Mobile App Marketing Life Stages

Mobile’s tremendous impact has been recognized,it’s an essential part of the business, and customers demand and expect a mobile app to be a major touchpoint between them and their favorite brands. In fact, 90% of the time spent on mobile devices is devoted to app use alone, making it clear that customers prefer to shop and interact with brands in a mobile environment rather than other channels. So it’s important to have an intuitive mobile shopping experience.

Marketing and cross-platform promotion are incredibly important in creating brand awareness, acquiring users, and building an audience for your app. If you’ve already spent time, effort, and money on conceptualizing and building your app, the next step is to market your product and make it a success.

A Mobile App product has three marketing life stages:

Pre-launch: Build Awareness

Launch: Focus on App Store Optimization

Post launch: Build and Maintain User Engagement

Pre-launch: Build Awareness

Ask yourself the following:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What outcome are you seeking?

It’s important to refine your target audiences precisely even if you already identified these target markets when you researched your idea. Reaching a niche audience—one that will respond positively to your app—may be the most effective way to spark word-of-mouth buzz.

From there, decide what your primary objective is: Do you want to achieve the widest possible reach? Focus on building active users? Maximize revenue? The answer to this question affects what marketing channel choices you should make—to buy reach or to encourage repeat visits.

Identifying your main objective will help inform your budget and investment requirements. If your app is initially free while you focus on building the largest possible audience, you’ll need the funds, via investment or otherwise, to support this approach since you won’t be generating revenue at the outset.

Take the time to carefully think through this process; your decisions will drive your marketing program. Your marketing plan must be closely aligned with a business plan that can fund it; both are crucial and shouldn’t be considered in isolation of the other.

When creating your marketing plan, you should research and set out the following items:

  • An analysis of your current market
  • Your business objectives
  • Key marketing strategies
  • Steps to achieving your objectives
  • Proposed budget
  • Timing

The key marketing strategies you should consider are:

  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Building an online presence through a website
  • List building
  • Engagement via social media
  • The launch party

Launch: Focus on App Store Optimization

You’ll need to fight hard for your place in the app store. According to Distimo, only 2% of the top 250 publishers in Apple’s App Store are “newcomers.” It’s a similar story in Google Play for Android apps—only 3% of publishers are new.

The app store launch should be your main focus at this point since getting it right is likely to be the single most important factor influencing the success of your app.

App Store Optimization

In their white paper on mobile marketing, Apppli reported that 60% of downloads come from organic searches in the app store. Making sure people can discover your app is crucial.

App store optimization is your positioning and how people will find your app in the app stores. It consists of five main elements:

  • The name of the app
  • The app icon’s design
  • The wording: the right keywords, description, and what’s new sections
  • Useful screenshots
  • App reviews

It’s a good idea to find at least 10-12 of your friends and family members to help you test and improve on the iterations of your app. Once your launch date draws closer, encourage them to spread the word about it and help build interest in your launch.

In his book Grouped, Paul Adams, who was Facebook’s Global Head of Brand Design, reports that certain individuals are influencers who are more trusted and have greater sway within their social groups than others within those same groups. Try to include as many of these types of people in your test group as you can. It’ll help maximize the social reach of your app’s launch.

Post launch: Build and Maintain User Engagement

Once your app has been launched, you’ll need to continue to create awareness and engagement. If you’re really lucky, early adopters will like some aspect of your app enough to talk about it and recommend it to their friends. Word of mouth is the holy grail of marketing. It’s not only free but also has been measured to be 2-3 times more effective than a promotion you’d run directly because people assign a higher level of trust to a referral.

In addition, you should be prepared to monitor reviews in the app store to pinpoint bugs or issues and resolve them quickly. If users experience bugs, it will result in low ratings for your app and can impact your search visibility. Newly updated apps are more discoverable—and potentially more visible—which is why a focus on fixing bugs can give your app a boost and contribute to future success.

Also, continue to monitor and maintain your social media channels. Be sure to mark milestones with PR efforts and engage with your users. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and consider how you could improve upon it. Take note of any good marketing efforts you see and think about how you might replicate them.

The goal is to ensure the people who would be the most interested in your app know about it. By maintaining this focus, you’ll be able to get the best achievable return on investment no matter if you’re measuring it in dollars or time.

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