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Mobile technology is continually advancing annually at rates we cannot fathom. Smartphones are now incredibly smaller, lighter, and jam-packed with cutting-edge features. This is partly thanks to Moore’s law which predicted the significant technological advancement about every two years, and the fact that mobile phones have become part and parcel of our daily lives. Mobile phones have changed our lives so much that it’s now easier for business people and consumers to leverage mobile applications to perform their respective activities 24/7. A clear testament to the mobile evolution is that more businesses are centering their strategies around mobile penetration and marketing to grow.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 1How cellphones have transformed over time. Image Credit: qualcomm.com

However, despite the role smartphones and apps play in the new world order, one thing remains clear, unless one’s app has visibility and publicity, it’s totally worthless. According to TechCrunch, App Stores had over 218 Billion app downloads in 2020 as consumers spent approximately $143 Billion on mobile apps. Check out this article for more interesting stats. Anyway, this spells that virtually anyone can create a simple app and publish it to app stores, but the more considerable challenge is getting the users to discover and utilize the app.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 2Mobile App Downloads over the years. Image Credit: financesonline.com

Since most app stores do not provide enough instant market visibility for mobile apps, it usually comes down to the app developer or owner to take the mantle and promote their app. But fret not! During the course of this article, we shall offer some practical and effective approaches to free app promotion, so, without further ado, let’s delve in!

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 3Image Credit: freepik.com

Effective App Promotion Techniques

1. Construct a Great App Landing Page

Generally speaking, the development of a landing page might seem obvious to many, but that’s far from the truth. A landing page typically lends an aura of authenticity and trust to your app, but it’s an approach typically ignored. Actually, building a pre-launch landing page in conjunction with a teaser video can be a worthwhile early app promotion technique. In essence, to build hype around the app, a great landing page is a must-have for any business, almost serving as a business card. So, carefully consider creating a simple teaser website a month or two before your app launch to gather email addresses of people who would like to be informed when the app launches. Easy peasy, right?

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 4Asana Rebel, a fitness app, maintains a simple but intuitive landing page. Image Credit: asanarebel.com

2. Smarter Targeting

One of the ignored aspects of mobile app promotion is effecting smarter targeting. When talking about targeting, we usually relate with the basics – phone models, operating system, country location – but tend to forget the more obvious elements. 

For example, we fail to carefully consider whether our app promotion efforts should be meant for a particular market segment like teens or millennials. Furthermore, which phone models or apps are particularly popular with that segment. Targeting essentially narrows down our scope for maximum results. For instance, targeting can enable you to analyze pre-identified market segments that make sense, to affirm or disqualify your underlying market predictions.

For context, in an old-fashioned post-office-based mail system, one would never mail an entire list of men aged 50+ to market a product targeted to women aged 18-25, right? So, why should it be acceptable with app promotion? If you can use informed data to affirm your strategy, then why not!

For instance, carry out investigations within your targeted area to identify users who only utilize Wi-Fi or mobile data and perceive how it could affect your overall sales performance. Unfortunately, many apps don’t make such considerations forgetting that coverage issues may impact consumers’ decision to download an app. All things considered, consumers conveniently surfing on their high-speed home or business networks might be more inclined to download your app, than those always looking for a single bar of 3G coverage. These are the simple targeting approaches you can employ for free, easy to test, easy to prove, or disqualify.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 5As a form of audience segmentation, you can investigate behavioural patterns of potential users. Image Credit: appflyer.com

In essence, Geofencing or location retargeting is an excellent method to exploit physical locations or visitation patterns to choose an attainable target. For example, if promoting a shopping app, find ways to target mall locations or areas with frequent retail visitors. Promoting a travel app, devise a means of targeting airports, hotels, and rental car locations that offer a high composition of frequent travellers. Here are a few free tools you can utilise for geo-fencing. In practice, people who often utilize their phones in relatable places are probably good candidates for your app.

3. Choosing the Right App Category in the App Store

Related to the above point, carefully selecting the right category for your within the app store app is imperative. This is fundamental since some categories tend to be more competitive than others. While some may share similarities, they could bring different outcomes towards your goal, for example, Health & Fitness or Medical categories. 

Then again, statistics already show us that some app categories are more popular by their nature. For instance, in 2020, education, entertainment and gaming categories were known to be widely popular amongst millennials. However, the most notable concentration of mobile apps in the Apple Store is in the gaming category. So, maybe choosing popular categories might bring measurable results or work against you, experiment and find out. You can always change back to another category if the metrics don’t support your objectives.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 6Top 10 Google Play categories. Image Credit: appbrain.com

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that different categories experience volatility for a variety of reasons such as seasons and trends,depending on the time of the year. Either way, ensure to weigh the pros and cons of different categories before proceeding by comparing the app’s core features and the target audience. Additionally, don’t forget to add up to five tags relevant to your app.

