As with most business endeavors, the difference between a launch and a successful launch depends, to a large extent, on the promotion. Imagine opening a hotel or a restaurant without notifying the local news media. Could you get people in the door based on drive-by traffic alone? Perhaps. But odds are much better that your endeavor will be profitable if you promote it effectively.
This first installment in our new series on mobile app marketing summarizes four strategies to get media attention for your mobile application, without breaking your budget in the process:
- Publish a Press Release. Issuing a news release may seem an obvious strategy, but surprisingly few mobile app inventors set aside the resources to make it happen. You don’t need to hire a big time PR firm to craft an effective press release. A quick ad on Craigslist or a call to the Journalism or Media Relations department of your local college likely will turn up a number of talented and hungry writers willing to give it a go. A reasonable rate for a 300-400 word press release is $100 – $300, depending on how technical the subject matter is and whether rewrites are included.
- Use an Online Distribution Service. One of the greatest benefits of a press release is the ability to drive traffic to your mobile app website with backlinks. (Don’t have a Web page to promote your app? We’ll tackle that in the next installment!) Publishing your release using a distribution service, like PRWeb.com or PRNewswire lets you generate thousands of backlinks for as little as $80 per release. You can also target your release to specific industries or regions and monitor pickups in the news media.
- Contact the Local Media. Regardless of whether you are launching a new game or a highly technical app for a specific industry, reporters in your area may be intrigued. Find out who reports on technology (or on your industry niche) at your local television stations and newspapers. Send your press release directly to each contact via email with a personal note, and follow up with a phone call. This is no time for shyness – remember, you are doing them a favor by handing them a great story, and your enthusiasm will be infectious.
- Time Your Launch. A little-known secret of PR pros is to announce a new product launch on a federal holiday, such as President’s Day, Memorial Day, or Columbus Day. Why? Because all of the government offices are closed, and media outlets are hungry for news. If they can’t report on what’s happening at the city, state or federal level, that leaves a lot of empty air time to fill. Of course, you cannot always know exactly how long development will take or pressure Apple to hurry up and approve your app submission. But if your mobile app hits iTunes or the Android Market within a week or two of a national holiday, it may be worth waiting to break the news so as to increase the odds that your release will be picked up.
If your mobile app is targeted to a specific industry, be sure to reach out to editors of industry trade journals, as well. GWHQ Productions recently developed an app for a client here in the Dallas area who works as an assistant manager at an apartment complex. He conceived the idea for R.E.N.T. (Rental Evaluation Notice Tracker), an app that streamlines the process of a walk-through inspection of a vacant rental unit after a tenant moves out. Industry publications, like units Magazine (published by the National Apartment Association) and Multi-Housing News, are perfect targets for promotions, since they speak to the broader audience of potential end users.
In the next installment of our Mobile App Marketing series, we’ll take a look at budget-friendly strategies to promote your app online. Have an idea for a mobile app or a question about mobile app marketing? Give us a call at (972) 436-9500 or email email@example.com and let us help you take your mobile app project to the next level.