-launch to post-launch. Let’s see how you can do that.

How Can You Market Your App?

Marketing an app involves a lot of work. It starts from the moment users interact with your app until they become loyal users.

Mobile app marketing is divided into three stages -

  • Awareness / Pre-launch stage
  • Acquisition
  • Retention

It’s not as simple as it sounds. It involves a lot of work, such as defining your target audience, figuring out the ways to reach them, and communicate with them, and lastly, keeping a tab on their in-app behaviour. The key point here is that it’s not a linear process. Occasionally, you may have to move back and forth between the different stages. That's why these stages are also known as the mobile engagement loop. Let’s see what this loop involves -

The Awareness Stage

The awareness or pre-launch stage is the first and foremost stage of any marketing campaign. The purpose of the stage is to raise awareness about the brand. The stage includes conducting research to understand your target audience, conducting a competitive analysis, building a website, and so on. At this stage, you should have a clear understanding of the brand messaging and positioning, as it’ll help you resonate with your target audience on a deeper level. Look through the list of steps given below to have a clear understanding of this stage -

Decide on a date

Finalising a date would help you prepare for all the unexpected delays or problems in advance. For instance, Apple App Store has a slightly different review policy than that of Google Play Store. It might result in a delay of the launch if you don't plan ahead. This would not only help you to launch the app on time, but it would also make your launch event a huge success. You could check if there’s any other event scheduled on the day of your app launch which could possibly overshadow your event.

Conduct a Market Research Study

Research is the first step in starting anything. Before you start working on the development of the app, you need to research your target audience. You have to figure out:

- What’s their pain point?
- Is there any other service available?
- Does your app or service solve that problem ?
And so on…..

Answers to these questions would help you identify the USP of your app. And then, you can create a strategy based on the insights you gather. In short, market research would give you an edge in the market and over your competitors as well.

Create User Personas

Every app or service has a different set of users. To cater to each and every set of users, you’ll have to create user personas.

Creating user personas means dividing your target audience into different categories based on their interests, age, preferences, background, demographics, and other factors. It is more likely a fictional depiction of your ideal user. The tone of the brand, messaging, branding, features, functionality, and everything about your app should resonate with your target audience. The data that you collect will give you insights into your target audience and help you shape your marketing strategy accordingly.

User personas will help you understand:

What’s their pain point?
Do they use iOS or Android?
What type of content do they like?
What sort of tone and voice do they resonate with?
Do they follow any influencers?

And many such questions will help you tailor your marketing strategy, campaign, messaging, and features according to the needs of your audience.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Before developing your product, analysing your competitors will give you an idea of what they lack and how you can cover them in your product. To analyse them, you can create a list of your top 5 competitors. Then, you can make a feature matrix to compare their pricing, user experience pros and cons, monetization model, store ranking, and reviews etc.

Make sure you cover their flaws in your app to give your audience a smooth experience. It’ll help you make your app stand out among your competitors.

Develop a website

In mobile app marketing, your first priority should be building a website. It’ll become a go-to place for your users to stay updated about your app launch. Before the launch, adding visually appealing pictures, videos, and effective copy could increase traffic, which eventually will lead to more app downloads.

Along with that, you can collect the emails of your audience to keep them updated about the launch and updates. By doing so, you can create excitement for your launch among the audience.

Build Connections

Connecting with influencers, bloggers, publications, and outlets and pitching them with a link to your website would help you in securing an honest review and backlinks. You can create a list of all the prominent people in your industry or niche who have a high engagement rate on their social media platforms. Then you can reach out to them and see if they would be interested in talking about your app.
Since your app is still in its infancy, big influencers may not be interested in talking about it. In that case, you can reach out to micro-influencers. They usually have a high engagement rate.

This way, you could garner an audience and make relevant connections in the industry which could prove beneficial in the long run.

Start Blogging

You can start talking about your app and services to build credibility out there. The wisest thing you can do is to either create a blog channel on your website or start blogging on multiple platforms.

Use keywords that are frequently used in your industry and work around them. You can start educating your audience through your blog. It'll help you build trust among your audience. This way, your website will get a lot of traffic. The more traffic your website gets, the more the audience will know about you.

Make Use of the Social Media Platforms

Start being active on the platforms where your audience hangs out. Be it Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media app. Expand your social media presence, communicate with your audience, and let them know about your app and how it’ll help them.
You can update your audience about the development of the app. By doing so, they’ll feel special and you never know, what if they end up buying your services right through social media?

Having a strong presence on social media platforms will help you stay close to your audience. Don’t focus on gaining more followers, instead keep your focus on building a community.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Building a well-planned content marketing strategy before the launch will not only help you run the campaign smoothly, but also establish an authority. You can start by deciding the ways in which you want to market your product, such as:

  • Podcast
  • YouTube videos
  • Ebooks
  • Social media posts
  • Newsletter
  • Blog

Once you decide the ways of marketing your service, you can decide on the following questions to stay consistent on all the platforms:

  • How will you distribute your content?
  • Where will you post more?
  • When will you post?

And so on….

In such scenarios, creating a monthly content calendar will ease the work. By doing so, you’ll be able to build trust among your audience, drive more traffic, and create brand awareness.
You can start off with writing and creating content on your own since you are more familiar with your product than anyone else.

These are the few steps that you can follow in the awareness stage to successfully inform the audience about your app. So once you’re done with making the audience aware of your app, what would you do next?
Your focus will shift to launch the app and acquire users for it. Let’s talk about how you can do that.

