• Insights & Research

How to Craft the Perfect Mobile App Marketing Strategy

Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
5 min read
Posted on April 01, 2019

Nowadays, getting your mobile app marketing strategy right is critical for the sustained success of any mobile application. There are now more than two million mobile apps in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, and that number keeps growing to new heights every year. In the first three months of 2018, over 6,100 mobile apps became available to Android device owners every day.

So how do app marketers break through this clutter to successfully market their apps? What can app marketers do to succeed today?

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We’re here to help. Below are our top 10 steps for crafting the perfect mobile app marketing strategy for any kind of app out there.

Step 1: Learn Everything You Can About Your Potential Users to Develop a Concrete Target Audience

In the world of mobile app marketing - or really any marketing for that matter - who you’re trying to talk to is more important than what you’re offering. You need to have a full and complete understanding of who your target audience and what they really care about.

From there, you then need to figure out how your app will materially help them and how you’re addressing concerns or problems they may have. It’s possible, though, that your app will provide a service that your potential users didn’t even know they wanted. For example, while consumers had lots of options for communicating with friends online and sharing (and altering) photos digitally before Instagram came along, its simplicity in design and functionality caught on in a big way with people who prefer a simple, pared-down and engaging social media network.

Not sure how to find out who your target audience is and what they really care about? Consider leveraging a mobile market research platform to determine with precision who your potential users are and what they would be looking for in your app.

Step 2: Develop an Initial User Acquisition Plan for Obtaining Potential Customers

Once you know who you want to market your app to, how do you figure out which marketing tactics you’ll need to leverage? There are dozens of ways to obtain potential customers, but not all of them should be featured in your user acquisition plan.

Yet again, it’s important to know how your target audience learns about new products and services, and where they turn for information, insights and trusted guidance. For example, do they use search engines mostly, or rely heavily on word of mouth?

It’s not a zero-sum exercise where you focus on some channels at the expense of others, but you also don’t want to needlessly cast too wide a net. Are you looking to catch a big tuna, or lots of herring?

Step 3: Finalize a Marketing Budget

Chances are good that you’ll likely need to spend some amount of money in order to truly succeed at mobile app marketing. While there are lots of “free” options available (free in the sense of spend, not time spent, of course), many brands see key success using paid tactics like acquisition-focused advertising to cut through the noise.

According to research from Google, 43 percent of those surveyed said they had previously downloaded an app after seeing a video ad on their smartphones. And, 47 percent said they elected to get an app after viewing a graphic or banner ad within another app; fewer people said the same thing about banners and other similar ad formats within mobile websites.

In addition to direct spending like this, consider other necessary costs as well. Are events part of your marketing mix? Do you need to purchase a mobile marketing automation platform? Will additional mobile marketers need to be brought on board? Be sure your budget accounts for all possible costs that could arise.

Step 4: Create the Best Possible Landing Page Both Online and in the App Stores

In mobile app marketing, best practices dictate that you drive users to a core conversion page - typically within the app stores. This page is the final step in the customer journey, making it a crucial one to get just right.

Consider how the page looks to the end user. Is it visually appealing? Is it clear what your app does and how it helps? If there are any lingering concerns someone might have, this page should address those as well.

These landing pages should be built, monitored and maintained not just for within the app stores, but also online as well. Your website will likely serve as a critical gateway and information hub for your target audience as well. According to the Google study, 25 percent said they first found out about an app through search. The landing pages for the app stores is important, but it’s not the only landing page you be thinking about and optimizing.

Step 5: Post Launch, Continue Tracking and Iterating on Your Marketing Efforts

You’ve researched and identified your target audience, you’ve developed a plan and budget for all of your chosen tactics and you’ve developed landing pages. The app then gets pushed live and you start getting users.

“Great!” you think. “My work here is done.”

Not so fast, buckaroo. Mobile app marketing is not a one and done activity. Not only do you need to keep efforts running continually, but it’s crucial to look at the data to see how everything is performing. Are the chosen tactics working as intended? What’s the return on ad spend? Constantly monitor analytics to see how marketing is performing, and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Step 6: Cultivate Good App Store Rankings

These days, everyone’s a critic. Apps are no exception to this impulse.

But, successful mobile app marketing means cultivating this impulse. As a marketer, your goal should be to cultivate and encourage good reviews, and to respond to negative reviews in a meaningful and timely fashion.

Why bother with reviews in the first place? Because it’s critical for discovery and awareness. Over 60 percent of apps are found by people through the app store search feature, and apps with good reviews are more likely to appear higher in search results than ones with mostly negative or lukewarm reviews.

To get these coveted good reviews, it helps to have a good app that people like! While some people will be compelled to leave reviews on their own volition, it often helps to ask for reviews (good, bad or indifferent) through push notifications, emails or social media posts. But, never pay for reviews or discourage negative reviews, as this can be off-putting to end users and get you in trouble with the app stores.

Step 7: Always Market Your Apps to Existing Mobile Users Too

If you’re just marketing to potential new users, then you’re ignoring a huge audience: your existing user base. Just because someone has already decided to download your app doesn’t mean you can ignore them in your marketing plan.

For too many apps, attrition rates are high. Over half - 59 percent to be exact - of people will delete an app within the first month of downloading it. After two months, that figure climbs to 68 percent.

To help keep churn to a minimum, make sure you are marketing to existing app users at a regular cadence. This helps to keep your app top of mind, ensuring more continual use. Push notifications, retargeted advertising, emails and social media posts can all help in this endeavor.

And, if and when someone does churn, aim to have a separate marketing plan in place for bringing them back in the fold. Incentives and retargeting can help here, along with similar reminders highlighting why they might have downloaded the app in the first place.

Step 8: Make Sure Your Marketing Efforts To Your User Base Leverage Different Tactics and Approaches

Unlike The One Ring from Lord of the Rings, there is no one to rule them all - at least in the realm of mobile app marketing tactics. Likely, you’ll need to deploy, monitor and maintain a wide variety of approaches. Not only do some app users need multiple touchpoints from you before they become paying customers, but what works for one segment of your user base may not work for others.

Experiment with different tactics within your marketing campaigns, and diligently track progress. You may be surprised to see what works for some people but not for others, and how different tactics work at different times of the year.

Step 9: Consider Developing a Press Kit

In mobile app marketing, sometimes it’s beneficial to enlist the help of relevant writers, bloggers and journalists. To make their life easier so they can make your life easier, provide them with a top-notch press kit. This press kit should be informative, engaging and easy to find online. This can help your app get discovered, as it provides good fodder for industry coverage and reviews.

Step 10: Ensure Your App Doesn’t Succumb to Problems

The best apps help to market themselves. The viral game sensation Flappy Bird is a great example of this in action. Apps that are simple, effective, intuitive, interesting, unique and engaging are the ones most likely to become smash hits.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. Nothing is perfect, and issues will inevitably arise.

But, these are not just problems for developers or product teams - they’re problems for marketers too. It’s much easier to market an app that works well and functions as intended, as opposed to one that is glitchy, heavy and/or provides an unsatisfactory user experience.

Mobile app marketing isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder every day as more and more apps come online. But, by following these 10 steps, app marketing teams can be sure they are on the road to success.

About The Author:

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, supporting the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.

Additional posts by Matt:

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