How to Market Your App in 2021 – 20 Free and Effective Ways

by OFER TIROSH 21/10/2020
How to Market Your App in 2021 – 20 Free and Effective Ways
I love the fact that there’s an app for everything these days. Their usefulness is just incredible and app developers continue to innovate at a staggering pace. 
 
Are you wondering how to market an app that you’re developing? If so, this article is for you. We’ll walk you through 20 free, effective ways to market your app, giving you the edge you need. 
 

App Marketing – the Current State

 
More than half of all web traffic is now mobile – and the mobile device market share is set to continue increasing as we head into 2021. As such app marketing is big business. 
 
I’ve found it fascinating to watch app marketing evolve over the years. If you’re worried about how to market your app, don’t fret – there are so many choices available to you. 
 
App marketing has evolved into a highly professional industry, both in terms of marketing apps themselves and in-app advertising for products, services and, of course, other apps. In-app advertising is projected to reach a market size of USD 226.4 billion by 2025, highlighting the enormity of this area of work. 
 
If you want to know the best ways to promote an app, read on. Our 20 effective ideas can be built into a detailed and far-reaching app marketing strategy that should serve you well over the course of 2021 and beyond. 
 

Marketing an App Via App Store Optimisation

 
One of the best ways to market an app is through app store optimisation. With over five million apps available through just the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, you need to do all you can to stand out from the competition. 
 
App store optimisation allows you to improve your mobile app’s visibility within the app stores you’ve chosen to use. This, in turn, can increase your app conversion rates. 
 
I really can’t emphasise how important this form of app advertising is. Make sure you give it the time and attention it deserves. 
 

1. Optimize Your App Description

 
Whether you plan to include your mobile application in the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Huawei App Store, Amazon App Store or anywhere else, it’s essential that the description:
 
  • Includes relevant keywords
  • Meets the user’s search intent
  • Delivers usage and quality metrics
 
Your messaging needs to be clear, concise and beautifully optimised to give your app marketing efforts the best chance of success. 
 

2. A/B Test Multiple Key Identifiers of Your App (Logos, Marketing Messages)

 
App stores are the largest marketing channel for mobile apps. 47% of Apple app users discover new apps through the Apple App Store; 53% through the Google Play Store. Given that users normally consider only around the first five or so apps resulting from their search, it’s essential that you rank highly. 
 
This is where A/B testing comes in. I’m a big fan of A/B testing. It allows you to test multiple key identifiers when you’re marketing an app, from logos and marketing messages to your description optimisation. 
 
I can’t advocate an organised approach strongly enough here – A/B testing is only as valuable as your monitoring of it. Take a data-driven approach to how effective the differences in your versions are and keep tweaking based on the results. 
 

3. Provide a Free Version of Your App

 
There’s nothing like a free ‘lite’ version of your app to tempt users to fork out for a more advanced paid version. This is a frequently used app marketing strategy, with the free app market leading to increasingly creative ways to tempt new users. You can build up a strong userbase with the free version, while advertising the paid version frequently within it. 
 
This freemium model requires careful thought as to which features to include in each version of the app and how to market app features that will convince users to part with their cash. Whether you’re targeting the free Android apps market or any other, take a strategic approach. 
 

Marketing Your App by Using a Website

 
Once you’ve optimised your app store description and done all you can to provide your app with maximum visibility within your chosen store(s), I recommend switching your attention to website marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of website promotion, click the link below before proceeding with these steps. 
 
 

3. Create a Website and Landing Page for Your App

 
A website can be a powerful app marketing tool. You can use it to advertise your app, waxing lyrical about its benefits and why people simply can’t do without it. It’s a chance for you to go into more detail than app store descriptions allow and you can fill the site with glossy screenshots and other tantalising glimpses of in-app action. 
 

4. SEO

 
Of course, if you’re creating a website for your app, then you’ll also need to factor search engine optimisation (SEO) into your app promoting strategy. Just as you optimised your app store description to help users find your app rather than your competitors’ offerings, you’ll need to do some keyword research and optimise your website. 
 
There are plenty of free tools out there to help you with SEO, as well as professional agencies who can support your optimisation work, should you need help with it. 
 

5. A Dedicated Blog that Provides Updates About Your App

 
There are a few blog-related ways that you can use to market your app in 2021. Firstly, you can create a blog on your website that is dedicated to updates about your app. 
 