The Acquisition Stage

This stage is all about acquiring customers and generating maximum downloads. The aim is to get as many downloads as you can in the first week of the launch using a variety of marketing strategies. Number of downloads will ensure the ranking of your app in the app store. Also, you’ll have to track the source of the downloads. In this way, you can identify your profitable channels and optimize your marketing strategy for your weaker channels.

This is the time to use as many creative strategies as you can. Below is a list of a few strategies which you might find useful -

Paid Ads

The first thing you should do right after launching your app is to start rolling out ads on social media platforms. You can choose platforms according to your target audience. LinkedIn is considered more effective in user acquisition. But if your target audience is more active on other platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, then you should not shy away from advertising your app over there as well. In paid ads, users are targeted according to their preferences and interests.

Try to keep your ad concise and clear, as people have a short attention span. Keep the purpose and the messaging of the ad clear and direct.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

Just like search engine optimization (SEO), app store optimization helps an app rank higher in search results by increasing its visibility. Apps that rank higher are more likely to be seen by potential users. As a result, it’ll lead to more traffic to the app, which will eventually result in more downloads. App Store Optimization involves a lot of factors, such as:

  • Keywords
  • App title
  • Description
  • Screenshots and videos
  • Total number of downloads
  • Ratings and reviews

Let’s understand how these factors will determine the ranking of your app:

Keywords: This is one of the main factors of ASO, which will help your app rank higher. Use relevant keywords that your target audience searches for the most. You can figure that out while researching and analysing your competitors. It’s not always necessary to use the same keywords. You can change them over a period of time, depending on the keywords’ performance, competitor research, and users preferences etc.

App title: Use the most commonly searched keyword in your app title. Just like keywords, you can’t change the title of your app often, so try to do proper research beforehand.

Description: This is one of the most effective places to talk about the features and benefits of your app and influence your target audience to download the app. So try to keep it simple and crisp because of course, you don’t want to bore your audience.

Screenshots and videos: Do you browse through the screenshots and videos of the app to check how it looks? We do. Just like description, you can show your app’s most valuable features and benefits through this option. Along with the screenshots, add a video which shows how your app works.

Total number of downloads: We bet that you check the total number of downloads before downloading an app. Ultimately, your decision to download the app depends on the number. It plays a crucial role in ASO. Though you don't have control over them, you can get the users to download your app by following all the tips we mentioned.

Ratings and reviews: Ratings would help your app rank higher. Especially for new users, it's one of the most important factors to consider before downloading the app.

Getting Featured in The App Store

The Apple app store features apps which have the potential to impact the lives of people. You could do the same for your app. Getting featured in their store will boost your app’s visibility, which will increase the number of downloads of your app.

You can pitch your app and its features to the Apple team. Although they receive thousands of pitches every day, a well-crafted pitch will increase the chances of getting featured.

The above mentioned steps would help your app stand out in contrast to your competitors during the acquisition stage. Once you’re past the phase of launching and acquiring users for your app, the next step is to focus on retaining them.

The Retention Stage

Acquiring users is not enough to keep the app running. You’ll have to focus on retaining your users by engaging with them. This is the stage where you convert your newly acquired users into loyal users. A well developed retention marketing plan would be useful. Let’s have a look at some of the strategies that you can use to retain your users:

Establish Communication

In-app personalizations, such as onboarding, in-app messaging, and encouraging push opt-in, keep users engaged. In 2019, 25% users abandoned apps after one use, but later in-app personalization made the abandonment drop to 19%. That’s why it's important to attract users' attention right from the start. In-app messages could be anything from warnings about payment failure to product updates.

The main part is to send relevant messages to every single user and that can be done by segmenting your audience.

Push Notifications

Do you enjoy when an app sends you coupon codes, special promotions, or offers? Who doesn’t, right?
Rewarding your users with an incentive can make them stay and become loyal users of your app. Incentives could include coupons, exclusive content access, promotions, and discounts etc. As a result, your app will have a higher engagement rate and help you retain users as well.

Make Use of Chatbots

Customers love it when you listen to them. You can’t always be there to respond to your users’ queries. Make sure to incorporate a chatbot in your app. Any time a user faces a problem, they can easily ask the chatbot for assistance.

Not only will it help in answering queries, but in other activities such as placing orders, collecting feedback, accepting and cancelling reservations, and many more. Ultimately, customer satisfaction is what every app developer wants at the end of the day.

Ask for Feedback

Don’t irritate your users by constantly asking them for feedback, but make sure to do it once in a while. It’d give a chance to your users to express their views. By doing so, you’ll know the experience of your users and can work on that accordingly.

These are the few strategies that we think you can benefit from. You can use other strategies as well, such as offering a referral bonus, doing A/B testing, and many more. It is entirely up to you, which strategy you want to use. But what’s next after applying all those strategies?

How will you determine whether your marketing plan was successful? How would you know if these strategies worked for your app or not?

It can be measured by setting goals and tracking metrics. Let’s see how you can do that:

Set Goals and Define Key Metrics to Track

Setting goals and defining key metrics is critical to measuring the success of your campaign. There are a few mobile app metrics that you should be tracking - number of downloads, daily active users, churn rate, session interval, ratings, and time in-app etc.

By analyzing these metrics, you can determine what worked and what didn’t. You can improve on the parts which didn’t work. A key point to note is that you'll have to track the campaign from the awareness stage onwards. In order to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign, you must track metrics at each and every stage.

As you can see, there are many strategies and factors involved in running mobile app marketing. The entire mobile marketing process is covered in three stages. And all the stages consist of a bunch of strategies that you can put into use if you’re planning to launch an app.

Out of all the strategies that we just talked about, the most effective strategy is not to oversell. Try not to overwhelm your users by overselling at any point of your campaign. The messaging on your ads, social media platforms, and blogs should have a consistent message.