January 18 2017

In one of our previous posts, we discussed the various challenges faced by an indie app developer. Right from bringing together his ideas, validating them for his target market, developing the app, getting it discovered, to marketing it in a sustainable manner, they face challenges every step of the way. In this post, we’re sharing a must-follow guide for indie app marketing.

Because as an indie developer, you need to put all your resources to optimum use!

A Simple 9-Step Guide To Indie App Marketing

1. Start with focusing on ASO

The very first step to marketing your app effectively, is focusing on app store optimization. In fact, more than 50% of the apps are discovered via search. If that’s where your target market is looking for things, then that’s exactly where you need to make yourself visible. And ASO is the answer when it comes to discoverability.

Optimize your app name, keywords and description to suit the app stores. Keep in mind that Google Play Store users may have different search keywords than those on iOS. Try to include as many search keywords as possible to pull in your target users, but keep it all relevant.

And most importantly, ensure that you’re highlighting how your app is different from all the others. Make use of screenshots and phrases that are sure to grab a user’s attention.



Also read: The game developer’s app store optimization cheatsheet

2. Focus 100% on your soft launch

A noted growth hacker in the app industry, Oliver Kern shared that an app’s launch phase isn’t the stage that decides its success or failure in a market. He says that the soft launch is what makes all the difference.

A soft launch is what helps you determine if the app is ready to acquire the market or does it need a few more iterations before it gets introduced to millions of mobile users. The tactic makes use of launching your app to a restricted audience, gauging their experience and improving your app based on their feedback and engagement before a full launch.

Also read: How to growth hack your soft launch with early on engagement

3. Get your app reviewed

As an indie developer, your aim should be to reach the maximum audience from your target market on a shoestring budget. This automatically means that, unlike apps backed by publishers, you can’t spend on unlimited advertisements to acquire users. The one way you can use to get discovered by many, without having to burn hole in your pocket, is influencer marketing.

Look for influencers who have followers that fall under your target user demographics. Reach out to them with a proposition to get your app reviewed on their channels. This could be on their blog, YouTube channel, a live video chat with their followers or more. The idea is to use their influence to reach out and convince their followers to try your app.


4. Leverage the power of word of mouth

Like we said, as an indie developer, you need to maximise on what you have and use it to grow further. The same applies to user acquisition. You don’t need to start spending on ads right away, when you could make use of a few recommendations from your existing users to reach new ones.

Word-of-mouth has proven to boost marketing effectiveness by a whopping 54%. About 84% of people are known to act on personal recommendations coming from their friends and family. Offer a great experience to your users and encourage them to invite their circle to the app, of course in exchange for something they see value in.


Also read: What Smart Invites can do for your app’s growth

5. Get yourself some paparazzi

While it might sound a little too difficult, the digital world offers multiple platforms that could give your app some press coverage. Be it a local but popular YouTube channel, a review or tech news website that a lot of people follow, make sure your app is being talked about. The more people hear about it and see it being used, the more likely they are to try it out too.

Keep your messaging simple, catchy and easy to remember. To back your press coverage, don’t forget to create a micro landing page that highlights what your app has to offer and redirects people to the app stores.

For example, the landing page of Weathertron. It’s simple, catchy, gets the point across quickly and directs people towards downloading the app.


Ps: Focus on channels that will help you reach out to your target users only or the efforts would go waste.

6. Tap into the power of social media

According to Statista, the number of social media users worldwide is projected to grow to 2.95 billion by 2020. There is absolutely no way your target market is not falling into this category. Simply put, if your app is not on social media, you’re missing out on the biggest opportunity to acquire new users and keep your existing ones engaged.

Identify the social media platforms that your target users are most active on. Make sure your app gets a dedicated page that regularly shares something interesting that keeps your audience engaged. Share tips and tricks to making use of your app better, or simply quick videos on how they could do so. Experiment with the content you share and target initiating conversations with your prospect users.

For example, even a game as big as Angry Birds uses Facebook to regularly engage in happy sticker conversations with its users!


Also read: 10 creative ideas to boost mobile gamer engagement using Facebook

7. Become active on forums and communities

With digital becoming the go-to place for any kind of information one is looking for, there are plenty of forums, groups and communities that you could get your app discovered in. All you need to make sure is that you join the right ones, identify active conversations and place your app as a solution in a contextual manner.

In fact, work on creating your own community right from the beginning. It is a great way to keep your existing users engaged and even drive them towards in-app conversions for effective monetization.

Also read: Want to monetize your game better? Create a community!

8. Leverage cross promotion

Cross promotion is also a great way to get your app discovered and acquire new users. There are plenty of industry specific ad networks that you could make use of to get your app promoted to a large audience.

Alternatively, if you have an existing app that has a considerable number of users or know another developer who would be willing to introduce your app to his users, nothing better! Just make sure you’re not investing efforts into something that won’t get you to your ideal users.

Here’s an example from Quora:


9. Focus on user relationships

The only way to keep your users constantly engaged with your app in a competitive market, is to tap into the power of relationships. By this we don’t just mean the relationship between a developer and his app users. We’re referring to the relation between your users that can be used to keep them engaged as well as help you grow your app further.


If you’re already making use of referral marketing in your app user acquisition strategy, make use of GetSocial Social Graph to understand the bond between users. You can make use of this relation to drive in-app campaigns that boost the average number of sessions per user, build user loyalty and also drive app growth.

Also read: New User Engagement Tool – Building relationships with GetSocial Social Graph

It is no longer just about creating a great application. You need to be able to get discovered in a market that is growing day-by-day, and the only way to do so as an indie developer, is to strategize beforehand.

Don’t just create a concept and take it to the market. Work on a robust strategy, equip yourself with the right set of tools and do  not get lost in the crowd!

Your app is ready to get published, but did you GetSocial?