3 Best App Marketing Strategies for a Small Budget

In an ideal world, you’ve launched a mobile app and have a large enough marketing budget to support a solid app marketing mix. This includes a paid media strategy which means that you have the funds to invest money into Facebook Ads, Google UAC, for commissioning influencers and beyond.

But, not all app developers have the luxury of unlimited budgets. 

Plus, when you can consider the economic climate in our not-so-ideal, COVID-affected world, budgets seem to be tighter than ever. So what’s a small business or independent app developer to do when it comes to developing effective app marketing strategies on a small budget? 

Let us reassure you – all hope is not lost. With some creativity and strong commitment, your mobile app can be a success under the most uncertain and competitive conditions. Here we share 3 best app marketing strategies for smaller budgets:

    What you’ll learn in this Article

  1. Nail Down App Store Optimization (ASO)
  2. Take Advantage of Small Business Incentives
  3. Leverage Your Owned Media

1. Nail Down App Store Optimization (ASO)

Do your best to rank as high up as possible in search results in the app store. How do you do that? ASO.

65% of downloads happen directly after a search on App Store. About half of all users find apps through app store search engines for both iOS and Android. How you list your app and getting listed is free – so, in theory, a stellar app store listing will help your app attract users and increase downloads.

But, ASO means that your app store listing is optimized. It’s not a matter of making a listing and watching downloads go through the roof. Everything matters – your app name, icon, screenshots, description, app preview video – and it’s not a one-and-done deal. Proper ASO requires keyword research, testing, and consistent monitoring and tweaking.

If you have a minor budget – and are unsure how to do proper ASO in-house – this is an area where you may want to bring in ASO experts to get the ball rolling. An expert hand in ASO can bring as much as a 300% increase in organic downloads!

For more information about ASO and best practices, be sure to check out our all-about-ASO post here.

Owned media is not only a way to increase downloads but is your opportunity to communicate with your target (hello, increased retention numbers!) and develop a relationship with a loyal user.

2. Take Advantage of Small Business Incentives

As a small app developer, there are small business incentives available to support you. 

Just recently (November 2020), Apple announced an App Store small business program. As part of the program, App Store will reduce its commission to 15% for smaller businesses that earn up to $1 million per year. In an effort to incentivize smaller app developers and small businesses that are growing their digital presence to thrive in this economically turbulent time, the small business program will begin January 1, 2021.

Facebook also has resources to support small business ventures – which easily include apps that are trying to establish a brand following. FB small business tools include a variety of turnkey features such as automated ads and easy video editing tools. Facebook has special features specifically for promoting mobile apps, so help increase app downloads by taking advantage of all of their free offerings.

3. Leverage Your Owned Media

For an in-depth review of what an ideal app marketing mix is and what the “owned media” portion is, you’ll want to check out 5 Low/No-cost Ways to Get App Downloads.

In brief, your owned media consists of the following:

  • Website
  • Email
  • Social
  • SMS
  • Referrals

All of these are assets that you can use to increase awareness and interest in your mobile app. Your website and email are especially helpful for low-cost ways to attract new users and increase downloads. Social media can be a free marketing tool – or pumped up with a small budget – that will help increase app user engagement and retention. 

In Summary

Not every app out there is an Instagram, Calm, or Candy Crush. And not every app developer is backed by limitless budgets. But there are ways to leverage what you have and make use of what’s available to you for even the smallest of budgets.

First, make sure you ASO is on-point. Second, take advantage of the small business incentives that are offered – especially during uncertain and difficult global conditions. And, make the best of the app marketing media outlets already at your disposal, which includes your owned media outlets. 

Aim big, but don’t be afraid to start small! Small budgets – when effectively implemented – can lead to grand results.