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Strategies are not about what can be done? It is always about what needs to be achieved. Once you have a list of all ways to achieve that, the only resort is to test out the various channels and keep adding resources in the successful channels while pulling out resources from the others. A startup doesn’t have a lot of cash to experiment, so one could just invest in the popular channels (using experimental results from others & surveys). This will help optimize expense.

The idea is to reach out to people who need your solution. As an app development startup, you need to find out companies looking to launch an app version of their business or revamp their current app offering.

If your product doesn’t solve a problem, no amount of marketing can actually help. Your product strategy is half the marketing.

Here are top 5 strategies an app development startup could use :

1. Online advertisement
2. Write blogs
3.Engage On Social Media – test your channel
4.Engage offline – launch events, customer programs, press release
5.Referral programs

1. Online Advertisement

Online advertisement has brought in the concept of pay per click, which made advertisements much cheaper and result oriented. This is one of the best options available on major platforms like Facebook, Google to acquire customers interested in your service. The cost per click varies based on the area of target eg. Pay per click in India is cheaper than in the USA.

2 Majors Areas to definitely test would be –

Google Search Ads
Here you pay Google to advertise your service to someone typing in keywords related to your service. Basically, these are probably your most potential clients. The keyword selection will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your ad. That needs to be carefully done. Also, very high competition keywords can cost very high, so you can optimize your keyword strategy by choosing high volume low-cost keywords.

There are other forms of ads too like Google display ads. You can do those too. However, display ads happen to have low turnovers and aren’t as targeted as the keywords.

Facebook Lead Ads
There are multiple offerings here and the interface is fairly simple. Some recommended areas would definitely include Lead Gen Ads, Optimize For Conversion Ads. They have a multitude of options but the above are the most interesting ones from my experience. It also depends on your product and purpose. Make sure to set up your account properly with all access facebook needs (eg. pixel code insertion). All the data you let Facebook have, the better it delivers results as it is able to optimize ad delivery based on your website data.

An interesting comparison of Google Vs Facebook :

CHANNEL ADWORDS FACEBOOK ADs
Keywords Yes No
Likes No Yes
Demo Limited Accurate, Extensive
Geo Yes Yes
Avg Cost $2.50 CPC $0.80 CPC

2. Write Blogs

Writing blogs has become a popular channel for most companies including the big ones. Huffington post published B2B companies received 72% more leads when they used blogging vs the ones who did not. Now that’s a huge number.

The reason could be varied but some could be simply pointed out – blogging educates your customer over push selling. People looking for your product is often helped by your blog and later often ends up buying the product itself. Even if the person is not a direct buyer then, they happen to read more on your blog, be more educated and later when they decide to buy, some end up looking at your solutions. In spite of the stats, a large segment of companies are missing out on this channel, so it becomes your edge in online presence. Blogging has a direct impact on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The more useful articles you write on relevant material, the more you get visibility on search engine. Don’t expect a top spot for very competitive keywords but a decent rank is attainable.

For example, if you sell cycles and there are a ton of companies out there, you don’t expect to start gaining top spots for generic keywords like ‘cycle’ but you could work your way to top positions for more targeted searches like ‘cheap hero cycle repair in Jayanagar’. ‘Jayanagar was used as an example of venue. The targeted keyword is narrowing down a search query into more specifics like the brand of the cycle and the venue. The more detailed blogs you can have, the more relevant customers looking for you can be ending up on your blog.

Since I did mention SEO, please note, it is a huge segment and widely studied by marketing firms. Its mastery is not that easy, there are experts who have been in this for decades. It is a good idea to hire an expert or outsource your SEO tactics to a firm. It can affect you from as soon as your site structure is done. They should be able to guide you on your site SEO as well as on-page SEO. 

SEO hygiene is now a common thing, most of the time it is not a growth hack, just something that levels you with the competition. Your blog content relevance can help you gain an edge. Always make sure to track traffic on your blog, measure engagement and look for reasons for the bounce.

BLOGGING STATS
B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI 
By 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to humans
The only thing blogging costs you: Your time
Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website 
Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information

3.Engage On Social Media – test your channel

Any channel here or anywhere always needs testing. Social media is a must try. It can get you ‘word of mouth’ effect simply through a few quick shares. Well, optimized posts are a must though. Here’s why you must consider this – see image:

Image courtesy Balihoo

Haven’t you noticed the cat videos? They are everywhere because they are cute and everyone wants to share the cuteness. Social media is a form of communication for the present generation. It is so insanely addictive (mainly due to its dopamine design), humans have been spending time in front of their screens way too much. In a study, it indicates we humans will have spent a few years looking at the screen…..think of it!

Image Courtesy: Statista

Image Courtesy: HootSuite

Of this screen time, a huge amount is on social media. Facebook, Instagram has become addictive habits. This also gives us an undue advantage to use this channel. People on social media are much like in the real world. They express emotions like happy, sad, like, dislike and tend to share things that make them look good (much like social status offline). Understanding the triggers can help one understand the pattern of posts that get shared. Commonly posts that evoke emotions such as empathy, donation, innovation, excitement, fun/comedy are the ones that get shared the most. You could use this data to create posts of this nature. A good way of social media marketing is to add value right in the post while being true to your product. Do not sell what you do not offer. Like real people, social media people will be offended and this will get you negative publicity. On the other hand, if people love your post, they will share it and sometimes posts even go viral. Stars like Justin Bieber (YouTube star) is a huge example.

 

  
Create a well-formed strategy and test this channel. It claims 95% online adults aged 18-34 are most likely follow a brand via social networking.

4.Engage offline – launch events, customer programs, press release

This is not the most widely said rule out there but it is a well studied one. Any startup story starts right here. Read Airbnb, Red bus, Facebook – everyone has a few common lines in their starting days. They went out to their buyers and got them onboard. No amount of social interaction will replace the effect a human face to face conversation has. Go out and tell people about your awesome product, look for people who need your solution and who believe in you and then serve them well. If they are thrilled, they will become your brand ambassadors and there starts word of mouth. These may be marketing terms, however, this is just how communication happens, this is how niches get built. This is why Apple has such a huge brand presence, people believe in Apple and they don’t mind the money they need to shell it, they just queue before the launch zone and get it. They love Apple, they love the product.

Find your people (people who believe in your product) and get them together, communicate with them, interact, ask them, take feedback.


5. Referral programs

This is a little of asking your happy customers to bring in their friends to have more fun. If you have already served to some companies, you can simply ask them to introduce you to their friends who are looking for your service or ask them to refer you wherever they think could be of help. You can specifically use a program such as that of Dropbox where you add some benefit for your customers in the onboard process so they could enjoy the benefit more if they shared your product more. A small idea could be like using your app development platform and get the free support of ‘30 days’ for each referral who joins. This adds a measurement as to how exactly your customer can get the benefit and if it adds enough value, they will take up ownership to refer you.

All strategies need testing and creative thinking. Remember to create great products and serve your current customers first before trying to build more in the queue. A great product is half the marketing. The rest I believe can help by testing, measuring, monitoring marketing channels.