How to Market Your App: Crafting a Winning Strategy

A group meeting to discuss how to market your app

With the proliferation of smartphones and the surge in app development, creating a compelling mobile application is just the first step; the real challenge lies in effectively promoting and reaching the target audience, highlighting how to market your app successfully. Mobile app marketing is not merely an option but a critical component that can determine the success or failure of an app.

You can talk all you want about channels and tactics, influencer engagement, social media, or whatever current marketing buzzwords are making the rounds. But when it comes down to it, the fundamentals of marketing still apply. This is why putting together a strategic marketing plan is a cornerstone to having a successful app. Let’s take a moment to revisit some marketing fundamentals and discuss how they apply to developing a winning strategy to marketing your mobile app.

Conduct Market Research

A good place to start developing a strategic marketing plan is to conduct some market research. Ideally, you’ll have done this stage to some degree prior to actually building your app, but once the app is ready to be launched and marketed, it’s a good idea to revisit your research.

Typically, market research includes identifying and analyzing your competitors in order to identify gaps and opportunities in the marketplace. To do this, make a list of your top 3-5 competitors. Take a look at their website and apps and list out their features and benefits. Look through their messaging and try to identify what their Unique Selling Points (USPs) are. You can also look up customer reviews to get a sense of what people like and dislike about the app and where, perhaps, their USPs are failing to meet customer expectations.

Another crucial component is understanding who your target audiences are. This can include demographic information, such as age, gender, marital status, household income, etc., but it’s also a good idea to try to gain a more in-depth understanding and to define “personas.” Personas are essentially representations of different groups of people who have different interests, concerns, etc. Developing these will help you pinpoint your messaging for each group, making your marketing efforts more effective and efficient. Finally, try to identify other media and social networks your personas prefer. That could be TV shows, mobile games they play, Instagram, etc. This will help inform which channels you should focus your efforts on.

Create a Marketing Strategy and Plan

Once you’ve done sufficient market research, you can start putting together your strategy. The first step in any marketing strategy should be to outline what you’re setting out to accomplish, i.e., your goals. Goals need to be realistic, attainable, and measurable. They should include not only revenue goals but also lead and customer acquisition (if applicable to your business), customer engagement, and brand recognition.

Another key part of your strategic mobile app marketing plan is to determine the messaging. This isn’t your company slogan or tagline or even a tagline for a single ad. Instead, look at messaging as the set of messages that will move your prospective customers through the sales funnel. If you’ve done your market research, you should have a good handle on your personas and their pain points. Focus your messaging around how your app solves or eases their pain points.

Next, think about the different channels and tactics where you’ll be marketing your app. Today that can be a dizzying exercise, with an almost infinite number of channels across the internet as well as traditional media. The key here is to choose the channels where your marketing will have the most impact. And, if you’ve done your research on your audiences, you should have a good idea of where they spend most of their time online, what type of content they like, and other crucial information that can inform your channel choices. Be sure to think about both online and offline channels as you develop this part of your plan. That might include traditional advertising on television, radio, or outdoors, but it could also include tradeshow appearances or sponsorships, networking events, etc.

In terms of tactics, think of these as the approach you take on each channel. One channel might require a more serious approach, while a different channel might be more playful. While posting silly brand-focused memes on Instagram, for example, you wouldn’t necessarily post those same memes on LinkedIn.

For mobile apps, there are a handful of proven tactics that are worth considering. These include:

App Store Optimization: 

This is the practice of optimizing your app’s presence on mobile app stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play. This practice will help your app gain visibility, attract members of your target audiences, and ultimately increase downloads. This tactic includes optimizing the keywords used in your app description and titles, encouraging existing users to leave positive reviews of your app, and optimizing the category your app appears.

Paid User Acquisition: 

A common practice is to pay for traffic on large social networks, search engines, and/or display advertising networks. This tactic focuses on the top of the sales funnel and often takes the broadest approach. That said, be sure to inform any paid user acquisition campaigns with information from your personas. Ad networks have gotten quite sophisticated today, and you can now buy many digital ad placements based on user criteria that only show your ads to people who meet those criteria.

Content Marketing & Public Relations: 

Content marketing can be one of the most affordable ways to gain visibility for your app. By creating and distributing content that’s relevant to your audiences, you can engage both prospective and current customers. Additionally, you may want to consider developing a public relations campaign to help gain visibility for your app. That means reaching out to bloggers and websites to review your app, but it could also include pitching stories to traditional television and print media that are relevant to your brand.

Influencer Marketing: 

Being exposed to social proof of a product is often a key buying factor for many customers, and apps are no different.

Finally, once all of these aspects of your plan are fleshed out, you can start building out a marketing timeline. A good approach here is to divide the calendar year into quarters, with each quarter having a particular focus or theme. Then, you can schedule content, advertising, outreach, events, etc., around each theme.

Measure and Optimize

One of the most important yet often overlooked aspects of marketing is measuring results and optimizing your strategy as needed. Tracking and measuring results will tell you pretty clearly what’s working and what isn’t, enabling you to make informed decisions on how to adjust your campaigns.

The first step is to decide which metrics you want to track. Some common ones that apps track include (but are not limited to):

·       Downloads

·       User Acquisition Cost

·       Cost per Install

·       Retention Rate

·       Churn Rate

·       Daily/Monthly Active Users

·       Conversion Rate

It’s often best to choose 3-5 key metrics for you to really focus on. Base your decision of which metrics to track on your business needs. For example, if paid downloads are your main source of revenue, then obviously, downloads are important. But if your app revenue is driven by in-app purchases or advertising, then daily and monthly active users are far more important.

We highly recommend paying close attention to your metrics and optimizing campaigns based on the data you collect. If one channel appears to be faltering, then perhaps it’s time to invest in another channel. If a particular message that worked well in the past starts to fall short of expectations, then it’s probably a good time to reformulate your messaging. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening with your marketing campaigns so that you don’t waste time and money.

Putting It All Together

Developing a robust marketing strategy is critical to the success of a mobile app in today’s competitive landscape. From conceptualization to launch and beyond, careful planning, thoughtful execution, and adaptability to evolving trends will ultimately be the difference between success and failure. Understanding your target audiences, crafting a compelling app store presence, and leveraging various marketing channels are essential elements that can elevate your app’s visibility and drive downloads.

But remember: Creating a marketing strategy isn’t a one-time thing. It’s something that needs to be revisited and re-evaluated on a regular basis to take advantage of shifting tactics, channels, and user needs over time.

Looking for some fresh ideas to drive engagement with your mobile app? Aragon Premium may be the agency partner you are looking for. We are a trusted partner for many brands and have mobile marketing expertise to expand your user base. We’d be happy to collaborate with you and help your app succeed.