Mobile App Development for Marketers: Key Strategy Tips

When it comes to creating a unique selling point for your mobile app, you need to concentrate on its original qualities, features, advantages, and downsides as well as specific competitive arguments to prove that your mobile app is worth users’ money and attention. Let’s look at the marketing cycle for mobile apps:

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The acquisition process includes forming a product’s image, making a contact, building trust, and making final decisions about purchases. The peculiarity in the mobile app acquisition process is that all marketing decisions and all the steps in the scheme above occur at an incredible speed.

When you begin developing a mobile app as a marketer, you work hard to determine the exact phrasing describing what makes your mobile app unique and valuable to customers. If you can answer this question in a simple phrase, you’ve won half the battle. When developing a mobile strategy, answer these four major questions:

1. What are your mobile app’s unquestionable advantages?

2. What makes your app unique?

3. Who are your competitors?

4. What are the key features of your iPhone/iPad app?

Each question involves a very different idea.

1. What are your mobile app’s unquestionable advantages?

Your app can offer hours of pleasure, help creating a healthy lifestyle, a way to lift spirits, faster weight loss methods, ways to get a brighter smile, anti-stress activities, information on sustainable resources, or a schedule for keeping a clean house.

Users frequently discuss their feelings in AppStore reviews (“I haven’t had so much fun in a long time!”; “This game is so engaging, I just can’t help myself”). All successful apps find a strong response from users because of the values they offer.

All successful apps stimulate a keen response in their users’ hearts thanks to the values they embody.

Here’s a checklist so you can understand the essence of your product, make it as clear as possible to yourself, and then transmit the message through marketing channels right to your users:

  1. What are the mobile app’s functions? It can count calories, add photo filters and stickers, help users to learn French, or find the best investment portfolio option.
  2. Why is the app useful to the client? It can make a mom’s life easier, teach teenagers how to drive, or help students to get higher marks for certified tests.
  3. What will happen to the clients after they use the app? They will save money, become smarter, learn more about style and fashion, or will feel better.
  4. What are the key characteristics of your mobile app? It has 17 game levels, 3D graphics or a high-quality soundtrack, or it uses the geolocation.
  5. How is it different from the competing apps? This is the only map app with an integrated music player, or it is the only app that has multifunctional brushes for drawing on the screen.
  6. What are your app’s unique achievements? It is certified by the International Mobile App magazine, Guy Kawasaki has featured an article explaining why my mobile app rules, or the computer version of my mobile app service has already grown a customer base of 4 million people.
  7. Can you integrate a trending word or phrase into its name? This works great for search. For example, photo apps really should have a “photo” part to their title or description (the latter is better). But, undoubtedly, mobile apps with a branded name also win customers’ love and good positions in the App Store. Moreover, strong brands with unique names have higher registrability according to most international laws.

Let’s introduce an abstract example. A real New York restaurant, Serendipity 3, serves a $1,000 golden opulence sundae to its customers. Obviously, the ingredients can’t cost that much, so the customers buy it for other reasons.

Image Credit: Telegraph, Pictures of the Day

People get prestige, attention, respect, praise, amazement and other pleasant things from ordering the dessert. It all starts with the text. Here’s the marketing message of the restaurant, which even has its ownWikipedia page:

Golden Opulence Sundae is made using three scoops of rich Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23k edible gold leaf. The chocolate syrup used is from melted AmedeiPorcelana, one of the world’s most expensive chocolates; and covered with chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela’s coast. The sundae is then adorned with “exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold covered almonds/dragets, chocolate truffles and marzipan cherries.” Added to the dessert is a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusivedessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color. It’s sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. Edible gold leaf is made from pure gold that is compressed or rolled into very thin sheets that are only a fewmicrometers thick and contain no other metals or impurities. It is finally topped off with a gilded sugar flower and sprinkled with small flakes of more edible gold.”

