How to Write a Simple, Yet Effective App Marketing Plan

by GameHouse

How to Build a Simple, Yet Effective App Marketing Plan

Many developers are so focused on building an amazing product that they don’t think about marketing until the last minute. There are even developers who think that marketing is a waste of time and don’t focus on it after the app is out. But who wants to pour their heart and soul into building an app if no one knows about it?

The good news is that building a marketing plan doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. Of course, if you really want to, you can write an extensive formal marketing plan, but all developers really have to do is create a basic app marketing plan by answering a few simple questions and then keep re-evaluating these questions on a regular basis to add details and document new opportunities as they arise.

At the beginning of any app development project, we encourage developers to write down their answers to a few simple questions. By returning to this document on a weekly basis and updating the information as necessary, you will have a marketing plan that is better than 99% of the other developers out there.

Question 1: Who is my target customer?

Sometimes it helps to create personas to describe the various types of people and demographic groups that you’re trying to reach as your core audience of customers. For example, “Jack is a 19 year old man, he likes outdoor sports and video games,” etc. What websites do your customers visit? What magazines do they read? Get inside their heads. How does your app fit into/complement the broader lifestyle interests and preferences of your audience?

Question 2: What are the best apps in my category?

Write a short description of what each of them is doing well and where you think they could be improved. Learning from your competition is one of the best ways to make your own app better.

Question 3: What assets do I have for promoting my app?

Maybe you have been around the industry for a long time and know a lot of people who can help cross-promote your app and introduce you to new opportunities? Or, maybe you have a popular website in your app’s category, or an existing audience on social media? Do you have a budget for app promotion? If so, how much?

Question 4: What is my monetization strategy?

In this section, you should also think about what pricing plan you want to use – and make sure you price your app at a level that ensures profitability. The level of marketing support that a free to play game requires is very different than a niche app in the cooking category, and your app needs to be priced accordingly. How much do you think people will pay and why? Make sure to continually track this against your assumptions and the improvements you make to game & monetization strategy.

Question 5: Who will do my product marketing?

The highest leverage marketing work that you will ever do for your app is making sure that you have a great app description, app title, icon, screenshots, and keywords. Not everyone is a natural writer. So, consider spending a few hundred dollars to hire a copywriter on Elance to make your app look great.

Incidentally, it sometimes helps to write your positioning statement before you start work on your app. This way you can make sure that all of your development efforts are focused on delivering on the promise that you are making to your customers.

Question 6: How will I tell people about my app?

This can be a long section, but, as long as you have thought through the other 5 questions, you should be well on your way. Some of the app marketing options to consider include:

  • App reviews and PR
  • App Promotion Networks (like the GameHouse Promotion Network)
  • CPI Networks
  • App store optimization (similar to SEO, but focused on making it easier for your app to get discovered in the App Store and Google Play – see MobileDevHQ)

Question 7: How will I build long-term relationships with my fans?

If you want your app to be successful over the long term, the worst thing you can do is “launch it and forget it.” Successful developers find ways to interact with their most passionate fans – though forums, social media, or on their website. If you see your fans as a part of your virtual team, they will help you to make your Down2product better and you will have an army of volunteer “sales people” helping with app promotion.

Question 8: How will I measure success?

In addition to monetization, think about metrics such as usage, engagement, and lifetime revenue per customer. Consider using an app analytics service like Distimo or App Annie to get some data-driven insights on the performance of your apps.

Your app marketing plan doesn’t need to be lengthy or complex, but it should serve as a broad “road map” to support and guide your overall app promotion strategies and tactics.

Start with these 8 simple questions and see what insights you gain from your app promotion activities along the way – app marketing is not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing process of testing, analyzing, learning and making adjustments.

Join the conversation. Do you write a formal app marketing plan when it’s time to launch a new app? What are the key indicators that you use to track the success of your apps, and how do you decide whether/when to make changes in your app promotion techniques? Leave a comment and let us know!

By Ryan Morel


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