In the past, just getting your app in the App Store or Google Play store meant it would be discovered and get downloads.

Fart apps were a gold mine. Fingerprint scanners were crushing the top charts. A flashlight app blew everyone’s mind!

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but my point is that life was easy for app developers back then.
Now it’s a different ball game. The market is saturated. Quality is paramount and even if you do build a top quality mobile app there’s no guarantee it will be found.

Mobile app marketing isn’t an option any more, it’s absolutely essential.

And it can come at a high price. Supercell reportedly spend $440m on marketing in 2014!

Machine Zone was one of 3 mobile app developers to air superbowl ads in 2014. The 30 second slot costing $4.5m! That is just to air the ad. Add on the productions costs and that price skyrockets.

The good news is there are mobile app marketing strategies that you can implement for free. And they can be super effective if done well.

I’ll show you 7 of these strategies that you can start using today, and tell you when you should start using each one.
These 7 mobile app marketing strategies are particularly useful for app developers on a tight budget.


Social Media

Best time to get started: ASAP

We’re starting with an obvious one, but it deserves a mention because it can be a really effective mobile app marketing technique if used properly.

A social media presence for a product or brand is also considered as essential these days. People just expect you to have one, so don’t neglect this.

The idea is simple, you want to use social media to connect with potential users & build a community who is interested in your app.

Unfortunately in practice it’s not that simple. Setting up your social media profiles is easy. Getting people to follow them is the hard part.

But most apps will be focused on a specific niche. That means it will appeal to a group of people out there somewhere. Your aim should be to post things on social media that people in your niche are interested in.

What to post?

Coming up with great content to post on social media will be harder for some mobile apps than others.
But here’s some good news. Every single social media post doesn’t have to be original content that you created!

You can post links to content around the web relating to your niche. Links to blog posts, videos, podcasts etc. can be great content to share on social media. As long as it’s relevant to people in your niche, post it.

Let’s take a quick look at some examples:

We’ll start with a travel app that you’ve probably heard of before called Tripadvisor.

Tripadvisor uses a bunch of different social media channels. And often they will post the same thing across all of them.

Here is a look at the type of content they are posting. You will notice it’s all related to travel, because that’s what Tripadvisor users are interested in.

Also notice that basically all of it is created by Tripadvisor.

A quick look at Tripadvisor’s Facebook feed:

Mobile App Marketing - TA FB Feed


And here is their Twitter feed:

Mobile App Marketing - TA Twitter


And lastly, Instagram. No surprise to see plenty of amazing travel photos here:

Mobile App Marketing - TA Instagram


Example #2 – What about an app that helps with meditation?

I’ve chosen the app ‘Headspace’ for this one. This is a good example of how to utilise content from around the web instead of creating all of your own content.

Looking at Headspace’s social media feeds we see lots of regular posts (posting regularly is important!).

But not all of them are talking about or linking to content created by the Headspace team. Lots of them are just links to useful info about mindfulness & meditation from around the web.

Here is an example of their Facebook feed:

Mobile App Marketing - HS FB


As you can see this is a post created by someone other than Headspace. But it’s still good content for Headspace to share because it is interesting to their audience.

And here is a screenshot of their Twitter feed:

Mobile App Marketing - HS Twitter

Notice there are lots of links to content in this niche, most of which is created by other people.

No matter what type of app you are creating, there is content you can share on social media.

The key to this is having a really clear picture of what your target customer looks like. If you understand exactly what they are interested in, you should be able to come up with plenty of things to post on your social media channels.


Still struggling for ideas?

The easiest way to find inspiration is to look at your competitors & see what they are sharing. Just visit the app stores, find top apps in your niche & check out their social media profiles.


Which social media channels should you use (Where to post)?

There are bunch of social media channels out there at the moment. So which one should you use for your mobile app?

Once again it comes down to knowing your customers.

Each social media channel attracts a different audience. You need to understand which one your audience is using.

Understanding the type of media your audience prefers to consume will also help you here.

For example, travellers tend to consume and post a lot of photos. Which platforms are best for sharing photos?

The first one that comes to mind for me is Instagram. Second is Pinterest.

Lets look at another example. How about a business app focused on productivity and efficiency?

