If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does anyone hear? Now what if lots of trees are falling in the woods, and the forest is crowded with people, will anyone know that your tree is falling? They will if you point it out.
Ideally you have created an app that is so incredible everyone will want to tell all of their friends. Even if this is true, there are cases where the merits of your app alone may not initiate the momentum you desire. To draw more attention to your app, it is good to have additional content that you can use to persuade potential users to take a look at what you have to offer.
Exposing your app in places outside of the App Store is essential in maximizing your potential user base. The media is great for exposure and paid advertising has its benefits, but there are many other ways that your app can be put in front of more users' eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more potential for sales and, if people see your app, they may use it. If they don't see your app, they definitely will not use it. This is where one-way inbound links and "link-bait" can be critical tools in your promotional toolbox.
Link-bait is content that is attractive for linking to by other people. Link-bait ultimately will draw one-way inbound links to your content resulting in quality traffic to the content. One-way inbound links are not only great for traffic but also for search engine rankings. As long as your link-bait content references or points towards your app, you are all set.
If your app needs some support in getting attention, you should look at your options for creating related content that people will be interested in seeing and sharing. More eyeballs seeing content related to your app will lead to exposure in different places, and this can have a cascading effect.
Since your app already needs a support site, it only makes sense to take advantage of what this can do for your app sales. Make sure your related content links to your app site and not directly to the App Store. You may not be able to track your store traffic but at least you can track your own traffic before they go to the store. The App Store will send you potential buyers, but after your initial release you will want to increase awareness of your app by sending your own targeted traffic. Here are methods that any app developer who wants to draw more users to their apps can implement.
1: Create code
Either dedicate some time to a related project or spin off a snippet or segment of your project into something you can publish through open source or other code outlets. When you post your code, oftentimes you will be allowed to post a support URL. Most code sharing sites, like other social sites, have profiles where you can also post links to your site. If your code is useful or interesting, you will have a shot at attracting links.
2: Create content
Tutorials, articles, white papers, video clips, and other types of content are ways to draw attention to your app. Extra content can be used in places to get targeted traffic. If your content is good enough, other places may use or link to your content and create more awareness.
3: Create feeds
Combine input from your content and other content sources into one consolidated feed of information that can be syndicated. Even an aggregation of feeds can still represent good content if the feeds are chosen well. A good news feed source will get picked up by automated systems and draw the attention of individual publishers.
4: Create a group
There is more to the social Internet than Facebook and Twitter. There is a world of forums and other social arenas where you can post information, opinions, and links. You can then interlink these sites to create your own network of interrelated profiles that ultimately lead back to your content and app.
5: Create a persona
Forums are their own special type of marketing arena, which I will cover in more detail in a future post. For inbound links and link-bait, forums are great because you can communicate directly with people who may have an interest in your content or app. Often forum users with their own sites are great contacts for word-of-mouth plugs. You can also use related content to indirectly promote your app in these places.
6: Create a community
Social network sites and places for users to congregate are easier than ever to build. The challenge is attracting users and moderating content. If you can build your own community around content that is related to your app, it is easy to get those community members to find interest in your app.
7: Create a news source
Newsletters have not gone away, they have just matured. You can still create a quality mailing list and promote your apps and content while also sharing information with existing and potential users. If you are creating or collecting regular news or information as part of your strategy, you can republish your content into a newsletter. Newsletters are a great way to get additional use from your content and deliver it to a receptive audience. If your newsletter is good enough, people will share it and spread the word.
8: Create a buzz
You should include your URL in all of your emails, signatures, photos, videos, articles, and anywhere else you are permitted. Different places have limitations or restrictions on what you can link, but make sure you use all of them when they are available. If you go somewhere online, you should make it easy for people to know about your content and app.
The success of your app is dependent on how many users you acquire. The App Store is a great source of initial traffic, but it is unwise to rely solely on it to carry your sales. Depending on your niche, getting targeted traffic can be very competitive, so you will need every advantage you can get. If you include these essentials in your marketing efforts, you will boost the number of eyeballs that see your app.
The App Store is filled with people watching trees fall all of the time, but with these techniques you should be able to get more of them looking at your tree.
Steve is an independent technology and content developer. His experience spans decades and covers areas including rich-media production, software development, and education. Steve has contributed to the digital realm in many ways and has no plans on slowing down any time soon.