Keeping Your Mobile Application Relevant

In today’s mobile app market you have to do more than simply develop an application. With over 325,000 apps on iTunes how will your application stay relevant over the years to come?

Many developers make the mistake of “develop then leave it”. Once the app is completed its left out on the app store to collect dust with high hopes of being found. Check out my article on How to Market Your Mobile Application for some cheap and easy marketing tips, but for the this article I want to talk about updates!

How many times have you looked at an app on iTunes and noticed it hasn’t been updated in 6 months to a year? What does that say to the consumer? If you want to keep the attention of the user you have to give them a reason to keep launching the application.

WorldLink launched iTalk to God in September of 2009. Our marketing plan has included online advertising, print ads, and social media campaigns. Besides the normal bug fixes we didn’t release an extensive update until December 15th, 2010. In early 2010 iTalk to God reached the number 5 spot in the reference category. After a few months and the newness of the app faded, iTalk to God fell out of the top 200 completely.

The most recent update included finger swipe verse traversal, share verses using SMS text, backward verse traversal, and left/right traversal buttons. We also launched the ability to post on Facebook a few months prior. Since the December 15th update not only have we moved back into the top 100, but we have received consistent daily reviews, and now have a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Listen to what your customers are saying and implement their suggestions into your updates as well. This will not only keep your users coming back to the application, but they will look out for your future products as well.

How have updates effected your app?

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How to Market Your Mobile Application

The marketing landscape has significantly changed over the last few years with the emergence of social media and brands like Facebook and Twitter. Now with Smartphones changing the way we connect and the impact of mobile apps, some might be wondering, “How do I market my newly developed mobile application?”

Here are 5 tips that I’ve learned on my mobile app journey:

1. Create a valuable product

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but there is a countless number of companies and individuals that are blinded by their own personal bias. Everyone thinks their app is gold and that it deserves to be downloaded by millions of people. But with over 325k apps on iTunes alone, you have to offer more than just a presence on the app store.

Research! Research! Research! Marketing 101 teaches us to know your target market. So know your customers. What are they saying about your brand? What are you doing right or wrong, and how can you improve? An app is not only an opportunity to promote your brand, but it’s an opportunity to offer your customers something truly unique. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself, what would make you download your brand’s application? Most importantly, what would propel you to keep launching the app?

2. Create a website or landing page

Just like your website is the face of your brand, so should the site or landing page for your app. The page should showcase your application in full detail with descriptions, feature sets, screen shots, video, and most importantly…a direct link to purchase the app.

As opposed to just marketing the iTunes link, marketing the landing page gets people to your site and the opportunity to browse other available products. Brand building!! Posting your links to Twitter and Facebook also helps to boost your SEO.

3. Advertise on Facebook

I’m partial to Facebook advertising for two main reasons: cost and targeting. Depending on the type of campaign your running and how wide your reach is, on average, Facebook’s CPM (cost per impression) and CPC’s (cost per click) remain under a dollar. With the ability to set your own daily budget (with no minimums) and end the campaign at any time, opens the door to any marketing budget.

The demographic and targeting settings are very easy and broad, allowing you the ability to target a very small group of people or millions worldwide. The fact that keywords are actually pulled from profiles also guarantees you’re choosing the right terminology to fit your campaign.

Quick Tips:

  • Keep your headline short and sweet and RELEVANT to what you’re advertising.
  • Use an eye catching picture – again, keep it relevant – no false advertising.
  • Focus on your target market and play around with different keywords until you achieve the reach you want. Facebook also gives keywords suggestions off of what you’re inputting…use them.
  • Reaching as many people as possible isn’t necessarily the best strategy. If you’re reach is 100 million people you might get lost in the crowd. Really hone in on your target market and start from there.

4. Submit your press release to news outlets and blog sites

Create a press release (keep it at a page) that includes a brief description of the app and the key features, price, and app store location. Research which outlets will benefit the most from your app and send them your press release.

Don’t limit yourself to news sites. There are millions of blogs and app review sites all over the web. Find the influencers in your field and target them with your release as well. Get creative and do your RESEARCH!! Again, know your market and go after it.

5. Track your efforts – live and learn

What’s the point of marketing if you can’t track your efforts? Define your goals, and select the tools that best monitor the medium you’re using. For example, tools like HootSuite and Objective Marketer will help you track your efforts on Twitter. Google Analytics is another great tool that helps you track your site traffic and AdWords campaigns.

The mobile app world is still very new and so is most of our experience in marketing our app products. Research which mediums are best suited for your needs, track your efforts, and carry each experience on to the next campaign. We’re all figuring this out together, trust me…you are not alone.

What are your experiences with marketing mobile applications? Let us know in the comments field below.

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