Most startups do not begin with a ton of extra cash on hand, but still have a lot of important work to do. We all know that advertising is incredibly important to the success of any venture. But how do you get started when you don’t have a lot of extra resources to invest? How can you promote your app for free?
Here are some ways that you can help spread the word about your new app in a cost-effective or completely free way!
Create a Simple Web or Lading Page
While you can spend a lot of money on your site, especially as a newbie, you do not have to.
You can create something simple using WordPress or other platforms that looks great. Even more simply, you can create a Linktree for free with links to all of your social platforms, site, and portfolio.
You don’t want your app store page to be your app’s only digital footprint. You can use a website to host app-related content, provide resources to consumers, rank more highly in searches, and let people know who you are.
As a new startup, there are a range of people you want to connect with. This includes consumers, fans, potential investors, and a range of other people in your industry.
If you want to join an incubator or accelorator at some point for example, they will definitely want to see your web presence.
A website is key for this.
Collaborate With Relevant Businesses Online to Promote your App for Free
Strategic collaboration can look like many different things. Essentially, the only limits are your creativity and digital social circle.
Have you ever seen other companies or online figures doing guest posts on blogs other than their own? Or doing takeovers of other people’s accounts? They do this because it is a simple and often free way to get your name out there.
When you guest post on someone else’s blog, whether they have a large or small following, you are accessing their audience. This is likely somewhat different from your own.
This is why you see influencers creating content together and often cross-promoting each other on social media. To access each other’s followings.
In a collaborative or guest post of any kind, you can display your expertise. You can also provide inbound links to your website. This will increase your visibility in Google searches.
Also, if you bring someone onto your blog, website, or social media account to post something, you can bring their audience to you.
You can collaborate with others for marketing purposes at a range of price points. You can collaborate on social media contests, host events, do advertising campaigns with influencers, and more.
Focus On Social Media
Whether you love or hate social media, it cannot be denied that it can be a powerful tool for bootstrapped marketers seeking growth.
If you want to reach people and you don’t want to pay heavily for TV or radio ads (both of which have had declining users in general for years) you have to take to social media.
It is one of the most accessible tools out there. Even if you have no marketing budget at all, you can start a Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter account for your app – even pre-launch.In fact, it’s recommended that you start building an audience LONG before launch.
There are already large communities of entrepreneurs of all kinds all over social media. Find out where most of the people in your niche hang out online, and join them.This can be a great way to network in your industry, find opportunities, and connect with consumers.
However, Whatever you do, don’t forget about interacting.Just creating a profile and letting it sit blank is not enough.
A common trap businesses who are seeking to grow on social media fall into is pouring all of their resources into making content. Meanwhile, none of their attention goes to interacting with people. As a result, they get stuck in a loop of talking to themselves online by making posts no one interacts with.
Always engage with others!
Do You Have A LinkedIn Account Yet?
LinkedIn has its own section for a reason! It is a great way that you can promote your app for free by leveraging a personal connection with other professionals.
One big thing that causes professionals to pan social media is that most platforms are such a mixed bag. If that’s you, LinkedIn is the solution!
Sure, some of the world’s most famous minds in business are on Twitter and Instagram, but more often than not you hear these platforms talked about as hotbeds of stress, toxicity, and dangerous and illegal behavior.
For example, there are countless people around the world who use Reddit for all kinds of reasons, as we saw when an entire Reddit community banded together to shake the stock market up largely for their own entertainment.
However, Reddit has a somewhat seedy reputation. Depending on the community you are checking out it can be either a powerful resource or a complete disaster. Many people simply don’t want to take the time to sift through it all.
If you want to build a professional presence online without getting slammed with Instagram models promoting diet suppressants to kids or the wacky arguments of strangers, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
It’s a social network solely for professionals. LinkedIn has a wide range of interest-based and skill-based groups so you can interact with precisely who you want, without dealing with any of the things that are not relevant to your business.
While many people seem to log into Twitter or Facebook specifically to unload their grievances, LinkedIn has a more professional code of conduct.
Go Beyond Your Own Platform
Creating social media accounts and a website for your app are absolutely indispensable.
However, you can’t stop there.
