An increasing number of companies are realizing how much money there is in mobile apps. Even apps that aren't monetized (via a charge for the initial download, micropayments or advertising) are a powerful tool in a marketer's arsenal: They keep your audience engaged with your brand and let you send push notifications, coupons and other marketing materials you couldn't otherwise.
But many companies' apps languish in the Apple or Google Play store. Your audience may not see the point of your app, or they may not even know it exists.
Don't let the time and effort your company spent building your app go to waste. Follow these simple instructions to bring your app to your audience's attention so it can live up to its potential as a powerful marketing tool.
Optimize Your App Store Description
How are you describing your app? Is its name descriptive, and does it use at least one keyword? What keywords are sprinkled through your description? Your app description is just like your website or your social media presence: You need to carefully optimize it to rise above the fray.
Think about your app from your users' point of view. What would they search for to find it? How would they describe it to someone else? Why would someone download your app?
Look also at your competitors' app store descriptions. What audience are they courting, and what keywords are they using? Can you compete against them with these keywords? Or is it smarter to pick different, less-searched keywords? You may not be able to get the same market share as you might with more common keywords, but if you're rocking these rarer ones, you'll get the "long tail" of less common searches.
By focusing realistically on what your users want, look for and expect, you'll understand how to make yourself more visible to your audience. And if you're just breaking into a field with a lot of competitors, focusing on less common keywords will paradoxically net you more attention.
Use Deep Linking
Mobile is a growing industry -- but it's overcrowded. There are countless apps and websites vying for user attention. Referring your audience only goes so far. Sometimes, you need a subtler touch.
Deep linking is the technical term for linking directly to content, rather than a home page. This allows marketers greater specificity in terms of where their links lead. The exact nature of that specificity is limited only by the power of your imagination.
You've probably been on a mobile site before that gave you the option to download an app before it proceeded to the link you clicked. YouTube and Facebook both do this if you're accessing them via your mobile browser, for instance. By doing this, they remind users that these apps exist and often provide a more streamlined user experience than the mobile web version of their services.
But that's not all deep linking can do. With a little creativity, you can create links into your app that will refer to users by name or autopopulate items into their shopping cart. Deep linking is a powerful way to create a connection with your users and makes your app far easier and more interesting to use.
Interstitials are also called full-page takeovers. You've probably seen this before: As you scroll through a site on mobile, you are suddenly prompted to install the app. You need to scroll further down the page to bypass the interstitial.
Interstitials are a controversial topic in web design because many users find them annoying rather than useful. But especially if you need to drive clicks on and downloads of your app, this is a great way to alert users of your app's existence and utility. Every visitor to your website will see the interstitial and the prompt it provides.
Share It on Social Media
It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many companies fail to use social media to encourage users to download their app. Social media is one of the easiest and best ways to reach large numbers of people who are already invested in your brand, so this is a promotional tactic that's likely to get more bang for your buck.
You should also look into what you can do to generate word-of-mouth via social media. Incentivizing users to interact with your posts or share information about your app creates further awareness -- and from there, further downloads. Remember: Your potential audience will react far more positively to a recommendation from a friend than they will from your recommendation alone.
Display a Download Icon
Both Google Play and the Apple Store have images you can use, on your site and in print media, to promote your app. On your site, you can use this image to refer people to your app's page in the store, or you can display the image on print media. To make it even easier for users to interact, try using a QR code on your print media that takes them to your app's page when they scan it.
In a crowded app market, it's hard to get users' attention. But apps can play a pivotal part of any marketing strategy, and a well-promoted app can have an excellent return on investment. With a little care and creativity, you can optimize your app's description and harness the marketing channels you already have to make your app more appealing.