Based on the most recent estimates, there are nearly five million mobile apps available in the Apple iOS and Google Play stores. If you’re planning to compete in that arena, you’ll need a good marketing strategy to launch successfully and continue to grow.
We used this strategy guide in 2018 to build and market an app to help teens earn their driver’s licenses. And we’re still seeing growth three years later!
First, Learn as Much as You Can About Your Customers
Start by working to understand your target audience’s frustrations and pain points. With this information, you’ll be one step closer to developing an app that they’ll see as essential to their lives.
Use third-party research to identify their values and behaviors, but also reach out directly via your social media profiles/pages and online forums) to find out what’s on their wish lists.
Develop What Users Want, Not What YOU Want
Drawing on your expertise as an app developer and avid app user, focus on making sure the technology meeting your own strict standards.
But remember that you’re building an app for target customers, many of which may not have different needs than you do.
To help keep you focused, create a user persona that includes demographics, behaviors, and attitudes. This profile will serve as a representative model of your ideal user. It will also help keep you focused on solutions that your customers need.
For example, when we learned that half of those seeking a driving permit failed the first time they took the test, we set out to develop an app that would help students pass their DMV permit test on the first try.
Have a Plan for Scaling the App
If your technology isn’t ready to handle growth, it won’t work properly when many more people are trying to use it.
Avoid the unforced error of a crash — and the resulting negative feedback that accompanies it — by making a plan to scale the app while you’re still in the development phase.
Negative word-of-mouth travels fast, and it may be something you won’t be able to recover from, so be prepared from the start!
Use App Store Optimization (ASO) To Improve Your Visibility
Two-thirds of app downloads occur after a visit to one of the two app stores. It’s crucial for your app listing to have a prominent position in search results.
Start with keyword research. Find terms that are relevant to target users, and home in on the ones you have the best chance of ranking for. Then, strategically insert those words and phrases into your app title and description.
Pay attention to how your keyword usage impacts the number of downloads you receive. You can later use this data to tweak your description and maybe even title to improve your performance.
Play it Smart with A/B Testing
If you were to have the opportunity to test your app features or advertising creative before you roll it out to your entire user base, why wouldn’t you do that?
A/B testing uses real results rather than intuition or hunches to help you decide which is the better approach to take.
Think of it as insurance against making the kind of mistake that could cause user backlash or waste your marketing dollars.
Test only one variable at a time and use a representative sample that’s large enough to offer reliable results.
Learn About Marketing Mobile Apps
Learn about the different marketing strategies that are most effective for each stage of the mobile app sales funnel.
Aim to build awareness and create buzz surrounding your upcoming app. Industry influencers can help with this task.
Active Customer Acquisition
To get downloads and installs, use app store optimization, app share incentives, and targeted advertising to focus on high value customers.
When current customers’ usage begins to drop off, which is a reality you should be prepared for, use in-app incentives to bring those users back.
Your current installed base is the best asset at your disposal for driving growth in your market penetration. Offer incentives for sharing the app with others. Be sure these incentives are meaningful for your customers and are highly relevant to your industry, as well as the app itself.
In addition to standard incentives, it may help to make these users feel like they have an alliance with your marketing team. You can achieve this by calling them brand ambassadors and asking for feedback. Customers like to feel like they are both important and appreciated.
One of our pages that clearly reflects the value proposition of the Zutobi app is our guide that gives actionable tips on how to pass the learner’s permit test on the first try.
Use In-App Incentives to Enhance App Adoption and Re-Engage Lapsed Users
At some point, you’ll surely see a decrease in app usage, possibly even a share of your installed base abandoning it altogether.
When this happens, be sure to develop an incentive strategy that rewards customers for every action they take within the app.
A loyalty program that lets users accumulate points or badges every time they reach a pre-set threshold will motivate them to open up the app and use it more frequently.
Again, the incentives you choose must be meaningful and valuable to your customers.
Alert customers to these incentive programs by using push notifications. However, be careful not to use alerts too often. Customers can easily get annoyed if their phone is constantly pinging.
Continually Update the App to Ensure Ongoing Success
Market conditions and consumer needs both evolve constantly. Be prepared to make updates to your app that address these changes.
Use integrated marketing tools that measure your app’s performance (and that of your competitors) to see where you may need to improve.
And before you move forward with new features or other significant changes, be sure to use A/B testing to validate your thinking.
For example, if you are a company that targets different geographic markets, you may want to test the app page content before you attempt to get downloads from that new location.
Our Zutobi app includes information and benefits unique to each state’s users, such as our Pennsylvania practice test.
Relish the Rewards (and Fun) that Comes From Helping Customers Lead Better Lives
There’s great joy in knowing your app helps your customers.
If you can hold onto that customer mindset and keep working toward providing value, you’ll have a successful app launch and experience growth well into the future.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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