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Making your products Viral : Understanding Virality

One of the major challenges for a marketer or an entrepreneur is to get users and grow for an eternity. Paul Graham would tell you that you ain’t doing it right if you are not growing by a minimum of 5-7% Week-on-Week. And there are plenty of channels one could use to grow, be it the Press, Text Ads or Visual Ads, Partnerships. All of these techniques require money to be spent proportionally to the amount of visits/ click throughs or conversions you are going to get. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could get hundreds of users for an eternity for virtually no marketing spend. This is where the inherent Virality of products help.

 What is Viral growth? Viral growth is nothing but an existing user bringing you new users either through a generic invite sent on any of the platforms the potential user is on or by directly using the product ( sharing a file link on dropbox) or by any means possible. Google with gmail was phenomenally successful in creating a viral growth. