Blog_Featured_Image_of_Popsicle_Stick_HackThe web is your playground. Blogs? You could write them in your sleep. Emails? Easy as pie. SEO? You know every white hat tactic out there. You were born to be an online marketer baby. But as the months go by, you’re beginning to see a shift: your customers are moving away from websites to apps. Then your boss notices this trend too.

And, like a sudden clap of thunder, you now have a new responsibility: to manage your company’s mobile marketing campaigns.

Don’t sweat it! We’ll teach you how to traverse this new territory in no time. Here are seven hacks to help you make the switch from web wizard to app marketing master.

A Crash Course on App Marketing vs. Web Marketing

First things first, let’s clear up what app marketing is and how it differs from web marketing. Unlike websites, which are information-focused, apps are intuitive and interaction-oriented. That is, people use apps to accomplish tasks quickly, easily, and on-the-go.

As a result, app marketing is less about content and more about context. It’s about helping people move through conversion funnels. Your goal as a web marketer was to collect leads. Moving forward, your mission as an app marketer is to keep users engaged.

7 Essential App Marketing Hacks to Fast Track to the Top

Let’s not make app marketing harder than it has to be. Here are seven brilliant hacks to give you a head start on growing your app and implementing campaigns like a pro.

1. Use Free Online Tools to Improve Your App Store Ranking

People find apps to download by searching for keywords in app stores. Therefore, the mobile equivalent of search engine optimization is app store optimization (ASO). To gain more visibility on Google Play or Apple’s App Store, you need to earn high category and/or subcategory rankings by incorporating the right keywords into your app’s title and description.

Not sure what keywords to include? Try using free online tools, like Search Man, and you’ll get a plethora of data on which terms people are searching for, the volume of traffic each keyword drives, and how your app ranks versus competitors.

These free ASO graders will show you how to be efficient in your keyword targeting. For instance, does it make sense to incorporate generic, more frequently used keywords in your app listing or go after easier rankings on longer tail, less frequently searched terms?


2. Create Awesome Promotional Screenshots in PowerPoint

Another vital component of ASO is the quality of an app’s screenshots on its listing page. People want to get a sneak peak of your app so sure; you could just take screen grabs and put them up (that’ll do the trick). Or, you could spend a few additional minutes in PowerPoint/Keynote and turn these simple screenshots into phenomenal promotional graphics (that’ll make this section awesome).

Here’s the difference between screenshots and promotional graphics.

Basic App Screenshots


Branded Promotional Graphics


As you can see, promotional graphics have that touch of something extra because they contain elements of your brand’s identity, like colors and typeface. They also do a better job of communicating an app’s benefits and are more visually appealing to the casual app store browser.

Best of all, you can create these yourself without needing to pay for design work. Just hop over to your favorite graphics program and do the following:



3. Tactfully Ask App Users to Review and Rate Your App

Newbie app marketers thinking about ASO face a dilemma: how do you accumulate good app reviews (to solidify your ranking position), without annoying people? The answer doesn’t lie in sending an imploring, “Please rate us” in-app message to every single user you have. Nobody likes to be pestered, especially if they are new to your app and just want to explore. You have to be tactful when you make this request, otherwise you’ll unleash the 1-star wrath of annoyed users.


The folks at Circa News have cracked the code on the right way to ask users to review your app. In fact, their strategy got them 5-star ratings 90% of the time. Below, we’ve outlined their main takeaways so you can achieve similar success:

  • Build a great app
  • Don’t interrupt someone’s experience
  • Don’t pay for fake reviews
  • Don’t ask for an app rating after somebody has a bad experience with your app (ask for feedback for improvement instead)
  • Delay asking for a rating until a user has a good experience with your app (like after they have easily completed an in-app purchase)
  • Ask nicely, don’t beg
  • Ask a question (Enjoying *insert app name*?)

Here’s a great example of an app putting all of the above into action:


4. Optimize Ad Spend by Choosing an App Analytics Vendor that Offers Attribution Tracking

Now, as much you want to be a frugal app marketer, organic acquisition shouldn’t be the only strategy up your sleeve when it comes to gaining app users. Why? Because when executed properly, paid campaigns complement organic ones and they work faster to bring in new users (whereas organic tactics take a bit longer to accomplish and mature).

The key to optimizing your mobile ad spend is to pick an app analytics vendor that offers attribution tracking. This way, you’ll know what paid channels are bringing in engaged users (not just downloads), and have information to make smarter budget decisions.


5. Take Advantage of Push Notification Formulas

If you ever managed social media during your online marketing days, you’ll know that brevity and clarity are important when crafting communications. In the mobile world, you’ll need to apply this conciseness and wit when writing push notifications. (By the way, push notifications are alerts delivered to a user’s home screen when he or she is not actively using your app.)

Push messages need to be short and sweet, yet compelling enough to re-engage a latent user and bring them back to your app. Not to mention, push notifications should also be personalized because targeted alerts are opened 2x more.

Stumped on what messages to send? Take advantage of push recipes and simply fill-in-the-blanks.


6. Keep App Marketing Cheat Sheets Handy

When you’re surfing for information on app marketing, make sure you bookmark cheat sheets. Cheat sheets are usually single-page, handy-dandy summaries of important mobile principles. While they don’t contain detailed explanations, they function well as a go-to for quick references, answers, or best practices.


7. Set Up Automated App Marketing Campaigns

Finally, use smart app marketing automation to save time, maximize revenue, and scale your efforts. In your app marketing platform, set-up criteria to auto-enroll users into segments and nurture them with tailored push and in-app messages. This will help you ensure you never miss any opportunities to convert. Plus, you can use app marketing automation in all parts of your mobile strategy, from top-of-the-funnel new user acquisition tactics, to middle-of-the-funnel engagement ones, to bottom-of-the-funnel revenue goals. Check out these use cases to give you ideas on the different types of campaigns you can set-up.


Hacking for More Happy Users

It can be daunting to switch gears and embrace something as new and revolutionary as mobile marketing. But with these shortcuts, you’ll go from newcomer to savvy app marketer in no time. Best of all, these hacks will make your transition hassle-free while also bringing in tons of happy users.

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