I’m going to guess Instagram isn’t the place to find the right audience for this app.

LinkedIn on the other hand seems like a much better fit. It’s full of professionals who are very interested in topics like productivity and efficiency. As for the type of content. I’d take a guess and say text would probably be the preferred format here.

Want to learn how to build a Twitter following full of relevant, engaged fans quickly? I’ve put together a free video for you. Click here to get it.


How To Take Action & Add This To Your Mobile App Marketing Plan Today


1. Choose which social media platforms you will use & create your accounts.

This part is easy. You’re just going to set up a profile for your app on each platform.

When you’re filling out your social media profiles you need to put in some effort. Create appealing descriptions, use nice images, and make them interesting. These will be the first contact many potential new users have with you so make it count!

Remember to choose the platforms that suit your app/niche best. If you aren’t sure, check out which platforms your competitors are using and go with those.

2. Find at least 10 content sources

Now you should find at least 10 different web sites, youtube channels, Instagram pages etc. that produce content that is relevant to your niche.

These will be your regular sources for social media posts if you aren’t creating lots of content yourself.

3. Create a Posting Schedule

If you’re serious about using social media as part of your mobile app marketing strategy you need to post regularly.

There are a couple of options here:

  • You can create a spreadsheet and put all of your posts in there with the date & time that you plan to post them. With this method you need to manually post to each channel.
  • Or you can use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. These tools allow you to schedule your social media updates across multiple channels. This is the approach I would recommend. At the time of writing both have free plans you can use.


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Landing Page / Web Site

Best Time To Get Started: ASAP

A landing page is just a page on your web site that people arrive at when they first visit.

For a mobile app it is often the first point of contact you have with potential users.

Having a landing page for your app is a must do. And the earlier you set it up the better. It will be at the centre of your pre-launch mobile app marketing efforts.

While you are in the pre-launch phase your landing page will act as the primary point of contact with potential users.

It’s where you will send people to learn more about the app. It’s also the page you will link to when you use some of the other free mobile app marketing techniques I’m going to talk about in this post.


Here are the most important roles of your landing page:


Showing off features – Whether you are still in the pre-launch phase or your app is live, your landing page is a fantastic place to promote your apps features.

Include as much as you can that shows off the benefits of your app. Include pictures & screenshots as soon as you can, and if you have a video that’s even better.

After you launch your landing page still has value. It’s an opportunity to continue using promotional material that you can’t use on the App Store or Google Play.

For example, both stores have restrictions on the preview videos you can use. But there are no restrictions on your landing page. You can use any video you want.


Collecting emails – One of, if not the best uses for a landing page is to collect email addresses of people who are interested in the app.

This is particularly applicable while you are in the pre-launch phase.

A lot of the other free mobile app marketing techniques I talk about in this post will lead users back to your landing page. Ideally when they get there they will give you an email address.

The email addresses you collect before you launch your app are pure gold.

The people who register their email address app are obviously really interested in it.

When launch day comes you can email everyone who signed up & tell them you are live. It’s a great way to get a bunch of guaranteed downloads on launch.


Storing your press kit – A press kit contains images, information & other assets for use by the press if & when they cover your app.

While you most likely won’t store all of this on your landing page, you should definitely include a link to it.

That way you can either directly link to your press kit when you pitch the press, and you can include a link to it on your landing page for anyone else.


Contact Information – The last thing you want to make sure you include on your landing page is contact details. It’s important that people can get in touch with you if they need to.


Here is an example of a beautiful landing page for an app that is coming soon to iPhone. The app is Paper by Fifty Three.

This landing page contains everything a good landing page needs. It’s got an email signup form, a press contact email, and an email address to contact the team for anything else.

Paper Landing Page - Free Mobile App Marketing


How To Create A Free Mobile App Landing Page


1.  Head over to and create a free account

Launchrock is a service that lets startups create simple landing pages for free. I have no affiliation with them at all, I’ve included them simply because they are a great free service.

Head on over and sign up, selecting ‘mobile app’ as the product you are launching.

