As a developer of mobile apps you probably know that developing and publishing your app is just one of the steps in the long journey of turning your application to a successful and profitable one. Most developers, who don’t have any experience in online marketing, submit their app in Android or Apple directories and search engines and call it a day. The more experienced ones might also register their app in pay per installs services. The fact such actions don’t even start to scratch the surface of what you can do when it comes to mobile app marketing. There are many other actions and tools you can use to promote your app, but in this article, we’ll focus on one of them – viral marketing.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with this term, is the online version of ‘word of mouth’. News, images, videos, and posts start from few selected sources and spread around like mushrooms after the rain.
This is mostly done through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and of course Youtube. Any piece of item that is published in such platforms has the potential to become viral with minimum efforts and costs, which makes it the perfect marketing tool for an idea, brand or product. But what makes a published item turn viral and how can one use it to promote something?
What Type of Stuff Gets Viral
There are a lot of types of catchy items that would be linked to and shared again and again but most of them fall under one of these categories: useful, artistic, contradictive, funny, embarrassing, shocking, cute and sexy. Make a video with your kid singing one of Rihanna’s latest hits while holding a cat in his hand and you’ll get at least several thousand views.
Of course, like in any other marketing method, getting the exposure is not enough. You have to know how to use it to actually market your product or in this case your app.
A Case Study
A friend of mine has recently published his first Android app – funny cat pics, and asked me for some tips for kicking it off with some installations. I was glad to help, especially because the starting point, in this case, was already great; funny cat pictures fall under at least two of the top viral categories. The first thing I recommended is – opened a page for the app on Facebook, G+, and Pinterest and update these pages with fresh cat pics every couple of days. Share it with friends and make sure you use hashtags with a popular related phrase like #lolcats.
Within 1 week he crossed the line from a couple of dozens of installs to a few hundred. But that was just the beginning. My second piece of advice was – make a video and upload it to all the major social platforms. So he did. He spent about an hour creating a simple video, with cat images fading in and out and a funky song playing in the background and another couple of hours uploading it to different social sites. Slowly but surely the app reached a few thousand installs within 1 month from when it was first published. All of which are real active users that contributed rates and reviews. With his second app – funny fail pics, he already knew what he was doing.
But you don’t always have it so easy. Some apps are not as attractive by nature as my friend’s app. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the exact same tools and methods, you just need to be a bit more creative about it and don’t forget you don’t have to go with funny or cute. Useful is also very viral and don’t forget sexy.
A Killer Idea
Another successful example we came across was hiring a really good looking woman for videoing herself making use of your app and reviewing it, with positive feedbacks of course. Upload it to Youtube and Metacafe.com and bang, you’ve got the word out about your new and exciting app. You don’t even have to pay a lot of money to do that. You can always use this site – Fiverr.com, where you can get such services for as little as $5.
There are many interesting and original ways to use viral marketing for promoting your mobile applications and you’ve seen here only the tip of the iceberg. So as an app developer, do yourself a favor and either hire someone to do this for you or spend some time researching this marketing field yourself. In the long run, it will be more than worth it.