The success of an app depends on its level of public exposure. But you can’t expect an app to reach its potential relying solely on the App Store charts to rank you high and deliver the installs you need for optimal traction.
There are millions of apps in the marketplace, each and every one attempting to yell louder than the other, so it’s up to you to leverage other marketing mechanisms to achieve broader exposure.
One such important mechanism is a dedicated app website, designed for the sole purpose of promoting and supporting the existence of your app.
This website is essentially your app’s home outside of the app stores; a place potential users can find out all they need to know about its purpose, functionality and value.
But don’t think for a moment a simple blog layout with a few pictures and a short description is going to have people rushing to click through and download your app. In fact, a lacklustre effort could well dent your app’s potential rather than hike it through the ceiling.
Your app’s website needs to make the viewer think; “Yes, this is the app I’m looking for”. It not only needs to convince the user that your app is awesome, but also needs to demonstrate the unique selling points of your app that set you apart from the competition. It needs to reflect the brand dynamics and overall core story in such a way that people feel compelled to download and try it out.
If you’re about to set up a website for your app, here’s a list of 8 key ingredients you should consider straight off the bat:
Create a Compelling Visual Introduction with an App Video
Video is an extremely powerful media channel. For evidence of this, look no further than YouTube, the world’s second biggest search engine behind Google.
The reality is that people generally don’t read as much as they used to, and when they do, they tend to skim-read and miss all those important details you spent ages rewording and integrating with your copy. So presenting an introductory promo video on your homepage is an effective way to engage potential users of your app.
When consulting on the storyboard with the video creators, focus on creating powerful visuals, accompanied by simple language that avoids technical jargon. Showcase the key functionality and best features of your app, concentrating on the key areas that you know are of primary interest to your target audience. When users consider an app, they want minimal effort, maximum enjoyment and great value, so keep these things in mind when selling the benefits of your app in the video.
In terms of duration, make sure the video isn’t too long. The graph below, courtesy of video experts Wistia, shows just why this is so important. You can clearly see how user engagement steadily drops off the longer a video goes on:
The super thing about creating a video for your app is that you can use it on multiple media platforms: You can upload it to YouTube, and promote it using YouTube ads, share it on Facebook, and promote it through Facebook ads, send it to your email list, send it to would-be reviewers to embed on their blogs, and feature it on your Google Play and Apple App Store description pages – although you must meet Apple’s strict app preview video criteria.
There’s a ton of ways to get your video out there. Make a list for deployment and add it to your marketing plan.
Write Powerful Copy that Resonates with the Reader
Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere for the last few years, you will have heard the words “Content is king”. The words you use to describe your app, and the way in which you compile and present them, must properly appropriate your brand, and must also resonate with your target demographic.
Use concise sentences with snappy adjectives that outline the benefits for the user. Think about what problem(s) your app solves for the user, and use your copy to explain to the reader how solving these problems will make for a better life and mobile experience.
When it comes to writing copy you need to be honest with yourself. If you aren’t a confident writer, if you aren’t a native English writer – but are writing for an English-speaking audience – if you aren’t sure how to properly use words and punctuation to create well-formed sentences, you should look at hiring a writer to write the copy for you. This is a small investment that you will thank yourself for later. Not only will it save you a headache, but it will also become a key factor in your app’s success.
Your content will also be the driving factor in how your app website ranks organically for your target keywords in the major search engines like Google, and Bing. By keyword targeting your content around specific phrases that users regularly use to search for an app like yours, you can increase your organic traffic. You might not rank for your main target keywords quickly, but you will at the very least begin picking up some long-tail related search queries within the first six weeks. Sound too slow? Then make sure you pay attention to point 7.
Map out a keyword strategy for each page of your site. Pick no more than three main target keywords for each page and seamlessly integrate the words into your titles, sub-titles, content and page meta-description.
Whatever you do though DON’T keyword stuff. This not only looks unnatural to the reader and makes your copy read badly, it is easily detected by Google as an effort to game your way to greater search engine visibility; something that will only hurt your chances of ranking for your target keywords in the long-term. Aim for a keyword density of about 3-4 percent, integrating keywords naturally into the text as and when it feels right to do so.
Feature Media Quotes to Impress & Simultaneously Promote Trust
If you have managed to secure features and reviews on reputable app and tech sites, you will have some great quote material to feature on your site and leverage as a trust signal.
Featuring strategically placed media quotes in and around key aspects of your site’s content provides potential users with a positive signal that your app has been critically well received. It demonstrates mainstream popularity, and generally helps you show off without needing to blow your own trumpet.
Don’t go overboard, though. Pick a few powerful quotes and sprinkle them strategically in highly visible areas of the homepage, and on any other key, relevant pages.
Showcase Your Statistics with Social Proof
Okay, so if you’re yet to launch your app this won’t apply, but once your app does take traction, this simple bit of consumer psychology will increase downloads and keep the ball rolling.
