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Eleven Low-Cost or No-Cost Ways to Promote Your iPhone/iPad and Android Apps

Developers of iPhone and Android apps must also consider how they will approach marketing their app when released. Jeff Hughes shares 11 low-cost or no-cost ways to promote your apps. If you are consistent in your marketing efforts you will be successful selling your app.
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It seems that everyone has a Top 10 list, so I will break tradition and provide you with a Top 11 list with ways to promote your iPhone or Android app that are either free or low cost. All promotions require the cost of your time to develop programs and to reach your target audience, of course.

Marketing your app by simply posting it to the App Store or Android Market is not enough[md]you need to spend some time promoting it. Consider the following activities when you launch your app.

Seek Reviews from Any Site that Appears to Be a Fit for Your Type of App

Search on Google and Yahoo for online magazines and other publications that might have an interest in giving your app a review. These sites don't have to be app review sites. If you have developed a gardening app, look for publications that are focused on gardening and might be interested in giving your app a writeup.

Publications often look for new stories to write for their magazines, and writing about an app is a new thing for many of them. Don't just submit your app to app review sites.

With that said, you should also submit your app for review in as many app review sites as you can. Try to submit to at least 30-50 sites as soon as your app is launched on the App Store or Android Market. Keep an ongoing list of sites and the dates you submitted your review requests. This way, you can track who you've sent requests to and when.

It is difficult to get the attention of review sites because so many developers are requesting reviews, but you should still submit to them. It's a numbers game; the more you submit your app to reviewers, the more likely you'll get someone to review it. You will get some reviews; you just have to be persistent.

Word of Mouth

Good old-fashioned word of mouth can help you get the word out about your app. Tell everyone about your new app, including co-workers, friends, and relatives. You should send an email out to all those people in your personal address book announcing your new app.

If you attend any events such as luncheons, seminars, forums, or app meetups, be sure to talk about your app to all who will listen. Hand out a "datasheet" or "information sheet" to those whom you meet so they will remember your app.

Create an App Walkthrough

Create and upload a SlideShare.net presentation that includes a slide show walkthrough with screenshots of your app and a description of features and benefits. Supported upload formats include PowerPoint, OpenOffice, Apple Keynote, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, iWork Pages, and PDFs.

Share publicly and optimize text content (title, description, etc.) within your posting to optimize search engine placement. An app walkthrough will help your audience understand what your app does and its key benefits.

Promote from Ads Within Your Apps

Promote your app in interactive ads contained within other smartphone apps. Ads offer very high levels of engagement, including click-to-call, click-to-video, and click-to-buy. A growing number of ad networks provide in-app advertising options with audience targeting that includes age, gender, geography, category, carrier, device, and handset.

Pricing models for iPhone/iPad and Android include "bid per click" and "per engagement." Conversion tracking and reporting are standard offerings. Check out the following vendors: Medialets, Quattro Wireless, AdMob, and VideoEgg.

Share by Using AddThis

Wherever you promote your app online, increase your traffic and page rank by using an AddThis button. It's easy to install on your blog or website pages, and it makes it easy for your visitors to share your content with their friends and colleagues who use Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn, TypePad, Blogger, WordPress, etc.

YouTube Promotions

Create a YouTube video about your new app. Set up an account for free. In your video, highlight the ease of use, features, and benefits. Your YouTube Channel can include a collection of your own videos and memorable URLs as well. Tag each of your videos and your channel with highly targeted terms that match your app's type. YouTube provides analytics insight regarding the number of views, visitors by demographics, and popularity.

Visitors can choose to become friends and subscribers. You can choose to display visitor comments and attach your existing blog. Promote your YouTube app video with your own sponsored ad within YouTube. Ads appear in the search results along the right side of the page. This is managed through a standard Google AdWords account.

LinkedIn promotion

On LinkedIn, join up to 50 of the 300,000+ groups that meet your target audience criteria. Within those groups, click the News tab and post a link to your press release or blog about your new app. Within your LinkedIn profile "Websites" section, link to your website, showcasing your app. By choosing "Other" as the website type, you can customize the name you use to identify your app. LinkedIn is a powerful mechanism to help you get the word out about your app.

Blog Promotion

Post an announcement about your new app to your blog. Create a blog if you don't already have one. WordPress or Blogger are good choices and they're free! The analytical reporting provided reveals your referring traffic sources and an indication as to which of your blog posts are most popular. Be sure to integrate your blog into LinkedIn (click Applications) and Facebook.

You can also reach out to bloggers who are knowledgeable about your app's type by doing a Google or Yahoo search. If you are selling a dating app, search on "dating bloggers" to find influential bloggers with whom you can contact to talk about your app.

Facebook Fan Page

Set up a Facebook Fan page to showcase your new app. It's free and easy, and your page can be found publicly in the search engines. When people join your Fan page, it's published in their news feed for all their friends to read. It's a great viral marketing tool!

Also post your Facebook link to your product home page so that you can be found on Facebook.

Write an Article about Your App and Do a Digg Promotion

Write an article about your app and do a Digg promotion. Submit your app article or video online at Digg.com. Your submission will immediately appear in "Upcoming Stories," where other members can find it and, if they like it, they'll Digg it.

Once a submission has earned a critical mass of Diggs, it becomes "popular" and jumps to the homepage in its category.


Find businesses that target similar markets to yours, but are not considered to be competitors. Reach out to influencers that specialize in the field that relates to your app.

For example, public speakers, book authors, and other thought leaders are wonderful allies for collaboration. How can you get them talking about your app to their captive audiences? What can you offer them in exchange? Don't forget about the media.

Some developers are teaming up together to create a consortium and a brand. If you are a small independent developer with limited time to create multiple apps, you can look into finding other developers who are interested in building a brand.

iPhone/iPad meetups are great places to locate other developers who are interested in co-branding and co-marketing their apps.

Use this Top 11 list to help you formulate your pre-launch and post-launch marketing activities for your iPhone/iPad and Android apps. These activities are some of the most important marketing activities you can perform to get your app off to a solid start when it's posted to the App Store or Android Market.

As you develop your marketing plan, group your activities into pre-launch, post-launch, and ongoing marketing activities. Many of these recommended activities are free or inexpensive, costing you only the time to develop them. Remember that marketing is an ongoing effort and requires consistency.

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