As Seen on Mashable.
The question I hear most from app developers that have launched at least one app is," How do you market your apps successfully?" The answer is a complicated one that changes due to a whole host of variables. like many challenges there are multiple solutions to effectively marketing your app. The most important step in your marketing journey starts long before the first lines of code have been created.
Is your app Unremarkable or "Remarketable?" When thinking up app ideas to create this is a simple test to run. Will your new app be so remarkable that people using it will run and tell their friends about it? If the answer is no, well, then don't expect any media outlets to cover it. We all know the news media love sensational headlines so if you make it easy for the media by making a sensational app, your app has just become that much easier to market. The media also loves to have some story behind the app that they can share with their readers.
Let's look a little deeper into a synonym for the word sensation; emotion. Everyone who uses your app will have some sort of emotional response to it, if they don't that usually means they are indifferent to it and this will result in people not sharing your app, or simple saying, "meh." when asked about your app. Large media outlets do not report "meh"apps for free so don't spend time making one unless you have tons of money to burn and can brute force your way to a headline for a fee. Your app should have a clear and concise message that users can immediately connect with emotionally.
Looking back at the previous four apps I've made, they all revolve around core human emotions and desires. The idea of the app can be summed up in a few words so users can "Get it." right away. In the mobile space you have to communicate with your potential users immediately before they move on to looking for the next app so It is important that your app name and icon tell them what your app will do without them having to think too hard about it.
Vanity - How attractive am I?
CrunchTime - I hate my job hours, Can I work less?
Matchbooth - I'm lonely, Can I find a companion?
CryFace - People look funny when they cry, this app makes everyone cry.
Many people will tell you that marketing your app should start long before launch. I mostly agree with this but also recognize when you're an indie developer on a shoe string budget, this isn't always possible. You have to find other creative ways to make your app do most of the marketing itself.
Having a full time job forces me to be super selective of where I want to spend most of my app development time. Traditionally marketing an app can be a full time job in itself so when I'm making an app I wait till all the app development is done before I can dedicate solid hours to marketing. Ideally I would love to work together with someone who is as passionate about marketing apps as I am designing and developing them. Since I don't have the luxury of time or a dedicated marketing guru here's my approach on marketing CryFace.
1) App keywords and app title optimization - This will boost your downloads tremendously if done correctly. A large portion of people who buy apps search for apps via keywords.
2) After launch I did some research to see who the top tech and popular culture bloggers were that could possibly be genuinely interested in CryFace. I only wrote 5 different bloggers and heard back from one, who said she would forward my email to the team. I never heard back but I like to think that even if you don't get a response there's a possibility the bloggers are still checking out the app and if they like it but don't think it's a good fit for the story they want to write then they can still pass it along to other friends or bloggers to check out.
3) I wrote 2 press releases with sensational yet true headlines. One press release was written in a safe, traditional manner, the other was more attention grabbing stating that CryFace is the only app able to make Chuck Norris cry. I worked on Crysis 2 and the game Crysis 3 was about to be launched after my app so I decided to play off the title of their wonderful game engine called CryEngine. The title of my first press release was... Ex Crytek Employee release Cry Engine onto App Store, Graphics will make you cry. For Press releases I used two websites that I've used in the past, PRWEB and PRMAC. Writing a press release will help you understand how to pitch your app. If you're having trouble writing one on your own just search the web for the press release of a similar app and learn from it. This will help you to create your own. You can also find countless articles via google on writing a press release. Remember, journalists hate reading press releases, keep it genuine yet entertaining to read.
5) Used www.fiverr.com and paid people 5 dollars to print out lots flyers with my app info and place them up around dorms and class rooms. (not sure how effective this was, I'm betting not very many people saw the flyers before they were taken.) I don't recommend this, as I did not see a noticable boost in downloads.
6) Started an Instagram page for CryFace using mainly Celebs.
7) Created a Facebook page.
8) Created the app webpage and press kit, before launching the app.
9) Created a tumblr page just incase. ( When I update Instagram the post auto propagates to the other accounts.)
So far the most effective of all these for generating downloads for CryFace were numbers one, two, and six. App Seo, Instagram posts, and emailing bloggers. If you want something just ask but make sure you don't spam a bunch of bloggers, it's better to build a relationship with them. Also, send thank you emails. I usually send emails on Sunday to various blogs right before they have to go back into work Monday Morning.
Instagram is the new Facebook. Use it to build relationships with your customers and followers. Update at least once a week. When see people on their smart phones I like to notice what my target demographic is doing with their devices. They are using Instagram. Since Cryface is all about image creation and sharing with friends, posting the pictures to Instagram was a no-brainer. It also serves as an example of what the app does.
ChipChick.com, a women's lifestyle and tech blog, were the first blog to do a story on CryFace, a couple hours later Mashable had reported on the ChipChick article and placed it on their front page. Soon after, the article was shared and tweeted about for the next few weeks. A temporary sigh of relief washed over me along with a slight feeling of validation, I had just made another newsworthy app. I think I'm getting good at this. Now it's your turn! Go create an app worthy of the headlines.
Google Search Results for CryFace app.
*PS I forgot to mention a service found shortly after Cryface was being covered on Mashable.
I tried a service called http://ispreadnews.com/en/
What they do is ask you to fill out all the information on your app and, for a small fee, they will distribute your app info to all the known app review websites out there. When they are done they will send you a list off all the sites they sent your app to.
Sounds Amazing right? Well that's what I though too as about a hundred email messages came back from websites thanking me for my app submission. I was really excited about the service then one by one as I read each email, my excitement faded.
90% of the emails were the individual websites asking me for some sort of payment to get featured or reviewed. These prices ranged from $12 - $12,000. There were a few sites that didn't have some sort of fee for feature requirement. I have never paid for someone to feature or review my app before so I figured I should give it a try and document the results. In the coming weeks I will try two paid honest reviews and see how they pan out for downloads and exposure. It's good practice to always look at the Alexa.com ranking of each websites traffic before approaching a blogger or app centric website.
I do recommend giving ispreadnews.com a try since it saves you time from having to individually message every app blog about your app. Just be ready to pay to play.