The process of building and launching a new app is a work in progress, in which thousands of dollars are spent on research, development, design, and testing to ensure the quality of the product.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the question of how to properly market the product is left unanswered. Eventually, resources are spent on “more pressing” matters, and marketers are left with the daunting task of promoting a new product with $0.
Furthermore, leading app strategy and marketing agency, App Promo, conducted its first annual App Developer Survey in 2012, which determined that around 52% of apps had $0 set aside for marketing despite 91% believing that marketing is necessary for success.
This staggering contradiction prompted us to wonder if it is possible to build a strong marketing strategy with zero budget in today’s landscape?
There are several approaches to tackling this question, but let’s start by stating the obvious: the odds are greatly stacked against you.
Gone are the days when word of mouth was enough to get users flocking to your app. The market is extremely crowded and competition is stiff.
However, if you’re past the point of no return, there are still some strategies you can try, in order to achieve success.
Take advantage of these platforms to find your audience and start a conversation to validate your app idea. Platforms like Hacker News, Stumbleupon, and Quora, provide valuable outlets to share your content with others with similar business’ interests.
Even though this is a great way to gain exposure for your product, it is imperative that you produce content that adds value to the readers, instead of flat-out self-promoting.
You should prioritize impactful content here because it’s the base of any strong marketing strategy. Consider starting your own business blog to build a community around your product. By doing so, you can help your customers reach you by using the right keywords to represent your business (boost your SEO), you can connect people to your brand, and position yourself as an industry leader.
Additionally, blogs are great outlets for free exposure and networking opportunities. Find other outlets that specialize in your industry and cater to your audience, and start building relationships with them.
Comment on different posts, connect with other commentators and finally reach out to the blog owner/writer for guest blogging or product feature opportunities.
Getting a respected, well-known figure to talk about your product can work wonders for your business. Basically, you can think of influencer marketing as an upgraded word of mouth, because you are still getting the advice, but in this case from an educated source.
But… does this really work?
Let’s look at the data: according to a McKinsey Study, word-of-mouth marketing initiatives generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Additionally, these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
Going social takes a lot more than building Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles. Yes, that’s a start, but to really make an impact you have to dig deeper and be specific. Explore the less traveled road on Slashdot, Reddit, Periscope, Slideshare, etc..
There are a number of social media platforms out there that may cater to your specific audience. Also, try to incorporate a virality/shareability element to your app to encourage users to share their experience and invite others to join. This will serve as added value for your users while giving you exposure and encouraging referrals.
Beta Test Communities
Testing your product can be a great way to get the conversation going, while also gaining valuable insights. Some useful resources for online testing are beta testing communities like Product Hunt, Beta Page or Beta List.
Find the ones that best fit your goals and submit a beta version of your product. These communities will give your product exposure and recognition amongst a highly engaged audience. Also, make sure to interact with other people’s products and build relationships with others in your industry.
The strategies outlined above are a good starting point for building a strong marketing foundation. However, it takes a lot more than this to achieve app success.
Do you want more strategies to help you avoid failure?
Maybe you are struggling with finding a unique selling proposition, or you can’t decide on a proper monetization strategy?
So, are you ready to take your app to the next level?
Join Cody McLain (@codymclain), Steve P. Young (@stevepyoung), David Box (@DavidBox2), and Justin Bergen (@thenighttrader) as they break down what it really takes to build a successful digital product.