5 Tips to Drive App Downloads in the Early Days

The age of mobile is upon us and as such, companies and developers are trying to take advantage by launching their own mobile apps. However, creating an app is only half the battle. Getting noticed, downloaded and actually used is consistently proving to be the most challenging part of any mobile app business. Here are 5 tips we've found extremely valuable in driving app downloads out of the gate:

1. Build Your App’s Online Presence

Before launching your app, make sure you spend some time, at least 3-6 months, building your online presence. This shouldn’t be too onerous a task seeing as you’ve likely spent hours and hours on TestFlight testing your app with friends and family, and tweaking your message along the way.

Website. Your website doesn’t have to qualify for a Webby Award but (a) you need to have one pre-launch and (b) it needs to be simple, direct, rich in imagery and have a clear call-to-action. Here's a little website checklist that might help. Make sure it includes these pieces:

  • App name and logo
  • Short pitch (or tagline)
  • Clear Call to Action
  • App Store | Google Play Badges
  • Key benefits (no more than six)
  • Contact/Feedback support
  • Social Channels
  • Social proof (if you’ve received any media love)

Blog. Should you or shouldn’t you? Later on I’ll touch more on content marketing in general but having a blog sets the foundation for your content marketing strategy. So YES you should launch a blog.

Your blog will evolve over time as will you app but in the early days, I recommend blogging about:

  • Your app’s unique features and benefits
  • How to get the most out of your app
  • The coolest parts about it - its WOW factors
  • Release updates and new features
  • Any press coverage you've received

Social Media. Pick your channels carefully. You don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) everywhere.

Twitter is great. Early adopters frequent Twitter and it’s a great platform to engage with them. At AIR, we were fortunate enough to connect with a thought leader and writer on Twitter from VentureBeat that resulted in a story. This never would have happened had we excluded Twitter from our social mix.

Facebook and LinkedIn are obvious ones as well, especially LinkedIn if your are trying to build out more of a corporate or B2B following. We use Instagram because one of our core benefits it to create great looking images. Like I said, look at your core value proposition, core business, and make the smart choices.

2. Optimize Your App Store Page

App Store Optimization may be somewhat overrated but there are still certain things you need to get right in order be seen and attract the most downloads possible. Most are common sense but it never hurts to stick to the basics in the early days. Make sure your app page includes the following:

  • App Name and relevant keywords
  • Attractive logo
  • Intriguing and unique screenshots
  • Engaging, brief app description
  • Benefits and Features
  • Links to your website and social channels
  • High ratings and positive reviews (easier said than done I know)
  • If you are fortunate enough to have received any press coverage, including a quote from the article will help - it gives your app instant street cred

3. Aggressive Outreach

The most effective content written about your app won't be by you, it will be by objective third parties. This content is more credible and will be shared more frequently (for the most part) compared to anything you prepare yourself. And best of all, it’s free!

Pitching your app to media is hard, time consuming work. You will likely send out dozens if not hundreds of emails and be lucky to get a handful of hits early on. A few tips we found useful here at AIR:

  • Start by contacting your personal contacts and their contacts. Everyone knows at least one or two bloggers or reporters that might choose to help you out.

  • Create a media list and keep it up to date. Look for articles written in your space or about your competitors and reach out to those authors first - they will be more likely to show interest in your app.

  • Draft a short, simple outreach email:

    • Introduce yourself and your role
    • Clearly state the one (or two) things that makes your app truly unique and why
    • Provide links to your website, blog, and App Store / Google page
    • Offer to send along your press kit
    • ASK for an interview
    • Provide all your contact details

4. Create a Press Kit

Hopefully, after sending out your emails to bloggers, reporters and other media types, you’ll get some hits. Most, if not all will ask to see your media or press kit so make sure you have one. It doesn’t have to be extravagant but it does have to be clean and professional. Make sure it contains the following:

  • App and/or company logos (png or jpg)
  • App screenshots
  • App Store screenshots
  • Press release
  • Any reviews or testimonials you’ve received to date

5. Create and Share Meaningful Content

Yes, you need to do this. You need people to find you on the web. You can’t simply depend on the App Store as your sole marketing channel. You need to start creating and sharing stunning, imaginative and helpful content about your app and/or the space you are in.

Your Blog is the obvious place for this content!

We started writing blog posts about how our app could simplify one’s life. We primarily wrote tips, ‘How To’, and ‘Did-You-Know’ content so people could quickly embrace our core value proposition around simplicity, speed, and quality when it came to content creation on the go. Yours will obviously be different but make sure you always keep in mind your core message and the core actions you want readers to take.

Your Blog should also be used to push company news, feature and release updates, awards or recognition you receive, and even curated content - content written about you in other blogs or publications (properly sourced of course).

As you know, getting traffic to your app store page, converting those leads into downloads, and of course, getting users to actively use your app is no easy task. It takes research, commitment, working smart, heeding the above advice, and of course, a great deal of luck!

Hopefully, the force is with you. Good luck!

Questions? Email me at colin@bubbl.ca.