Mobile App Marketing with a Launchrock landing page 1


Mobile App Marketing with a Launchrock landing page 2


2. Select the free plan & choose the ‘Mobile App’ template

Mobile App Marketing with a launchrock landing page 3


Launchrock landing page for mobile app marketing 4


3. Finally, you just need to use the simple drag & drop editor to customize your landing page.

Arrange it however you want, add your own images & copy and hit launch. Simple as that!

Launchrock landing page for mobile app marketing 5


Content Marketing To Promote Your App

Time To Get Started: ASAP

Content marketing is the practice of producing content that your users will find valuable and getting it in front of them. That content then naturally leads people back to your product or service, or in this case, app.

This can be in the form of:

  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Audio (podcasts etc.)
  • Social media posts
  • Email
  • Posting in forums
  • Answering questions on Quora
  • Or any other method you use for delivering your message to your audience.

To get the most benefit from your content marketing efforts you need to focus on 2 things.

1. Creating great content that your specific audience will find valuable. Don’t try to create something for everyone. Decide what your ideal app user looks like & create content that they will love & get value from.

2. Getting the content you create in front of your ideal users.

To do this you need to find out where your target audience congregates.

Are there particular web sites that you know they would read? Forums? Podcasts? Youtube channels? You get the point. You need to identify where your potential audience is.

Once you know that you need to find a way to get your content in those places. This could be in the form of guest blogging, doing guest interviews on podcasts, posting on Youtube etc.

Remember, the goal of this free mobile app marketing technique is to find new users for your app and give them valuable content.

How does your content help with app discovery?

The ‘trick’ is to either:

  • Include a reference to your app in each piece of content and a link to your app landing page or directly to your app in the app store.
  • Or in the case of forums, Quora, reddit, etc. simply include a link to your app in your profile. People who enjoy your content will check out your profile and see the link to your app.

If you include a link in your content, make sure it’s natural & relevant to the reader/viewer/listener. The no. 1 goal of the content is to provide value, not to be a sales pitch.


Is content marketing suitable for all apps?

Content marketing is particularly effective for non-game apps. It’s more difficult for games, but with a bit of creativity it can be an effective mobile app marketing technique for them as well.

Content marketing is effective because it is something you can do once that will provide ongoing benefits.

For example, let’s say you have a finance app & you write a guest post on a popular finance blog. At the bottom of the post it has your author bio & a link to your app.


Guest posting as a mobile app marketing technique

Now you will receive ongoing traffic to your app as long as the post is live. If the site has lots of traffic & you write a great guest post it can be a great ongoing source of new users for your app.

Here’s a great example of how Zombies, Run! Have used content marketing to drive new users & visibility for their app.

I found this example by heading over to Buzzsumo & entering the phrase ‘fitness app’.

Buzzsumo gives me a list of the most shared content on the web for that particular phrase.

Take a look at the first result. It’s a post by one of the creators of Zombies, Run! on

Buzzsumo results for run zombies mobile app content marketing

This post by one of the app’s creators has been shared over 16000 times on social media! That’s huge! And I have no doubt a lot of people who read that post checked out the mobile app.


How to implement this mobile app marketing technique today

Ready to get started with content marketing for your app? Here’s a quick guide to help you:

1. Find out where your audience congregates

Start by researching where on the internet your audience is hanging out. Here are some things to think about:

  • Are there popular forums for your niche?
  • Do they read certain blogs?
  • Are there a ton of questions on Quora?
  • Is there a sub-reddit that is highly relevant?
  • Are there popular Youtubers that they would be watching?

Note down the specific places that you find. These will be where you aim to put your content.

2. Decide on the type of content you will create

This will largely depend on where your audience is congregating. For example, if it’s on popular blogs, written content will be your best bet. If it’s Youtube channels, video might be best.

3. Create something!

Select a topic and start creating content that your potential app users will love. It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first attempt, just create something good that you can get out there.

4. Share it

Use the list you created in step 1.

If you chose to answer a question on a forum, post it there. If you wrote a blog post, reach out the blog owner & pitch it to them.

Just find a way to get it out there in front of your potential users.

5. Learn, rinse & repeat

Your first attempt won’t be perfect, but this isn’t something that you do once & forget about.

Learn from each attempt & keep pumping our better content each time and sharing it with people who will eventually become your app users.


