Mobile industry is in its boom today and a lot of businesses as well as individuals are riding the wave to gain benefits from the ever growing popularity of mobile applications which seem to help people in any sphere of live.

Enticed by the always expanding audience of mobile users, businesses, both related and unrelated to mobile development, have tapped into the mobile industry to discover lots of marketing opportunities.

The problems of development, launching and getting the most out of mobile applications are acute as never before. The main issue though is how to make as many users as possible actually use the application after lots of development efforts. So promotion of mobile apps seems to be a key to success.

There are three major mobile platforms to focus on when it comes to creating and promoting mobile applications. We are talking about Apple, Android and Windows. Apple and Android are obviously the most popular platforms with millions of users all over the world enjoying rather convenient online services designed to distribute mobile applications both from original platform creators and third parties.

User friendly Apple’s App Store, which in fact is a leading resource of such kind boasting of 80% of all app searches happening there, and Google Play have been engaging more and more users to utilize mobile applications in a much larger scale than the mobile web. Such stores make it possible and convenient for mobile users to find all kinds of applications for business, education and entertainment. The application popularity plays an important role in how the app is displayed and ranked in the corresponding application listing pages and search results. Therefore making your application popular is a key factor of mobile marketing success. So how do we make our application popular enough to have a decent rate in the store?

Applications are listed in different categories and sections of app stores and are ranked on the basis many factors of which the most important are quantity of downloads within 3-4 days and the actual users’ activity with this or that application. It’s a no-brainer that an application publisher should engage users through online and off-line channels in order to ensure a decent number of downloads and thus the application rate growth. The rate does not only impact the location of your application in different app store sections but it also seems to be a search ranking factor for searches done in the store. And we all know that ranking on the first 2 pages in search results based on your relevant keywords is one of the most powerful marketing achievements any online business can get. If you are lucky enough and your app is attention worthy, your product might end up being featured in the Editors’ Choice section which will definitely boost the application rank. All that said, we can now delve into strategies of promoting mobile applications.

The application promotion strategy includes a number of actions which are pretty much common for any online marketing activity. The strategy comprises the following points:

  1. Creating a solid, user-appealing content to target the audience which is likely to use the product;
  2. Using the power of advertising;
  3. Search engine optimization;
  4. Getting reviews and building awareness of the product;
  5. Exploring possibilities of affiliate programs and brand partnership;
  6. Participating in specialized forums;
  7. Going social;
  8. Leveraging existing channels;
  9. Incentives and rewards;
  10. Improvements and updates

High Quality, User-Appealing Description and Other Content

A good description and attention-grabbing content can easily nudge users into purchase or subscription. The application icon is the first thing a user sees in the app store, so it is advisable to consider an interesting and meaningful design for the icon as this is first item introducing the app and giving the idea about it. The application detail page should contain a solid description listing the benefits which might be especially valued by your targeted audience. Also make sure you accompany the copy with the best screenshots and other images to attract the users.

good content and description for mobile app

The Power of Advertising

Although advertisement requires investments, it is actually the fastest and the easiest way to build initial awareness of the application as well as to start getting first users. So you can start targeting your potential users through ads placed on relevant resources. App publishers can use either traditional advertising networks such as Google AdWords to advertise on web or consider some mobile ad networks such as Admob or inMobi for ads to appear on mobile devices. The majority of advertising networks offer a few advertising model options such as Cost per Mille, which is the cost for every thousand impressions of the ad, or self-explanatory Cost per Click. It’s up to advertiser to choose which works best for his/her advertising campaign. As a rule, the final choice is made after some experiments and performance analysis, although many advertisers prefer mixing and matching various models. Leveraging the power of advertising is a wise way to get the mobile application off the ground and ensure the initial growth of its popularity with users.

Search Engine Optimization

Any person running his/her business through online channels wants the business to be found through search engines because search engines bring the most targeted and cheap traffic an online business owners can ever get. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is known to be able to boost web page ranks in search engine results.

SEO is a rather sophisticated process but its main and the most basic ingredients include good copy containing the major keywords and phrases (on-page SEO) and getting inbound links from other relevant websites (off-page SEO).

The on-page SEO best practices suggest copywriting which takes into consideration search queries that a user might enter to find a product like yours. Imagine yourself a user who is interested in your product. Now ask yourself what you would insert into the search box to search for something your application can provide solution for. Make sure to include your major keywords in the Page Title (ask you webmaster or SEO consultant if you are not sure how to do it yourself) which should be rather compact (preferably up to 64 characters with spaces) while containing all important information for users. The Meta Description allows for bigger text (around 155 characters with spaces) and, if written well, it can positively influence the click through rare of your page as the Meta Description is displayed along with the Page Title in the search snippet on search engine result pages.

