Must-Follow Rules for Promoting Your Mobile App

While writing my most recent book, I noticed a new phase of growth and innovation in the mobile app space. It's encouraging to see companies jumping on the app bandwagon and the tremendous capabilities and creativity that they unleash. Take the example of Broadcast Interactive Media (BIM). It just launched mobile apps for the Apple iOS and Android platforms that can be rapidly deployed by its client base of hundreds of local television station websites. Each app has content tabs such as Top Stories, Local News, Weather, or Sports that can be customized by local broadcast and media companies to pull in content from each local station's website and optimized for mobile viewing. 

Clearly, the mobile app market is in a boom phase. There's loads of opportunity for companies that get their apps right, and there's loads of work ahead if you want to get noticed. If we consider that the number of apps a consumer downloads and keeps on his or her phone is limited by screen size and battery power, then only a handful of organizations and brands can claim (and keep) real estate on the consumer's screen to begin with. And we know from rafts of research that users delete apps within hours or days of downloading them. 

Therefore, media companies and brands are well-advised to protect their investment in their mobile app by encouraging customers to make them part of their daily routine. Whether you have chosen a subscription model or turned to advertising in order to support your app, your strategy must shift from driving downloads to cementing a customer relationship (and loyalty) that lasts.

The end game has to be about effective app promotion and taking the steps to make sure potential users find your app in the first place. 

It's little wonder that the first-ever App Promotion Summit, a conference dedicated to discussing all the ways companies can accelerate their app marketing strategies, was such an overwhelming success. The inaugural event in London drew nearly 200 attendees, and the organizers at All Amber tell me that they now have plans to take the show on the road to major cities in the U.S. and Africa.

A high point for me was meeting Mick Rigby, founder and managing director of Yodel Mobile, a full-service strategic mobile agency headquartered in London. Mick's insightful and valuable presentation reminded us that old marketing rules still apply when it comes to promoting your app. Altogether, Mick offered 12 rules to make sure companies get the most out of their app marketing efforts. Here's a quick Top 3 checklist to help you on your way:

Have a very clear role for mobile. Before you spend a penny on designing an app or a campaign to promote it, define what you need to achieve. Your answer will determine your strategy (and chances of success). If you want your app to deliver news, consider capabilities that will also allow you to cater to (and monetize) your "brand fans." One approach could be to consolidate all your social media feeds, offers, and invites-and wrap all this up in an app scheme that allows you to reach and delight your VIP customers.

Make the right match with marketing. Make sure your app promotions are relevant. If it's a sports content app that you offer, then you want to be on the website and in the environments where the fans are. Ensure that your message is reaching them in the right mindset. If it's a business intelligence app you want to promote, then advertising on a relaxed Saturday afternoon may not be the best time to push your message.

Don't drive blind. Integrate tracking to ensure that you can see events and interactions taking place in your app (sign-ups, video views, purchases, etc.) and make sure you have the tracking and analytics capabilities in place to track back to the source of where that user came from. When you know this, you can optimize to favor the truly successful sources of user traffic for your app and drop the ones that aren't delivering a good ROI.

You need to be consciously aware that success in mobile-where change takes place at breakneck speeds-is fleeting. Test, learn, and implement has to be your mindset. Mistakes will happen, so fail fast and move on. Make your app useful and relevant, and give users the content and experience that they want. You'll cover the bases to ensure that your app discovery advertising drives positive results.