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Mobile app marketing strategies for startups

Building an app is just the initial phase; successful ventures require effective monetization through mobile app marketing strategies for startups. Given the sheer volume of apps regularly entering platforms like Google Play Store (with over 80,000 monthly releases) and Apple App Store (almost 31,500 monthly releases), securing app visibility and downloads requires a thoughtful mobile app marketing strategy.

This article outlines a step-by-step approach to constructing a results-oriented mobile app marketing strategy. Each step is explained, highlighting crucial actions for achieving optimal outcomes in the competitive app marketplace. Additionally, learn how to choose the right mobile app marketing strategy for sustained startup success.

What is mobile app marketing?

Mobile app marketing is a strategic approach to promote an app, engage mobile users, and increase app downloads. It includes a spectrum of strategies and marketing ideas aimed at attracting users and cultivating interest in an app.

In essence, mobile app marketing serves as a guide, ushering users through the conversion funnel from initial awareness to the download phase. However, the journey extends beyond the download button; post-acquisition, maintaining customer satisfaction is pivotal for retention and advocacy. A well-crafted marketing strategy for a mobile app promotes the application, drives downloads, and enhances the overall value of the app.

Strategies for effective mobile app marketing

As per recent reports, there are approximately 1.85 million iOS apps, while a staggering 2.56 million apps are available on Android. With over 90% of the global population owning smartphones and dedicating an average of 5 to 6 hours daily to mobile usage, the importance of businesses embracing mobile is clear. Crafting an effective mobile app marketing strategy is essential in a highly competitive landscape where millions of apps vie for attention.

Notably, more than 65% of small enterprises, and virtually all major corporations, have already adopted mobile applications, underlining the shift towards mobile-centric operations.

This section outlines the steps to initiate and improve your mobile app marketing strategies while staying updated with the latest market trends.

1. Conduct target market research

Effective market and customer research is vital for precise app positioning in a saturated market. Here are a few essential steps in market research:

  • Define your app user’s profile through pivotal questions about their identity, needs, and online presence.
  • Analyze industry data to reveal mobile users’ key activities, guiding your app to strategic online spaces.
  • Employ data collection methods like surveys, social media analysis, and leveraging tools like Dait.ai and SensorTower to gain comprehensive market insights.

Market research guides informed decision-making for effective user engagement and successful app development.

2. Analyze competitors for strategic positioning

Conducting thorough competitor analysis is essential for app success. Here are key aspects to consider when conducting a competitor analysis:

  • Investigate competitors’ funding sources to gauge stability and strategic capabilities, simultaneously understanding their business models for revenue insights.
  • Identify user demographics and top features and analyze the appeal of competitors’ apps.
  • Quantify the financial performance of your competitors over the past 6-12 months to assess market dynamics.
  • Explore competitors’ overall marketing strategies, leveraging tools like for Crayon nuanced insights.

This comprehensive analysis can help you create a comprehensive business plan that includes a SWOT analysis. Use these insights to strategically position your app.

3. Establish a credible online presence

Establishing an online presence, including organic social media, is integral to effective app marketing, and includes essential steps as listed below:

  • Create a dedicated website serving as a central hub for comprehensive app information and user support.
  • Maximize app visibility on the website’s landing page, offering ample space to highlight features beyond app store listings.
  • Maintain an active presence on diverse social media platforms, fostering meaningful connections with users.
  • Utilize platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok for video marketing, engaging users more deeply.

Through strategic online engagement, a robust and enduring relationship is cultivated between the app and its user base, transcending mere distribution.

4. Define key performance indicators (KPIs)

Strategically managing a mobile app’s performance relies on key performance indicators (KPIs), which can be defined in the following ways:

  • For App Store Optimization, track impressions to page view and install conversion rates by leveraging user interaction metrics, such as daily/weekly/monthly usage time, interactions, and app retention rate to gauge user engagement.
  • Essential KPIs and SaaS metrics include ROI, retention rate, churn rate, lifetime value, and monthly/daily active users.

