Friday, May 7, 2021

How to Market Your App in the App Stores

Once you've placed your new application in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, it's time to concentrate on developing your ASO (App Store Optimization) plan. The basic purpose of your ASO is simple - draw as many buyers as possible to your app page. OK, but how do you accomplish that? 

The answer involves a number of factors, including:

  • Keywords. Google estimates that 40 percent of apps are discovered through app store searches - which tells you how important it is to make use of the particular keywords that turn up in searches for your type of app. 
  • App descriptions (long & short). Keywords also play a part here (even though the Apple store doesn't take them into account in establishing keyword ratings) but the description for your app has to be more than keywords, it has to catch the attention of prospective buyers. Your app needs to offer to solve a problem for them, entertain them, or inform them in some way, and the description is where you need to convince buyers that your app can do that better than your competitors. You're also limited in the number of characters in your description that the potential customer will see on your page, so you need to be concise and make every word count.
Items to include in your description: 
    • The purpose of your app.
    • A list of the different functions available in your app.
    • The types of users who could benefit from using your app.
    • Screen shots/Videos.
    • Note: Do not include user reviews in your description in the Apple store - they're not allowed.
  • App Icon - You may not be aware of it but your app's icon can also influence potential buyers. An icon that's simple and projects the theme of your app helps reinforce the message you're presenting to anyone who lands on your app page. An effective icon can be like the road signs in Europe and elsewhere that get their message across with just a picture.
  • Sales (downloads). A large number of downloads shows your app is popular and reassures viewers looking at your page that a good many other people were impressed enough to try it. 
  • Reviews. Customer reviews and ratings can have a major effect on how well your app sells - poor reviews can kill your app in a hurry. There are a number of ways to go about asking for reviews:
    • Ask readers while they're actually using your app (there are plugins that make it dead simple to do that).
    • Offer to activate an extra feature in the app to any reader who leaves a review.
    • Take the time to respond to both positive and negative reviews - let your readers know that you care about their opinions.
  • Additional resources. Maintain contact with your followers on social media and continue to request reviews from websites and YouTube channels that specialize in discussing new apps.
Keywords are vitally important to getting your app noticed - so how do you include them in your ASO planning?  To begin with, the title of your app should contain the word or phrase most commonly used in searches for apps like yours, which means you need to do a little research to identify that word or phrase. The easiest way to do that is to use Google Keyword Planner (you'll need a Google Adwords account).  Go to the Keyword Planner, enter the keywords you've brainstormed, and check to see which are the most popular. You can also go to websites like Sensor Tower or App Annie, enter the names of some of your competitor's apps, then look to see which keywords they're using to draw traffic to their pages. 

Feedback from your customers can also be key to the success of your app in the Play Store or App Store. Let customers tell you what they like or don't like about the program, whether or not they had problems using it, and what they would like to see added to it. Years ago I had a shareware program on the market and customer comments allowed me to short-circuit a potential problem with a program bug and also led me to add a new feature that greatly improved the application. Listening to your customers not only avoids bad reviews, it provides you with new ideas for your app. 

In addition, along with your contact information, be sure to ask politely for users to leave a positive review if they like the app. Don't be pushy about it, just let them know how much you would appreciate their comments or rating.

That covers the main points about marketing your app on the marketplace. Be sure to spend some time planning your marketing approach (keywords, app description, etc.) before you put your application in the Apple or Android store - and be ready to make changes at any time, depending on how sales are trending.

Note: Look at How to Find Great ASO Keywords for Your App by Kimberly de Silva for more tips on how to find the best keywords for your app.

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