10 Creative Ideas for Launching Your App

by | May 31, 2019

What’s the most memorable product launch you’ve ever seen? For me, it was the iPhone launch in 2007 when you could call, text, email, listen to music, and access the internet, all on the same device and with a usability of a touch screen. Creating an engaging launch plan for your app, if you’re trying to attract prospects or customers to it, is a pivotal part of the planning process. As of March 2019, there are 2.1 million apps available to Android users and 1.8 for Apple users. And this number only continues to grow. In the multi-billion dollar app industry, it isn’t enough to just create an app, you need to launch it in a way that is memorable and effective.

As the number of smartphone users tops 3 billion in 2019, companies utilize more creative marketing campaigns to get the word out about their app and attract users. Here are ten creative marketing campaign ideas for before, during, and after launching your company’s new mobile app.

3 Examples of App Marketing Campaigns

When starting to brainstorm a new campaign, it’s always helpful to see what’s out there, and what some brands are doing well. Let’s get the creative ideas brewing with a few examples of interesting app marketing campaigns:

Warby Parker

Find your fit on iPhone X

Have the new iPhone X? We just rolled out a cool new feature in our app using iPhone X's TrueDepth camera. (We measure your face to help you figure out which frames will fit you great!) Download our iOS app right this way ➡️ http://warby.me/2zLgAxt

Posted by Warby Parker on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Warby Parker is known as a trendy and innovative company, providing customers with dozens of different prescription glasses styles for a much smaller price than traditional vendors. But one way they keep innovating is through their app. Although not a brand new app, in 2017 Warby Parker’s free Glasses app added a Find Your Fit feature, where your iPhone X can measure your face, giving you personalized glasses recommendations. This new feature is a great way to remarket an existing app as it adds to its functionality and appeal to potential customers. To further market the app, Warby Parker used digital ad campaigns and social media promotion, and due to the cool, futuristic quality of the feature, influencers and influential companies weighed in on it (including publications like Refinery29 and The Verge).

App Available in Apple Store

Starbucks

Given that their first app launched in 2009, the Starbucks’ app has been around for many a moon. However, they are constantly updating and in addition to digital ad promotions, they also use indirect and more creative methods to advertise their app.

In 2018, Starbuck asked users to submit images of their products, the best of which would be reposted and highlighted on the Starbucks Instagram account. Well crafted user-generated content tends to increase likes and drives more shares, encouraging users to click through to the official Starbucks Instagram page, where they will see a link to download the app right in the company bio. This subtle campaign had a contest and gaming element to it, making users more excited to participate and creating an effective CTA.

App Available in Apple Store // Android Store

Barclays

Image Credits

Before the prevalence of Venmo for on-the-go money transactions, Barclays Bank in the U.K. launched the PingIt app in 2012, an app that allows users to easily transfer money using only their phone numbers. The app was launched and Barclays used different outlets to market, such as ad campaigns, social promotion, and promotion on major news outlets. In addition, Barclays also became more active on social media, responding to feedback from users in real-time.

Through this they realized that a portion of people were unhappy with the app since it could only be used to transfer money between people 18 years or older, making it unusable for parents wanting to transfer money to their teenagers. Barclays quickly edited the app to work for those 16 years and older, giving them in turn a lot of positive attention and more downloads.

App Available in Apple Store // Android Store

10 Ideas for Marketing your App’s Launch

Optimize your mobile website

Oftentimes people see a competition between a company’s mobile app and mobile website, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, a functional, mobile-friendly website can be highly effective in promoting  your new app. In general, mobile sites get more unique visitors, but visitors spend more time in mobile apps. Having an effective mobile site is a great way of introducing your brand’s digital presence to a newer user, who can then later graduate to the mobile app. You can also advertise your mobile app on the mobile website (as seen below on the American Eagle Outfitters mobile website), either as a way to interact with the company on a native platform, or by offering a feature not available on the mobile website.

Feature the app on your website and blog

Your website, and especially your blog posts, are often an effective way to create consistent, relevant content for your audience (hint hint). Using website pages and blog posts to feature an app is a great idea both during and after launch. When an app launches, a dedicated blog post can be used to highlight the app’s design and features, making viewers excited and more likely to download then and there. After that, you can utilize a call-to-action (CTA) in a section on your website home page and at the end of each new blog post, telling readers to “download the app today” or in whatever language is more relevant. This is an easy, consistent marketing campaign that only requires an extra sentence or two at the end of already relevant  blog posts.

Optimize your app for the app store

App store optimization is very similar to search engine optimization (SEO), except for the app store. Similar to SEO, optimizing your app in the app store includes focusing on relevant keywords, relevant searches, and keyword density in the app’s description. About 48% of people find apps by searching through the app store, so having a strong optimization for your new app is important both when and after you launch your mobile app.

