With millions of apps available on the various app stores, getting your Choice-game downloaded has never been more difficult. Even among Choice games, competition exists that hopes to overshadow your newly-created interactive masterpiece. This article provides strategies on marketing your Choice game app to maximize download with the least bit of personal cost. From naming your app, understanding search optimization to social media marketing, this article will provide tips for reaching as many people as possible who will download and enjoy your game.
Start Before You Publish
Before you even publish your game, you must start marketing it. With the amount of new apps in the app stores each day and the competition for interactive game books or fiction, you must build a base of those interested before the app is even released. Therefore, it is important to implement many of the strategies in this article during app development.
The number of downloads your app receives in the first few days on the various app stores is critical. The day your app hits the various app stores, you are given some visibility by default, but this visibility quickly degrades as new apps are released. The app stores rank apps based on how new they are and how many downloads they receive per day. Therefore, if you can generate many downloads in a short period of time, your app will rank highly on the charts and be much more visible. There is no greater marketing available than to be ranked high on the app stores. The higher on the lists, the greater chances there are of people downloading your app who browse the app stores. So, you need to have people poised to download your app on day one to generate the most downloads.
Conversely, if your app receives few downloads any single day, you will fall on the app store charts fast and not been seen. When you fall off the top apps lists, you will only receive downloads from other forms of marketing.
Searching for your game
There are people around the world already searching for your app. You don’t know them, and they probably don’t know your app exists, but you want them to find it. For that reason, you need to raise the probability that people will search and find your game.
First, understand your market and how they search. Let’s look at my game, Zombie Exodus. It is an interactive game about a zombie apocalypse. I expect that people who want to play a game such as mine, as opposed to the myriad of other interactive zombie games out there, will do simple searches, such as:
- interactive zombie game
- zombie apocalypse game
- choose your own zombie adventure
- ...and others.
Next, generate a list of these phrases (often called keywords) and incorporate them in the descriptions of your app is your marketing efforts. When someone searches for an app that is in your genre, you want to appear in that list as high as possible.
Your next step is to find the most common keywords people use in searching for apps like yours. The best tool to use is Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
Search Engines, such as Google and Bing, as well as the app stores themselves, have search algorithms that rank Web sites and apps on relevance to the search term. If someone searches for interactive zombie games, they should not see Web sites or apps related to toaster ovens or residential contractors. When someone is looking for a text-based zombie game, I want them to find Zombie Exodus.
How do search engines determine relevancy? All of them calculate it differently but you should just focus on using the most important keywords in descriptions of your app on Web sites, in the app title, app store details, and other places you can.
Many new readers of my app find me via my Web site, because my title is a major keyword, and the content of the Web site is about the keyword. The title of my site is Interactive zombie fiction game for iPhone and Android mobile devices – Zombie Exodus. Note, Zombie Exodus appears at the end, because the important keywords go first. No one is casually searching for Zombie Exodus; they want to play an interactive zombie game on iPhone or Android.
In fact if you do a Google search of interactive zombie game, my Web site appears 6th on the list. Since this keyword receives 6,600 searches a month, that is a considerable amount of advertising for a low price (the cost of maintaining a Web site).
Another thing to keep in mind is the value of the name of your app. The name should be highly targeted to your audience. I could have come up with some metaphorical or symbolic name (i.e. Their Blood is Green!), but no one is casually searching for that title. My game is about zombies and the keyword “zombies” is searched almost 25 million times per month according to Google. So, I put the term zombie in my app title. When people search zombie games or zombie app, I want there to be a chance Zombie Exodus shows up.
Name recognition is also important. If someone saw an app named Their Blood is Green, they may pass over the title even if they are looking for an app about zombies. I put Zombie in my title, so fans of zombie games immediately recognize my app as having that type of subject matter.
Build a Web site
I highly recommend building a Web site for your game. Make sure you build content around your main keywords. Try to get others to link to your site. Build your content up and add new content on a regular basis. All of these practices will increase your relevancy to the search engines and help attract new visitors.
To build a site, you can use many free Web site hosts, or even build a blog. Having a fancy, graphically-enhanced, expensive site is not as important as just having a site available to which search engines can direct users.
Once a person finds your site on the Internet, it is incredibly important to keep in touch with them and to make them part of your community. Many marketers refer to this as “capturing a user.” When you reach a new reader of your app, you want to stay in touch with them, since it is much easier to retain a loyal fan than attract new ones. When you update the app, add new features, or even create new apps or games, you want to be able to reach out to those people who already found you. There are many ways to keep those people connected to you but the easiest is to have them sign up for a newsletter or use social media. Having all three is best.
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter offer many features perfect for marketing your app. First, it costs nothing to have a Facebook and Twitter account, aside from the time it takes to create and update those accounts. Second, they are a quick, commonly-accepted way to stay connected to your readers. Third, they are easy to update and manage. Most importantly, when a friend of your Facebook fan page likes a post you make, or a Twitter follower retweets, your message is sent out to more people who may become interested in your app and become fans or followers.
At the time of this post, Zombie Exodus has 1635 followers on Facebook. When I post news on my game, I have a built-in audience who will read it. If any of them “like” my post or comment on it, now many of their followers will see the post. From statistics I monitor, several of my posts have reached 5,000+ people simply due to the “likes” of other accounts. That’s great marketing for the 30-second effort to write a compelling post.
Reviews and Blogs
Another effective form of marketing is to request coverage from review sites and blogs. Simply email these sites, mention your app and some details on what makes it unique or noteworthy, and request a review or announcement. Though not every site will post about your app, any that do are providing free advertising.
Here are some tips to consider before asking for coverage:
- Make sure your app is proofread and ready for publishing. If you have lots of errors, reviews may not be positive or reviewers may flat-out deny covering your app.
- Find blogs and review sites targeted for your market. If you wrote a fantasy game about wizards and dragons, asking for a review from a blog devoted to Christian young adult mysteries is probably a waste of time.
- You are marketing a game and a book. Approach both types of sites: game review sites and fiction review sites. When contacting them, highlight the category.
Thousands of Web sites and resources are available online that discuss more ways to market your app. Many focus on paid ways to get downloads, and while that is certainly effective, it is difficult to spend money on marketing an app when the costs are so high to do so in the mainly competitive app categories, instead build your audience by creating a search engine friendly Web site, utilize social media, and reach out to other sites that may already have the audience you are looking to reach.