Can you feel a growing desire to taste it? Of course, the target group for this ice cream isn’t large, and the reputation of the restaurant has played its part but thanks to smart marketing, the customers forget about the price and enter a fantasy world thinking about the wonderful emotions that the ice cream exudes.

Your task is to sell your mobile app’s advantages (including the irrational ones that are not directly connected to its functions) on your website, the App Store, blogs and social networks. I’m talking only about the emotional side of making a decision here — don’t take this as a suggestion to raise the prices for your mobile app as people want to get the majority of mobile apps for free.

2. What makes your app unique?

Answer the following questions:

  • Which words or phrases describe what your iPhone/iPad app does for customers? Does it help with education, saving money, fitness ideas, entertainment, or maintaining good health?
  • What features will leave your users breathless (e.g., splendid graphics or an amazing soundtrack)?
  • Which qualities ensure that your users will open the app again and again (e.g., frequent updates, new levels, attention to detail, or new functions)?
  • Do the answers to the first and third questions sound the same? Make sure they don’t.

The essence of this exercise is to formulate a good idea of your mobile app’s value. Answering these questions will guarantee great marketing for your product — whether it is a press release, a website, or a description for the AppStore.

Photo credit: PhotoAtelier / Foter / CC BY

3. Who Are Your Competitors?

Competition is beneficial because it guarantees a good choice and high-quality products at affordable prices. Although you could enter a brand-new market niche with no direct competitors, this is rare. Moreover, you can’t guarantee that new competitors will avoid your niche. Knowing your competitors is the key marketing aspect here: start by researching your competitors and look at what others have to offer in your app category. You don’t have to panic if many mobile apps are similar to your own project (or if any appear in the future). You can learn from your competitors’ mistakes and give you inspiration for perfection.

Think about mobile content management elements that will make you stand out from the crowd. As soon as you plan your mobile content strategy, inform your potential users using the all the digital means within your reach, including your mobile app website,mobile app development specifics, features, product and icon design, advertising,blog, and other promotional tools.

Divide your competition into direct and indirect parts. A direct competitor offers the same mobile app for the same target audience (e.g., an app that lets you choose your new pet’s name). An indirect competitor offers the same mobile app but for a different target audience (e.g., a pet name selector adapted for young kids). Another example is this is game apps. Some games are targeted at female users, while others are targeted at men.

Make a table showing your direct and indirect competitors with the following columns:

  • Name of the competitor app
  • Website
  • Key features
  • Key values
  • Target audience
  • Remarkable customer reviews
  • Strong points
  • Weak points
  • Price

If your user will just select one game, no matter which one they choose, all game apps are your potential competitors. You need to select a specific segment of your app category based on your target audience (e.g., a mobile app with customized fairy tale books/audiobooks for users with small children and average incomes).

Make a list of your competitors noting their major characteristics and other useful knowledge. The photos, screenshots, and reviews of their apps are public, so make sure you look at them closely. If there are no reviews, the app is either new or has seldom been bought or downloaded. After choosing 2–3 competitors with apps that closely resemble your own project, go ahead and buy them — this is a small but fruitful investment into your own success. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What unique features do your competitors have compared to you?
  • What is the graphics quality compared to your project?
  • How do competitors promote their mobile apps?
  • How often do competitors update their mobile apps?
  • Is their marketing message consistent?
  • Are their offers persuasive and valuable for the user?
  • What do you like and or not like about their entire presentation?
  • If you install the mobile app, does it work?
  • What impressions do your competitors’ mobile apps leave? What is engaging about them?
  • Would you tell your friends about these apps?
  • Does each app allow users to share their actions and achievements on Facebook and Twitter?

*Photo credit: carterse / Foter / CC BY-SA

4. What are the key features of your iPhone/iPad apps?

Include all the numerical characteristics of your mobile app, and make sure the list has no more than five points so you don’t bore your users — you want them to make a fast purchase/download decision. Your task is not to confuse the user but to inspire him or her to purchase your product by explaining what it does.

Please share what you think in the comments!