There are numerous free ways you can spread the word about your app from the comfort of your couch. If you have blog posts on various topics as a part of your digital marketing strategy share them to forums where people discuss topics related to your app. Share them to places like Business Week’s Business Exchange, Startup Hub or Medium.
Join conversations in a respectful way wherever you can.
If your app is in the beta phase, you can submit it to Betalist, for example. This site is dedicated to spreading the word about new apps and products that are still in the beta phase.
This is great because you can start getting the word out about your work before it’s even finished. Once your app is completed, you can also submit it to app review sites.
While there are a large number of app review sites, many have a ton of requests for reviews. So, it might take a few attempts to get their attention.
Don’t give up!
Some Helpful Platforms
Here’s a list of some great online platforms for you (most free) to check out.
Submit your app to get reviews, build online recognition, and more! Gaining domain strength is the key here. The more quality backlinks you have, the better your Google ranking in search results.
You’ll also notice that some platforms are geared towards apps and games in general, while others seek to be more of a launch pad to get tech startups noticed. Choose accordingly.
- Product Hunt – Post-launch online platform with a Reddit-esque upvoting system in place to rank app submissions and get startups and new apps noticed.
- Betalist – Beta phase apps only,
- Kiva – A deviation from the other platforms on this list, Kiva is actually a crowdsourced online donation platform for those whom are typically underrepresented in traditional funding.
- Appedus – Post-launch and free, but not guaranteed to receive review upon submission.
- PreApps – (separate services for pre-launch and post-launch; post-launch bundled service starting at $699 for submission to 100’s of app review platforms. Note there are many other aggregate app review platforms out there, so be sure to do your research.
- AppAdvice – According to their site, apps submitted well ahead of launch according to their guidelines are assured to get reviewed. Early submission allows their editorial staff to pre-plan the review and release to readers based around your app’s launch date.
- Launching Next – Pre-launch, early-stage apps and startups.
- Springwise – For groundbreaking, innovative apps and services which aim to disrupt in a positive manner.
Clever Comments Can Help you Promote your App for Free
This one is quick, completely free, and far more powerful than many people realize. Have you ever read an article on Business Insider, for example, and had something to say but kept it to yourself?
Commenting on the articles of major publications can actually be a great way to bring eyes to your site.
However, it is easy to fall into the trap of being “spammy.” This is when someone ruins the flow of natural digital conversation by aggressively pushing their product. You don’t want to do this.
While more people will see your name, you want them to have positive associations with your brand and product, not think you are obnoxious or a scammer.
For example, if you have a planner app, it would make sense for you to participate in the conversation on articles that have to deal with time management or self-improvement.
If someone has posted a political thinkpiece, however, selling your planner app in the comments would be incredibly out of place.
However, a well placed, well-thought-out comment on a relevant article with your site linked in it on a site with a lot of traffic can do wonders for anyone. The more you can do this the better.
Reuse and Repurpose Your Content
This is also a delicate balance to strike. Some experts say that it is a good strategy to reuse content almost infinitely. For example, turning a blog post into social media content, podcast content, charts, videos, images, newsletters, and anything else you can think of.
However, if all of your content is exactly the same, why would people want to stick with you?
We all know someone who tells us the exact same story every time we see them. That is not particularly engaging in real life or on social media.
While you should definitely repurpose content as a part of your overall strategy, it can’t be all you do.
Be cautious of becoming repetitive and stale. Likely, the best bet is to have a mix of recycled and current content across your platforms.
Final Thoughts on How to Promote Your App for Free
There are a lot of ways you can spread the word about your app without breaking the bank!
This can be as simple as replying to someone’s tweet or leaving a comment on an online article. However, don’t do these things just to say you did them. The key is leveraging them strategically to set your app apart from the competition.
After all, anyone on earth over the age of 13 can make an Instagram account, but very few people have millions of followers.
Remember, creating an account on every platform and commenting on every article and collaborating with every person who will talk to you is not the key. If you only have the time for one good blog post a month, or a few insightful Tweets a week, that is fine.
This will be far more effective than pouring time into endless content that doesn’t stand out. Even with the smallest budget, some creativity and persistence can take your app far.
What are your favorite free promotion hacks? Comment below.
What do you think? Comment below.
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