Press Outreach

Time to start: 2-3 weeks before launch

Press coverage for mobile app marketing

Reaching out to the press can be a great way to gain exposure, particularly for an app launch.

Being covered by big publications that are read by your target audience can provide a huge download boost.

But PR doesn’t work for all apps. The key is having an interesting product with a story behind it.

If it’s a re-skin, don’t waste your time with PR. No one wants to write about Flappy Bird version 34543224.

If you’ve got a product that solves a clearly defined need, you’ve probably got something that can benefit from PR.

Most apps that solve a problem have a story behind them. It’s that story that makes them appealing to the press.

Let’s look at the app ‘Wildcard’ as an example.

It’s been covered by Techcrunch, so there must be something newsworthy about it.

Reading through the Techcrunch article, there are a few things that stand out.

First, the app is a news app. This is a hugely popular category. It’s so popular that Apple is building it’s own news app for iOS9.

Next, the creators have received $10m in funding from various VC firms. This is big when it comes to attracting attention from the press.

And finally, it solves a problem. People want a better way to read the news on mobile and this app attempts to deliver that.


A few tips for reaching out to the press:


1.  Get personal

Research the people you are emailing & learn a bit about them. Then when you send an email asking them to write about your app you should add a personal touch.

For example, if you know they are a Patriots fan, mention something about the Patriots early in your email. This helps create a personal connection. It shows that you have put in some work & haven’t just sent a generic email to 30 different press sites.


2.  Give an exclusive

Journalists love getting the scoop on interesting news items. If there’s a site you would love to be featured by go ahead & offer them an exclusive on your app.

Having an exclusive on a web site with 10000 daily visitors can be much better than getting covered on 10 sites with 500 daily visits each.


3.  Tell a story 

Find an interesting story that you can use in your press pitch. The more interesting your story is, the more likely you are to get covered.

You want to give journalists something that people will want to read about.


4. Be prepared with a press kit

A press kit contains a lot of the information & resources journalists need when covering your app.

Your press kit should contain:

  • A high quality copy of your app icon.
  • High quality screenshots.
  • Any video you have of your app.
  • Previous press releases if you have any.
  • Additional information about your app.
  • Information about you & your team.

Tip: Make your press kit easy to find. Include a link to it on your landing page so that if members of the press visit they can easy grab it.

5. Get in early

Make sure you give journalists at least 2-3 weeks notice before your planned launch date.

You need to make sure you give them time to prepare so that the article is ready for your big launch.


If you want to learn more about approaching the press to cover you’re app, I suggest checking out the awesome work Steve P Young is doing over at He has some great tips on getting press coverage and covers it in much more detail than I have here.

Cross Promotion

When: On launch

There are 2 ways that you can take advantage of cross promotion as a mobile app marketing tool.

1.  If you have an existing portfolio of apps.

Those lucky enough to have an existing portfolio of apps with a large user base can use those established apps to promote new releases.

The practice is relatively simple and usually looks something like this:

When the new app is released, an advertisement is created in the existing series of apps. These advertisements link to the new app in the app store.

If you want to see cross promotion executed really well with great results, take a look at Ketchapp.

Ketchapp have a huge portfolio of super-simple but highly addictive games. Their huge user base allows them to cross promote each new app they release and almost guarantee that it will be a success.

Check out this example of how they promote the app ‘Ball Jump’ within another app called ‘Bouncing Ball’. When ‘Ball Jump’ was released, Ketchapp started showing ads for it inside ‘Bouncing Ball’, which already had millions of users.

mobile app marketing cross promotion ketchapp
Left, ‘Bouncing Ball’ by Ketchapp home screen. And on the right you can see the interstitial ad for Ketchapp’s ‘Ball Jump’ that appears in ‘Bouncing Ball’.


2.  Partnering with other developers who can cross promote your app for you.

It’s still possible for those of you without an existing portfolio of successful games to use cross promotion.

The key is finding other apps that are willing to cross promote your app for you. Sounds hard right?

The good news is you don’t have to start sending cold emails looking for other developers to partner with for cross promotion.

There are also services out there that let you find other apps to cross promote with. Essentially you are ‘trading’ installs with other app developers.

Here are a couple of the more popular services that you can start using for free:

Tapdaq – Allows you to add your app to a marketplace of apps looking for cross promotion.

