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App Marketing
8 min

How to Successfully Market Your Mobile App in 2021

You’ve polished your app idea till it shines, provided a distraction-free registration process, and made sure it has an excellent user interface. There’s just one more step. 

You need an effective mobile marketing strategy for your mobile app.

It’s a crowded field out there, and it’s going to get bigger. App usage and smartphone penetration are growing at a steady rate.

There are more than 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide. In the US, these users spend 88% of their screen time on apps. There are more than 2.9 million apps in the Google Play Store, and nearly 4.4 million apps available in the Apple App Store.

Excluding Chinese third-party app downloads, surveys show that India was the leading market for app downloads in Q2 2020, with nearly 7 billion, followed by the US with around 3.75 billion, and Brazil with 3 billion.

The good news is that in 2019, 35 of the top 100 apps were new entrants, up from 27 in 2016.

This means that with an effective marketing strategy and a great app idea, the sky’s the limit.

That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step, comprehensive guide. 

By the end, you’ll have learned about the key tactics of a strong marketing campaign that reaches consumers at every stage of the marketing funnel.

We have divided these stages into three sections. They are:

  • Pre-launch
  • Acquisition
  • Growth

Thes aren’t watertight: there are overlaps. Some activities that are necessary before launch are also important for growth, for example. Again, strategies for acquisition have to be in place throughout. Nevertheless, it’s an actionable lens through which to view a comprehensive plan.

Gearing Up for the Pre-launch Phase

In many ways, this is the most important step. The way your app is initially promoted, and the buzz it generates at the start, will play a key role in acceptance.

Here’s a broad summary of the steps you need to take.

1. Set goals and objectives

In an ideal scenario, your app should solve a consumer problem for the first time, or in a better or unique manner.

Uber linked drivers to riders. Spotify made music streaming exciting with curated lists. Instagram leveraged the power of smartphone cameras, and so on.

Sometimes, it’s about riding on the success of an app that is already popular, such as this discussion of the TikTok-Mitron showcases.

The first step for such an app would clearly be to define objectives. This is both a measure of performance as well as an indicator for improvement.

Your objectives could be the number of users, metrics of cost per acquisition, conversion rate, usage data, and so on.

Of course, these can change over time, but it’s good practice to have benchmarks from the beginning.

You should also be aware of the standards and yardsticks of the stores in which your app will be distributed. For example, there are different guidelines when it comes to optimizing your app for the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Such guidelines apart, a robust mobile marketing platform is also essential to track goals and objectives. It can also be a one-stop place for engagement strategies and analytics. But how should you choose one? Here are seven questions to ask. 

2. Create consumer profiles

Research is another important step at the start. This will let you know of the competitive apps being used, as well as your potential user’s demographics, preferences, and interests.

When you create user personas based on this information, you will be laying the foundation of the communication as well as app development that you need to succeed.

After all, the more you know your consumer’s pain points and usage patterns, the more you can make your app attractive to them.

Create consumer profiles

A customer profile for a fashion brand

Source

3. Launch a website

It is standard practice to have a pre-launch landing page for your app. This can create initial excitement through testimonials and videos, for example.

Once launched, there should be a link to the app store to download the app.

Other uses of such a page are for social media links, glowing reviews, as well as to collect emails and convey future information of use to consumers.

The site should be simple, impactful, and reflect your app’s key selling points. Needless to add, it should be optimized for mobile phones.

Take, for example, Matter, the successful professional feedback app. Their website clearly spells out the advantages, is simple and appealing and shows how the consumer can gain.

4. Craft a content marketing strategy

Once you have your targets and standards, and an understanding of your consumer, a content marketing strategy is the logical next step.

Your content should encompass as many areas as possible – from blogs and emails to videos and graphics. All of these content formats should be viewed from a mobile-first perspective.

That means content tailored to smaller screens, large calls to action, and fast loading times.

Above all, all your content should be tied to the simple objective: What can your app do to make the consumer’s life easier?

Personalization is important when it comes to content marketing. Brands such as Oyo Rooms and Sivvi have used Dynamic Product Messaging, a next-gen personalization engine, for impressive results. 

5. Creating an email marketing plan

An email campaign is, of course, part of your overall content strategy, but it’s important enough to discuss separately.

You should segment users, calibrate frequency, and regularly share news and information about your app’s benefits. Testimonials and the number of downloads can be promoted, too.

Email marketing best practices also include A/B testing, using effective sign-offs and footers, and taking advantage of seasonality to catch the consumer’s eye.

You should be aware of other aspects that can affect your consumer’s ability to receive emails. For example, a poor domain reputation was negatively impacting inbox placement for FabHotels emails. Most of them were landing in spam folders. The answer: campaigns to grow domain reputation.

Moving on to Acquisition

Now, we enter the exciting second phase. Your app’s been launched, consumers are downloading it, and you’re looking forward to lots of buzz in the app marketplace.

It’s important now to use various methods of promotion as well as to refine your strategy based on feedback.

