NOTE: This post was originally posted on appstreet.themestreet.net. It’s reposted here with author’s permission.

Did you know that one of the hardest things to promote online are mobile apps?

Why?

Well, mobile apps have a huge disadvantage. They’re either free, or very low-cost.

So every dime spent on marketing is most probably a loss, until your app gets paying customers and starts making money.

Plus, there are millions of apps already out there, and hundreds of apps are showing up every week.

And on top of that, you see some crappy apps and even crappier games are reaching top charts and get featured everywhere.

Frustrating, right?

Yeah, I know.

So, what can you do?

What can you do to avoid spending thousands of dollars into advertising, yet get some traction, and grow your user base?

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To help you with this, I’ve created an easy to follow step-by-step system that you can start implementing right away, and start getting reviews and users.

Let’s get some users!!! :)

Step #1: Define your target audience (potential players).

Who are your potential users? What they like? What they don’t like?

Try to learn as much as you can about your target audience. Try to learn what motivates them. What excites them. In other words, what would make them click the “Install” button on your app.

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The more you know about them, the easier will be for you to create marketing material. You’ll make better rapport with them, and you’ll turn them much easier into users.

Here are few tips on how to learn more about your target audience:

1. Go to Facebook’s Audiance Insights tool. There, you can enter some of the pages of your competitors and/or some of the favourite blogs you know your target market reads. Then, go throurh each of the tabs to see what other pages they like, how old are they, where do they live, etc.

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2. Read comments on blogs and forums your target market reads. You’ll be amazed how much details you’ll find.

3. Read questions and answers on Quora. It’s a gold mine.

4. Go to Amazon.com. Find some books that your target audience reads. Go through comments and review. Especially go through the 5-star and 1-star reviews. You’ll learn a lot about their pains, their problems, their motivations, their fears.

Step #2: Create a pre-launch website.

Even though it’s almost free to create a website (c’mon, people, it’s just $10), having a website for your app still shows that you’re somewhat serious about it.

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Buy a domain name and hosting. Choose good template (I’ll show you one at the end). Add some screenshots, or video if you have one. And have an email opt-in form, so that people can leave their email to get notified when your app is live.

Also, beside showing that you’re serious, having a website for your app makes it easier for you to drive traffic to your app. Once people land on your website, they’ll choose what version they want to download.

Step #3: (Optional, but highly recommended) Start a blog.

No, you don’t need to write a mobile marketing, mobile industry or something like that.

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Just keep people updated on the development of your app. You have a new feature? Write something about that feature? Have some doubts about a feature or design? Write about it and ask people to help you decide.

And, if you want to go deeper, you can write about your niche, even if it isn’t tightly related to your app.

For example, if you have a to-do app, you can write some productivity tips. Or note-taking tips.

You see my point.

Step #4: Be active on social media.

Be on Facebook and Twitter. Beside them, use any social media platform relevant to your target audience and your niche.

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No need to over complicate it. Use it to communicate with people. To share your progress. To ask questions.

Be their friend. Don’t be just another company trying to sell them something.

Step #5: Communicate with people.

Over time, you’ll start getting some email subscribers and social media followers.

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Don’t forget about them. Communicate. Share stuff at least once per week. Keep them excited. They’ll be your first users, and your ticket for success.

Step #6: Get reviews!!!

Oh, yeah!

Your app/game is live. Now it’s time to get people to download it.

First, you’ll let your subscribers and followers to download it.

But that’s not enough. You need more. You need reviews. Reviews on relevant niche, and app blogs.

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To get a review on a niche blog, simply make a list of all niche-relevant blogs for your app.

And reach out to them, explaining why they should try it, and how their readers can benefit from that app.

HINT: Don’t reach out only top blogs. It’s hard to get them to notice you. Instead, focus more on middle-sized and even low-sized blogs with maybe few hundred readers. And build your way up to the top blogs. It’s much easier to get featured on a mid-size blog if you’ve been featured on few smaller-sized blogs. And it’s much easier to get featured on a top blog, of you’ve been featured on dozen middle-sized blogs. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Next, you’ll need some reviews from app review sites.

Since they get bunch of requests, it’s much harder to stand out.

For that reason, you’ll need one sneaky trick that I’ll show you now.

First, make a list of your competitor apps. (Yes, competition is a good thing.)

Next, go to Google.com and type “name-of-competitors-app/game” + “review” (yes, with quotation marks).

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You’ll get a list of all websites that reviewed app similar to yours. Now just contact that same author, reference that he already reviewed similar app, and pitch your app.

Use that same strategy with YouTube: “name-of-competitors-app” + “review” or “name-of-competitors-game” + “gameplay” (if it’s a game).

Cool, a?

It get’s even better in step 7. :)

Step #7: Run FB ads.

But not any ad.

Just like in step 6, I have a trick for you. :)

Two tricks, actually.

Trick #1: Use the mailing list you’ve built to create custom audience on Facebook.

This way, you can run an ad only to people who left you their email address.

Plus, once you create custom audience, you can create something called Lookalike Audience. That’s a group of people who are similar to those on custom audience, and are much more likely to download your app.

Trick #2: Retarget people who visit your website.

Copy Facebook tracking code to the website of your app. Now, everyone who visits your website will be on your custom audience (if they’re logged in on their FB account, of course).

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You can run an ad to them. And, again, you can create lookalike audience and run ad with them, too.

These two simple tricks will DRASTICALLY reduce the cost of your advertising.

See why you need a website?

Step #8: Keep updating. Keep communicating. Keep working on it.

Marketing and promotion don’t stop after this.

Keep updating your app. And keep communication with your fans, followers, subscribers and users.

Keep good relations with people who reviewed your app.

And don’t forget, promoting an app is a marathon, not a sprint.

“So, what do I do next?”

If you read this tutorial so far, I’m sure you’re serious about your app business. And want it to be a success.

Am I right?

If I am, our AppStreet template for mobile app website is the perfect first step.

Click here to learn more about AppStreet.