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Zero dollar app marketing – in just 6 steps!

Zero dollar app marketing – in just 6 steps!

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On a regular basis, we in the DPE India team come across apps that offer unique functional value and yet do not see broad customer adoption. We used to find this perplexing but after wallowing in the details, we’re discovering that in addition to creating high quality apps it is also important to make the app discoverable so your users can find it!

We are not talking about apps like Angry Birds and such, which arguably may not require the same level of promotion and marketing. This is particularly true for many apps out there that struggle to see broad adoption and usage. In itself this is quite a challenge to solve and lot of time, effort & money can be spent to make the app discoverable. For this post, we posed ourselves a challenge to find inexpensive ways to drive App Discovery. Driving App Usage is another interesting problem, which we will tackle in our next post.

This post was authored by Sandeep Alur in the Technical Evangelism team.

In this blog post, we go through some of the must-do activities to be undertaken by developers to promote their own apps. The only investment here is of their time and expertise (and is absolutely zero Rupees / $ for marketing)

In today’s world, nothing gets noticed without promotion. Movies are a great example here where some of the best movies ever made go unnoticed with lack of promotion or public exposure; for example, Dasvidaniya or A Wednesday! An ‘App’ is no different than any commercial product, where promotion leads to acceptance or rejection, eventually leading to success or failure of a product. In the context of an App, one builds an app with a certain target audience in mind and hence becomes prime focus for developers to promote their app when it is ready.

We identified 6 distinct things you can do to promote your app. But this is all preceded by the assumption that you have a ‘Quality’ app to begin with. See our last post on how to build a Quality app. None of the following ideas will help shore up mediocre apps. The outcome we are expecting here is to provide good exposure to customers and set up your app for success.

So armed with your high quality app, we give you 6 steps to promote you app

Step #1: App Name

Give your app a unique name – make it appealing. How does Twabbit sound for a Twitter client app or MehDoh? This is basically the display name of your app. Your app's name plays an important role in how customers find and perceive your app in the Store. When customers look for new releases/apps in store, this is one way to get their attention. Hence it is very important to choose a right name for your app. For further guidance check out this great article on ‘What to name your app’. The first and a critical step you will follow as part of the app submission process.

Step #2: Specify the right keywords

Consumers search for apps in the Store using keywords. Be sure to indicate the right key words that consumers might use for an app like yours. These keywords are like Meta tags that we are used to in the web world. In fact, when a customer searches for an app name in a search engine, these keywords do come into play.

An equally critical step is providing a meaningful description for your app during the submission process. These keywords are used by the Store to help the app’s listing appear in search results. Both the Windows Store & the Windows Phone Store are already optimized to bring up your app in Bing search results.

Step #3: Socialize your app with peers, known social circle and solicit feedback

When you build an app, you have certain target audience in mind. It makes logical sense to identify customers who can rate and review your app. The intent behind this task is to solicit feedback with an intent to understand

  • How your audiences feel about the value and usefulness of the app?
  • And gather quality feedback in order to improve the app

Below is how you should approach this step

  1. Create a small group of folks who are either end-users as per the target audience for your app or known peers who can provide feedback on your app
  2. Call out your app background clearly so that they understand the very purpose of your app
  3. Demonstrate your openness to receive candid feedback

This is one great means to get initial feelers on your app, before a larger audience provide verdict on your app. You can execute this step the moment your app gets listed in Store or even before that. If the success or failure of your app has business implications, then you are better off executing this step before your app gets to the Store. By doing so, you can to a greater extent avoid ‘Dead on Arrival’ situation.

Step #4: Act on user feedback and demonstrate your commitment to the app

Showcase your commitment by acting upon user feedback. While you solicited feedback from the known audiences, it is important to keep them posted on the latest updates and releases of your app. This is one great way to keep the group intact, and sustain relationship in order to get continued feedback on your app.

Step #5: Look out for channels to popularize your app

While you are soliciting feedback from within a known peer/social circle, you have to socialize your app across other channels available. Below are a few that you can rely on to popularize your app (either online or offline)

  • Technical communities
  • Campaigns or Contests
  • Forums where your real customers(target audience) convene


Step #6: Tell us about your app

While we watch the Windows 8 & Windows Phone Stores like a hawk and scour through it for great apps, sometimes we too miss catching good ones. If your app is one such then write to us and tell us how your app is great and we’ll take a look at if/how we can promote it!  Write to w8pitcrew@microsoft.com to show us your world-class Windows 8 apps & to wppitcrew@microsoft.com to show us your high-quality Windows Phone Apps.

  • These steps are just awesome. I've started my Windows 8 App Development with these same steps & succeeded in all 4 of my Apps. Windows "AppLabs" really helped me a lot in Quality Control of my Apps.

  • dasdsad

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