The aim should be to maximize downloads. This will also make it rank when it comes to app search results, attracting more consumers.

Here are some key steps of app acquisition.

1. Optimize App Store links

This is an important step to gain visibility as well as higher conversions. After all, reports from Apple indicate that 65% of apps are discovered from a search in the App Store.

An appropriate title, as well as the effective use of keywords, are some of the factors that help in ranking.

Proper structure and catchy visuals of the app in action are helpful, too. Your app’s features and benefits should always take center stage.

Ensure App Store editors find your app noteworthy enough to list in a curated or highlighted section, which will, in turn, increase the rate of conversions.

Take the case of Kiwi.com, one of the five biggest online sellers of airline tickets in Europe. They achieved a growth of 66% with structured keywords, A/B tests, and more on the App Store.

2. Leverage social media

The booming popularity of social media, and the huge number of people who use it daily, make sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter essential for promoting your app.

79.9% of Facebook users only access the platform on a mobile device. And over 20 percent of US internet users access Twitter on a monthly basis. Instagram has over one billion users. These are just a few of the staggering numbers of social media reach.

There are many tactics to promote your app on social media. You can try influencer marketing, use sponsored posts, and run paid ads. You can encourage user-generated content, and capitalize on positive reviews and ratings.

Either way, there are good chances of being noticed if you keep your posts fresh, innovative, and highlight your app’s ability to add value to users.

3. Try influencer marketing

This is a part of social media marketing, as pointed out above, but it’s important enough to deserve a separate mention. It is today close to being a USD 10 billion market.

Once you’re clear on your objectives and positioning, you can identify the best type of influencer for your needs. If your app is to do with health or sports, for example, you clearly shouldn’t seek out a singer but a sportsperson.

Similarly, if your app is about promoting beauty, it makes sense to choose influencers who are models, stylists, or fashionistas.

At times, influencers can also be used to showcase offers, such as when recipe delivery app HelloFresh offered Rauljvallejo’s followers $90 off five orders with a unique code.

Source

With influencers, the authenticity of communication is important. 90 percent of consumers say it’s a key factor in deciding which brands they like and support, and 83 percent of marketers agree.

The stronger the long-term connection between the influencer and your app, the better.

You should be open to inputs from influencers themselves, who often have strong relationships with their followers. As William Harris of the ad agency Elumynt has said, “they know how to tell a story that fits the social media channel’s objective.”

Handling The Growth Phase

After launch and acquisition, comes the growth phase. This is when you refine strategies, aim for retention, and establish long-term value by building stronger bonds with consumers.

1. Use retention tactics

Although figures vary according to the category, surveys show that mobile apps, on average, have a 30-day retention rate of 42% and a 90-day retention rate of 25%.

Caption: Mobile application user retention rate worldwide

Source

It’s important for you to try and increase these numbers. It’s a cutthroat market, and users are hungry for speed, agility, and utility in the context of Internet download speed and storage capacity.

One way is to establish two-way communication with users to build loyalty. This could be in the form of responding to reviews, fixing bugs that have been pointed out, and push notifications.

Another behavioral cue that can be used is FOMO: fear of missing out. This is what Spotify leveraged with its extremely successful Spotify Wrapped campaign

Yet other tactics are to personalize user experiences, use aspects of gamification to increase engagement, and offering perks to engaged users.

Lifestyle, India’s leading fashion destination, identified the right segments and created personalized smart-triggered campaigns to drive conversion. The retention rate improved by 30%.

If your app is in the gaming ecosystem, do also check out this insightful case study on the 1600 percent growth in the user base of ‘Among Us’, and its impact on the mobile gaming ecosystem.

2. Tweak email strategies

Earlier, we spoke about email marketing and how important it is to your initial content marketing plan.

At a later stage, you should consider automation to tweak and calibrate your email plan for better results.

Source

You can finetune your objectives by analyzing data that offers insights into consumer behavior. Segmenting your audience will also lead to better conversion rates.

Once your app is up and running, you can also include new features, the number of downloads as well as press coverage in your emails, for greater engagement.

Committed users can be the first to know about offers and deals. Casual users can be targeted later.

Community building should be an important part of your retention strategy, and email marketing needs to work towards this.

3. Start conversations

Engaging in rich and meaningful conversations with consumers is always a good idea at every stage. But it acquires greater relevance when it comes to building retention and loyalty.

Effective customer service is an important aspect, with a willingness to address issues and fix consumer problems on time.

On social media, too, you should respond to posts, be they positive or negative. A willingness to listen and learn can pay dividends.

Often, consumers could request different features, and if these are practical, they can be executed to build greater loyalty.

Further, you could ask for recommendations, promote online and offline events, and continue the conversation by discussing future plans.

All of these will create the impression of a responsive app that puts consumers first.

Planning, implementing, and optimizing a mobile app marketing strategy is both a science and an art. With the above tips and suggestions, you can successfully pilot your mobile app growth from inception to retention, and long-term success.

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