Acquisition & Engagement

Inbound App Marketing Series: Part 5

Becky Doles

This is the fifth and final part in a series we are posting to cover all the inbound app marketing basics. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, inbound app marketing is the process of marketing your app through organic channels that have little-to-no marginal cost. It includes things like having a website, gaining earned media, having an active social presence, active content marketing, increasing engagement, and optimizing your app for app store search. Follow along as we cover all these different tactics.

Engagement: Indirectly boosting your downloads

Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about organic marketing, engagement is very important. Though not one of the most important factors in determining your rank in the app store, it does play a role. Engagement is similar to link building in SEO; the more users open and interact with your app, the more credible and reliable it is, and the higher it will rank.

Beyond directly influencing your rank in the app store, engagement can have indirect impacts. It can help increase your ratings and reviews (which also helps increase your rank in the app store), it can increase the number of users that share your app on social, and it can increase your downloads coming from word-of-mouth.

App Indexing

App indexing, a feature for Android Kit Kat, allows you to retarget in an awesome new way. App indexing is a game changer and allows your app to show up in a Google search (on a mobile device) with a deep link to a specific part of your app. The average person (in the U.S.) has 41 apps installed, and many times they have multiple apps that perform the same function.

Going back to the cooking app example, if a user has your app installed and searches for “pasta recipe” in Google (traditional search engines still are the first place people go when looking for something on the web), you could deep link to a specific pasta recipe, and drive the user back to your app. Brilliant!

If you have an app on Android, you should be taking 100% full advantage of app indexing. Apple’s Spotlight feature can be used in a similar way, although not to the same extent…yet.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are another great way to be proactive in keeping your users engaged. One of the first things almost any app you download does is ask for permission to send you notifications. As I’m writing this, I just received one from Cut The Rope reminding me I still have more games to play.

You can use push notifications to keep users up to date on your app, notify them when something has changed, when a friend has joined the app, and much more. Anything you think the user would find interesting enough to go back into your app can be pushed out.

Three of the most important things to keep in mind when creating and sending push notifications are relevance, value, and control. You want every notification to be relevant to the user so it isn’t viewed as spam.

Although push notifications can be extremely useful, if they are done wrong or too frequently, they can lead to negative sentiments toward your app. Look for times you can add value in the notifications. Are you running a special deal or offering a discount? This would be a great time to use a notification. The user will appreciate being informed of the value your app can bring.

Also, make editing notifications extremely easy to find and use. Provide the ability to customize the information you can share with them and how often you can share it. It is better to send someone fewer notifications that they actually care about then to overwhelm them with spammy pushes.

If you’re looking for a service to help you get the most out of push notifications, or just want some more great information, check out Urban Airship.

Get Old Fashioned with Email

Don’t overlook the power of email marketing for your app. This can be used in similar ways to push notifications, but it allows you to reach users through channels other than the home screen or notification center of their phone.

Make sure to design your emails to look good on mobile and send people relevant and useful information that will incentivize them to use your app. Have a call-to-action, and prompt the user to complete a specific task. For example, if you have a sports app, have the email update them on that day’s scores and prompt them to see game highlights and specific stats within your app.

Engagement is a central part of creating a good app. The more engaged your customers are, the happier they are with your product. You might have a fantastic app and already have really active users, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Use a few of the methods above to improve your engagement and increase organic downloads in the process.

The Foundation Is Set

It’s not going to be an easy road, but at least now you have a map. These organic measures are the bedrock for your organic app marketing. There are a lot of additional marketing campaigns and tactics you can try, organic or paid, but this is your foundation for generating inbound leads. Just remember to put one foot in front of the other, and watch as downloads start to pour in.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she handled content strategy and marketing communications at several tech startups in the Bay Area. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned home to Charleston, SC, where you can find her strolling through Hampton Park with her pup and enjoying the simple things between adventures with friends and family.

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