You’ve been working nonstop on your new mobile app.
What started out as just a simple idea has transformed into a full-fledged app with features, graphics, integrations, and possibilities galore. It’s a crazily exciting time for a developer and innovator like yourself.
Well, for a moment. Then it’s time to get back to work.
An app is only as good as the sustainable focus and attention it gets from its creators. You can’t just put an app out into the universe and never check on it again. You have to nurture it, improve the user experience, grow the platform and, of course, fix it for bugs.
Beyond that, most apps don’t go viral the first 24 hours they’re live on the platform. They take time and patience to develop. You have to work out the kinks and bugs and continually be on a mission to make it better.
So if you’re in it for the long haul, the first few weeks after your app launches is a crucial time to collect data, gain new insights and find more direct, engaging ways to reach new users. That’s why having a post-launch marketing strategy is so crucial.
We know—marketing strategies are usually reserved for the initial app launch. That’s when all the buzz and hype get created, and everyone becomes super stoked about the new app coming to town. But post-launch marketing strategies are just as crucial as they provide you with the additional ability to see what your users like and don’t like about your app.
With that knowledge in hand, you’re able to market towards the people who seem to be enjoying the app the most. And what’s better than that?
Integrate Frameworks So You Can Track Users And Target Better
After all the time you’ve spent developing the backend of your app to remove bugs, provide seamless integration features, get the brand colors just right and create an incredibly intuitive user experience, we’re sure you’re tired of hearing about the framework. But even in the post-launch phase, it’s a key component.
While the customer might have been top-of-mind while initially creating the app, you as the developer and creator also have some needs that should be worked into the backend—one of those being the ability to track the data of your user.
There’s so much you want to know about how your user is interacting with your mobile application, such as:
- How much time on average they’re spending on it.
- If they’re utilizing all the features or just a few.
- How many times they’ve opened it.
- If they’ve opened it at all.
- And, of course, if they’ve deleted the app since downloading it.
This information is crucial because it gives you an insight into how your current users are engaging with the app. It shows you what they like and don’t like about it and gives you a direct view of how it’s being used.
And with that information, you can begin to build out your marketing strategy for this next phase. For example, once we learned our app was being used the most by Utah drivers who are trying to get their permit and license, we created marketing efforts to reach those people. We built localized ads that catered to Utah residents specifically. We updated our copy to include areas and major roads that those drivers would be familiar with and could relate to. All of this encouraged more people who fell into that audience to download our app.
Think of having this framework as having the foundation of all your future marketing efforts, including this post-launch phase. Because data like this is so useful, you come back and check it time and time again.
While interacting with customers one-on-one is another creative way to get insight and perspective, seeing how they’re using the app will provide you with the most honest information you can get.
So take some time now, if you haven’t already, to add this kind of capability to your
framework so you can better understand your customers.
Retarget Users To Encourage Them Back Into Your App
During your first of many deep dives into the backend to see your users’ activity, you’ll probably notice that, to your dismay, not everyone is using the app as you hoped they would. A percentage of users haven’t logged in in weeks, some haven’t opened it since they first downloaded it, and a few (with arguably bad taste, of course) have deleted it altogether.
While this news might be discouraging at first, it’s a lot more valuable than you think. People who don’t like your app are the perfect sources for figuring out exactly how you can improve it.
Now, some people will delete an app for no real constructive reason at all, like freeing up storage space. But some people can provide a strong insight into the areas where your app might be slacking. Then you can go in and make those changes if you wish to improve the user experience.
This is called retargeting, and sometimes it’s a hard task for developers to get behind. You’re so proud of your app and you think it’s so great that you could be blind to where you could be doing better.
It helps to think of your app not as a one-off launch but as a product that you want to continuously improve and make better. And former or inactive customers are how you determine which steps to take next.
Whether you utilize a push notification or create an entire email campaign dedicated to winning your old customers back, put some of that data you collected to work and reach out to this group of people. You can offer them an incentive for filling out a survey or answering a couple of questions about why they’re no longer using the app.
Doing this will give you more answers as to the various ways you can improve.
Good Ads Can Actually Save You Money
Now we’ve reached the next step in our marketing strategy, post-launch: ads.
Be it Facebook Ads, Instagram ads, advertising on Pinterest, creating banner ads on blogs, working with influencers, or going viral on TikTok, there are so many ways to advertise your app, especially online. The problem is, of course, they all seem super expensive.
While social media ads make marketing much more affordable, it is true that you can spend some big bucks on advertising. And after all that work (and money) you put into your pre-launch strategy, the last thing you probably want to do is spend more cash on ads.
But using this new information that you’ve uncovered about your customers since launching your app, your targeted ads can be more effective than ever before.
Let’s say through your framework that tracked user activity and the information you got by interacting with former users, you learned that a lot of people thought your app was hard to use. Knowing this, you did some simple backend tweaking to make some of the more difficult features simpler for the user.
You could now create some ads that announce this new update, alerting both new and old customers that your app has a more intuitive interface.
Here’s another example: say you realized through your data that the majority of people who used your app worked in the medical field, specifically as nurses. You can take this data and use it to create ads targeted at that demographic, thus creating a direct line to your most high-quality users.
