Ready, fire, aim!!
No, that’s not right.
In our previous guide on marketing your mobile app (which you can check out here), we took a look at everything you needed to know about promoting your app.
However, the one thing we didn’t give you was the low-down on what you need to do to plan your marketing.
So, that’s what this guide is all about.
We’re going to go through the main marketing channels – social and search – and lay out how to succeed before you even start.
Remember, fail to prepare – prepare to fail!
Let’s get going…
Generate great ideas before you start writing
The key to any successful campaign is coming up with killer ideas, and that’s where we’ll start. There are a number of ways to get started here:
Make no mistake, trends always generate content ideas. And what’s more, their nature means that if you piggy back off them in the right way, you’ll get results.
Fortunately, you can do this pretty easily by heading to Google Alerts. This is a simple tool that’ll ping you an e-mail whenever a page mentioning your chosen topic gets indexed.
And no, there’s no limit on how many terms you can set it up for. Whether your topic is ‘fitness’, ‘first person shooters’ or ‘financial planning’ Google will send you a message when a new piece appears.
Whatever industry you’re in, there are already geniuses that you can’t hope to catch up with. (It’s a harsh truth, for sure).
However, you can always keep an eye on what they’re doing and use it to create your own ideas. Don’t copy them, but definitely DO use their work for inspiration. FollowerWonk is a great tool that’ll help you find the big dogs in your market.
Where better to get your ideas than from the big G?
There are a number of ways that Google can spark your imagination, including:
The Keyword Planner. Type in your chosen topic, and the keyword planner will spit out a number of different ideas related to that subject, all of them real terms that real users have hunted for.
Google’s autocomplete feature. Type in any term you want, and Google will try to guess what you’re searching for based off what previous users have searched for. AND it’ll be nice enough to give you the suggestions it comes up with!
YouTube. Now an arm of google, it’s always worth checking YT’s own auto-suggest tool, which works in the same way as the search engine. It’s another way to get an idea of what people are currently searching the web for.
Forums. Head to the main forum for your chosen market, if there is one. Every single post there is a potential idea. If an idea is continually re-occurring in multiple posts, you can be sure it’s worth covering. This might seem like a simple idea generation tactic, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do it.
Brainstorming. It’s old-school, but it works. There are few more effective ways of coming up with a load of ideas than sitting down with a pad and a pen and throwing out as many as you can! The key is to avoid trying to be perfect: simply focus on the numbers game. It doesn’t matter how the ideas come or in what order: just get them down.
Once you’ve got a big list – at least a pages worth – you can go through and highlight which ones you think have legs, as well as those which might work but might not.
OK, so you’ve got your ideas. Next, we’ll take a look at structuring your campaign.
Planning your content schedule
Have your ‘umbrella’ topics and categories in mind
The key here is to think of a magazine: stare at the front of GQ, Hello or any other glossy mag and you’ll see the same few categories repeated over in different ways. On GQ, for instance, three topics prevail again and again: get in shape, make money and become sexier.
Whilst we’re not suggesting you choose THOSE topics to promote an app (!) it’s important to remember that your industry will usually have three or four key areas of interest.
You should file every idea you have under the relevant category. That way, you’ll be able to plan your publishing schedule so you cover each topic evenly.
Have your optimization planned out in advance
For each piece of content you know you’re going to be completing, have your SEO optimization – keywords, metadata and so on – in place in a spreadsheet in advance. This will save you time later on.
Create an editorial plan
This can be a simple excel spreadsheet, but it still needs doing!
Your planner needs to include the following points:
- Publishing date
- Type of content
- Content idea or topic
You can also include the results you get – shares, comments, etc. – if you like, as they can help you work out which pieces of content got the best results.
Ensure that you at least know THIS information before you start writing.
Also, work out how long it will take you to create the content: DON’T under-estimate this. If you don’t plan in enough time, you’ll mess up the schedule in future.
Know what value you’re giving
You should establish in advance how you’re providing value.
- Are you entertaining the reader?
- Are you selling them a product?
- Are you providing a straight ‘how-to’?
How can you further emphasize this value: will more information help? Better images? A video or two?
Summing up SEO and organic content
Once you’ve got a firm publishing plan in place, you’ll be able to start creating your content and measuring the results you get from it.
Remember to use the feedback you get constructively. If a piece you create gets ignored and you’ve got a follow-up planned, maybe cancel that follow-up!
Vice versa, if create a piece it takes off, there’s no harm in writing a follow-up you hadn’t planned.
Always be prepared to adapt, and remember to enjoy the creative process!
