How to market a custom mobile app? 29+ fantastic tactics
Want to know how to market a custom mobile app? We’ve put together some of our top strategies to help you get ahead of the curve. Read on to find out more about how to market your app.
In February 2022, over 81,000 apps were launched on Google Play. That’s a lot of mobile apps in the space of 28 days!
If you’re planning to launch a new custom mobile app, you must know how to market it to the best of your potential. Otherwise, you could lose out on the competition.
We’re often asked how to market a new custom mobile app, and we’ve put together 30 of our favorite strategies. Many of them are low-cost and no-cost, as we know many startups need to make every euro, dollar, and pound count!
With this in mind, presenting our comprehensive guide on how to promote your new custom mobile app.
Want to know more about using digital marketing to your advantage when looking at how to promote your startup? Check out this article.
1. Use your website
Answering the question of “how to market a custom mobile app”, we would like to start with your own website. If you have a website to promote your startup, it makes sense to use it to encourage people to download your app. Add a button to the header and footer of your site and mention your new app in any content you write where it makes sense to do so.
Just make sure your website is mobile-friendly – you want mobile users to stick around and find out about your app. Almost 24% of the world’s most popular mobile sites fail usability checks.
2. Launch on social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok… Over 70% of people now have at least one active social media account. Creating a social media presence for your startup can be a fantastic low-cost way to advertise your app.
By researching your target audience, you’ll know which social media platforms are the best ones to use. It’s better to set up on one or two and use them often rather than try (and fail) to use them all.
3. Get a press release out
By sending a press release to the primary publications in your industry, you can get some fantastic publicity for your new app.
Write your press release, include some high-quality images and email it out – not everyone will publish it, but you’ll reap the benefits of those that do.
4. Use Quora and Reddit
Helping people out and answering their questions on Quora and Reddit shows you know your stuff and can encourage people to find out more about your app.
Don’t be too sales though – users are good at calling out spammy, self-promotional posts!
5. Review your SEO
Many people think that search engine optimization (SEO) only applies to websites, but it is also beneficial when creating your app description.
While some people will search for your app by name, others will find it by typing a description of what they want. If this is the case, you want to ensure your app is at the top of the list.
There’s a useful guide to app store optimization on Search Engine Journal – ideal if you’re looking at how to market your custom mobile application.
6. Host a contest
If you’re on social media and have amassed a decent number of followers, a competition can help amplify your reach even more.
Ask people to tag themselves in a photo and use a specific hashtag. You’ll get lots of free publicity, and your existing fans will have a lot of fun too!
7. Create a fantastic icon
As we mentioned in point 5, some people won’t be searching for your app by name. By designing a bright and unique icon, you’re more likely to get these people to stop and click!
Take the time to create something that stands out – keep it simple. Look at the apps you currently have on your phone and see what you like most about the icons.
8. Ask app sites to review your app
A review on an app site can be a brilliant way to get new customers – 87% of buying decisions begin with research carried out online.
Send a pitch and ask them to review your app. Bear in mind that reviews can be negative as well as positive, so you’ll want a strategy in place in case their review isn’t as glowing as you might like.
9. Influencer marketing
If you want to promote your new custom mobile app, encouraging bloggers and social media users to talk about it could play to your advantage. Nearly 90% of marketers believe influencer marketing is a highly effective way of finding new customers.
The critical thing with this strategy is to find the right influencers to work with. They don’t have to have a million followers on Instagram, just as long as they have a loyal and dedicated following.
10. Respond to all your reviews
As we discussed in point 8, social proof and testimonials are a good way of enticing new customers to download your app.
If someone takes the time to write a positive review, respond and say thank you, mentioning them by name. Similarly, if someone says something negative, thank them for their time and say how you’re taking their feedback on board.
You’d be surprised how many critical customers become brand advocates just by listening to them!
11. Apply for an award
There are many app awards out there at the moment. Winning not only gives your app lots of publicity, but you may even get a prize.
Do some research and see which award nominations are suitable for your startup.
12. Jump on a podcast
There are more podcasts out there than ever before, with over two million available on Apple Podcasts at the moment.
Featuring a podcast in your specific niche can be a terrific way to advertise your app to a new audience of listeners.
13. Help out a journalist
Have you heard of Help a Reporter Out? Also known as HARO, this can be a fantastic way to get publicity for your startup and business.
Journalists submit inquiries that are sent to subscribers. Subscribers can then respond, helping journalists with a quote or information to put in their article, with a link or shoutout to say thank you.
