Developing applications for iOS is not easy. You have to learn an entire programming language, learn good design techniques, deal with the headaches that come with debugging, and finally, dealing with Apple’s weird and strict guidelines for submitting applications. Perhaps your app is on the App Store, great! The hardest part is over. Or is it?
Let’s think about something for a moment. There are hundreds of thousands of applications on the App Store. But how many of these are popular? What percentage of these could be considered a success? Not very many. Developers put in hard work to get their applications on the App Store, but most of their applications do not meet expectations because developers forget one of the most important aspects of releasing an app on the App Store – marketing.
There are lots of ways to market an application. You can buy ad space, get your app reviewed on blogs, even buy downloads directly from other developers. However, there is a single marketing strategy that is more effective than all of these. In fact, this form of advertising is so powerful, it can take stupidly simple applications and push them to the Top Charts of the App Store.
So what is it?
Word of mouth. Word of mouth advertising has always been the single most effective form of advertising for any product, and it always will be. Why?
People are influenced by the people around you. You have similar interests to your friends, and most importantly, you trust them. Let’s picture a situation here.
Let’s say, for example, you are interested in buying car insurance. Advertisements for car insurance are everywhere, and the companies spend millions and millions trying to convince you that their service is better than their competitor’s. But what can you really believe? It’s hard to tell.
Let’s jump to a different situation for a moment. Let’s say your friend knew you needed car insurance, and talked with you for a while about how wonderful he is treated by the company he uses, and recommends you to try them out. Who are you more likely to trust?
Chances are you’re more likely to buy from a company your friend recommends, and the same exact idea applies even more so to cheap items such as applications. People will trust their opinion of their friends, and won’t even second guess it since apps are so incredibly cheap.
So how is the best way to go about getting people to recommend your app? It’s simple – make an application that’s worth sharing. Make it fun. Listen to user feedback, and improve your application based on it. Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to offer benefits for people to sharing your application. This is why so many applications are now taking advantage of social sharing via Facebook and Twitter to offer in-app rewards for sharing users.
However, sometimes it takes an early fanbase for this to work effectively, which is when buying ad space can be very effective. However, once your application is off the ground, it should market itself.
Next time you’re looking to up the download count of your applications, try focusing on encouraging word of mouth advertising. You’ll thank me later.