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The Marketing Challenge of the Future: How to Get People to Download Your App

There is a challenge looming for marketers worldwide. Mobile is changing our landscape quickly and it’s flipping tables for marketing strategists. U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications, according to a new study released by comScore. So what does this mean for marketers? We must adapt to changing consumer habits, and we must do it now.

Currently, the only dependable way to drive app downloads is to pay, primarily through Facebook and Twitter ads. Hiten Shah, founder of KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg emphasizes that “paid Facebook ads are really the only key driver of app downloads.” This leaves marketers in the alarming predicament of being subject to the whims and demands of a company or two that serve as the only viable platform for app user acquisition. This is a problem that needs to be addressed in a major way. However, at this point in time, we still have some tactics at our disposal. How to get people to download your mobile app

1. Offer Something for Free

Everyone loves free stuff! Capitalize on people’s natural excitement over freebies by offering something for free- whether that be part of your product, or cold hard cash. Spoonrocket, a meal delivery service, gives out a free meal with a referral link. Lyft has offered free rides to and from events, to generate buzz. Square has given out $10, plain and simple. People will probably download the app- some to just cash in on the freebie, and some that will go on to become repeat users, at least that’s the hope.

2. Market Your App Prior to Launch

Your app has a much better chance of gaining traction when you create anticipation prior to launch, than if you release it and then try to drum up interest afterwards. Find relevant Internet forums, Meetup groups, and subreddits and make them aware of your upcoming product. Instead of being overtly promotional, start and keep a conversation going. You could receive helpful feedback and an opportunity to collect a database of potential customers. You could create an attractive landing page that communicates your message where people can sign up to get notified of the release.

3. Keep An Active Blog

Every company these days is jumping onto the content-marketing bandwagon. To stand out in a sea of click-bait and useless articles, you must write something that is worthy of sharing. This means that the information should be actually useful, interesting, and adds something to the discussion. The power of content marketing done right cannot be overstated. In the first year of its existence, Buffer added 100,000 users through employees writing blog posts and contributing to other blogs and publications. Mint famously grew to 1.5 million users mainly through the popularity of their personal finance blog.

4. Contribute to Other Blogs and Publications

While contributing to your own company’s blog is beneficial for getting the word out there about your app, it can take a long time to build a solid reader base, and even longer to convert them into users. You should strategically select established blogs that have a built-in readership, and pitch industry leaders in your app’s field to publish your posts.

The blogs that you should target are from the industry that your app is catering to. Help promote those articles as well as posts from your own blog, this not only helps the reach of the post and its SEO value but also can strengthen your collaborative relationship with the writer(s) and the respective publication.

5. Leverage your Online Influence

By contributing thoughtful posts to an online community, you can gain credibility and supporters. You can accumulate “Karma” points on Reddit, Hacker News, Quora, and other online communities by engaging with others and contributing. When you’ve established yourself as a valued contributor, you can then post something promotional for your app. The key is to post it where it would be valued by the audience. If your app would be popular with a niche, find that niche and win them over first.

6. Get Press

Getting coverage can be your lucky break and propel your app forward in a major way. Third-party endorsements hold weight, especially when the writer has a history of writing in your specific category. Public relations demands strategy, careful messaging, and persistence. Identify journalists that would be interested in covering an app, and journalists that have covered the field that your app caters to, and hopefully you’ll find a promising intersection of the two.

7. Make a VideoVideo marketing for mobile apps

A short, concise video that visually shows how the app can be used, set to a message that delivers on the core reason why people should use the app, can be extremely valuable. If your app demonstrates an ease of use and intuitive interface, it can be less intimidating for users to try it out and remove some of that initial hesitation. Having supplementary materials like a video can also make it easier to gain press and attention, furthering the goal of gaining new users.

8. Gain Endorsements from Influencers

Certain people have the ability to move crowds into action of downloading an app. For example, social media celebrity Kylie Jenner is highly influential with younger millennials. Kylie Jenner’s app saw 1.75 million downloads the first week it was live, based on reports from app store analytics firm Apptopia. Find the right influencers that speak to your target audience that would also like your product, and pitch them on giving your app a plug or endorsement. The right mention on social media or a blog post can do wonders who gaining interest and downloads.

Platforms such as Product Hunt, Beta List, and Hacker News are teeming with potential customers as well as a community that can influence others to check out your app. They give feedback and help spread the word. Many users also happen to be bloggers and early adopters. If they like your app, they can act as brand ambassadors and give it a seal of approval.

9. Utilize Social Media Channels

Build a following of users who are of your target market, influencers, and app enthusiasts and reviewers. Sharing relevant content regularly, and interact with your followers. Minimize the amount of strictly promotional posts, they will be less and less effective if people begin tuning them out if your account sounds like a broken record. Your social media presence is an opportunity to earn trust and transparency.

If your app is for money-management, then post tips on how much you should be saving in proportion to your income. Advice on how to save money on vacation. Real people’s financial problems and expert advice on how to solve them.

If your app is for finding and learning about nearby restaurants and bars, then share content related to the entertainment and food scene. Best restaurants to go for a first date. Bars with live music, and what days are best to come by. Hottest food trends and which restaurants serve them. Your content should be adding to your followers’ experiences, and create an environment where your app is more desirable.

10. Build Word of Mouth

The very best way to gain new app downloads, bar none, is through word of mouth. You want your user to excitedly tell his or her friends and family about your app. “You’re calling an Uber?” a user asks their roommate. “Call a Lyft instead, I’ll send you my code. You’ll get a free ride.” Boom. You have a new customer. “You’re still carrying around that planner? Check out the Google Calendar app. I use it all the time.”

We want these conversations to infiltrate friend group to friend group, co-worker to co-worker. However, the best way to gain users is also the most difficult. Your app must truly delight and provide an excellent user experience.

Focus on high-quality customer support to minimize any negative experiences that could put a damper on your reach. Add fun, unique, and memorable features that will put a smile on your user’s face. Slack’s charming and human-like messages add a bit of amusement into a workday. Food delivery apps add refreshed menu items each day, and offer a little piece of luxury like a artisan cold-brew coffee, ready to be delivered in minutes. These small extras can make your app downloads go for miles.

Thumbnail image via Shutterstock & YouTube image via Shutterstock

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