One unique aspect of Tapdaq is that the platform was built with independent developers in mind, rather than aiming to service the big names in the app industry.

What they’ve built really is quite a clever concept.

Here is a quick overview of how it works:

  • You view other apps in the marketplace and select apps to promote in your app. When you cross promote someone else’s app, they receive a notification telling them that you are promoting their app.
  • Chances are they will then cross promote your app for you in return. Most of the time other developers will return the favour and cross promote your app because they want you to continue promoting theirs.

It’s a real win-win opportunity for app developers looking for free mobile app marketing opportunities.


TapForTap – TapForTap is another unique solution designed to help developers ‘exchange’ installs.

Here’s a very simple explanation of how it works:

  • You integrate the TapForTap SDK & set up some ad placements within your app.
  • You will then start displaying ads in your app for other apps on the TapForTap network.
  • By showing ads for other app you earn credits. You can then use these credits to cross promote your own app within other apps on the TapForTap network.

As you can see, this is another great way to cross promote within other apps without requiring your own portfolio or a big marketing budget.


Partnering With Influencers

When: Depends on the arrangement. Usually ASAP.

This method is potentially one of the most effective ones out there. And the crazy part is there are relatively very few people doing it. Yet.

We’re starting to see this strategy increase in popularity because it works so well.

Lets take a look at the basic idea behind it.

There are a ton of subject matter experts & thought leaders out there on the Internet. Whether it’s through a blog, Youtube, podcasts, or any other platform, these people have amassed a huge band of loyal followers.

But because mobile is new, most of them haven’t moved into that space yet. Apps are exciting & interesting, but many of these experts and influencers haven’t made the shift.

It might be because they don’t have time, because they don’t have the expertise, or because they have made assumption about the cost involved.

Whatever the reason, these are all problems that you as an app developer / publisher can solve!

This mobile app marketing strategy is about providing value in the form of your expertise as an app developer. In return, the influencer that you partner with provides value in the form of content & an audience.

It’s a win-win!

One of my favourite examples of a successful partnership is the story of the app ‘Fit Men Cook’.

Kevin Curry runs the Fit Men Cook website. It’s an amazing resource for delicious, healthy recipes & fitness tips.

When it comes to eating well & staying fit, Kevin’s got that down. He has also build a huge community of followers who can’t get enough of his content.

The thing is, Kevin isn’t an expert at building mobile apps. A mobile app works perfectly with his content & message, and it was something his audience clearly wanted.

That’s where Andreas Kambanis of Nibble Apps steps in.

Andreas knows how to build great mobile apps but doesn’t have the following in the health & fitness space that Kevin does.

But put the two together & BOOM! You’ve got a winning combination.

Andreas partnered with Kevin to deliver an amazing mobile app full of Kevin’s massively popular content from

When it came time to launch the app, they had the power of the Fit Men Cook community (including over 1 million Instagram followers!) behind it.

By leveraging the existing audience that Kevin had through, they were able to become the no. 2. paid app overall!

That’s just one example of a successful partnership between an app developer and an influencer in a particular niche.

Do some Googling and you’ll find more examples.

The point is, this sort of success is within reach and I really think we’re going to see more and more of these deals popping up in the near future. It could be the mobile app marketing strategy you need to take things to the next level!

App Store Optimization (ASO)

When to do this: Before submitting your app to the app stores

I don’t know if I’d really call this a mobile app marketing technique but it’s a mandatory part of releasing an app so let’s take a look at it anyway.

App Store Optimization is basically Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the app stores.

ASO is the process of perfecting the icon, screenshots, title, description, keywords, ratings, reviews, and anything else that forms part of the app’s presence on the store.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m an ASO expert. There are entire web sites and companies dedicated to that.

What I will do is give you a few tips to get you started & point you towards some of the best free ASO resources out there.

Icon and Screenshots

mobile app marketing ios top charts

Your app’s icon is usually the first thing someone will see relating to your app.

This is something you should invest a lot of time in creating if you decide to do it yourself.

The other option is to hire an expert to create an icon for you. This is usually the best way to go if you have the budget.

There are a few low-cost ways to get an icon created. They won’t be the best quality out there, but if you’re artistically challenged like me they will probably be better than what you would create.