You see, it ‘s easy to waffle on through paragraphs of content about how good your app is, but doing so will leave the user wondering where the hard proof is.
If your app is receiving a ton of downloads, prove it by showing off your download statistics in a prominent area of your website. Think about a one-liner like this;
25,000 people love [name goes here]. We think you’ll love it too”,
Follow this quote with a cool visual representation of your popularity, like the one seen below:
People don’t like missing out. When we think that others are enjoying a better life because they’re using something we don’t have, we desire to have the same. So the strategy is simple: Make others want to join the party.
The social proof needn’t stop here either. If you are receiving a ton of wonderful user reviews, why not showcase the best ones in a carousel on your homepage. You can even embed screenshots of reviews from the App Store description page.
Show Your Customer Commitment Through Solid Support
One major oversight of not just app promo sites, but websites in general, is the lack of highly visible contact information.
Sure, you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry contacting you with all sorts of silly questions; because that would create an annoying line of time consuming communication, so I’ll reveal how to remain highly contactable and avoid this potential pitfall in just a moment.
But first consider that having your customer support details, or a link to those details, immediately visible to the user when they land on your site is a sign that you care about your users. It says to potential buyers that you’ll be on hand to offer support in case of any technical difficulty, and promotes trust in your brand, demonstrating that your customers’ needs are a priority.
Just being contactable is an important trust signal that will contribute to the generation of more downloads, especially if your app requires an upfront purchase to download it.
To avoid being contacted with silly questions that are answered by simply reading the copy or watching the video, present the user with a support section before the contact form. So when a user clicks the ‘contact button’, a search box will appear first that asks the user what their query is about, like the one Mailchimp uses below. Once the user has typed in their query, you can present a number of related topics that should answer the question. If not, the user can proceed to contact you. This process helps filter the amount of enquiries you receive.
In addition to this support function, an FAQ is an essential part of your app website’s page structure. An FAQ should evolve overtime, fed into by the questions received via your support page, and not simply be a list of presumptions based on what you think users might want to know.
Use Affiliate Links to Increase Revenue & Measure Channel ROI
Most first-time app creators aren’t aware that an app has the potential to pay the creator twice. Not only can you get paid from the App Store, but you can also get paid as an affiliate of your own product. Bear in mind though that where the Apple Affiliate Program is concerned this isn’t strictly above board. But a lot of developers are doing it!
Configure your website to track visitor location, and then dynamically serve the corresponding affiliate link for that region. Becoming an affiliate of your own app will make you an extra 5% on each download – not bad for a little bit of extra effort.
Use Google Analytics to track these affiliate links as a means of comparing install conversion rates of different traffic sources to your site. If you are advertising across multiple channels, this will allow you to measure the ROI of each, and then scale up the most effective while cutting any that don’t perform.
Use Paid Advertising for Broader, Faster Reach
FACT: There is no guarantee of ever ranking top of Google’s first search page for the main keywords related to your app. In fact, as pointed out in #2, you could be waiting a good while before you see solid traffic from your organic marketing efforts on any channel.
You need consistent high-volume traffic to measure and test your landing page and generate enough app installs for your app to take traction and start competing with your competitors. In short, there’s no time to waste. And the only way to guarantee traffic is to use paid advertising. But don’t go throwing money at Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising without knowing what you’re doing, or you could stand to lose a pretty penny. If you are going to run the campaigns yourself, set aside a small test budget to experiment and learn with in the initial stages.
With paid traffic, you have the option to send users to the App Store description page or your website landing page. While the obvious destination might seem like the closest to the download button (the App Store), often sending users to a landing page on your website that pre-sells your app with a promotional video and social proof is far more effective.
That said; if you have a Google Play version of your app and want to send users straight to the store, take advantage of Google’s new Universal App Campaign option. It’s super easy to set up and instantly laser targeted, with little ad campaign knowledge required to get going. For more complicated campaign structures, if you have the budget, employ the services of someone with the knowledge required to set up campaigns and optimise them accordingly using statistical analysis as the data rolls in.
Obtain Smarter Insights with Google Analytics
Using a traffic tracking program like Google Analytics will help you better understand your user demographic, which in turn will help you tweak your app’s website for a higher conversion rate. This data will also help you make informed decisions on app updates going forward.
Google Analytics helps you track everything from visitor location and time on site to keyword entry and conversion metrics. GA is easy to install and contains some exciting features, including real-time site viewing whereby you can view user interaction on the fly, giving you a front row seat to analyse the way in which users behave on your site. Oh, and did I mention, it’s absolutely free.
Data is the key to understanding what does and doesn’t work. The more you learn about the users visiting your website, the quicker you’ll unlock the sweet spots that lead to a high landing page-to-install rate and start profiting from your hard work.