Each new version will fix bugs, roll out new features and generally enhance your users’ experience of the app. Use your blog to explore different elements of each update to help users get the most out of your app. Doing so will also show potential users that you’re serious about giving them maximum value. It’s also a great way to promote all those cool new features that you’ve worked so hard on.  
 

6. A Blog that Talks About Problems that Your App Solves

 
You can also create a blog that focuses on the bigger picture. Apps are designed to meet a need and many of them address particular pain points. Use your blog to show which problems your app solves, and how, and you’ll be well positioned to acquire new users in the process. 
 

Ways to Market Your App Via Social Media

 
My favourite aspect of social media app marketing is how creative you can be. This is (to my mind) one of the most fun forms of marketing. Different social media platforms require a different approach, from image-led sites like Pinterest and Instagram to industry stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter. 
 

7. Influencer Marketing

 
If you’re wondering how to crack social media marketing for your mobile app promotion, influencers are a great place to start. After all, why spend days and weeks building up your own following when the right pitch to the right influencer could put your app in front of millions? 
 
Think carefully about which influencers’ followers are most suited to your app. Getting your product in front of ten smaller but highly relevant influencers’ audiences could prove more valuable than a partnership with a single mega-influencer whose audience is less sell suited to your app. 
 
Remember that many influencers have their own blogs, as well as social media accounts, so factor guest blogging into your influencer marketing strategy too. A well-timed, enthusiastic post about your app can do much to boost your userbase. 
 

8. Review Channels

 
Social media channels vary hugely. That means you need a unique approach for each platform that you use. But how do you decide which channels are best?
 
A bit of research can do wonders here. Did you know, for example, that 75% of US women use Facebook, but just 63% of men? Or that 72% of 13-17-year-olds use Instagram, compared to just 47% of 30-49-year-olds? 
 
Define who it is that you most want to target and then review social media channel demographics with this in mind. Doing so means you can target the right potential users while avoiding wasting your energy on the channels that are less likely to lead to conversions. 
 

9. Join Relevant Social Media Groups

 
With your social media platforms chosen, you can set about targeting the groups that are most relevant to your app. Be sure to respect group rules – many have set expectations around product promotion, which you will need to build into your marketing approach. 
 
A good tactic is to take an active role within the groups. Don’t simply post an advert for your app – contribute to discussions and add value to the group to build up your credibility. 
 

Promoting Your App Through Ads

 
This area of your app-promotion strategy can very quickly become the most costly. Set a budget and stick to it to avoid your costs spiralling out of control. There are also ways to get free ad credits from major platforms, you just have to be patient and keep a close eye when these promotions do become available. 
 

10. Google Ads

 
People perform 2.3 million searches per second on Google. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Most searches throw up multiple ads before the organic search results. If you want to be one of them, you’ll need to pay. 
 
According to Wordstream, the average cost per click for Google search ads in the US, when considered across all industries, is $2.32. Would you be willing to pay that? The average cost varies from country to country, but if you want your app to appear at the top of 
Google, you’ll definitely need to pay something. 
 

11. Facebook Ads

 
If you want your ads to appear on Facebook, you’ll need to pay for those too. This can be an effective apps promotion approach, as you can be very specific about which audience(s) your advert is aimed at. You can set a daily budget to help control costs and set up your campaign to pay for only the actions you want, whether that’s impressions or conversions. 
 

12. Retargeting

 
Social media retargeting is an interesting concept. It centres on bringing back those who’ve already visited your site and then browsed elsewhere. You can target them with a promotion designed to lure them back to your site and make a purchase. 
 
This cookie-driven approach is easy to implement on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and is well worth considering as part of your overall app marketing strategy. 
 

How to Market an App Via Localization

 
Localization is the process of focusing your app specifically on a particular target audience. Doing so can improve the user experience for that audience. 
 

13. Conduct Thorough Market Research

 
Conduct thorough market research to identify which areas you will market your app in and then to understand the particular considerations for each locale. The more data you can gather at this point, the better. 
 

14. Localize Your App

 
Localization involves changing various elements of your app to suit the culture of the target audience. App localization services aren’t just about language translation, but can incorporate changing colour schemes, redesigning the app to allow text to flow in a different direction, changing currency symbols and much more. 
 
