How to market a Developed Custom MVP App? – Startup Guide
You’ve got your custom mobile app in place, but how do you showcase it to the right people? Join us as we look at how to market your custom MVP app in order to see success.
You’ve spent a lot of time and money creating a fantastic mobile app. The next step? Making sure people are made aware that it exists.
With several thousand mobile apps launched on Google Play and the App Store every month, it’s essential to make sure your custom MVP app stands out. After all, the more people that purchase your app, the more revenue your startup makes!
In our last article, we talked about how to design and launch a custom MVP app that resonates with the needs of your target audience. Now we’ll show you some of the best ways to promote your custom mobile app.
Table of contents
- Why is marketing your custom MVP app so important?
- The benefits of testing your idea before you start
- Different ways you can market your custom MVP app
- Influencer marketing
- Product Hunt
- Referral marketing
- Podcasts and webinars
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- App store optimisation (ASO)
- Reddit and Quora
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Some additional tips for promoting your custom app
- Know how much money you have to work with
- Look at what your competitors are doing
- Check your stats
- Regularly update your app
- Think outside the box
- Find out more about marketing your custom mobile app
- How to market a custom MVP app FAQ
- What is a custom MVP app?
- Why do I need to market my custom MVP app?
- How much does it cost to market a custom MVP app?
- Which marketing platforms should I use to promote my custom mobile app?
- Can I join forces with another startup to promote my custom mobile app?
- What is app store optimization?
Why is marketing your custom MVP app so important?
With so many mobile apps available to download, you need to make your custom MVP app stand out from the crowd. A marketing campaign not only makes people aware of your app but tells them why they should download it.
Marketing doesn’t stop when someone has downloaded your app. It’s important to nurture your users and keep them informed of all the latest developments and updates. This helps ensure that they keep using your custom mobile app and remain a loyal customer.
The benefits of testing your idea before you start
Marketing your app doesn’t just start when you’ve launched it. In order to ensure the best chances of success, you need to carry out thorough testing and market research.
Think of your app like a house, the marketing like the furniture and decorations inside the house, and the testing like the house’s foundations. If the foundation isn’t solid and sturdy, then your house will fall to the ground before you can start decorating it!
Why is it so important to test your custom app before you start to develop and promote it?
- It helps you see if there is a market for your app
- It helps you identify the right target audience
- It helps you understand the threats and opportunities in the marketplace
- It helps you see what your competitors are doing
- It helps you validate your idea – by which we mean that it solves a problem your prospective customers have
Developing an MVP, or minimum viable product is an extension of this testing. Not only do you get your app to market more quickly, but you can make amends and changes as you go. This increases the chances of creating a custom app that your users will love!
Find out more about custom MVPs in software development.
Here are some articles that will give you some extra inspiration when it comes to testing your MVP app:
- How to find product market fit
- Idea validation tools for startups
- Market research: a guide for the pre-startup stage
- Solving the chicken and egg problem
Don’t forget, if you need a little extra help when it comes to testing and validating your custom mobile app idea, we’re here to support you.
Different ways you can market your custom MVP app
There is a wide range of different marketing platforms available when it comes to promoting your brand-new custom MVP app. This means you can choose the right approach to fit not only your app and the industry you are in but your target audience.
Here are just some of the ways you can promote your custom mobile app to prospective users.
Remember, you don’t have to choose one method and stick with it; you can select all the marketing platforms that help you achieve your goals.
Advantage of influencer marketing: An effective way of finding new customers for your app
The disadvantage of influencer marketing: Can be hard to find the right influencers to work with
Influencer marketing is when you work with someone with a solid online following to promote your app. When they promote your custom MVP app to their followers, they introduce you to an entirely new audience.
An influencer isn’t always someone with millions of social media fans. As long as they have a loyal and engaged audience, it doesn’t matter if they have 1000 or 100,000 followers.
When done right, influencer marketing works really well. For example, in 2018, Azur Games collaborated with multiple YouTube influencers to launch the Infinity Ops mobile game. The influencers encouraged people to pre-register for the games in order to get a special bonus. As a result, the campaign led to 1.3 million registrations in the space of three weeks.
