Whether you’re an app developer or a mobile marketing professional, it’s your job to increase app downloads as much as possible. There’s no shortage of advice on the web these days telling you how to increase your app downloads, but much of it is outdated or obsolete. Here are five common-sense strategies that you can use today to entice more customers to install your mobile apps, along with some checklist items you can use to gauge your progress.
1. Start with a quality app.
It’s no secret that there are many apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play that are just plain bad. Whether it’s a confusing user experience or unnecessary slowness or even having the app crash completely, these experiences usually result in two things: Your app gets uninstalled, and the customer goes elsewhere. Worse, you’re likely to get a negative review! Not only will bad app quality not increase app downloads, it can end up seriously damaging your business.
On the positive side, a well-designed, stable app may not get as many glowing reviews in the app store as you’d like. But such apps tend to get used more, thereby increasing engagement with your company. And that’s the ultimate goal, right?
Ask yourself these questions to increase app downloads:
- Does my app have a tendency to lock up or crash?
- Is the app clearly understandable by a first time user?
- Is the app robust enough for frequent users?
2. Make your app easily findable in the app stores.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to get your app featured by Apple or Google, your app will not be visible to your customers – unless they use the search feature. Your task is to determine which keywords your customers might use to search for your app, and then to make your app show as high as possible in the search results for those keywords. (Think of it as SEO for the app stores.). The title and description of your app are the two main places where you can use strategically-placed keywords to boost your standings.
A good example is Amazon’s Kindle eBook reader app. This brand has enough market saturation that simply naming the app “Kindle” would have been a reasonable choice, but by naming the app “Kindle – Read eBooks, Magazines & Textbooks”, Amazon has effectively boosted the app’s ranking for possible searches for “ebooks”, “magazines”, and “textbooks”. And it’s no accident that each of those keywords show up again in the app description.
- Have I identified the keywords potential customers are likely to use when searching for apps like mine?
- Does my app title contain the most important keywords?
- Are those keywords prominent in the app description?
3. Use your own download links.
Apple and Google have good reason to encourage you to use their “badges” – those ubiquitous button-like graphics that say “Available on the App Store” and “Available on Google Play.” What you may not know is that when you use those graphics, you are subject to a host of terms and conditions set forth by Apple and Google. Why play their game, just so you can advertise their app stores? If you’re going to increase app downloads, you need to think outside the box…er, badge.
A better solution is to create your own short links that redirect to your app’s page in the App Store or Google Play. Or better yet, use a LinkSense link, which will point to both app stores, sensing the device type when clicked and routing your customers to the right destination. And that single link can easily be added to Twitter and SMS text messages, embedded in emails, or attached to a QR code. Why limit your options?
- Where can I use links that I control to more effectively drive traffic to my app in the various app stores?
- Will my links work on any device?
4. Spread the word everywhere.
Decent visibility in the app stores will only get you so far. If you really want your app to gain traction, you need to focus your marketing efforts in multiple channels. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are obvious places to spread the word. Having a “download our app” link in your email marketing is a great idea as well.
If your business has physical locations where customers visit (a store or restaurant, for instance), printed signs and banners can provide a boost to your app marketing as well, especially when combined with SMS text messaging. “Text MYAPP to 99999 to download our mobile app” is a simple way to get a download link onto your customers’ phones.
- Am I regularly posting download links to my apps on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?
- Where can I use SMS text messaging and printed materials to give customers an easy way to get my app on-the-go?
5. Seek out publicity and reviews.
By “reviews” here, I don’t mean reviews on the app stores themselves – although encouraging your customers to provide positive reviews there is essential. Rather, I’m referring to soliciting reviews and write-ups from key blogs and websites in your industry. It’s worth your time to find out who’s writing at the intersection of your target market and mobile technology – and cultivating relationships with those people. Then, when your app is ready to launch, or when a major new release is coming, you can seek out a review with a better chance of success. (Just make sure your quality is top-notch – see the first point above!)
In addition to published reviews, it’s a good idea to seek out a listing on Product Hunt or TechCrunch. Better yet, get your customers and others in your network to submit your app for you. Success is not guaranteed, but the potential avalanche of traffic – and increased app downloads that come with it – is worth the effort!
- Have I identified key influencers in my industry?
- Have I developed relationships with those influencers?
- Have I solicited mentions or reviews from them for my app?
- Have I asked my customers and contacts to submit my app to Product Hunt, TechCrunch, and similar sites?