Next up, we’re going to take a look at how to structure a social media marketing plan. Fortunately, this process is a bit simpler, and has similarities to the organic platform.
What are your goals?
First things first: what are your goals in social media marketing?
And yes, we know the end answer: you want to sell more apps!
BUT you need to drill deeper than that. HOW do you want social media to assist with this? Do you simply want to raise user awareness of your brand and hope they purchase later on? Maybe you want to make straight sales through your campaign, with each post acting as a lead generator.
The key is that your goals have to be – yup – SMART.
In other words, you need to have specific targets in place that’ll help your business, and you’ll want a firm deadline in place so you can be sure if your app marketing plan has succeeded or failed.
Your targets will, of course, depend on your overall goals. If you’re after brand exposure, your goals should probably be related to likes and shares. If it’s sales…well, you get the idea.
Optimize your profiles
Just as you’d take the time to ensure your landing page looked great, you should take the time to make sure your social media account looks professional. Ensure you’ve got lots of good copy in the ‘About’ sections, that your ‘Basic’ and ‘Contact’ info is fully filled in and that you’ve got high quality images where they’re needed.
As with any marketing channel, you want your social accounts to look pro. Remember, there are a lot of fly-by-night developers in the app-building market, and you want to set yourself apart from them.
Check out what’s popular
This goes for social as much as it does web content. If you’re stumped as to what kind of content will get results on social, check out the top performing pages in your industry to see
It’s worth noting that it might not be quite the same as the posts that get success organically: remember, social is an entirely different medium and users tend to have a smaller attention span.
(You won’t get away with 3,000 word pieces on Facebook!)
Create an editorial calendar
As is the case with organic content, you should create a publishing schedule that details the main key points:
- The idea and title for each piece of content
- What kind of content it’ll be (this will differ to organic marketing: you’ll have a lot more visual content on social, and you’ll also have shorter messages to send out).
- What the target audience is.
- What time of the day you’re going to be pushing it (this makes a bigger difference on social networks)
- How you’re going to promote it (Paid ads? Network shares?)
This takes away the uncertainty of what you’ll be creating for the next few months, and helps you avoid one of the main problems with content creation: turning up at work and wondering what you’re going to write about!
How is your content broken down in terms of aims?
You need to decide how you’re going to divide your aims up (SMART, remember?) and stick to it. So, if you want 60 per cent of your social content to generate sales and you’re planning five social posts a day, you should stick to the ratio.
(If you’re unsure about this, the rule of thirds never hurts: one-third sales and promotion, one-third sharing ideas and stories, one-third personal interactions with your audience).
Measure, adjust and repeat
Once you’ve got your schedule in place and you start creating, you’ll be able to measure your results and adjust accordingly.
There are multiple ways to track your social campaign:
- Your shares and likes
- Your click-throughs to the app page or your website
- The amount of positive comments you receive
And so on.
The key is to always measure what YOU’RE trying to achieve. If you’re running social media to create sales, then – in the end – nothing else matters. If you just want likes and shares, do whatever’s necessary to get them.
Remember, your app marketing plan goals can adjust over time. It might be you want to initially build up a brand but – once you’ve done that – you’d prefer to make use of all those followers and turn them into sales.
Always be prepared to make adjustments accordingly.
Finally, here are a few things to remember when it comes to social media. We’ve mentioned some of them before, and that’s with good reason: it’s because they’re important!
- Have a personality. Social media has the word ‘social’ in it – so act like real people. We’re not suggesting you talk like you whilst drunk with your friends (though that can work with some brands!) but it’s important to remember that above all, people use social media to be entertained.
- Tell stories. The social media posts that get shares are ones that emotionally engage. And if you’re thinking, ‘that doesn’t apply to an app’ you might be surprised! For an interesting guide on how to get started in a unique – but effective – art form, head to Linkdex.
- Put effort into building a relationship with influencers. We’ve mentioned influencers a lot, and with good reason: these guys are the rock stars of their industry. They routinely get sent the very best products in their industry, and they’re popular because they love what they do. And make no mistake, ONE tweet from a top influencer could lead to thousands of downloads.
- Don’t just rely on your content. Remember, a high tide rises all ships: if someone else in your space has created something great, share it with your market. You need to take an abundant mind-set: being ultra-petty and competitive doesn’t work in the same way. Make use and share other people’s work, and you’ll get more and more involved with your market’s conversation. (To find great content in your niche, use BuzzSumo – it’s a great tool).
At Iconic Solutions, we have years of experience in helping our customers promote their apps.
If you want to save yourself the time and effort and simply enjoy the benefits of a great-selling app, give us a call today.