Find out how to use influencer marketing to market your custom MVP app
Advantage of Product Hunt: A great way to promote your app to a dedicated target audience
The disadvantage of Product Hunt: Need to plan and implement a time-intensive promotional campaign
Product Hunt can be a great way to promote your custom MVP app to a dedicated community of tech enthusiasts. Product Hunt is a lot like Reddit; users upvote and engage with the apps they like, and the top ten products of the day are emailed out to everyone!
It’s important to plan, organize, and promote your Product Hunt campaign in order to get the best results. As Product Hunt works on a 24-hour cycle, you need to choose a time when everyone on your team can jump in and get involved!
Find out how to promote your app using Product Hunt
Advantage of referral marketing: An easy way of finding new customers as your existing customers do the work
The disadvantage of referral marketing: Need to offer a good incentive for customers to promote your app
Nearly two-thirds of marketers believe that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective form of marketing you can take advantage of. After all, people are going to trust the judgment of their friends, family, and peers.
This is why referral marketing can be a powerful tool when it comes to marketing your custom MVP app. By setting up a referral scheme, you’re encouraging existing customers to promote your app to other people, with a reward for doing so. As a result, you get a new customer with minimal effort, and your existing customer gets something nice as a thank you.
As an example of a well-loved referral marketing scheme, take stock buying and selling app Robinhood (which incidentally, got its big breakthrough Product Hunt). Users of the app get a free share of stock for every friend they encourage to join. The fun part of the referral scheme is that the stock the user receives is completely random and could be worth anything from $2 to $200!
Podcasts and webinars
Advantage of podcasts and webinars: A cost-effective way to promote your custom app to prospective customers
The disadvantage of podcasts and webinars is: Need to spend time looking for the right partners to work with
Podcasts and webinars can be an effective way of not only marketing your custom MVP app to a new audience of potential customers but promoting yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
With webinars, you can either launch your own or join forces with another company. With a podcast, you will want to get involved with a relatively well-known podcaster. This is so you can piggyback off the audience they have already established.
The best way to do this is to search for podcasts that target the audience you want to promote your app to, and ask if you can get involved. Most podcasters are happy to welcome relevant guests with something valuable to say.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Advantage of search engine optimization: One of the most effective and affordable marketing techniques
The disadvantage of search engine optimization: Can take up to 12 months to see results
Two out of three online visits start with a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. With this in mind, it’s vital that your app appears at the top of the search engines when people search for a specific phrase or keyword.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your web pages, so they rank as close to the first page of search results as possible. SEO includes optimizing your website content, making sure your site loads as quickly as possible, and encouraging other websites to link to you.
When you rank highly in the search engines, more people will become aware of your brand, and more people will check out your custom app. The only downside of SEO is that it can take time to start working, so you may need to have other marketing channels in place in the meantime.
App store optimisation (ASO)
Advantage of app store optimization: Makes your app easier for customers to find
The disadvantage of app store optimization: Requires skill and knowledge to implement properly
We’ve looked at how to optimize your website to rank as high as possible, but it’s also important to make sure your app ranks in Google Play and the App Store too.
App store optimization (ASO) is all about making sure your custom MVP app is as visible as possible. This increases the chances of people finding your app and downloading it.
ASO is about choosing the right keywords and ensuring your app page looks presentable, using high-quality thumbnail images and screenshots. Like SEO, it’s important to look at your ASO regularly so you can see what people like and what tweaks you can make to improve.
Find out how to launch your app on Google Play and the App Store.
Reddit and Quora
Advantage of Reddit and Quora: Can build backlinks and promote your app for free
The disadvantage of Reddit and Quora: Need to spend time engaging with people before selling
Reddit and Quora are online communities where people can ask questions, make recommendations, and debate issues. They’re a great way to build engagement around your custom MVP. All you need to do is find the right communities to focus on.
To use forums like these successfully, you need to become a valued contributor to the communities. Answer peoples’ questions and engage with them, without promoting your mobile app. Then, when the time is right, you can show users how your app can help with their problems. It’s important to be helpful without being too salesy; otherwise, you may find people vote your comments down.
Reddit and Quora are also great for SEO. You can find keywords and phrases that people are using that you can apply to the content you create, as well as get high-quality backlinks.
Advantage of content marketing: Many different types of content marketing to take advantage of
The disadvantage of content marketing: Need to promote your content so people can find it
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of material that promotes your custom MVP app. It can be anything from blogs and social media posts to videos and infographics.
You can create this content in-house or get a digital marketing agency to make it for you.
