App Marketing Ideas for Challenger Brands

Once a status symbol, smartphones have now become the status quo.

Pew Research reports that 64 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and many rely on their smartphone for accessing the internet. Thirteen percent of Americans making less than $30,000 a year are dependent on their smartphones, and 15 percent of Americans ages 18-29 are heavily dependent.

Smartphones are an integral part of daily life, and that makes them a dream for digital marketing.

App development can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, but 26 percent of the time they flop with users downloading an app, using it once and never again according to Localytics. Ouch.

On the flip side, the same study found that another 26 percent of users build loyalty with the app and continue to use it more than 10 times. Yay!

Here are some ways to make your app stand out.

Use meticulous app store optimization. Make sure people can find your app by using intuitive language in the description and use simple, straight-forward keywords. Have a distinctive thumbnail or icon, and treat your app profile page with the same attention you would give to your website’s homepage. 

Give users a value prop. Apps take up valuable storage space and bandwidth on smartphones. Explain to users exactly why downloading the app is better or more convenient than visiting the website. How will it make their lives better?

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Alert existing customers. The ones who are already converts to your brand create a solid base to be the earliest adopters of your app. Entice existing customers with exclusive first access, provide an incentive for downloading the app, and encourage them to write a review.

Offer a sample. Offer a free or light version of the app for the user to try. Only 33 percent of mobile users are willing to pay for an app according to eMarketer, so by accepting a partial commitment you can build loyalty through use.    

Ping users to review the app. Leverage automation to remind users to create a review after a few uses or a certain period of time—enough time that they’ve had a chance to really experience the value of the app so they can provide useful feedback.

Read the reviews. Now it’s your turn. Pay close attention to the reviews your app is getting, and address the issues with exceptional customer service, or if the news is good, leverage the reviews to further market the app.

Make a video. Video is a powerful way to demonstrate the usefulness and functionality of your app, and there are limitless ways to share the video through social media. But remember to keep it short, less than a minute. Check out this example from Evernote.

Apply for awards. Awards such as Global Mobile, the Webby Awards and many others give your app third-party credibility that is priceless. It gives users more confidence in giving your app a go.

Create some buzz. Write a press release, and reach out to tech writers from blogs and traditional media or influencers with a big following. Give them a short introduction to your app and its bells and whistles. Explain how it’s different, innovative or cutting edge.

Promote beyond digital. Consider traditional channels for promoting your app. Advertise in places where users would find your app useful. For example, restaurants, promote the app as faster way to pick up your order. For games, identify places people might be bored.

Treat the launch of your brand’s app with the same importance as a product launch because once you’ve invested the time and money into its development, failure is not an option.