Utilize social media

Although currently not as effective as email marketing, social media is still an important part of any company’s broad marketing strategy. And while apps are an important part of an overall marketing strategy, social media can also be utilized in a variety of ways. When launching your new app, your company can post about it both on a feed as well as in stories, reaching people both immediately and potentially again in the future. Users can even help foster a conversation about the app, its functionality, and what they might like to see on it. Influencers can also be used to post about the app, potentially reaching a greater audience than you could through self-promotion alone (make sure to check out #5 too). In addition, some social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are great for creating and joining groups with a lot of expert and like-minded individuals to promote your app to. As it implies, social media is a great way of using a digital word-of-mouth to spread the word about your new app launch.  Reach out to influencers in your field

While some industries have influencers as famous and engaging as actresses and athletes (the beauty guru for example), pretty much every industry has important figures that help to shape public opinion in that field. Just look at One Big Happy Life for personal financial advice or Cassey Ho for free online fitness workouts. No matter the topic for your app, there are probably some influencers that you could leverage to help with the promotion of an app launch. Try sending out an early demo of your app to a few influencers to gauge their opinions, an easy way to get feedback and make adjustments before an app launch. If an influencer likes the app, work with them to promote it both during and after launch. However, remember this kind of marketing only works when the content and service your app provides is truly relevant to the influencer, so consider from all sides before going down this route.

Create demo and promo videos

There’s no doubting the power of video. The average viewer remembers 95% of a message when it is watched, compared to 10% when read. Creating demonstration or promotion videos, short 30-second videos that are a great way of showing your audience what the app does and why they need it. Acting as a commercial of sorts, demo videos can be used on many different platforms to leverage your app, including social, digital ads, and on your website. Demo videos can also be great to show viewers how to use the app, adding to user confidence and accessibility of the app, increasing the download rate. These demo and promo videos can even, and should be, updated as the app continues to evolve, adding a valuable resource to your users. A great example of a demo video that fits with the company while showcasing the app is this one from Headspace, a guided meditation app. The video has a calm, relaxing vibe along with cute animations, where in a little over a minute they explain the product and how the app works.

Run a contest or giveaway

Running a contest or giveaway to promote the launch of an app can be a great way to get users to initially download the app, the hardest step in getting people to embrace a new app. If you go the contest route, the app can highlight whoever is winning, giving users incentive to rank higher and continue using the app. They can also allow for push notifications to give them contest alerts, another step in the conversion process. On the route of giveaways, users might have to download the app and fill out a short survey, thereby entering a giveaway for a prize relevant to your business. Instagram and YouTube have created an increased use in giveaways and people love a no-risk way to potentially get free goods. A company can easily use this method for promoting a new app to their audience.

Create an email campaign to existing users

Email marketing is traditional, but can be effective. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media, since on social media users content is filtered, making them harder to reach. Whether you have an established website with email subscribers, or a previous app that your relaunching or creating a companion to, an email campaign brings the new app right to the attention of your users. Considering that about 91% of people check their email daily, you’re automatically reaching most your most local customers.

Launch a digital ad campaign

When promoting a digital product and service, like a mobile app, one of the best ways to promote its launch is through a digital ad campaign. Digital ad campaigns can be implemented in a variety of ways, but Google and social media channels are great places to start. Considering Google has been and is the most popular search engine, with over 75% of the market share, Google Ads is important for a targeted campaign.

Respond to all reviews in a thoughtful and proactive way

When launching an app, you might think of all of the flash, creative ways you can market your app. It should be noted however that one of the best ways you can ever market an app is to engage with the users of the app and discuss their questions and concerns. More often than not, when a user writes a negative or critical review of an app in the app store, the comment usually goes unnoticed by the company itself. Or if they do respond, it’s through an automated message telling them to contact customer service. These responses are unhelpful and frankly annoying to users.

Instead, when launching a new app, make sure to monitor reviews and comments in the app store and respond to at least some of them in a thoughtful and proactive way. If they like the app, tell them how happy you are about that. If there are concerns, ask exactly why they didn’t like the app and what they would like to see done differently. Then take this advice and update the app as needed, taking or adding features or increasing design or usability. Remember, the reason for creating an app is to offer your customers something they can’t get on your website and something that sets you apart from your competitors. Make sure it’s something your audience actually wants to use.

Conclusion

With the sheer number of apps available, it can seem daunting to build and launch your own app. It can seem like a field only for large, multinational corporations, who have marketing budgets larger than most companies’ yearly revenue. But in 2018, 42% of small business reported having their own mobile app, and this number continues to grow.

No matter the size of your organization, apps can benefit a variety of businesses in any industry across the board. Non-profits, legal firms, associations, museums, and many more can all utilize mobile apps to help provide useful services to users, resulting in increased interest and engagement. You just need to make sure to market them before, during, and after launch, which you can do in a variety of creative ways.

Mobile app development might seem overwhelming, but there are many resources and platforms out there to help any organization build the perfect app that fits into their budget. Hatch Apps is a service-enabled platform with a mission to bring transparency, speed and price stability to the software development industry. We work hand-in-hand with customers to deploy custom software, leveraging pre-built components and building more for less. Make sure to book a conversation with a member of our team to learn about how app development can fit in your marketing strategy and event budget.

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