3 Low Investment App Marketing Strategies

By David Oragui / 7 February 2018

Take advantage of 3 powerful app marketing strategies that you can implement today, without breaking the bank.

If you recently invested in a mobile app for your business, launching the app was a culmination of hundreds, if not thousands of hours of brainstorming, testing and building an app from the ground up.

Now, you're ready to take it to market to show your customers and attract new ones

In this article, we share 3 high-impact (but low-cost) app marketing strategies you can implement today.

1. Use Referral Marketing to Boost App Downloads

Referral marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing, is the process of rewarding customers for recommending your products to their friends.

Studies show that referral marketing is one of the most powerful ways to create a never-ending cycle (viral loop) of leads and sales.

Stock trading app Robinhood used referral marketing to drive millions of signups and sales to its app before it even existed.

By creating a pre-launch waiting list, Robinhood encouraged people to share the app with friends on social media.

Here's a quick and painless way you can use referral marketing to increase app downloads and encourage in-app purchases.

Build a Pre-Launch Waiting List

Building a pre-launch waiting list is one way to build hype and excitement for your app before its release.

There are two parts to a pre-launch waiting list:

  • Sign-up landing page
  • Thank-you page

The Sign Up Landing Page

A sign-up page is a high-converting landing page designed to get people on a waiting list when they sign up.

Take a look at this example from Robinhood.

Robinhood's sign up landing for its mobile app

Users who enter their email address get free, early access to the new stock trading app.

The Thank-You Page

A thank-you page is a web page that thanks visitors for signing up.

For a waiting list, the thank-you page tells subscribers their position on the waiting list and provides social referral options to improve their position.

You’re trying to convey the following message: “The more people you refer to my app, the sooner you’ll get access.“

In short, you’re using gamification to promote and market your app.

This can be compounded with a leaderboard (as shown below) which shows their position and how many people each person has referred.

leaderboard for mobile app sign-ups

The best part about this strategy is that you can focus on building your app and let the viral marketing campaign take care of the rest.

Check out 10 other pre-launch app marketing strategies.

Use Email Marketing to Boost Your Referral Marketing Campaign

Once your referral marketing campaign is live, you’ll want to continue sending people to your signup landing page until you launch your app.

One way to make this happen is to use referral emails.

Referral emails are emails designed to build a relationship with new subscribers and leads and encourage them to refer more people.

For example, every month when you reach a new app development milestone, you could send an email to your pre-launch waiting list and give them a reward for sharing your signup landing page with their network.

Another way of using referral emails to get more leads is to monitor your referer’s activity and send emails (with rewards) when they reach specific milestones.

For example, for people who refer you 10 leads, you could reward them with a discount for an in-app purchase or give it to them for free.

Here’s an example of an email 3D printer company Glowforge sent to people who referred 5 leads: “I get to upgrade your credit from $100 to $150 towards a Glowforge on launch day.”

Glowforge email offering a reward in exchange for a referral

The benefits of using referral emails in a referral marketing campaign are two-fold:

Show your users what you've been working on to build a strong relationship with your audience

Gives your users an excuse to share your app with their network.

2. Get Exposure from Product Hunt & Industry Specific Review Sites

Product Hunt is a website that helps users discover new apps, products, and software. If used correctly, you can expose your app to over 1 million members. But, like every other app marketing strategy, you need a plan of attack to get results.

screenshot of Product Hunt's homepage

Learn how to successfully launch your mobile app on Product Hunt.

Contribute to the Community to Post your Product

Product Hunt only accepts contributors who add value to their community, so after creating your account you must complete a series of tasks before posting your app.

Once your app is on Product Hunt, the goal is to get as many upvotes as possible within 24 hours. The more upvotes, the greater the chance of getting your app featured on the Product Hunt homepage or mentioned in their newsletter.

Get More Up-Votes on Product Hunt With Email Marketing

Send an email to your subscribers asking for support on Product Hunt. Don't be afraid to give extra rewards to encourage your customers to propel you to the top.

When Findthatlead.com launched their prospector tool on Product Hunt, they immediately sent an email to their subscribers asking for support.

To encourage engagement and increase the likelihood of being featured, they offered to give 150 extra credits a month for life, and their Mastering Cold Emails eBook to everyone who commented on their Product Hunt page.

The results were astronomical.

results of Find That Lead's efforts to promote its app on Product Hung

FindThatLead’s tool became a featured product of the day with 1,287 upvotes.

3. Launch an Effective PR Strategy to Get People Talking

With 75% of consumers saying brand awareness heavily influences their buying decision, using public relations (PR) as an app marketing strategy is a must to expose your brand and provide legitimacy.

Don’t make the mistake of sending 1,000 automated emails to people loosely related to your core market. That’s a PR disaster waiting to happen.

An effective PR strategy should focus on getting in touch with people who have vested interest in your market.

Here's a simple, yet effective PR strategy you can use to get press coverage for your app.

Identify the Best Prospects to Contact

Analyze your competitors’ backlinks to build a targeted list of prospects who are worth contacting.

Your competitors' backlinks will show you exactly who has written or mentioned them in the past.

Then, look for the names and contact information of these journalists, reporters, and marketers.

Add this information to a spreadsheet. You can use software such as FindthatLead, to identify and verify your prospects' contact information.

Be Specific, Memorable, and Brief

To avoid getting your emails marked as spam, your initial pitch must be concise.

Review your email and cut any words or phrases that don't add value. 

Reporters and journalists are busy. They get hundreds, even thousands of pitches from app developers like you every day.

The less time your prospect has to spend reading, the quicker you'll get a reply. 

Here's my winning recipe for getting outreach emails opened, read and most importantly, acted on.

  • What's the name and type of app you're showing me?
  • Who are you and what does your app do?
  • Why should I care?
  • Where can I find out more?

Don't send attachments when you first reach out. If they're interested, they will contact you.

Here’s an email I wrote that resulted in media attention for an app.

example of outreach email to get PR coverage

Personalize each email, send it to each prospect and follow-up in a couple days time.

The best part about these app marketing strategies is how seamlessly they work together to kick-start the promotion train for your app.

Sure, you could use each of these marketing strategies in silos and get great results.

However, when used as part of a holistic marketing strategy, you're able to create an unstoppable domino effect that grows alongside your business.

Other articles explore how to market your app on InstagramQuora, or Product Hunt, with starter strategies you can test for each.

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