What to do with a $10K Mobile App Marketing Budget
Over the last few years, the app market has become increasingly crowded and expensive. It is not unusual for established game publishers to spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on a single game launch. With such large numbers floating around, it is easy for smaller developers to get disheartened with their own limited app marketing budgets. It’s ok if you have a publisher. But what if you have decided to launch your app yourself? Is there any way to stand out in the app market with a relatively modest app marketing budget?
What would you do with a $10,000 app marketing budget? Here are a few ideas for how to spend this amount of money to get the most bang for your buck:
App Marketing Assets
Your app’s most important “marketing assets” are the seemingly simple things, like the app title, the app description, the app icon, etc. But too many developers make the mistake of rushing through this part of the app marketing process – by doing a haphazard job of writing the app description, or not putting enough thought into choosing an app title.
With an investment of just a few hundred dollars, you can hire a professional freelance marketing copywriter on Elance who can help you craft a clear, focused message that helps make your app look better in writing and also makes it easier for your app to get discovered (with a keyword-rich app description). Recommended investment: $300
Of course your app will already have a presence on the App Store and Google Play – but it helps to have your own dedicated site for your app as well. This is mostly for reviewers and influentials to find out about you and your app, plus it gives you another place for search engines to find your app (and another place to link back to your download page on the app marketplaces). Recommended investment: <$100 (or free if you do it yourself)
When it’s time to launch your app, you need to tell the world about it. Hire a PR writer and pay to get your press release distributed through one of the wire services. This will help with your app SEO (with backlinks to your app download page) and will also (hopefully) get you some media coverage or app reviews. Recommended investment: $400
Keyword Analysis for App Store Optimization
Keyword analysis is one of the most important parts of doing app SEO and app store optimization (ASO) because it helps you identify the search terms that your prospective users as typing in to find apps like yours. Best of all, keyword analysis is free when you sign up for a Google Adwords or a MobileDevHQ account. Recommended investment: $0 (FREE!)
Game Trailer Design
Just like a movie trailer for the latest Hollywood blockbuster, your app needs a trailer to help concisely tell the story of what your app is about, and grab people’s attention. Designing a mobile app game trailer is not just for communicating to end users – it’s for app reviewers as well. App reviewers don’t always have time to look through your entire app; they need a “Cliffs Notes version” that can quickly immerse them in the experience of your app and convey the emotional impact of your game. Companies like Apptamin produce quality, high-res trailers that can be used in multiple places. Recommended investment: $1,500
Trip to a Major Game Conference in Your Region
Even though we all work online, there is still a lot of value in doing some in-person networking with influential people in the game industry. If done right, getting some face time at conferences can help you to break through the clutter. Just remember, you’re not there to party (well, mostly). Your goal is to network and build relationships with app reviewers and other influentials. Start planning for the event 2-3 months in advance and building relationships on LinkedIn and Twitter so that you have a full schedule by the time you arrive. Recommended investment: $700
With a small budget, you’re going to be limited in how much advertising you can drive. So, be targeted. Focus on customers that you think will generate the most word of mouth and will be the most loyal over the long term. If you have a casual game, you can use a network like Admob, Millennial Media or Facebook are all great options because they allow developers to target users based on specific interests. For example, if you have an app for grandparents, you could target people over age 50 that have an interest (indicated on Facebook) in “grandkids.” If you have an app for sports fans, you can target people who express interest in a particular sport, league or team. Recommended investment: $7,000
App Promotion Network
In addition to paid, targeted app advertising, don’t forget to place your app with some reputable free app promotion networks like our own GameHouse Promotion Network. Free app promotion networks allow app developers to exchange installs of each other’s apps. Our GameHouse Promotion Network offers enhanced interstitials with a clear calls to action, the inclusion of app trailer videos (which you’ve already built!), genre and user based recommendation models to display the most appropriate offer to users. Recommended investment: $0 (FREE!)
In addition to these “paid” app promotion options, there are many other creative options for mobile app marketing, many of which are free. This is a small industry and many of the best promotional options will be free – if you know the right people. If you have a budget, even if it’s modest, by all means, invest in some paid mobile app advertising and cover the basics – but some of the most effective app promotion happens from a longer-term commitment to building up an audience for your apps, creating a brand, and building relationships with influential people in the industry who can help introduce your apps to a wider audience. Money can help make these things happen, but the most important components are excellent apps, a willingness to hustle and make things happen, and a desire to succeed.
Join the conversation. If you had $10,000 to spend on mobile app marketing, how would you spend it? Do you agree with our recommended budget and investment levels? What would you do differently? Leave a comment and let us know!