6 Simple strategies to market your mobile app

Contributed by Tim Waldenback, the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable and easily accessible for all.

2021 has already been an interesting year, and we’re only halfway through it. With ongoing lockdowns, millions of people are downloading apps from the Apple and Google Play stores. So, developing and marketing a mobile app in 2021 is a smart strategy to propel your business forward. 

However, it’s a complex undertaking. Your mobile app’s success will depend mainly on how much value it provides for your audience. 

When you’re certain that the app will solve your target user’s problems, it’s time to think about marketing and advertising to gain downloads. You’ll need to strategize accordingly with goals of people downloading, installing and regularly using and returning to your app. 

Here are a few strategies to help you market your mobile app.

1. It’s about your users, not you 

The app you develop needs to address your target audience’s wants rather than your internal ideals.

You likely have both favorite apps and ones that you’re not as keen about. This list will influence your opinion when you’re creating your own app.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming what your audience wants based on what you want. 

Instead, do your market research. Gather data, send out questionnaires, and dig deep. For your app to succeed in a saturated market, you need to learn all you can about your target audience. 

The more you empathize with their struggles and pain points, the more targeted you can make the app. If you know what your users consider as the fundamental elements of a good app, you can implement them during development. 

The takeaway? This app is about them. Not about you. 

Use our practice tests for learner drivers as a prime example. We categorize them according to state, because it made finding the tests easier for our audience. Our audience no longer has to research according to location, as we’ve done it for them.

By putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes, you’ll be able to see the key features they require. 

2. Do your market research

The main aim of market research is to discover your ideal user’s demographics. Think carefully about the elements that fit together to make up a demographic:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Income level
  • Employment 
  • Location
  • Living conditions (i.e., living with parents, renting, homeowners)
  • Education level

These are the basic pieces of a puzzle that will fit together to represent a single demographic and influence your app’s creation as well as your marketing tactics

Once you understand your demographic, research direct and indirect competitors. Why? Because you can learn from the competition.

The aim is not to copy them; it’s to pick out their strategies and evaluate their impact. This can inspire and inform your tactics. 

And remember: You can learn from what they’re not doing, too. Check out their reviews. Perhaps the comment, “I wish this app had a ‘sound off’ option” could drive your app creation to guarantee a “sound off” tab. 

You’ll benefit from the competition’s lost opportunities and gain inspiration from their success. It’s a win-win. 

You’ll also learn quickly what your target users want and need. For example, our market and competitor research inspired our guide: How to Pass Your Driving Test in 2021. We learned that the fear of failure was evident, and failing the first time is a genuine concern amongst learner drivers.

So, we created a solution. An easy-to-follow, digestible guide aimed at a younger audience, solving their problem of failing their driving test. 

3. Understand your marketing goals, aims and KPIs

Why market your app if you aren’t going to measure your success? Without a clear goal, purpose and way to monitor the data, you won’t know whether your marketing efforts are paying off. 

Develop a marketing plan with short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. After you’ve written down specific goals (“Get loads of downloads” is not nearly specific enough), you can work backward. 

For example, we specialize in helping learner drivers pass their driving test. The goal, therefore, for our audience is to pass their theory test. We then strategize, working backward, asking, “How can we help them achieve this?” That then forms our strategy. And, it’s what inspired our idea for online practice permit tests. 

4. Evolve your marketing strategy for each stage of the user journey

Once you’ve set goals and understand how to track their progress, craft strategies to hit them. Remember: With each stage of the user journey, you’ll encounter your audience’s objections.

Don’t avoid them or hope they don’t crop up. Instead, hit them head-on and strategize straight through them. 

For example, at the very beginning of the user journey, your audience may have little awareness of your brand and app. That could cause distrust and speculation. So, your marketing efforts need to surround building trust and authority within the industry. 

Perhaps it takes too long even to find your app. If it’s been advertised and a user wants to download it, they won’t go to additional effort to find your app. So, use keywords to ensure your app comes up in the search results. 

5. Select the right platform

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people choose a marketing platform that suits them rather than their audience. 

Market your app using the platform your target demographic spends the most time on. For example, social media marketing is a sure winner for younger demographics, but be sure to consider which social media channel is most used by your target audience.

Linked In, for example, is classified as a social media network, but it skews to an older demographic than teens seeking drivers education, so we focus our marketing on other platforms.

6. Put in the work

Creating an app is a lucrative endeavor, but to succeed, you need to plan in advance, strategize, and be responsive to the changes in the market and within your audience.

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