Selecting and optimizing these metrics is key for refining and sustaining an app’s success, providing actionable insights throughout its lifecycle.

5. Implement app store optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a fundamental strategy in mobile app marketing, applicable to both the App Store and Google Play. Derived from SEO practices, ASO focuses on app discovery, aiming to boost visibility and user engagement. Important facets of ASO implementation include:

  • Key objectives such as elevating app visibility and improving conversion rates.
  • Optimizing crucial elements like keywords, title, video preview, description, screenshots, icon, publisher name, and category.
  • Precise implementation, aided by dedicated tools for tasks automation, A/B testing, and ongoing analysis is crucial for success.

This strategic, long-term approach begins before the app’s release and persists throughout its lifecycle, significantly enhancing visibility and user engagement.

6. Execute a PR campaign for app launch

Public Relations (PR) in app marketing involves distributing press releases to media outlets, crafting pitches, and building journalist lists. Some key points to consider when implementing PR for app marketing are as listed:

  • PR demands realistic expectations, gradually gaining traction and creating a favorable environment for app store editors to notice the app.
  • While not providing immediate results, PR establishes a platform for app recognition and potential features in app-dedicated sections. However, it may not suit every app due to market saturation and editor preferences.

Fostering positive brand reputation is crucial for long-term visibility and recognition, making PR a valuable strategy when approached with a clear understanding of its role in bringing awareness to your app offering.

7. Leverage paid campaigns for user acquisition

In mobile app marketing, strategies include both free and paid approaches. Paid marketing allocates budget for a successful customer acquisition, vital to overcome app store visibility limitations. A few essential aspects for app marketers include:

  • Leveraging platforms like Apple’s Search Ads, Google Ads, Meta Ads (formerly Facebook Ads), and others for extensive reach.
  • Strategically deciding when and how to engage in paid user acquisition.

Paid campaigns supplement free strategies, ensuring the longevity of mobile app projects and broadening audience reach.

8. Foster growth through referral programs

A referral system stands as a potent word-of-mouth marketing strategy, fostering app growth through users sharing positive experiences and earning rewards for referring their friends, family, and network. Here are some action points to consider when choosing this strategy:

  • Ensure the app caters to a diverse audience for the referral system to yield maximum results.
  • Fine-tune the app’s features to enhance user experience, making it more shareable.
  • Regularly assess and update the referral rewards to maintain user engagement and interest.

While a referral system is a valuable tool, its success hinges on the app’s widespread appeal, reinforcing the importance of a well-rounded marketing approach.

9. Craft compelling pitches for editorial recognition

Apple’s App Store and Google Play, with dedicated sections curated by editorial teams, offer an opportune space for emerging apps to pitch for valuable visibility. Editors actively seek outstanding apps, creating a chance for those gaining traction to stand out. Here are some steps to craft compelling pitches:

  • Identify key strengths of your app.
  • Tailor pitches to align with each platform’s guidelines and preferences.
  • Leverage user testimonials and data showcasing positive impact for an efficient pitch.

Efforts to secure a spot in curated sections are valuable, providing visibility and a coveted endorsement from editors focused on apps delivering exceptional user experiences.

10. Build community for mobile app success

A mobile app’s user community holds importance, demanding effective communication from app marketers. This involves identifying, engaging, and addressing concerns within this community, fostering brand loyalty and customer retention. Here are the key facets of community building:

  • Identify and segment the app’s user community for targeted engagement.
  • Establish two-way communication channels, like Discord, Reddit, or Facebook communities, fostering a dynamic interaction.
  • Cultivate brand evangelists within the community for organic promotion and word-of-mouth marketing.

Community building within a mobile app is a long-term strategy requiring dedicated management. Efficiently engaging with the user community contributes to sustained brand advocacy and ensures a better customer journey, making it a vital aspect for app marketers to prioritize.

