Getting more downloads & more users

The first thing to check when developing any kind of solution (technological or not) is if you’re offering value to the user. You might be solving a problem, making a complex process easier or even offering pure entertainment and fun. It really doesn’t matter, there are many different opportunities in a multitude of markets: as long as you have a value proposition.

In that sense, your app might not even be completely original. You might be addressing a issue that has already been solved before, but in a different, easier, cheaper or faster way. If you’re in the entertainment side of the industry you’re well aware that there are many options already available for each kind of game: platform, shooter, RPG or racing, for example. The global market for apps is huge and there’s a big slice o’ users waiting for your take on a specific problem or game.

  • 01. Value proposition: What are you offering?
  • 02. Market Research: What is your app’s advantage?
  • 03. Communicating Value: How will people find out about it?
  • 04. Delivering upon your promise: Are customers satisfied?
  • 05. Bragging Rights: Tell everyone how satisfied your users are!
  • 06. Repeat: Go through all the previous steps again.

The importance of design

Providing a clean User Interface and a good User Experience

Do you have Design skills?

If you don’t have design skills, you’re going to need to find some way to provide a good User Experience and a clear Visual Identity for your app or game. User Interface and Branding aspects also affect your app’s downloads!

01. Value Proposition

Maybe your app helps the Sales Team to organize their contacts, like a CRM. Maybe you developed a unique take on social interactions. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re actually providing a solution for a problem. Making things easier, faster, cheaper or whichever comparative adverbs you can properly attach to your software.

We must also consider the fact that the entertainment industry is also providing options and solutions for all of us. We all need to have fun, unwind and most people enjoy social interactions. Games, Music, Movies and all the artistic aspects around this industry play an important role in our lifes. Having fun is a serious business!

02. Market Research

Now it’s time to take a look at your competitors: it is very unlikely that you’re going to be the only player on this market. So you need to find out exactly what your competitors are doing and figure out what works and what doesn’t work in this space. A few things that you might want to take into consideration:

  • Technical Requirements: is your search faster? Is your app more secure?
  • User Experience: is your app easier to use? Does it offer a better User Interface?
  • Functionalities: do you offer something unique? Is your app able to do more than the others?

An important aspect of Market Research is taking into account your target audience: a Mission Critical System buyer is more concerned about reliability than aesthetics, for example. Understanding your Target Audience is essential not only to advertise your app but will also help you prioritize and choose new features to be added in your next versions.

03. Communicating Value (or, ADVERTISING, yey!)

When you have a clear understanding of who your target audience is, you can start preparing your advertising efforts:

Choose your Message

What are the benefits or advantages of your app?

Use the Value Proposition.

Use the data gathered in the first step! This should be your guideline as to what you should be talking about.

Choose your Tone

What is the proper way to address your customers?

Use the info about the Target Audience!

Using your knowledge about your Target Audience you can be specific on how to talk to your public.

Choose your Media

Where do your customers hang around?

Know your Target Audience!

You’re not gonna find baby boomers looking for Real Estate on Snapchat. You need to be where your users are.

It’s inevitable: you’re going to need a website. Depending on your app’s complexity and target audience, a one-page scrolling website might be enough to convey the main advantages and entice the user to download it. But, in some cases, you might need a fully fledged website, with login areas and content marketing. Regardless of industry and market there are a few things that you need to address in order to get the most downloads:

You obviously don’t need to be in every trending social media. As we’ve mentioned before, you need to be where your users are. You need to be part of the conversation. Younger users might expect to see your company around Instagram or Snapchat. Professional services must be on Linkedin, just to give a few examples. Find out where your customers is and join them.



There a few tools that you might want to consider while doing that. When reaching out to users through email, Mailchimp is a must. Creating the Graphic Design for posts or ads on Social Medias can be easily accomplished using Canva. And when you need to monitor what is going on and who is talking about your app, use Mention‘s free plan. To schedule and automate posting, try Buffer‘s business solution.

There are several tools for paid advertising online. We’re assuming that, like us, you’re an Indie Developer on a budget. Paid Ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram do work and can bring you a lot of users.

A nice package for developers is from the app’s website to the review monitoring and screenshot building.

04. Delivering upon your promise

This one might look like common sense: you need to deliver what you promised. All the adverbs that you used on your website and campaigns must match your users expectations (ideally, surpass them). And guess where that will show? On your App Store Reviews and Social Network interactions.

A few useful tips to use during development of your apps:

  • Use automatic reference counting.
  • Use the xCode’s Static Analyzer.
  • Finally, heed compiler warnings!

This will lessen the chances of releasing apps that eventually and suddenly crash. Obviously we cannot stress enough the fact that you do need to get a few Beta testers onboard before releasing your app into the wild. Use TestFlight abundantly or even try alternatives like Roboto.

“Star ratings encompass people’s subjective experience of your app, which often has very little to do with what the app actually is.”

Unexpected crashes are one of the most common reasons for 1 or 2 star app reviews. Besides having best practices in place to prevent that, the other habit that needs to be a part of every serious developer workflow is User Testing. Test unexpected behaviors: give your app to a friend or colleague (that is not working on this project) and watch him fail miserably on simple tasks or game levels without interfering or giving hints. You won’t be there for 99.999% of the users. Watch and Learn how the users behave and improve upon their “mistakes”.

05. Bragging Rights

So you developed a great, thoroughly tested app that has awesome reviews. Don’t keep this secret! Go back to Social Media, update your website and tell everyone how fantastic your product is. Reviews and Users Opinions build trust, reliability and they’re something that might bring a lot of new users to your base.

06. Rinse and Repeat 🙂

App Marketing, just as any other industry marketing is an ongoing activity. As developers we need to constantly listen to our users inputs and comments and adequately address those issues in our communication.

BuzzSumo is yet another tool for Social Media monitoring that helps us find out which kind of content (and author) has the most engagement. Likes, comments, shares and clicks are the currency in a interconnected world. Knowing how to tap into that well is a hard work that will bring more users without a lot of money investment.




What about you? How do you market your app? Feel free to comment and share your practices and tools with us!