1. – There are lots of people willing to create an icon for you for $5 and upwards (depending on the ‘extras’ you want) on this site.

2. Envato Studio – Hosts a range of professional designers who will create an icon for $50 and upwards. I haven’t used them but the quality of portfolios does seem better than Fiverr.

It’s a similar situation with screenshots. These are a very important part of the process when it comes to convincing people to download your app.

Creating great screenshots takes time and skill, just like the icon. But you can do this yourself, and here are a few tips:

  • ALWAYS use all of the available slots for screenshots. You have 5 available for iOS so make sure you use all 5. You get 8 per type for Google Play. Use all 8.
  • DO NOT simply take screenshots of your app and upload them.
  • Show the user what your app does & why it’s useful. Your screenshots should tell a story and be easy to understand.
  • Pay attention to detail. Screenshots form part of a person’s first impression of your app. If your screenshots are poor quality, they will assume the same of your app.


If you would rather pay to have screenshots created for you, the same web sites I mentioned above are good low-budget resources.

Ok, let’s move on. I know this guide is about free mobile app marketing techniques, but because creating graphics takes quite a bit of skill I wanted to give you a couple of low cost options as well.


Preview Video

App preview videos are a relative new addition to the Apple App Store, and they’ve been part of Google Play for a while.

A preview video is a great way to showcase your app to potential users. Having a high quality app video can be the defining factor that makes people choose your app over your competitors.

In this post you can read all about the benefits of App Preview Videos, including some great examples.

There are several options for creating an App Preview Video.

1. You can do it for free using software like Quicktime, iMovie or other video editing options. This might take time and the quality won’t be of a professional standard, but if you’re on a limited budget it’s do-able.

Apple have even created a pdf that shows you how to create an App Preview Video yourself using iMovie.


2. If you’ve got a small budget, you can use a service like Fiverr to get an app preview video created.

This will most likely give you a better result than the DIY option above, but you will get what you pay for. All I mean by this is that you shouldn’t expect professional quality for $5.


3. A professional video creation service will almost certainly get you the best results, but like most good things it will cost you money.

One of the most reputable & popular services is Apptamin. They specialize in creating promotional videos for mobile apps. I have no affiliation with them, but they are constantly recommended as a great service for mobile app videos.

Using a professional service will most likely get you the highest quality app preview video possible, but it will also be the most expensive option.



App Title and Description

The title of your app is one of the first things people see, along with the icon.

It’s important to select a relevant, memorable title. You should also know that the words you use in the app title are searchable keywords.

That doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity to pack the title with keywords to avoid the 100 character limit in the iOS keyword field. This is called ‘keyword stuffing’ the title.

Keyword stuffing the app title is a tactic that used to be effective but not so much anymore.


Now let’s talk about the description.

For Apple, the description is there mainly to convince potential users to download your app.

With that in mind, the goal of your iOS app description is to convert a potential user into a user.

If you want a detailed guide to writing a good iOS app description, here are 5 tips to write an app store description that excites.

The description has more value in Google Play however. Not only is it there to convince potential users to download, it also contributes heavily to search visibility.

The Google Play store works in a similar way to Google web search. App descriptions are crawled and Google determines which keywords you will rank for based on the description.

You don’t have a 100-character keyword field in Google Play. Instead it’s up to you to write a keyword optimized description.

Here’s a nice article by Gummicube that digs in to how to write for ranking and conversion in Google Play.



Keywords are the words that people can use to find your app through search.

Apple gives you a 100 character limit for your keywords. Google Play on the other hand, indexes your app’s description to determine the keywords.

Both app stores require a different approach to keywords.

Selecting the right keywords for your app is a complex task. There are entire courses dedicated specifically to app keyword research.

So instead of trying to fit all of that into this post I’ll give you some great free ASO keyword research resources instead.

Check these out if you’re looking to dive into the world of app store keyword research:



So there you have it.

7 free mobile app marketing techniques that you can use right now.

As I mentioned, some apps will benefit more than others from particular techniques I’ve mentioned. But I really believe there is something in here for every app.

Which of these techniques have you tried and how successful were they?

Which ones do you plan on testing next?

Let me know in the comments!


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