How to Market Your Mobile App

Building it was just the Beginning

By Josh Fitzwater, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Holden + Ellis

As the price to build a mobile app still plays catch-up to the inevitable need of having one, few businesses are thinking about mobile app marketing. There should be as much strategy behind positioning your app to your audience as there is in getting the damn thing built and financed. This step is often glossed over and has accounted for thousands of great apps with great benefits buried in the App Store graveyard because of poor marketing. The launch of your app to the iOS/Android marketplace means life or death (overly dramatic, but incredibly true) to its user adoption. Another way to think about a strategic app rollout is the difference between users/profit and no downloads/no visibility. Unfortunately, in the app game, if you build it the users will not always come.

This article will provide you with the information needed to begin crafting your mobile app launch strategy and some insightful tips to ensure success at all phases of your app’s user lifecycle.

AMO (App Marketplace Optimization)

Think of getting eyeballs on your app in the same capacity as you would your website. There are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics that improve your chances of appearing on page one of Google search. The app universe operates the exact same way but with an entirely different set of rules by which marketers play. I call this this App Marketplace Optimization (AMO). There is a formula you can follow and implement to increase the likelihood of your app reaching a wide audience and tipping-point. The overall goal of AMO is to have your app featured as a “recommended” app—this is the Holy Grail of app marketing.

Step One: Hold Nothing Back

The number one data point the app store and Google Play takes into consideration is traffic to the app’s download page and actual downloads. Because of this, once your app is approved by Apple and Google, do everything you can to drive traffic to the page. Target your audience with display ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter and sites within affiliate ad networks. Use the persona model you’ve been building via floodlight pixels to know who your audience is and were your audience is and go after them. Is your app innovative (I hope so)? Traditional PR can go a long way toward getting your app traffic.  As much as it pains me to say, even a QR code on a print ad will help. The first 60 days are critical so have your game plan set and ready to go at the push of a “send” button.

Step Two: App Reviews

Reviews can make or break your app. In the same way a good marketer initiates the customer feedback loop after a sale with an email, allow your app users to review your app. If you’ve built something that’s for them and is easy to use—you’ll get a good rating and thusly, a bump in AMO rankings.

Step Three: Bug Fixes

No one uses a buggy app. And certainly you don’t want to wait for your app to be 100% perfect before launching—you could be waiting a long time. So be dedicated to updates and fixes buggy parts of your app. Usability—just like a website—is still the most important.

What’s the Goal of your App? Really?

In a recent study by Samsung, the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. That’s 150 chances to convert your goals. Not bad odds. The goal of your app is more than downloads—that’s a metric to measure. The goal is to monetize your app. Whether it’s building an app that’s Lite (free) to funnel users to Pro (paid) or constructing pipeline so users can purchase your product easier, the goal of the app is the same as the business: the money. Just like you built your app with making money in mind, market your app like it depends on eventually making money—because it does.

Innovation Gets Rewarded

The function of your app should be to allow users to consume your product in some way. This could be a product, a piece of content, a way to connect, a way to give—anything. Your app is the mobile convergence of your company goals and the user goals simplified to its core. When this is done and creativity is applied, innovation is born. The App Store and its users reward its mavens.

Holden + Ellis is a Columbus marketing firm with big, creative brains

As if you didn’t already have a lot of marketing decisions on your plate, now you must think about mobile marketing. But we are here for you. Holden + Ellis is a Columbus marketing firm and creative data agency that specializes in the innovation of ideas. Put simply, we use online behaviors to produce offline results. Connect with us.

Reach out to Holden + Ellis’ Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Josh Fitzwater with questions or thoughts on mobile marketing at josh[at]holdenellis[dot]com.