The Ultimate Guide To Marketing Your Mobile Startup
- By Rahul Varshneya
- November 29th, 2012
In one of my previous articles, I had written about Launching A Successful Mobile Startup and provided four rock-star tips on how you can do so. I had also promised a detailed article in that on how you can market your mobile startup to success.
And here it is, as promised.
Getting down to business, if you’re looking at launching a successful mobile startup, then reaching out to your customers is as important as having a great app.
Marketing begins the day you put your mobile app idea into production. The activities are divided into two phases: Pre-launch and Post-launch marketing.
Most of the ideas here require no money at all to market. All it requires is time and commitment to get you the much-needed visibility.
The day you have firmed up your product idea and put into development, start with these activities immediately for unbelievable results.
Blog: create a blog where you write regularly about the issues that your product touches up on. Remember to keep this generic; no one likes to be pushed updates only about your product. Content marketing is a huge traffic driver and helps in monetizing. Read this awesome post by Neil Patel on his Quicksprout blog on how to write a powerful blog post/article in two hours.
Microsite: create a microsite, typically a one-three page website that is an advertising tool for your app. Even though a lot of downloads will come through app stores directly, a huge amount of traffic is driven through the web. Here are some such examples of great app microsites: Piictu, Instagram, Path, Sonar and Assistant App.
Social Media Profiles: create a profile across social media and bookmarking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc. This will help you spread the word about your blog posts and also write much more about the category and related content of your product idea. Always include a link to the microsite. Here are 10 ways to get more traffic, attention and higher rankings through social sharing.
Teaser or Giveaway: what good is a microsite and linking that to posts when the product is not available in the app stores yet? My suggestion is to build a teaser campaign or a giveaway into your microsite and invite people to share their email address to stay updated on when the app launches. Now you’ve got your own database from people who have shown interest in your product. These are the people that are more likely to convert as customers. Here’s an excellent example of such a page: Turnplay.
SEO: begin search engine optimization or SEO immediately for your microsite. SEO takes anywhere between 3-6 months to start showing good results. By the time the traffic starts building up, you would have had a version of your product ready for launch. Even if not, you still have your teaser campaign running and getting more opt-ins for when your app launches. Works both ways and is very crucial to begin with at this stage.
Tech Blogs: when you’re about a month away from launch, prepare a fantastic press release or write up about your product idea and why you think it will change the world. Here’s an article on writing a brilliant pitch for blogs. Start getting in touch with blogs such as Mashable, TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, FastCoDesign, Ars Technica, etc who are likely to write about your product even before it launches if they feel that it truly is a path-breaking idea or execution.
Take for instance Clear. This iPhone app started to get tech blog coverage based on demos, previews and teaser videos. It sold 350,000 copies within nine days of its launch thanks to the pre-launch coverage!
This phase covers activities that you need to do when you’re ready to launch and what to do after your mobile application is approved in the app store. All the activities in the pre-launch phase have to be continued through the launch and much after if you want to keep driving greater downloads.
App Store Marketing: this one’s a less-hyped activity, but gives fantastic results. A lot of people simply browse through the app stores in categories looking for new and attractive apps. This caters to that huge audience who goes to an app store looking for new apps to maximize downloads.
Make sure you have a fantastic name for your app. It should connect with the audience instantly and should be very catchy. Similarly, your app icon should grab attention, as these are two things that people see when browsing through the app store categories.
Select your keywords wisely. App stores require you to mention keywords that you feel your customers will use to search for your application. Look at successful apps in your category and learn from them.
Your app description should catch the fancy of your customer. The first paragraph should be your selling pitch. Don’t make it too long or boring, as the online audience doesn’t have much patience to read through. Also include your keywords in the description content.
The application screenshots that you are required to upload shouldn’t be just screenshots of your application. These should be customized to attract your customer. Again, think of this as your advertisement. Here’s a great article on how to design app store screenshots that sell.
Here’s an App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet for your ready reference. (click on the image to view it in full screen)
App Review Websites: there is a large audience that reads online reviews and recommendations before downloading an app. Once your app is launched and available on the app store, draft a press release and send it to a list of app review websites. Look at generic websites (here’s a good list) and also look at app review blogs specific to your category.
If yours is a paid app, Apple gives 50 promotional codes that lets that many number of people download your application for free. Send these to the app review websites along with a link to your application, as most of them will not bother paying to download for an app. If yours is a free app, simply include a link where they can download it.
Tech Blog Redux: don’t forget the tech blogs you wrote to earlier for after you have launched your app. If they did not cover your idea or product initially, you have another reason to write to them, informing of the launch. If your app does well, that’s another reason to write to them informing of the statistics and how well it has been received in the market. Include customer testimonials and case studies.
Ratings and Reviews: you need to find ways to encourage your customers to review and rate your application. The more the ratings, the more chances of it being downloaded from the app store. One of the more obvious (albeit fantastic) ones is to build a code in your application asking your users to rate. Another great idea is to gamify the rating itself. Reward customers who rate or review your app.
All of these activities, if executed well with fantastic content and a great product, will fetch you unbelievable results.
And if you’re ready with your product idea and want it to be designed and developed, I can help you with that. Just drop me an email.