If you didn’t know already, high-quality users are the people who deeply understand how valuable your app is. They see it for exactly the way you wanted it to be seen. And because of that, they’re more likely to continue to use it and purchase your premium features.
So finding a way to create ads that will directly interact with those customers will save you so much money in the future.
Good App Marketing Includes ASO
Another integral piece of marketing your app is including ASO. Also known as app store optimization, ASO optimizes your app’s landing page within app stores to make it more visible to users.
By utilizing targeted keywords that directly relate to what your app provides and what people are looking for, ASO can help you rank higher in the search results for your targeted keyword. When you search for an app in the iOS App Store or Google Play, the results are ranked in order of which app has the most downloads.
So if you type in “DMV practice test,” you’ll get the practice test apps with the most downloads first, then you’ll see ones with fewer and fewer downloads after that.
Implementing ASO into your marketing strategy helps you to get more downloads which helps you to rise to the top of those search results, which is the ultimate goal if you want longevity for your app.
While you might be tempted to go after the big guns when you launch and optimize your ASO for big keywords with a lot of search results, know that it’s easy for newer apps to get lost in the masses.
It’s a much more strategic play to optimize your app for a smaller keyword with fewer search results so you can become more visible more quickly and get those downloads you’re after. Then once the momentum is built up, you can reoptimize your ASO for a keyword with higher search.
So if you haven’t yet optimized your app for ASO, know that it could be the missing piece that’s keeping you from getting downloads and users. And if you have, and there still isn’t much action, it might be worth it to try optimizing your ASO for a new keyword phrase.
Marketing is all about trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try again.
Take Advantage Of Multiple Platforms
If you had success on one platform while you were initially launching your app, it can be tempting to just dive back into that same one in your post-launch phase. But focusing on a single platform can severely limit you from reaching new customers. It’s a much better practice to utilize multiple platforms and create multiple opportunities for leads to come in.
You might not be able to throw everything you have at trying every single avenue out there, but using your target market research, you can narrow in on a couple of key ways to reach your customers. Through that process, you should have at least uncovered what social media platforms they use the most, if they prefer video, voice, or written content, and where else they hang out online.
You don’t have to do everything under the sun, but you do have to stick out your neck and try new things. That’s what marketing is all about after all.
And if you’ve spent a couple of days or weeks on a campaign and you notice that it’s not getting any engagement, don’t be afraid to stop that train and try something else. Experimenting with new avenues is never a waste of time, but continuing to put effort into something that’s not working is.
Another thing to note is that you can utilize the information you learned about your customers from your framework to find new ways to market. Continuing with the nurses example, you could then create ads on popular nursing websites or pass out flyers at your nearby medical school. The sky’s the limit when it comes to marketing and thinking outside the box.
Understand The Purpose Of Your Marketing Efforts – Is It To Convert Users Or Create A Buzz?
Another way to determine where and how you should market for new users is to consider your overall goal. What is it that you’re trying to achieve with this new campaign?
Don’t rely on a simple, vague answer like “get more users.” Create a goal that you actually measure and see if you meet with this new campaign. Here are some examples to get you to start thinking specifically in terms of your goals:
- Get 5,000 more downloads by March.
- Move up 3 spaces in the results page ranking.
- Sign up 500 new users.
- Get 1,000 users to sign up for our premium service.
When you have a specific goal like that in mind, then your marketing efforts will become more streamlined and efficient. If your goal is to get 1,000 users to sign up to your premium service, then you might focus more on your current users than attracting new ones. But if your goal is to get 5,000 more downloads, you might be providing an incentive for people to try your app by offering them a free, 3-day trial.
Your goal with every marketing campaign will change, and it shouldn’t be the same every time. But getting a clear direction of where you’re going can save you from wasting money and time on strategies that won’t get you closer to your goal.
Once you have your goal identified, write it down somewhere you will see it every day during your campaign. Make sure anyone else on your team who is working with you on this is aware of it too.
Keep that goal at the front of your mind, and you’ll be way more likely to reach it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Trash A Campaign – Some Will Look Good But Won’t Work
Your campaign can have all the bells and whistles. You can have a viral dance move, a celebrity guest, and a firework show. But just because it is spectacular, doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work.
Part of marketing is trying new ideas, being open to different concepts, and staying receptive to feedback so you can make more improvements. But another crucial part is knowing when to call it.
You can’t throw money and time at a campaign that isn’t converting. Well, technically you can, but it won’t do any good for your mental health, bank account or growth of your app.
It’s hard to admit when we’ve got it wrong, but it’s a natural part of the process. Because once you realize something went wrong, you can take a closer look to see why. And it’s in that why where you find the key to making your next campaign even better.
The more you allow yourself to experiment, fail, experiment again, and fail again, the better and better your app will get. It’s all trial and error, and you can’t let the risk of error keep you from trying something new.
Now before you say goodbye to a campaign you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into, make sure that there isn’t a simple tweak or fix you could make to get it up and running again. But if you’ve tried everything to make it work and it just refuses to, take it as a sign to close up shop and try again somewhere else.
The post-launch phase of an app can be a trying time for developers. But if you come at it with an open mind and are receptive to new ideas, your app will only get better from here.
Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their licenses. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.