If you don’t have the budget for widespread ads (or any ads, as the case may be) you need to figure out how to market your app for free.
You’ll need to leverage the power of web and mobile technologies, but you’ll also need to figure out how to connect with your audience on a personal level, both physically and online. These free methods can get you the users and buzz you need to grow big.
Put on your consumer hat for a moment. What does it take for you to “like” a page on Facebook or tweet a link to someone else’s product? Your strategy simply needs to provide the value that people want from social media.
Free strategies to use on social media:
- Start conversations. People love voicing opinions. Questions on relevant, intriguing topics will make people happy to interact.
- Run contests. Get people to retweet or follow you to enter the contest and gain tons of leads for as little as the price of a download code or t-shirt.
- Ride the trends. Comment on trending topics, use the latest hashtags, and keep it all relevant to your app.
- Start groups. Link your app from groups designed your target audience. For an exercise app, start groups about hiking trails. Connect the value back to your app with visible but innocuous branding.
Marketing doesn’t get cheaper than word-of-mouth, but first you need users. Get creative, get in communication, and get physically out there! You need to put your app into people’s hands.
Essentially free ways to gain your first users include:
- Start taking names (and emails). A pre-launch waiting list will drive some excitement pre-launch. Even if not many people sign up, those who do will feel connected and be more likely to download and use the app when it gets released.
- In-person recruitment. Some people want to be in on the ground floor of the next big thing. Others will respond to simple questions. Be earnest and proud of your product—the personal touch offers a great method of how to market your app for free because people will remember and tell everyone about their five minute conversation with an app inventor.
Can’t afford to buy ads? Put your product in the news instead. People who hear of your app from trusted third-party sources will take you seriously.
Here’s how to get free publicity:
- Submit press releases. Explain the newness and impact of your app, or something tangential like how your team represents the local tech industry.
- Give interviews. You made an app—congrats! You must be an expert on something, whether it’s tech, business, or social. Contact influential bloggers and journalists and offer quotes and research statistics. Ask them to identify you by your association with the app.
- Submit for reviews and awards. Product reviews bring page hits and content that online sites desperately need. Awards are even better—they’ll tout your merits and you can display an icon on your page.
Creating Your Own Content
You can pay lots of money for great content, but you don’t have to—especially when you only want to entice people enough to make them want more.
How to market your app for free with original content:
- Make simple videos. Don’t worry about a camera crew. Show a slideshow of screenshots, add some voiceover explaining the benefits, and that’s it. There are even apps to help you do it, of course.
- Blog everyday. You know those genius ideas that run through your head? Jot them down and publish them with tie-ins to the app.