How To Market a Mobile App: Getting New Users—and Keeping Them!

The two-step process to making your app a success

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You and your team have worked hard; you’ve not only innovated by coming up with an idea for a much-needed mobile app, you’ve developed it, tested it, and launched it. While some colleagues may consider the big part of the job done, as a marketer, your part in the project is only ramping up. With that said, here’s a two-part process for marketing your mobile app and driving retention among your new users.

The two-part process

Marketing mobile apps is a two-part process. Most companies think about the first partacquisition marketingand have at least some strategies in place for attracting customers. Once you’ve acquired users, however, the job isn’t over. In fact, experts agree: with the cost of acquiring users soaring, keeping usersand keeping them engagedis the most important task. So your next move, and the second part of the process, should be to develop a plan of action for retention marketing to secure your new customers for the long haul.

How to market a mobile app: acquisition marketing strategies

Depending on your budget and resources, you can grow your user base with a combination of paid and organic tactics. As you’re setting out to build a robust acquisition marketing plan, be sure to learn aboutand make the most of—the following important elements:

App store optimization (ASO): Based on the principles of search engine optimization (SEO) and design and content best practices, getting this right will help your app rank well, and ideally better than competitors, in app stores. As Moz explains, ASO is two-fold. First, you need to understand the words your potential customers are using to search for apps they need, and then be sure to include these when you write about your product, from the name of the app to its description. Second, your app has to look inviting. To make it a must-download, include useful and well-designed product screenshots to turn would-be customers into actual app users.

Reviews: As with traditional word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews from existing customers can help you garner new ones. App analytics platform App Annie has recommendations on how to earn honest and trustworthy reviews and how to increase your app’s overall rating over time.

Growth hacking: If you feel like you’ve hit a wall trying to find ways to increase your userbase, consider the growth-hacking strategies of developing effective app referral campaigns, running a user generated content campaign through social media, leveraging publicity and SEO, initiating flash paid-to-free campaigns, and implementing localization by country in app stores, among others.

Mobile advertising: As Mobile Action writes, it’s important to achieve a balance between organic and paid installs. Organic methods will get you quality users, most likely at slower rates, while paid methods will bring in quantity. AppsFlyer recommends burst campaigns to gain momentum and a higher spot in mobile app stores which will help fuel organic discovery and downloads.

Content marketing: Content marketing allows you to better build the story around your company, educate customers and potential customers, and increase organic customer acquisition. Using content like videos, blog posts, and case studies, you can give potential users an inside look into how they can benefit from your app.

How to market a mobile app: Retention marketing strategies

As you’re growing your user base, the absolutely crucial next step is to engage and retain those users through continued marketing. With the price tag of app installs is rising, the challenge for marketers is to keep increasingly costly new customers as loyal customers. In fact, 70% percent may be gone within a day of installing the app; and 96% may have uninstalled the app within 3 months. To put it another way, it’s 25 times more costly to draw in long-term users than it is to bring in short-term users who will provide little lifetime value to your company.

So what can you do to invest in your hard-won users?

Where paid advertising can bring you users, personalized retention marketing can help ensure these users stick around. Here are some great first to-dos to tackle:

If you’re ready to step up your retention marketing game even further, check out 10 Ways to Make Your App a Retention Machine.

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