Trying to figure out how to promote your app for free? No problem. Got a zero dollar budget? No problem. Got a computer? Good, because that’s all you’ll need. Here are 13 quick and dirty tips, tricks, techniques, and recipes you can mix and match to promote your app for free.
1. Microsites and Blogs
Starting a website is easy, and it can be free or almost free. Domains cost less than $30 per year, and a Google search will reveal plenty of free blogging platforms.
You can create a blog centered around your app’s niche, or simply create a one-page microsite that advertises your app’s benefits and features.
Have links to any social media accounts, a contact address, and consider allowing users to comment and post reviews on the site.
2. Socialize Online
Promote your app through any existing social media channels, and consider creating some where there are none. Join Google+ groups, forums, and follow people who have similar interests.
Make friends with online celebrities and help non-competitors promote their products – they’ll help you back. Word of mouth works both online and off.
3. Create Promo Videos
Throw together a thoughtful presentation that tackles the same problem your potential customers are facing. Do a how-to video, tutorials, or other informative videos and post them on YouTube. YouTube is still one of the best ways to increase exposure, improve SEO, and attract new followers.
Make sure to post links to your social media accounts and your web pages.
4. Get Media
In other words, get the attention of the press. This means everything from local news press to relevant niche blogs. Pretty much any press exposure will help you out, even interviewing with individual bloggers. Links back to your website will increase traffic and boost SEO.
5. List Your Product
Software directories are your friend. Upload your app to all the major software directories and take advantage of the increased exposure. If you plan on charging for your product, then you can upload a free trial or freemium version of the product.
6. Create Email Lists
Email can keep you in contact with customers long after they’ve left your website. You can keep them informed of new products, updates, and news. Don’t feel obligated to bother your customers on a weekly basis with a newsletter – chances are you won’t need one if you’re just releasing apps every so often.
Just shoot them an email with important releases and product updates when necessary.
7. Good Old Networking
Networking has always been the foundation of good marketing, and it still is. Find your way to local Meetup groups, conferences, and events. Pass out business cards, add value, and tell people about your app. Marketing is a long-term effort, and long-term success is built upon long-term relationships.
8. Signatures Say it All
Your email signature should point to your website, promote your app, and tell people to follow you on social media. Forum signatures should do the same. Adding a company name after your name when you comment on blogs can help increase brand exposure. Likewise with social media messaging.
9. Incentivize with Promo Prices
Deals, limited time offers, and special pricing can incentivize customers who may not otherwise purchase your product. Create contests among your social followers: whoever shares the most gets a promo code for a free download.
10. Design for Sharing
Include like buttons and share buttons in your app, and, if relevant, include social functions such as messaging and chat. This can take some of the headache out of marketing, and lets users do a lot of the legwork for you. You can also take shares and likes in lieu of payment.
11. Join an Affiliate Network
If you charge for your product, then you can join an affiliate network or a pay-per-download site that has an affiliate program. Doing so will allow affiliates to promote your product in return for a commission on each sale. This lets them do the promotion work, so you can focus on developing your next app.
12. Find a Monetization and Distribution Platform
Total monetization solutions such as the CodeFuel product line offer both monetization and marketing solutions. They give you access to a network of partners who will help promote your product to a worldwide user base, and you can monetize your own product using the platform’s tools.
13. Free Isn’t Free
Time is money and money is time. The best way to save both is to make sure that you’re not spending too much of either promoting your product. When the cost of your time outweighs the cost of paying others to do your marketing, you may want to look into outsourcing some of these activities.