11. Use content marketing for app visibility

Tailored for specific functions, mobile apps present rich opportunities for content marketing. Marketers can harness this by considering few action points:

  • Create engaging and informative content aligned with the app’s functionality.
  • Utilize online platforms such as Medium, Linkedin or Youtube for wider audience reach.
  • Position founders or your CEO as thought leaders by sharing valuable insights.

This content-focused strategy, centered on addressing user needs and establishing expertise, enhances the app’s visibility and positions its developer as a professional authority within the field.

12. Run targeted email marketing campaigns

Email marketing proves crucial for app marketers combatting customer churn, providing a tool to engage subscribers and build lasting connections. Establishing an email list creates a valuable database for ongoing user communication. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Build and maintain an email list for consistent user engagement.
  • Use periodic emails for addressing concerns, revealing features, and gathering feedback.
  • Identify suitable cases for deliberate email information delivery, reserving quick messages for push notifications or in-app messages.

Mastering these distinctions optimizes user communication and ensures a lasting app connection by strategically using email marketing for user engagement.

13. Try influencer marketing for app promotion

Integrating influencers into a social media campaign stands as a potent method for propelling a mobile app to viral status. Here are a few aspects of influencer marketing to consider:

  • Identify influencers genuinely interested in the app’s theme for authentic promotion.
  • Employ efficient campaign management tools for seamless execution.
  • Navigate financial compensation judiciously to maximize ROI.

While influencer marketing proves highly effective, its limitation lies in the absence of detailed user insights, differing from paid user acquisition campaigns. This strategy hinges on influencers’ reach rather than comprehensive user data.

14. Manage ratings and reviews effectively

App store ratings and reviews significantly influence users’ app decisions, necessitating proactive management to safeguard app reputation. Key facets to put in place include:

  • Regularly monitor app reviews on both iOS and Android platforms.
  • Utilize platforms’ tools to respond promptly to user reviews, addressing concerns.
  • Manage app reputation by resolving issues and maintaining positive user experiences.

Vigilant management of app store ratings and reviews is essential for a positive brand reputation, ensuring success in the competitive mobile landscape.

15. Leverage AI in marketing

AI in marketing optimizes outcomes through personalized, AI-driven content. It includes targeted advertising, chatbot deployment for enhanced engagement, and automated content generation across marketing channels. Here’s how to leverage AI:

  • Utilize generative AI tools for brainstorming and executing tailored campaigns.
  • Leverage machine learning and data analytics to predict consumer behavior.
  • Embrace AI’s role in automating routine tasks, ensuring efficiency.

AI marketing transcends automation, enhancing the entire process with insights and effectiveness. By predicting consumer behavior, automating tasks, and offering an upgraded toolkit, it expands avenues for customer engagement and acquisition in the modern marketing landscape.

Effective mobile app marketing for startups doesn’t rely on a singular ‘best’ strategy but on a nuanced blend of diverse tactics tailored to the app’s uniqueness and audience. A holistic approach, considering acquisition, engagement, and retention, enables adaptable strategies for sustained user growth and engagement in the competitive mobile landscape.

How to choose the right mobile app strategy for your business

Selecting an effective mobile app strategy demands a deliberate approach. Some key steps include:

  • Defining clear business objectives, aligning them with the app’s purpose along with understanding your target audience’s preferences, ensuring the app caters to their needs.

  • Evaluating market trends and competition, identifying gaps or unique selling points to facilitate an optimal product-market fit.

  • Choosing between native, web, or hybrid app development based on functionality and user experience priorities.

  • Considering monetization models aligned with business goals and user experience design, such as freemium, subscription-based or e-commerce models and more.

  • Regularly analyzing user feedback and app performance using tools such as Google analytics, Mixpanel or Amplitude analytics among several popular tools, and adapting to strategies accordingly.

Crafting the right mobile app strategy involves a strategic blend of market research, user-centric design, and continuous optimization for sustained business success.

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