You can use content marketing to not only support your SEO efforts but to drum up publicity for your custom MVP app and encourage users to check it out.
HubSpot actually used its blog as its MVP when it was just starting out! By creating articles and encouraging sales and marketing managers to comment, it got valuable feedback to help build its customer relationship management software.
Advantage of social media: Can choose the platform to suit your target audience
The disadvantage of social media: Need to put the time in to drive engagement
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, can be a great way to build a community around your app. You can also encourage people to create user-generated content, and find influencers to work with.
It’s essential to have a strategy when it comes to marketing your custom MVP app on social media. You need to know which social media platforms to use, what content you’re going to create, and how often you need to post to keep people engaged. Every social media post you put out must have a purpose.
Advantage of paid advertising: This means you can reach targeted customers quickly
The disadvantage of paid advertising: Can be expensive, especially if you’re targeting a competitive market
Paid advertising refers to using pay-per-click advertising (for example, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising) and paid advertisements on social media to promote your custom mobile app.
This can be a great way of reaching new customers quickly, as you can focus exclusively on the type of people you want to target. However, as there is a cost involved, it may be the case that you don’t have the budget for paid advertising just yet.
Advantage of email marketing: Has one of the best returns on investment around
The disadvantage of email marketing: Need to spend time optimizing and personalizing campaigns to ensure effectiveness
Building an email list is one of the best ways to market your custom MVP app, as you can communicate with people wherever they are in the sales cycle.
For example, you can use email marketing to nurture people who aren’t quite ready to download your app, keeping them informed and entertained until they are ready. You can keep users up to date with the latest updates and news, by signposting them to your website and social media channels.
You can also use email marketing as a cost-effective way to get feedback. You can ask your most frequent users what they would most like to see, as well as ask people who have uninstalled your app to let you know why.
Some additional tips for promoting your custom app
We’ve helped develop many fantastic custom apps, and as a result, we know a lot about how to market them! Here are some additional handy hints to help you make the most of your marketing campaign when promoting your custom MVP app.
Know how much money you have to work with
Different marketing channels cost varying amounts of money. Some are low-cost and no-cost, for example, search optimization and social media. Others are more expensive, like paid social media advertising and television advertising.
If you decide to work with a digital marketing agency or freelancer, you’ll also have to factor their costs into your budget.
When you know which marketing channels you want to use, earmark how much money you want to spend on each. This will give you a solid steer and mean you don’t go over budget.
Not getting as much money as you would like to spend on marketing? It’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for a grant. While it can be tricky to apply successfully, getting a grant means you get money without having to give up equity in your business.
Find out more about applying for grants in the European Union, the UK, the US, and Canada.
Look at what your competitors are doing
Earlier on when we discussed testing and qualifying your custom MVP app, we talked about the importance of competitor research.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the promotional tactics your competitors use. Take the time to follow them on social media, analyze their website, and see which websites they advertise on.
Google Alerts can be a good way of seeing what your competitors are getting up to; just set up an alert for their names or the names of their apps, and Google will send you an email when it identifies something new online.
Which marketing platforms bring them the most success? If they don’t use a particular marketing technique, is there a reason why? If a specific website promotes your competitors, it might be worth getting in touch to see if you can get some publicity too.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when marketing your custom MVP app – just use your competitors for inspiration!
Check your stats
It’s important to make sure your marketing is working, and you’re getting a good return on investment on the money you’re spending. It’s essential to regularly check your analytics to see what’s working and what marketing channels aren’t suitable for your needs.
There is a wide range of mobile app analytics tools available, like Adobe Analytics, Mixpanel, and Firebase. If you’re using App Store or Google Play, these come with their own analytics consoles too.
Here are some metrics that are worth monitoring when marketing your custom MVP app:
- The average revenue per user: how much money each user of your app generates for your startup
- Churn rate: the number of customers that stop using/unsubscribe from your app
- Customer acquisition cost: how much it costs to get a customer to download/sign up for your custom MVP app
- Customer lifetime value: how much money each customer brings in over the course of your transactional relationship
- Monthly recurring revenue: the total amount of revenue generated through your custom MVP app in a month
You should also have tangible and quantifiable goals in place. Which figures show that your marketing is on the right track, and which figures show your custom MVP marketing might not be working as well as it should be?
