If you’ve devoted resources to creating a mobile app, the last thing you want is for it to languish in the App Store, or otherwise be ignored by your customers. Here’s some advice on how to help customers discover your app.
The app development marketplace is becoming crowded. From billboards to bus adverts, every conceivable means is now being used by big companies to help the public discover their apps. It’s more important than ever that you devote serious thought and time to creating a discovery program for your own app.
Remember: when you set out to develop your app, you had specific business goals in mind, such as increased revenue, cost savings, a return on investment or more footfall. (See my companion blog to this piece, Eight steps to building your business app. If you don’t proactively tell customers about your app, you’re unlikely to meet those goals and you may not even recover the development costs that went into the app.
For the businesses I work with, I always recommend that they define what their idea of success looks like before they get started. Most people believe success is being in the top 10 of the App Stores; however if you are a local business, these are not the right criteria for success and a top 10 spot might not be achievable or even desirable.
If you are a small business like a coffee shop, restaurant or hair salon, the definition for success might be either to be the top app in your local vicinity or to have 5,000 downloads in your local town or county. For a local business, other key measures of success might be if everyone’s talking about your app locally, or if you’re deepening engagements and dialogue with your customers through the app.
The five steps to marketing your app
Once you define what success looks like, here are the five steps for creating an effective apps discovery program:
1. Advertise on mobile. If your customer sees an ad for your app on their mobile when browsing the mobile internet, or if they receive a message or coupon, they’re more likely to download immediately via a call to action link on the mobile phone. Mobile is a highly effective channel for creating discovery, where you can target the right audience who can get your service there and then.
2. Traditional advertising. Are you already advertising in a local newspaper or local websites? You may want to even consider TV or radio. Don’t forget to mention your new app in any traditional ad outlets you’re already using.
3. Existing assets. Don’t forget to mention your apps on your packaging, flyers, in-store signage, or existing communications with customers like your newsletter. You might also direct mail by e-mail or send an SMS message to your database of customers. Use all your existing company touch points with customers.
4. Social media. Talk about your new app on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages or even locally on Boards.ie, and consider spending some money on social media advertising. This is a cheap and effective medium with viral capability.
5. Public relations. Write a press release and send it to journalists, bloggers, your local paper, e.g. Silicon Republic or any other outlet or industry-specific media which already has an audience that matches your targeted customer base.
For some companies, promotion doesn’t come naturally, and they are reluctant to look as if they are blowing their own horn. But remember: your mobile app was conceived from the ground up to be useful and helpful to customers. They do want to know about it – so don’t hesitate to speak up.
Have you come across innovative ways that companies can spread the word about their mobile app?
Mike Creaven is managing director of Quantum Touch, maker of the Smart Appys app builder system.
Keywords: mobile apps, discovery program, Facebook advertising, twitter advertising, direct mail, mobile marketing, App Store, business apps, SMS marketing, bulk SMS