A wise man once told me, “great marketing does not mean creating a product, sprinkling the information around and praying that someone comes across it. Great marketing means building a story, creating a journey where you take your customer along with you on a ride that eventually benefits both of you.” What I want to convey is the biggest mistake app marketers make is they simply start focusing on downloads right from the beginning and what I think they should be doing is making a larger plan, a story, a customer journey on how they plan to pick a random stranger and convert them into a customer. That, in my opinion, is the foundation of all app marketing and growth hacking plans.
Predictions have it that by the beginning of 2018, the number of app downloads would reach around 300 Billion resulting in $80 Billion revenue for the app developers. This information pretty much makes it clear that apps are serious business and if your business does not already have one then go ahead and get one developed for you. Assuming you have one, get this—the number of downloads is growing rapidly and so is the usage. Which basically means that your competition is growing at a rate faster than you can imagine and if you are looking to grow your app and make your mark in the plethora of other apps out there, you will have to put extra efforts from all ends and strategize your marketing in a way that you eventually growth hack user acquisition for starters.
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Let’s figure what steps are essential to get started with growth hacking for your app:
- Positioning and Target Market: Who is your app for? How large is the group that maybe interested in your app? How many competitors are there? If the competitors are too many, are you smart enough to position your app in a way that creates a new market entirely? Knowing the answer to these questions is the key. The more you know about your market and your customer, the better chance you have at growth hacking.
- Build a story: If you start telling people what your app is about and how many features it has, no one is going to give a damn about it. Create a story that involves spreading awareness about the need people will have and presenting them with a solution that includes your app.
- Attracting Strangers: By now you know your target market and you’re ready with your story, now is the time to map out the strategy of attracting strangers to notice your app and download it. Here are the important tactics you must master to master user acquisition:
- App Store Optimization: Studies have shown that majority of the apps are discovered accidentally through searching app stores. Unlike search engine algorithms, best practices or app store search algorithms are not available for public so the best way to go about it is by sticking to the basics: Keywords, Downloads and Ratings. The better the ratings are, the more the chances of app being found are. Of course, the keywords being used are equally important—they should not be generic and must focus on the target market specifically
- Search Engine Optimization: Most people still take the traditional path of searching apps—by typing in keywords such as app for doing A, best app for B, in the search engines. Although very simple but an extremely important step that you must take—you simply need a great landing page, a few content posts and get as many back links as you can to optimize your search results
- Offline Promotions: Go to fairs, events, conferences and hand out flyers, pamphlets, cards notifying people how your app can benefit them. Get PR, the process is like any other activity, and spread awareness. Use email database, if you have one, and run an email campaign offering features that might help those users
- Social Campaigns: There are hundreds of groups on all social media platforms that have users that may have an interest in your app. Target them with your content. Most importantly, enable social sharing at multiple stages/events in your app and influence them to share your app on social media platforms
- Word of Mouth: Build a great app and people will automatically spread awareness. They all want to be the first to tell people about a good app, which makes them feel important and special. Leverage this psychology and let your app go viral and while you’re at it, enable in-app referral campaigns which in addition to bringing in new users also provide benefit to both.
- Advertising: Of course this is strictly for those who can afford this. Knowing one’s target market makes it easy to create advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook and even on app stores.
- Displaying App in Stores: People have started arriving to your app on app stores. Do you want them to go away without downloading your app? Yeah, so you got to cover these points as well:
- Name: “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare said. EVERYTHING, is the answer. The name is the first thing users will notice when they spot your app in the store. Does it stand out? Is it attractive? Will it make the users click on it for more details? Is it short and self-explanatory? Yeah, you get the gist
- Icon: Well, I do not want to sound frivolous here but the colors you choose in your icon can either make or break the brand of your app. Think of all the top apps you use, what colors do their icons have? Think of the last app store search you did, what was the color of icons of the apps you checked out? Are all of them bright and glossy? Or are some black and white? Do some research, find out what colors would your target market prefer, colors that suit your vertical and the colors that would stand out in the competition
- Description: In most of the cases, like in around 90% of the cases, the users would read only the first few lines of the description. Reason? Sometimes they don’t have the patience and sometimes they don’t care to click on view more. So what should go in those two lines? Either something that shows off your app’s achievements or simply why should one download it, in clear, crisp and succinct language
- Screenshots: Devil lies in the detail. Screenshots make the final impact as they give a preview of how the different screens and features are going to look in your app. Unless they are convincing, it is unlikely people are going to download your app
- Reviews: I agree that you will get reviews only after people download your app. But you will get good reviews only after you ensure that your app is great and the user experience is seamless and fantastic. The first thing people go ahead and read are the bad reviews to find reasons to convince themselves that they don’t require another app. Of course, one cannot avoid bad reviews as there are more cynics than critics but the least you can do is try and lessen the number
- Conversions: Well, you can get a lot of people to download your app but you cannot get them to pay. Typically, in a free app, the percentage of paid users is in single digits. But what you can do is avoid marketing mistakes and chances are that your conversions might take off.
To conclude, growth hacking in mobile apps is not rocket science and all one needs to do is to figure out all the minute details that most of the marketers/developers fail to notice. List out your priorities and work on them one at a time and your app is bound to take off, provided it is indeed what your target market has been missing out on all this time. And also, since you want your app to have a seamless experience, do not compromise with the analytics. It is always advisable to invest in a good real-time actionable analytics solution that gives you a complete control of your users and engagement.
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