Marketing is something that seems simple, because we’re exposed to it every day. Companies take out ads and pay money to put messages right in front of us. So if we want to market something we’re selling, obviously we just need to pay to get our message in front of other people. Some of them will buy the product, and we’re in business.

Except, when you see ads shoved in your face, are you enticed to buy them? Not really. And when you’re talking about apps, it’s often costs more to take out an ad then you earn when someone purchases it. Coming up with ways to market your app that will entice people to buy can be a bit of a challenge.

Before you start any marketing, make sure that your app has a website and a support email. It would suck if someone got interested in your app, but didn’t end up downloading it because they couldn’t find a download link, more information, or a way to contact you. You can create a website with launchkit and get a free google email.

Here are some free ways to promote your app:

Run a giveaway of your app on a blog. Many websites and blogs will run articles about apps and then give away 3 or 5 giveaways at the end of the article. This means you get a promoted article about your app, promotion on their newsletter and social media, all for just 3 free codes for your app.This should be done on mid-size or smaller websites, not a big blog/website like Entrepreneur or Inc. Here’s why:

  • Big websites might get a lot of readers, but most of the readers won’t be in your target market. Any time spent marketing to them would be time wasted. You want to focus all of your marketing efforts on the people most likely to buy.
  • It’s a lot easier to get the attention of a small website. Big websites are inundated with requests, but small websites are hungry for readers and content.

Take out fixed-price advertisements (again, on small sites). Small websites often don’t make a lot of money, and their owners are eager to pay off the cost of hosting the site, so they’ll give you ads at highly discounted rates, just $100 or $200. And yes, these sites might not have as much readership, but their audiences are highly targeted and very excited about both the subject matter and the blog, so they’ll take note of a new app in their blog’s sidebar and check it out. This means you could easily make back your investment in the ad.

Start an email list. Remember earlier in this article I said you have to have a website for your app? Well, you should be collecting email addresses on that website. When people buy your app from the store, you don’t get any of their customer information, which means you have no way to talk to them. Collecting email addresses gives you a way to talk to your customers.
But why is this important for marketing? Because you can’t market effectively if you don’t know your customers. You need to be able to talk to your customers to get a sense for who they are, what life situation they’re in, and why they’re buying your app.  Once you know these things, you’ll be able to best pick out which websites have your customers and which websites you should take out ads on.

Remember to optimize. Effectively optimizing your listing for the store can dramatically change where it shows up in listings, and what customers your app is exposed to. Once you know who your customers are, you can effectively optimize your listing to get in front of those people.

Get press. I know, easier said than done. But it’s a lot easier when you know the correct strategy. Instead of blind-firing emails at big websites, pick a lot of smaller news websites and pitch your story to them. Because they’re starving for news on their sites, it will be a lot easier to get attention on these sites. Once they run your story, you can email bigger sites, and mention that you were featured in smaller sites. This indicates that you’re ‘up-and-coming’ big news, and that they want to be the first to leap on the story. Once medium sites feature you, you can aim higher and higher.