14. Design branded swag
Create some cool branded merch with your logo and a link to your app on it. You can then distribute it to people in your local area or give it away in an online competition (see point 6).
15. Write a blog
A blog has multiple purposes. Not only do articles prove that you’re an expert in your field, but with a bit of keyword research, you can also boost your presence in search engines.
Use your blog to answer any questions your prospective customers have and include a link to download your app at the end.
16. Consider pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
If you have a bit of a marketing budget to spare, PPC can help promote your app to a new audience.
The benefit of PPC (i.e. Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising) is that you can drive downloads of your app on search engines, as well as in-app (more on that later)
17. Make the most of email marketing lists
Email marketing has an ROI of 3,500%, making it one of the best ways to entice prospective customers to download your custom mobile app.
Create a signup form on your social media channels or website and encourage people to sign up. You can then send them educational, informative, and entertaining emails, ending with a call to action to sign up for your app.
18. Link your app to your business cards
Not everyone uses business cards but if you do, this one’s for you.
Include a short link or even better, a QR code to your card. That way, anyone you give your business card to can easily download your app.
How to make a QR code in 7 easy steps
19. Ask family and friends for help
Sometimes the most effective ways for promoting a new custom mobile app are the easiest – ask your friends and family to spread the word!
20. Team up with another app
After all, teamwork pays off! Partner up with a startup app that is in a non-competitive niche. You can both take advantage of each other’s advertising efforts and find many new customers.
21. Utilise your email signature
The average person sends and receives 333 emails a day. This means if you send a lot of emails to customers and suppliers, you’ve got some great free advertising space!
Add a link at the bottom of your email to encourage people to download your custom mobile app. You can do this as text or an image although bear in mind if you use an image, not everyone will be able to view it.
How to write a great email signature
22. Contribute to other blogs
While writing blogs on your own website (see point 15) is excellent, guest blogs on other sites are even better!
Ask other websites if you can contribute a blog, with a link to your app at the end.
What are guest posting and five ways to guest post?
23. Create a referral scheme
Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing – nearly two-thirds of marketers admit that it’s the most effective form of marketing available.
Use word of mouth to your advantage by creating a referral scheme for your app. Encourage existing users to invite another customer to download or use your app, offering a financial reward for them both.
24. Look at alternative app stores
While the App Store and Google Play are the market leaders, it can be worth signing up for some of the smaller, more niche stores too.
According to the One Platforms Foundation, alternative app stores drive 200% more downloads than Google Play.
Some great examples include Amazon Appstore, Bemobi (the app store for Opera), and GetJar.
25. Advertise on other mobile apps
Promoting your app on other mobile apps is great for reaching out to people who already use their smartphones frequently.
By using the Google Ads Display Network, you can target the people most likely to download your custom mobile app.
26. Create digital freebies
If your budget doesn’t stretch to merch (see point 14), then digital freebies like mobile wallpaper and Zoom backgrounds are great for enticing people to promote your app.
27. Create a video
With 54% of people wanting brands they like to create more videos, this strategy can be a fantastic option for engaging with prospective app users.
Create a short teaser video introducing your app and what it does, including instructions on how to download it at the end.
You can get the video created professionally or alternatively create and edit it yourself – many smartphones now come with their own video-editing software.
28. Use paid social
If you’re already on social media, paid social advertising can give your mobile app a boost.
With paid social on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, you can serve your ads to a laser-focused target audience, increasing the chance of a successful download.
For example, if someone has liked your page on Facebook, you can show them an ad encouraging them to take things one step further and check out your app.
29. Keep your app updated
Customers want to see that your app stays fresh and updated. If it’s no longer up to date, they’ll stop using it.
Regularly roll out updates and let customers know what has changed – you can use your review section to find out what your customers care about the most.
In summary: There’s no one way to market your custom mobile app!
We hope this guide about how to market a custom mobile app has given you some inspiration. There are a lot of unusual ways to promote your app so take your time to choose the right one for your startup.
While it would be nice to have $14 billion a year to market your mobile app like Meta (formerly Facebook) does, we appreciate that most businesses don’t have that option! So do what you can, work with your customers, and soon you will see your download figures grow.
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- Lean startup mobile development: app checklist
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- Why do you need to use app analytics in startups?
Need extra help promoting your new custom mobile app? You are launched is here to help
We specialize in helping mobile apps succeed and have experience launching high-quality mobile apps, from healthy eating to personal finance.
Our team of experts will help you build, launch and market your app, helping you grow downloads and revenue in those critical first few months.
If you want to know how to promote a new mobile app, get in touch today and let us help you get launched.