52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App
By Scott Lorenz President Westwind Communications
Apple has 400,000 plus iPhone applications available for sale at its App Store and this number will grow exponentially with the growing popularity of the iPhone, iPod and the new iPad. The competition is fierce so in order to succeed you must aggressively promote your iPhone app if you want a fighting chance. What’s the best way to promote your app? There is no “best” way. You must employ multiple tactics to crack the success code. Simply relying on word of mouth is not enough -- you need to get the attention of the news media. Just look how fast the TigerText app got traction after it was featured by CNN and Time Magazine. Shortly after those news organizations featured it other media outlets jumped on the bandwagon and promoted it as well.
This has led to people talking about it at the water cooler, at Starbucks and everywhere else. You can put this powerful force to work for you too. How? My solution as a publicist is to seek publicity to help get the word of mouth going which will then lead to those highly sought after downloads. Check out this list of 52 suggestions I’ve compiled on how to promote your iPhone App – suggestions garnered from my extensive experience as a public relations professional and Internet Marketing Specialist in promoting all types of products, inventions and services.
1. Is your name catchy like “TigerText”? If not, consider renaming your app so it can be found more easily in Google searches and in the app store.
2. Include and promote content in your app that cannot be found anywhere else.
3. Offer a free download to newspaper columnists, technical and non-technical alike.
4. Send out a well-written press release to the media announcing your new app and its special features no one can do without.
5. Do not overlook online press release distribution. It’s a great way to access trade pubs, blogs, and consumer magazines. Check out PR-Inside.com and the Apple/Mac/iPhone only site prMac.com
6. Get a launch sponsor and co-promote. Hook up with a company that could benefit from being associated with this app.
7. Create a demonstration video and place it on your own YouTube channel.
8. Distribute the demo video online using free services like TubeMogul.
9. Create a tune or license one to play along with your YouTube video
10. Offer a free trial for users with an upgrade path to the paid version.
11. Host an App Launch Party for friends, family and prospects. Make sure the cake has your logo on it. Order custom imprinted balloons displaying your app’s icon.
12. Get friends and relatives who are well-versed on your app to create a buzz by posting on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
13. Set up a Facebook Fan page to showcase your app. It’s free and easy and your fan page can be found in search engines. When someone joins your fan page it’s published in the news feeds for friends to read. Wonderful viral marketing tool.
14. Create wallpaper with rows of your app’s icon and use it on your profile pages in Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
15. Within your app, create Twitter and Facebook update features so users can easily post comments on their social network about how great your app is. Suggest a few pre-canned messages and include a small URL that links to your app in the app store.
16. Participate in Q&A forums online, such as WikiAnswers and Yahoo Answers.
17. Get listed in free online directories such as DMOZ.
18. Place free classified ads on Craigslist.
19. Create your own blog using a service such as WordPress and post an announcement about your new app or about a feature update to your app.
20. Get reviews of your app placed at such sites as AppStoreApps.com, the Apple iPhone Apps blog, AppSafari, 148apps.com, AppCraver, iPhone Application List, AppShopper and AppRater.
21. Conduct a PPC key word campaign on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
22. Using Google Adwords keyword tool, come up with list of keywords most relevant to your target audience and use those keywords in your promotional materials, on your website, in YouTube tags and in your articles about the app.
23. Use 2D mobile barcoding in your ads, packaging and other customer touch points. 2D barcodes can be scanned with camera phones and the scanned barcode information can provide a link directly to your app in the iPhone App Store.
24. Conduct a highly-targeted email campaign to prospects but keep it CAN-SPAM compliant to avoid fines or criminal penalties.
25. Create a targeted opt-in text messaging campaign.
26. Add a description of your app below your email signature line so it will go out with all your emails. That signature line should include a URL link directly to your app in the iPhone App Store.
27. Word of Mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Use PR to fuel a highly-successful word of mouth campaign.
28. Change your voice mail recorded message on land phones and cell phones to include a mention of your new app.
29. Add new features to your app over time. Feature upgrades to provide new PR opportunities.
30. Add your location and more information for free to Google Maps.
31. Create a website and use the URL in all promotional material.
32. Collect user reviews and feedback and post them on your website on the home page, not just a testimonial page.
33. Collect as many celebrity endorsements as you can and place on website and use in promotional materials. Would a Hollywood star using your app help sell it?
34. Aim to make the “What’s Hot” or “Staff Favorites” lists at the Apple App Store.
35. Promote your app on your own business materials, such as receipts, shipping flyer insertions, envelopes, shipping containers.
36. Include promotion of your app in any direct mail you are sending to customers or prospects. Consider a limited but highly targeted direct mail for your app.
37. Follow the lead of the big time retailers and conduct door buster sales for a limited period, i.e. drop your price from $6.99 to 99 cents for a weekend period.
38. Offer your app free for the first 50 who register at your website.
39. Pursue collaboration opportunities with authors, public speakers, and people of influence.
40. Create a monthly newsletter for an email blast and prominently mention your app in each issue.
41. Change your email auto-responders to include a mention of your new app,
42. On LinkedIn, join groups that meet your target audience criteria and within these groups post links to your press release or blog posting. Be sure to post your website URL in the “Websites” section.
43. Embed your PowerPoint app presentation within your Linked-In profile using the Applications feature.
44. Create promotional items such as mugs or T-shirts to promote your app. Use this method only if you have a strong icon and logo.
45. Appear at trade shows. Design a roll-up banner promoting your app.
46. Offer yourself as a speaker for Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, etc., and promote these appearances.
47. Make reprints of your speeches available at your website.
48. Submit your press release, app article or video to Digg.com. It will immediately appear in “Upcoming Stories” for others to find.
49. Create a contest at your local school district for the best app developed by a student and offer a prize. Send out a press release on the winner and post it on your website.
50. Send a letter to the editor about how your app helped someone or could help a community group.
51. Use press releases and online distributions to announce an anniversary of your company.
52. Host a training workshop for app developers and make sure your app is used prominently in demonstrations. After reviewing the above list ask yourself these questions: Is our iPhone app getting all the media coverage it deserves? Is our competition getting more than their fair share of media coverage? Would media coverage get people to download my iPhone app? Do I have a PR strategy for continuous year round media coverage for our iPhone app? If the answers to these questions are not satisfactory developers should consider a publicist who’ll “pitch” the media on their iPhone app. A publicist will create a story idea involving the app that would interest the people who read, watch or listen to a particular media outlet that would cover the app. If you have the internal staff and expertise to commit to your public relations effort then you should still consider hiring an outside PR firm to just promote the iPhone app. The reason? There is much to do and it’s a big world out there with plenty of media outlets to reach. The outside PR firm can focus on the iPhone app exclusively.
The busier you get, the easier it is to “set aside” consistent, important PR activities. Don’t get caught in that trap! If you want your iPhone app to be a success then hire a publicist who can get the publicity you deserve! -END- About Scott Lorenz and iPhone app promotion Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ iPhone app promotion at https://www.WestWindCos.Com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or by phone at 734-667-2090.