5 Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Local App

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If you were the owner of a popular local pizzeria, you’d probably like it if hungry out-of-towners found out about your epic deep-dish pies, right? Of course, you would.

Sadly, many small business owners grossly overestimate the cost of developing and launching a smartphone app. As a result, they mistakenly believe tapping into the online market is out of reach. However, a well-developed and marketed app can more than make up its costs by connecting your business to ready-to-buy customers.

If Step No. 1 is developing an intuitive, attractive-looking app, Step No. 2 is making sure people hear about it. Many people fall into the trap of giving the app development process 90% or more of the attention and budget, leaving a paltry 10% to let people know about it. Far too often, marketing becomes an afterthought.

But what good is the best hyperlocalized app in the world if no one knows it exists…let alone downloads and uses it? Listed below are five app marketing techniques you’ll want to keep in mind as you work your way through the app development process.

1. Develop a killer landing page ahead of launch.

One way to develop a killer page for your app is to kill off any unnecessary prose, graphics, or fanfare.

The best landing page for your app is one that tells a potential user exactly what to expect without any frills or fluff. If your app landing page promises users the moon and the stars and stops somewhere short of Cape Canaveral, you can expect a lot of dislikes from disappointed visitors. But you’re hoping to want to hang onto your customers, right?

One starting point is to use the time-tested rules of journalism when developing your landing page. Answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions concisely. Too much text will scare people away, not enough leaves people with unanswered questions.

2. Index your local app intelligently.

Indexing your local app is more than merely defining your geographic service area.

Sometimes coming up with the best search terms can be as simple as getting out of your own head.
Sometimes coming up with the best search terms can be as simple as getting out of your own head.

Think with Google reports that approximately 1 in 4 downloads occurs as a result of someone finding an app using search. This simply means that you must spend time thinking like a potential customer. Develop a solid grasp of the keywords and phrases that potential customers might use when searching.

Sometimes this can be as simple as getting out of your own head. Ask friends, family members, and total strangers what they think. Take copious notes as they share the terms they’d be likely to use when searching for your product or service. Update your app listing and landing page accordingly.

3. Offer a (brief) video tutorial.

Not everyone will click on your explainer video to find out more about what your app does, but a lot of people will.

When offering a video tutorial, spend the time and money necessary to present your app’s features in clear, easy-to-understand language. Use high-quality graphics and customized captioning. Doing so represents a serious win-win. They reinforce what’s being said and assist those with hearing disabilities.

Mention upfront if your app offers a service that is restricted to a certain geographic area. You definitely don’t want to waste people’s time. Example: “If you’re looking for the best deep dish pizza in our tri-county metropolitan area, delivered piping hot to your front door, then you’re in luck.” Give your audience the information they need to filter themselves promptly.

4. Add paid ads to your marketing budget.

What are the most popular attractions in your area? If a handful of popular destinations leap to mind, this might serve as your launching pad to add paid ads to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms.

Paid ads can be tied to popular attractions, localized to display only to visitors in your geographic area, and by many other granular criteria. The key for marketing your app through paid ads will be to put some thought into how you want to “narrow the funnel” so your ad only pops up to the most promising demographic.

5. Go ahead…brag on your new app a bit.

Any space you already occupy offers the potential to hawk your localized app. In-store signage, email auto-signatures, delivery boxes, you name it…if it has something to do with your business, it should include an invitation to try your app. If your website and/or blog isn’t highlighting the availability and benefits of your app, this is a serious mistake.

Start being intentional about looking around your place of business. Receipt printers can add a line to encourage app downloads. Billboards can be updated. The point is to be thorough in your publicity efforts and stop somewhere just short of obnoxious. One way to soften the marketing is to offer special in-app-only member rewards. Free pizza, discounts on merchandise, etc.

The past 18 months caused an unprecedented spike in people using their smartphones to find what they need while staying at a safe distance. The pandemic simply sped up a trend that is here to stay. As you consider how you’re going to retool your business model for the future, make sure that a snazzy, searchable, well-designed app moves to the No. 1 spot on your to-do list.

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