10 Marketing Ideas for Your App

Most of the computer-literate public today suffer from “app burnout”. No matter how useful or entertaining your new app is, the average smartphone user hears about a dozen new “killer apps” each week. After awhile, users pretty much tune out the hype unless someone or something makes the app appealing to them.

If your app does something really well, the value proposition is already there - and all you need to do then is get people to try it. The old notion of “word of mouth” has become amplified today, with new media platforms such as social media, internet forums and instant messaging making it possible for news about a new app to go viral, spreading to hundreds of thousands of people within hours.

Check out this list of 10 marketing and growth hacks to get a few ideas about how to market your new app more effectively.

1. Go Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out: Airbnb

Define your target audience and track them down. Once you find out where they are, hitch a ride with whoever already has access to those people and tap into their resources to reach out to them. Learn how Airbnb leveraged Craigslist to give themselves a big initial marketing boost.

Establishing your target audience requires market research in creating your new app, a process that allows you to find the user demographics that are most suitable and likely to use your app. Read more about market research here.

2. Give Potential Customers a Taste of What You Have to Offer for Free: Uber

Offer your potential customers a free first-time experience of your product or service so they can see and enjoy the value for themselves. After experiencing an excellent service or product, there is no doubt that they will come back to you for more (paid, of course). They may even help market your brand through social media or on blogs. Uber did just that, and they successfully grew their user base as a result.

3. Offer Users a Solution to Their Problems: WhatsApp

There is no better way to attract users to your app than to offer a service that remedies a common problem they are facing. Targeting a proven pain point in an industry with your app can help you win over both consumers and business owners. This creates a win-win situation as people’s lives are made easier through the use of your app and you gain many new users. WhatsApp provided users with the solution to pricey mobile carrier plans, and eventually amassed a fortune worth a cool $22 billion dollars when Facebook bought it over.

4. Harness the Power of the Internet: Yelp

Social media is an excellent tool for driving brand awareness to a large audience over a short period of time at minimal cost. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust their family and friends’ recommendation on a product over all other forms of advertising, and today, social media is what drives this word of mouth marketing tactic. Yelp successfully developed an online network of reviewers, each with a profile and their own individual personality and taste, and within less than a decade, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange at a valuation of $900 million.

5. Adopt a Culture of Continuous Experimentation, Deployment and Optimization: Etsy

The key is to build an app with real value, excellent design and a positive user experience. You also need to have a system in place to continuously build and improve to keep users satisfied and to continue to grow your user base. For example, feedback mechanisms that allow you to listen to your users, and market research to keep in touch with user needs and market trends.

Etsy has been consistent in addressing user feedback, and updating and improving their services. Thus, users come to expect (and receive) a top quality experience when they visit Etsy. Read more about Etsy’s engineering team and how they manage their operations and management.

6. Be Cool: Facebook

Everybody wants to be cool. That’s the real secret behind Facebook’s phenomenal global growth over the last few years. It’s not just that Facebook enabled people to stay in touch better or keep up with the lives of their friends and family (both of these can be accomplished through many other methods), it’s that being on Facebook was being a part of the “in crowd” and anybody could do it for almost no cost and relatively little effort. If you can generate hype around your new app, as something “cool”, many thousands of people are going to want to have it even if they don’t really need it.

7. Leverage Friends and Family: Chick-fil-A

Use your social network to jump start your marketing. There are a number of ways to employ the willingness of friends and family to try out your new app, but the first thing you should do is ask several friends to download it and give you a five star review in the Google Play and Apple App stores. As marketing experts point out, over half of the apps in the Apple App store are not rated, so if you can just get five people in your network to give you a positive rating, then you will be officially rated, which almost always leads to a big boost in downloads of your app. Fast-food titan Chick-fil-A has become a cult favorite with over 2000 outlets despite its family roots in small-town Georgia and very limited marketing for the first decade or two of the chain’s existence.

8. Put Social Media Marketing to Work for You: Zappos

Zappos got its start selling shoes, but has expanded to include a broad line of clothing and accessories. Founder Tony Hsieh is well known as an experimenter and a futurist, and his business model for Zappos has focused on social media from the very beginning. Zappos is renowned for its thoughtful and engaging social media presence - contacting customers directly on their social media platforms with a personal touch, instead of ignoring them or giving robotic responses. In return, the company has been rewarded with millions of loyal customers.

Running impactful and continuous social media campaigns that help to draw attention to your new app on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds can be the snowball that eventually turns into an avalanche.

9. Get Visual with YouTube: Red Bull

If a picture is worth 1000 words, just imagine how much impact a slick, entertaining YouTube video has. This fact has not escaped savvy marketing teams, many of which (such as Red Bull with four million subscribers) have leveraged their YouTube channels to make gigantic sales and revenue. A short, dynamic marketing video on YouTube can lead to a nice bump in your app sales, especially if you post it at the same time your blogging and social media campaign kick off.

10. Take Advantage of the Reach of ‘Influencers’: Survival Life

Another effective marketing strategy is to work with influential bloggers to get the word out about your new app. A good plan is to contact at least a dozen well-known tech bloggers a month or so before you are ready to go live, and give them a copy of your app as well as a 500-600 word “cheat sheet” describing your app. If you’ve truly got a killer app, at least a few of the bloggers will be enthused enough to write about it in their blog, and then you’re off and running. Mega-blog Survival Life has transformed itself beyond a mere blog into a multi-million dollar survival accessory marketing platform that sells hundreds of different products.