After building your product, the hardest part is to market and promote your app and get the ball rolling with the first users who are willing to pay for it, or even use it for free. The good news it that it’s possible and not very expensive to do. Social media is one of the best platforms to let people know about your shiny new app. As long as you provide some value to people, they are willing to listen.
Know your app’s target audience.
One of the most important lessons I learned is to build an audience before you even have a product you want to promote. That is easier said than done! The idea is that if you create content on a regular basis, saying something worthwhile and helpful, your audience will grow organically. What to write? Think of people you follow, looking forward to the next blog or tweet they post. Aim for similar content.
You like their content because you know they will give good advice, describe their experiences or share a new app that they found useful. They don’t often try to sell you something or self-promote. When you develop an audience that values your opinion, they are more likely to check out your new app when you do share it with them. You don’t get the same trust in a relationship with potential customers with more traditional and more expensive marketing, like paying for ads or buying a mailing list.
It’s all about sharing and caring.
We all know about social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. We have heard numerous times that businesses have to use social media for marketing. We have all seen books and tutorials on “Twitter strategies” or “10 Facebook tips for startups”. Yes, you can schedule posts every few days to tweet about your app, or just share random news related to the industry to keep your profile current. But what if you make an extra effort and help your followers by adding more value to your posts and updates, rather than just promoting your app? Effective social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
For example, let’s say you have an app for recipes and cooking. Think why people would need that app. Would it appeal to people with adventurous tastes who want to try new recipes? Are they interested in a more healthy diet? Are they focused on losing weight? If you search twitter for “what diet”, meaning you’re looking for people’s questions, you’ll find tweets like this:
— nofishysmells (@Jwillies79) February 18, 2016
Why not help Sam by replying to him and answering his question? Having social media conversations with real people gives you a chance to learn what people really want, and build connections and relationships at the same time. Remember, there are a lot of real people hanging out on social media, and each one of them is first a potential follower, and then a customer. Even though there is a lot of spam out there, you just have to filter through the noise and find your audience.
Some of my favorite spots.
Product Hunt is a relatively new platform that allows people to discover their next favorite thing. Hundreds of new products (apps, podcasts, games, books) are posted daily. It’s a popularity contest for products. People vote up or down on the products and that’s how the list is sorted. It’s really important to have a great tagline and description when posting on Product Hunt to catch the attention of your potential customers.
Niche websites like Hacker News and Reddit may be a good way to connect with people with specific interests. There are many other niche websites, and it’s hard to know all of them. Every industry has at least one spot on the Internet where people interested in the subject hang out. These can be forums, IRC chat rooms, slack channels, etc. If you can find the niche audience that your app would appeal to, then you have yet another platform to communicate with them.
When you DO start marketing your product, make sure that your message is communicated very clearly. When people finally decide to go and check out your app, your website needs to explain what the app does and why people should register (even if it’s free). Don’t expect people to just “Get it”. There are too many junk apps available on the Internet, and you want to differentiate yours from the useless ones. Make the experience a simple and straightforward one for your users: it should be very easy to sign up, download, and start using your app. The fewer complications they encounter, the more likely it is that they will give you (and your app!) a chance.