There are two approaches to app localization:
 

DIY Localization

 
If you’ve already coded the entire app yourself, you might relish the challenge of taking a Do It Yourself (DIY) approach to localizing the software. The only cost to doing so is your time – although this can be a considerable commitment. 
 
I would emphasise the need for incredibly thorough market research if you’re taking the DIY approach to app localization. You will need to reflect cultural nuances in each version of your program in order to resonate with each audience. 
 

Use a Localization Company

 
A professional localization company can take the pain out of the process. These companies have networks of localization professionals who have in-depth knowledge of your target audiences. They can swiftly apply this knowledge to your app, helping you to get the most out of the localization process, with obvious rewards in terms of your marketing success. 
 

App Promotion Via Email

 
Email marketing is another excellent form of app promotion. Again, there are a couple of options open to you:
 

15. Place a Download Link in Your Outgoing Emails

 
If you place a download link in your emails, your recipients will be able to download your app quickly and easily. This is ideal for targeted email marketing campaigns where the entire point is to get recipients to buy your app. 
 

16. Place a Link to Visit Your Landing Page in Your Email Signature

 
It’s also worth including a link to your website landing page in your email signature. This can serve to raise the profile of your app and subtly push your brand, as it will be included in every email you send. 
 

Traditional Ways of Marketing an App

 
When it comes to how to market your app, there are plenty of traditional ways that are still highly effective. 
 

17. Sharing it with Your Friends

 
I know, but we can’t discount the power of word of mouth. This is so simple and so effective. Dish out a free version of your app to your friends and then let the power of word of mouth do its thing. People buy from people, so the more advocates of your app that are out there, the better. 
 

18. Network Through Major and Minor Tech Conferences

 
You all remember Apple, right? The company is a master of networking, but you don’t need Apple’s budget to imitate its approach. Tech conferences of all sizes can help you to market your app to relevant, highly focused audiences. 
 
With so many conferences, webinars and other tech events being held online at present, it’s easier than ever to court global audiences remotely. And all you need to do to get involved is pitch to the right person in the right way. 
 

19. Cold Emailing Potential Users

 
Your market research will come in handy here. Use the data you gathered to cold email potential users as part of your app marketing strategy, localizing your emails to suit users from different cultures and demographics. You can use professional translation services to target audiences in multiple countries – just be sure to respect each country’s laws on unsolicited email approaches. 
 

20. Tele-advertising

 
Yes, be that person if you want your app to be successful. You can advertise on traditional television stations, on television-on-demand services and through YouTube to get your app into the spotlight. 
 
Advertising is a huge area of work and can cost a small fortune, so do your homework in order to get maximum return on your investment. Research how your target users consumer their television shows, and when, and focus your advertising accordingly. 
 
An ad agency might seem like a costly expense, but such expertise can do much to ensure your television marketing campaign hits the mark.  
 

Final Thought: Podcast Marketing

 
Ok, I know I said 20 app marketing tips, but I couldn’t resist throwing in one final one as a bonus: podcast marketing. 
 
This is a rapidly evolving area of marketing, with an increasing number of sponsorship opportunities and chances for product/app mentions at the start and end of podcasts. Again, think about the audiences of those you’re target and ensure your efforts are focused on the podcasts that reach your most relevant demographics. 
 

Conclusion

 
If you want to know how to promote an app, these tips have hopefully given you a good starting point. It’s always sensible to create a marketing strategy to keep you focused and on track, so be sure to include the most relevant of these in order to maximise your app’s success:
 
  • Optimise your app description
  • Perform A/B testing
  • Embrace the freemium model
  • Create a website
  • Undertake SEO 
  • Blog about your app updates
  • Blog about the problems your app solves
  • Use influencer marketing
  • Review the best social media channels
  • Join relevant social media groups
  • Use Google ads
  • Use Facebook ads
  • Use retargeting
  • Conduct market research
  • Localize your app
  • Place a download link in your emails
  • Link your email signature to your website landing page
  • Share your app with your friends
  • Attend tech conferences and other events
  • Create a cold email campaign
  • Create televised adverts
  • Use podcast marketing
 
You can leave a comment below to let us know which of these you found most effective. I would also love to hear your thoughts on other free and effective app marketing techniques for 2021. 
 
 
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