On Dec 31st, 2012, WhatsApp accomplished an unfathomable feat, proudly displayed on their status update: 18 billion processed messages in one day. Founded in 2009 by two defecting Yahoo employees, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, it’s rather intriguing to read how these once prolific Yahooligans went from job hunting to billionaires because of their app – named after the frequently used “what’s up” phrase – gained just enough traction on the mobile app marketplace to go viral.
Sure, not every mobile application will get scooped up by Facebook for $19B; that said, having your application seen by millions should never be considered ‘off the table’. Let’s see how developers with little marketing acumen are surviving long enough to have their hand-coded innovations downloaded more than Taylor Swift albums each day.
Know What’s Been Done
It took an incredible think tank to put together an idea that sold. The results of three bored guys’ brainstorming activities? Society needed a method to see statuses next to names, so let’s hire an awesome Russian programmer off RentACoder.com. Before approaching Igor Solomennikov, however, Acton and Koum needed to make sure nobody had such an ingenious idea laying dormant in their pipeline. Thankfully, they were sole inventors at that time.
Think seriously about who downloads mobile apps – productivity enhancement seekers, shopaholics, gamers and the biggest demographic of all, teenagers. In order to garner the undivided attention of potential application users, you’d better befriend one (or all) categories above and learn what’s out there, what’s missing and what’s desperately needed right now. You can be as clandestine as you wish, but consider putting together a study group or taking polls. App marketing starts with listening to those who use similar products, businessmen that have killer ideas but lack programming knowledge and those endless dreamers who happen to speak freely within earshot.
Position Yourself For Humans, Not Bots
Google has caught on, folks. Your flagrant fouls (you know, content spamming and keyword stuffing in hopes to elevate search position) are being treated harshly in 2015 since unfair practices ruin – scratch that, devalue – ethical marketing campaigns. Talking to search engines like human beings in order to secure human interest is in your best interest, and I say this with emphasis because many marketing practices you’ll read on forums are designed for quick freelance profits and amount to zilch for you, the application developer. So, try this out:
- When describing your app, make all intricate details are written in such a manner that even you’re interested. Highlight the reason everyone needs to flock to this (Does it take two photos simultaneously? Can it monitor your bathing habits?) invention; don’t be afraid to outsource this writing assignment to someone that professional writes (but doesn’t program).
- Keyword inclusion is an ‘understood’ necessity, but repetitious usage isn’t.
- Make sure your biography is filled out properly, my developer friends. Establishing trust as programmers should be goal numero uno, and this is how you’ll imbue said trust in users.
- Include as much customer support information as allowable by Google and Apple. This includes a completed website, perhaps even your developer blog.
Follow up your finished profile and app upload with an electrifying press release which PRWeb (for one) will gladly throw across numerous channels. Write eye-catching status updates on Facebook, Twitter and engage various groups that share your developmental affinity to really put yourself out there. Again, you can probably summon the services of content experts to handle this, or perhaps even see how the creators of Whatsapp for PC managed to successfully grow.
Engage Users On Sight
Instead of driving blanked referrer traffic to gain instant fame, why not go where users would likely hang out? I mean, would you find 8 penny nails at Toys R Us? People that love ‘boredom’ games like Candy Crush, for example, are probably those with tons of time on their hands (housewives, for one), which means you’ll go where bored people hang out – forums, high traffic blogs and even in public places. App marketing means getting creative, friends, so make sure engaging users in places they frequent is probably much simpler than wasting money and time driving what you perceive to be highly targeted web traffic.
This ideology carries over into Google Adwords, too. Using keywords that have no bearing on what you’ve designed will do little good, so make sure you do some research on popular search terms or even entertain reading topics that are trending in Facebook or Google News.
There’s always room to add tons more here, but you get the gist. Knowing the main components of effective app marketing campaigns will lead you towards even more ethical tips that were used by WhatsApp founders to position themselves for an imminent buyout.