When writing a title and description for a web page about your application, you should take into consideration whether your application is fun, or extremely useful for representatives of certain professions or those who share the same interest, or whether your application helps learn something or makes either business or people’s daily routine more efficient and trouble-free. You should be able to outline the search-worthy benefits of the application through keywords both in title and the copy on the webpage.

Backlinks (a.k.a. inbound links) are also important for improving your website ranking in search engines. The natural link building process is when your product is good and popular enough that people tend to link to your website from their blogs and forums. However, when it is the case with a new application, you have to accelerate things by trying to get links from other sites back to yours. You can do it by participating in relevant forums where you can insert links in the signature section, commenting on blogs related to your industry inserting links to your site in the corresponding field of the comment box, writing articles with links to your site etc. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Do not spam and openly advertise in comments and forums. Only relevant and useful information is acceptable;
  • In order to make sure your backlink profile has a natural pattern, a small percentage of links pointing to your website from other sites should contain your major keywords in their anchors (link texts), the bigger number of inbound links should contain your brand name and the largest percentage of inbound links should be a simple page URL (a web page address such as www.myappsite.com);
  • Use only relevant and high quality websites to leave links pointing to your site;

Creating the entire websites or landing pages dedicated to a promoted product is a good SEO practice which you can consider when starting your marketing campaign to promote your newly developed application.

Getting Reviews and Awareness Building

There must be websites which are well known in your industry and related to your app category. You can find hundreds or even thousands of blogs and forums if your app belongs to one of popular categories such as fashion, lifestyle, food, gaming etc. You can easily find communities with a lot authority to leverage in promoting your application. You can either approach such influencers through active participation and valuable contributions to their sites (comments, reviews, non-spamy forum activity) or advertising on their resources.

Another way to improve awareness of the product is to grab attention of a large number of people outside online communities. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Advertise both online and off-line;
  • Be creative or even shocking if necessary;
  • Actively distribute your creative materials online and off-line (interesting graphics, artworks, photos, creative ads, infographics, videos, t-shirts etc.);
  • Insert QR-codes when advertising off-line.

creative qr-code to advertise mobile application

Affiliate Programs and Brands Partnership

A good partnership can be a driving force for your mobile application marketing campaign. It’s easy to imagine that if you were an engineering calculator application developer, you could possibly partner with a construction materials seller to sell or even give away your application to contractors buying things related to construction and engineering. Or if you owned an educational application, you could naturally partner with a book seller to make his book selling offerings even more attractive by including a free or discounted version of your application to all book orders. Well, I guess you’ve got the idea.

Participating in Specialized Forums

There is no lack of websites dedicated to discussion and reviewing mobile applications. Such forums are never to be ignored by wise application marketers. You can find plenty of such resources with a single search in Google, but I would like to mention some of them in this article:

148apps.com
MIiPadApps.com
TheDailyAppshow
theiPhoneAppReview
AppRater
Apptism
FreshApps

You can help bloggers and other connoisseurs get the idea about your upcoming or newly released application by creating a video review on Youtube and/or other similar platforms.

Going Social

Social networking is getting more powerful when it comes to promoting things. Make sure you create corresponding pages for your brand and/or application on today’s most loved social networks such asFacebook, Twitter and Google+. You should regularly post updates on your products and overall developments in your industry. Here are a few tips:

  • Your updates must be less advertising but more informational and/or entertaining;
  • Invite your friends to follow you and place buttons linking to your social pages on your websites and blogs;
  • Ask your employees to follow your marketing team’s social activity and encourage them to invite their friends to follow the updates too;
  • Make videos for Youtube/ Vimeo and distribute them across social networks.

Leveraging Existing Channels

If you manage to create or get created a mobile application, then you probably have a business which is likely to already have a customer base. So, you have already acquired certain data such as contact addresses etc. Now you can use the data for the release (pre-release) announcements and updates through direct mail, e-mail, SMS etc.

Another way to expand your user data is to run a competition which requires entering some contact information for users to participate. You can also ask for people’s opinion (through votes or something along these lines) in a pop-up window containing fields to indicate contact information when closing the application.

And, of course, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube are your best pals to help you in attracting users.

Incentives and Rewards

All kinds of virtual rewards provided in the application help drive interest in the app and produce an exciting feeling of competition and desire to reach goals. It’s needless to explain why such reward and incentive features make even a simplest application more fun and worth being talked about.

Improvements and Updates

Your subscribers are very likely to be happy about using an application which constantly evolves to offer a better user experience. The happier current users are the more chances the application has to grow even more popular.