The most effective content marketing tactics for your mobile app
There are over 4 million apps in the Google and Apple app stores combined, with a further 670,000 in the Windows store, according to data from Statista. That’s like a unique app for every person in New Zealand – so how is yours supposed to get found?
The short answer is it’s not. But with some savviness on your part there are ways to dramatically increase your chances.
Introducing content marketing for mobile apps. Content marketing will create myriad opportunities for customers to learn about your app, while nurturing your best customers towards downloading it at the same time.
To show you how to achieve this, we’ll need to cover three key areas:
- The basics of mobile app content marketing.
- What content to create.
- Using paid ads and social media to expand your reach.
Step 1: The basics of mobile app content marketing
All content marketing must start with a good strategy, consisting of objectives, goals and metrics.
- Objectives: These are what you want your content marketing efforts to achieve overall. “Increase mobile app downloads” seems the logical first choice, but other objectives such as increasing web traffic, newsletter signups etc. can be incredibly useful in building brand awareness and moving people further down the sales funnel (more on this in Part 2).
- Goals: These are the steps required to achieve your objectives, and will be taken by your customers. “Download our app!” is again the logical choice, but consider having secondary goals such as “Sign up to our newsletter” or “Follow us on social media”. What you might find is that those customers not ready to convert (download the app) might be ready later after following you for a while and learning about your business.
- Metrics: These are how you will measure the above to determine success. “Mobile app downloads” would be one metric, and website sessions, newsletter signups and so forth could be more.
ASO is the SEO of the app world, helping your app get found in the app store.
App Store Optimisation (ASO)
ASO is the SEO of the app world. It will help your app rank in the relevant app stores and encourage downloads. Today we’re focusing mostly on Google Play, so if you’re uploading there check out these tips:
- Good titles: Your app title should be succinct and descriptive, making clear what the app is and what it offers. Try to get a keyword in there, too. This is also your opportunity to do the same for your app URL.
- Clear descriptions: You can add both a short and long description. It is recommended that you fill both to their max character count (80 chars for the short, 4,000 for the long), using long-tail keywords where possible. In the long description you should also include a strong CTA.
- Eye-catching graphics: Google Play gives you three chances to have great visuals: the icon, the feature graphic and a YouTube embed. Each of these should be striking and on-brand. The video should also be informative and interesting, right from the first second (avoid elongated intros).
- Informative screenshots: Screenshots can make the difference between somebody downloading or not. Upload realistic, eye-catching highlights of the app – try to explain what it is and what it’s about using only screenshots (assume nobody reads the description and that will help you pick out high-quality screenshots).
- A/B test everything: Google Play has built-in A/B testing and you should definitely use it. This is where you compare two similar app listings with each other to see which variant performs best. If you A/B test everything in this list one by one, you’ll quickly learn the perfect combination of factors to perform well.
Step 2: Creating content that links to your app
The sales funnel
Content marketing works best when you consider the sales funnel. By matching content topics to different audience categories within the funnel, your content will be acting more efficiently – i.e. you won’t be giving the hard sell to a user who isn’t interested (yet!).
Here’s a quick breakdown on the funnel from a content perspective:
- Top of the funnel: Users who aren’t aware of your app or why it exists, and probably won’t download it yet.
- Middle of the funnel: Users who are now aware of the app but also its competitors. They are more aware of their needs and where you fit them, and are actively considering their options.
- Bottom of the funnel: Users who are aware of you, know your app is great, and just need that final encouragement to complete your primary goal.
Different content types to make for your mobile app
- Blog content: Blog content is your bread and butter. Each new article is a chance to rank in search and gain attention on social, and each piece of attention is another opportunity to urge a new user to your app. Blogs work well at the top and middle of the funnel, where the goal is to educate users on relevant topics and build their trust in your brand as an authority. Focus more on this than sales, as users in these stages are less likely to convert.
- Graphics: Visual media is the creme de la creme of social media content. Create small, informative images or long, in-depth infographics to cover bigger topics in an easy-to-read way. This again is good top- and mid-funnel content, for the same reason as blogs. Although graphics can also be used at the bottom to quickly showcase app descriptions and the like.
- E-books and whitepapers: These are both long-form content types that can cover important topics in incredible depth, but also require greater commitment from the user to read through. Create useful, must-download pieces and place them behind gateways that capture user leads in the middle and bottom of the funnel. You can then follow up these leads to nurture them towards downloading the app.
- Slideshares: The same as e-books and whitepapers, but more visual. Good for sharing on LinkedIn, as it owns the platform.
- Webinars: Again, these can be used much like whitepapers in the middle and bottom stages of the funnel, where aware users are looking for nitty-gritty information and are statistically more likely to be willing to hand over an email address for participation. Education is a critical part of a good webinar (this isn’t a sales demo!), but webinar participants could be nurtured later.
- Videos: Use videos anywhere and everywhere. Everything mentioned above could be turned into either a live action or animated video, and used at all stages of the funnel. Video can also be used to enhance other content types (i.e. embedded in blogs) and of course, to boost your ASO.
Organic search and social rankings provide great long-term gain, but should be coupled with short-term paid campaigns for targeted audience boosts.
Step 3: Expanding the reach of your content
Organic search and social rankings are unbeatable for long-term gains, but the smartest content strategies mix in short-term paid ad campaigns and other amplification strategies to increase content reach on key pieces.
Paid ads are a poor choice for long-term gains because you only ever get what you pay for (whereas organic content grows exponentially over time). But if you have a key piece of content coming out – say, an e-book – then giving it a boost via Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another social media platform, can greatly expand its reach. Just $10-100 is enough to push your audience into the tens of thousands.
Paid ads are great for reaching a wide net of users at the top and middle of the funnel, as the audience targeting functions built into most advertising platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) let you target specific interests and demographics.
Email subscriptions can be slow to start, but if ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ has been one of your top- and mid-funnel goals for a while, you’ll have built quite a database of interested parties. These are individuals you can specifically target with exclusive content or with lower-middle to bottom-funnel content. They’ve shown an interest in you already, which means they could be encouraged to download your app more readily than a new top-funnel user.
To get your new app in front of as many eyes as possible using content marketing, start with strong foundational strategy research and ASO.
With those in place, you can build a network of content pieces that target unique sections of the sales funnel, improving your overall brand awareness and nurturing relevant leads to your app.
This strategy will hold the fort over time, and you can amplify specific high-value content with paid campaigns where necessary.