If you haven’t jumped on the mobile ecommerce bandwagon yet, it’s about time you did.
By 2025, it’s estimated that over 70% of people will access the web via mobile only, so this marketing channel is going to grow even bigger.
Since the web today should strive to be mobile-first, you can go even further than making your website work well across all devices.
You can build a mobile app but if you don’t think it’s effective, here’s a fact for you: 21% of transactions at Starbucks are done via mobile app. That’s over $300 million each year. On top of that, the app helps with customer retention as it offers a loyalty program.
Ready to start marketing your mobile app?
Let’s get started.
Do your Research
The path to a successful mobile app promotion campaign starts with gaining knowledge about the people you’re going to market to. Learn the demography of your audience, their pain points, and places where you can market to them effectively. This will give you an idea of where to find your audience, and how to promote your mobile app to them.
Here’s what tools you can use to do that:
- Google Analytics for demographics and behavior insights
- Facebook and Instagram analytics for demographic insights
- Hotjar for customer surveys
Mobile App Acquisition
All the talk about the effectiveness of mobile marketing might lull you into believing that if you build it, they will come.
However, today, there are so many apps out there that user acquisition becomes a difficult task. People don’t want to get their phone cluttered with apps. You will have to put some work in convincing people to download and use your app.
A Mobile Version of Your Website
Modern marketing is all about looking for the ideal moment to capture the user’s interest. In mobile app marketing, there’s no better place to put the download link than on the mobile version of the site.
Placing a small bar fixed to the top of the screen alone will get you most of the downloads. Mention the fact the app is faster and more seamless than browsing the website on mobile. This is especially relevant for big eCommerce stores with hundreds of product pages. Here’s how eBay does it.
Use Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing, especially when done with the two giants, Instagram and Facebook, have become a top choice for marketers. 63% of users use Instagram daily, so that gives you two-thirds of a billion people to market to.
Instagram also gives you the ability to be interactive and engage your audience more. Only on social media will you see people commenting on a sponsored post.
Choosing Instagram for your app marketing campaign is a better choice since most people use it from their smartphones and will be more interested in downloading an app.
If your audience is mostly on Facebook, consider focusing your marketing campaign on mobile users. Showing mobile app ads to the desktop users is a waste of budget.
If you set your campaign’s goals on Facebook to “App Installs,” automatic placement will prioritize mobile users. You can further segment the audience by device if you want to target iPhone or Android users only.
Here are a few step-by-step guides to help you with social media marketing:
- 50 Amazing Social Media Marketing Ideas, Strategies & Tips
- Facebook Ads Effectiveness: Myths, Misconceptions, and Mistakes
- 15 Powerful Instagram Marketing Secrets You’ll Want to Steal
Use Email Marketing
Email marketing is great because you’re communicating with people who are genuinely interested in your products and content.
Since you’re already telling your newsletter subscribers about the new hot deals on your website, you can use this advertising channel to showcase your app.
Include the link to your app in all your emails and send out a couple of emails telling about the benefits of the app.
These emails are important to introduce your audience to the app, but since the CRT in emails is comparatively low, you have to expose your readers to it constantly.
Consider adding a link to Google Play at the bottom of every email you send.
Offer Incentives to Download
Few people will switch from the mobile version of your site to the app just because it’s faster. Most visitors of your website are not loyal to the brand, so there’s just no incentive for them to invest 20MB of storage space on their device.
What you have to do is give them the incentive to do it.
The easiest way to facilitate that is to offer a discount to anyone who downloads the app. Don’t stop there. Create a set of unique offers that will only be accessible to app users and talk about that in the ad.
Stating app users will get push notifications first whenever you start a sale will help to attract thrifty shoppers.
Feature an Intro Video
Whether you’re offering to download the app from Google Play directly, or from your website, consider creating a short video to introduce it. It should be short and to the point, even a minute would be enough to tell the audience about the benefits of your app.
Make it catchy, explain everything about the benefits of your app, show people using it, and leave a call to action in the end. It’s a simple formula that will make video a powerful marketing tool in your arsenal.
Make Downloading and Authentication Easy
Most people who would download your app have their phones already cluttered with apps. They won’t download another if it’s too hard to do so.
If you make them go through extensive Know Your Customer procedures before the download, many people will drop the process long before finishing it.
The same goes for authentication inside of the app. If you use both email and phone number verification, with some other security features on top, uses will just delete your app. Make it as simple as possible.
The best way to make authentication fast and effortless is by implementing social media authentication. Google, Apple 2FA, or Facebook login buttons will do just right.
Mobile app retention
You can offer discounts all you want, but that’s only going to attract people for one-time usage, after customers will delete the app and go about their day. Here’s how to make sure more people are still using your app after the first purchase:
Ask for Feedback
How do you know if your app is working well and providing benefits to the users? You ask them directly. Ask for feedback by irregular popups, and you’ll have the opportunity to improve the app.
Don’t be afraid when you get negative reviews on Google Play. Each negative review is a possibility to create a better, more helpful app, and drive more sales as a result.
Work on incentivizing people to leave good reviews, and your total score is going to be decent. You can later use the positive reviews in advertising to leverage social proof.
People who come for a discount, stay for the value. If your app is just a copy of the mobile version of your site, it’s not going to compel many people to stay. This is why you have to create the app with value in mind.
Scanning barcodes from the receipts can be a great feature for the app if your company has physical stores. When a user scans the barcode, they get loyalty points, a cashback or a discount for the next purchase.
You can also add a feature that is simply not possible when users view your website from the desktop. This is what made James Rupert, Head of Development at Cake HR Company, add the ability to process receipts via photos. The number of downloads skyrocketed when that was implemented.
Your value proposition may not be as elaborate as these examples. Even telling app subscribers about discounts first will make many people stay.
Push Notifications on Your App
While a mobile app is an easier and faster way to shop at your ecommerce store, it’s also a great way to communicate with users.
Offer to show push notifications tipping users on the latest releases and discounts, and you’ll stay in touch for a long time. It’s actually a better channel than email marketing because the average engagement rate of push notifications is 21%.
Notify Users Through Other Channels
It may take some time to convince your customers to use the app consistently. After all, 40% of app downloads are reinstalls. Keep reminding your audience about the app, and users will stick with it after deleting and reinstalling it a couple of times.
Get In-App Referrals
What’s the easiest way to get new users of your mobile app? Add the referral feature. Issue gifts or discounts to people when they refer a friend to use the app and each user you’ve already attracted may bring you anywhere from one to five new users.
If the price of the gifts you’re issuing is smaller than your typical CPA, it’s a bargain.
Have Reliable Mobile App Speed
Keeping the quality of the app consistently better than the mobile version of the site safeguards its popularity. Here’s what Jesse Omelyi who runs AVG Secure VPN has to say about it: “Apps, like websites, need a hosting to work with backend queries. Choosing a good hosting with decent bandwidth and a CDN helps both your website and the app perform well.”
Do this step beforehand, and you will not have to struggle with the technical issues after the app is launched.
Convincing users to download and use your app is not an easy thing to do. But it’s far from impossible.
Start with researching your audience to know what appeals to them. Introduce multi-channel acquisition offering your app on the mobile version of the website, on social media, and to your newsletter subscribers. Give a good reason to download and make the process easy.
Your work won’t be done just yet. User retention is just as hard as acquisition, but it’s much cheaper. Provide plenty of reasons to keep on using the app by creating value for your customers. In the end, the payout is totally worth it.
About the Author
Connie is a chief content writer, guest contributor and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. With an emphasis on organic traffic and conversion, she takes big ideas and turns them into highly practical content that keeps readers hooked.