4. Utilize Localization for More Downloads

There are a ton of non-English speaking nations on the planet where individuals prefer to utilize applications in their local language. While most apps are English-based, you could consider taking a non-English route to target different geography and culture. Numerous studies have shown that if an app is localized to dialects other than English, the number of application downloads it attracts can increase substantially. So, this might be an app promotion strategy worth trying.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 7An example of a localized app. Image Credit: medium @ShrutiSingh7

5. Intentional App Store Optimization

Put simply, Application Store Optimization or ASO is another field or subset of search engine optimization (SEO). Like its sister, SEO, ASO ensures that the information surrounding your mobile app is relevant and well structured so that the algorithms that drive app store rankings and search results can truly understand it. Though we have a lot of content on ASO, today’s focus will be a little different. As you seek to employ ASO, you can consider using Distimo, a free analytics service that provides advanced insight into all major app stores and integrates directly into apps to offer conversion tracking functionality that could be useful to improve your app’s ranking within any app store.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 8Difference between SEO and ASO. Image Credit: abigidea.in

The whole idea behind paying attention to ASO concerns the download velocity metric. Download velocity is relevant to rankings as it is estimated that one needs sustained downloads of at least 2-3K per day to maintain high rankings. So, if your mobile app is available in multiple countries, ensure to submit it to relevant app stores to ensure widespread distribution.

6. Leveraging Social Platforms for Mobile Games

Generally, social networks for mobile games enable ardent gamers to discover new apps through what is popular and what other gamers are playing. A few examples of social platform providers are: Openfeint, PapayaMobile, Fyber & Heyzap. This approach can work if your app is gamified or an upcoming game.

7. Exploiting Reviews

For the most part, reviews are highly effective for app promotion. Essentially, user reviews will not only help with your app rankings, but will also give you a clear perspective of how a large audience sees your app. In the event that users don’t share their opinions as frequently as you’d like, you can incentivize them to give their feedback. 

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 9Image Credit:inlogic.ae

Despite reviews impacting app store rankings, they also help with your app’s searchability, as users may view them before they get to an app store. This means that a poor rating can kill your promotion campaign before users get to your download page. So, as part of your app promotion strategy, identify app review sites that make sense for your category and encourage users to submit reviews.

8. Leverage the Blog Community

Ordinarily, blogs are truly useful when you need to build an audience for your product. To pull the best results out of the blog strategy:

  • Consider guest blogging on reputable websites.
  • Build your own blog (preferably on WordPress) to address topics relevant to your mobile app
  • Create a long-term blog as a subject matter expert that is focused on your niche.

Furthermore, once you have created a landing page/website for your app, ensure to have a regularly scheduled blog post to build up your SEO and authority. You can either create regular blog posts focused on your app, for example, ‘Top 5 Games’. Or have a relevant call to action at the end of every blog you write to invite your viewers to download the app. Additionally, a blog approach can be an excellent way to collect email addresses if you give users an e-book offering useful information in exchange for their email addresses.

9. Using Social Media Influencers

While it might seem like a stretch, social media influencers, especially YouTubers, can be used to great effect. Many of them have a following that trusts them; essentially, when they tweet, people not only sit up and take notice, but can make a message go viral.

That being said, you can consider using influencers’ ability to move masses to get your app out there. In particular, you can employ YouTube Brand Connect, Tomoson, and BuzzSumo to discover the content that people are talking about most, contact the content creators, and figure out how you can help each other. If you are smart about it, you can offer the influencers freebies, unlimited membership or something that doesn’t have to be monetary compensation. Everyone wants something, it’s just up to you to figure out.

10. App Directories

You can enlist your app on over 100 app directories on the interweb. Though some are paid, you can initially focus on the free ones before moving on to the paid listings. However, this methodology is a medium scale approach and with medium returns.

11. Leveraging Social Media

Web-based Media Platforms have enormous potential for promoting your application free of charge. In any case, you need to abstain from changing everything in exhausting and irritating pitches. Sharing commendable content will create bridges between you and your users that will keep going for quite a while later. Pick the most loved platform of your users and give them what they truly need to see there. For example, for Facebook Groups, you can offer bits of knowledge and insight into your application, such as fascinating videos or some unique features. 

12. Utilizing Quora and Reddit

App developers with low budgets should always focus on organic marketing efforts. That being said, Quora and Reddit are great places to start. Quora maintains over 300 million monthly unique visitors, while Reddit averages over 1.7 Billion monthly visitors.  Fundamentally, on both sites, people ask questions about what they are curious about, and users share answers or their own perspectives.

13 Effective Approaches to Free App Promotion 10The average number of monthly visitors on Reddit. Image Credit: statista.com

As such, app developers and owners can engage potential users via Reddit and Quora. Essentially, by writing helpful answers to questions related to their mobile app. Then in between these answers, placing links to their website or landing page. This can provide two-fold benefits: indirectly promoting your mobile app and increasing traffic to your website, thus positively affecting your SEO.  The same approach can also be employed for LinkedIn, a massive social network with 400 million business professionals.

13. Consider Alternative App Stores

Try not to overly depend on Google Play and App Store. In fact, there are different other application stores on the online market where you can upload your app. According to research, if an application is submitted on other generally less known stores, it could increase the expected downloads by 200% more in contrast to Google Play. Some of the great alternate app stores that you can consider are: GetJar, SlideMe, Opera Mobile Store, Amazon Appstore, AppBrain. For a comprehensive list, kindly check out our article here.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, general product promotion revolves around the 4Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. Effective app promotion is no stranger to the same principles. The ‘AIDA’ model, which represents ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action’, is also an applicable marketing model for mobile app promotion. Ultimately, the purpose of the aforementioned strategies is to create interest, desire, and consumers’ need to purchase or download your app.

As the application market is continuously growing, it is imperative to set promotion goals and target customers in order to determine which direction to take. So, carefully consider the above approaches. Additionally, ensure never to miss any promotion opportunity such as App Awards that take place online or Expos to showcase your app.

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