Regularly update your app
When you launch a custom MVP app, you’ll want to regularly update it with new features that your users are asking for. When customers see that your app is staying fresh and updated, they’ll keep using it.
Keep users up to speed with when you update your app and the new features you implement. You can do this in Google Play and the App Store, but let people know over email, your website, and on social media too.
63% of the top 1,000 apps on the Google Play store are updated at least once a month.
Think outside the box
We’ve looked at a few different ways you can market your custom MVP app, but if you think of something else that’s innovative and creative, it might be worth trying! Just crunch the numbers first to make sure you’ll get a good return on investment.
For example, Burger King promoted its new pre-ordering app in Brazil by encouraging people to download it and point it at a McDonald’s ad. The app used augmented reality (AR) to ‘burn’ the ads and turn them into ads for Burger King, giving users a free burger voucher for their troubles.
Find out more about marketing your custom mobile app
We hope this guide has given you a lot of valuable ideas when it comes to promoting your custom app.
Our number one piece of advice is to test your MVP app through the entire process, from the initial idea through to launch. This will give you the valuable insight you need to identify the right target audience and select the marketing channels that will best engage prospective users.
If you’re looking for more information about how to market your custom MVP app, these articles are really useful starting points:
- 13 ways to promote your mobile app for free
- 29 fantastic tactics to market a mobile app
- Soft launch vs hard launch: which is the right choice for your startup?
- Startup resources to use after launching your app (lots of links to handy SEO and promotional websites)
- The best digital marketing strategies for custom MVP apps
How to market a custom MVP app FAQ
Got any additional questions about marketing a custom MVP app? You’ll find the answers here!
What is a custom MVP app?
A custom MVP app is a basic version of your mobile app, with only the minimum amount of features. This means you can get to market more quickly, giving you the edge over your competitors. You can develop and scale your app as you go along.
Many technological startups that we know and love today started as MVPs. For example, Twitter started off as twttr, a basic messaging app that was used by staff at a podcasting company, while Amazon started off selling books online.
Why do I need to market my custom MVP app?
It’s essential to market your custom MVP app for the following reasons:
- It builds a strong brand image
- It amplifies your reach and helps make more people aware of your app
- It increases sales and in-app purchases
- It boosts app engagement
How much does it cost to market a custom MVP app?
There isn’t an exact answer to this question. Some large startups spend millions of dollars promoting their app, while smaller companies spend a fraction of this.
It’s recommended that you earmark about 10% of your overall app budget for marketing, but this figure isn’t set in stone.
The good news is that if your budget is small, there are a lot of things you can do for low cost and no cost. Many brands started out by relying on word-of-mouth advertising in their formative years, like Spanx.
Find out more about how much it costs to launch a startup
Which marketing platforms should I use to promote my custom mobile app?
It depends! Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about how to market your custom MVP app.
- How quickly do you need to promote your app? Some marketing strategies take longer to implement than others
- How much money do you have? Some marketing platforms cost more than others
- Who is your target audience? Some marketing platforms are better suited to certain users than others
Can I join forces with another startup to promote my custom mobile app?
You can! A cross-promotional partnership can be a great way to grow your customer base and discover new markets.
As an example of a successful partnership, Spotify and Starbucks joined forces in 2015. Spotify offered free premium subscriptions to Starbucks employees so they could play their own music playlists in-store. Meanwhile, Starbucks gave Spotify users the opportunity to get free coffee and food in their favorite stores.
It’s important to do your research when it comes to finding the right partner. You need to choose a company that you’re not in direct competition with, and that shares your core values.
What is app store optimization?
App store optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of your custom MVP app in your app store of choice. It includes:
- Using optimized keywords in your app name and description;
- Choosing the right app categories;
- Localizing content to suit the relevant country;
- Uploading high-quality thumbnails and screenshots;
- Encouraging and responding to user reviews;
- Regularly updating your app so people can see that it’s fresh and recent.
You are launched: developing custom apps since 2016
We specialize in launching mobile apps. This means if you’re looking to get your brand new mobile app to market, we’re the team you can trust.
You are launched experts have experience working with a range of mobile app startups, from prenatal yoga to personal finance. When you come on board with us, we’ll help you build, launch and market your smartphone app.
If you want mobile app design and development, we can deliver the results you deserve.
Contact us today to find out how we can work together to develop your smartphone app.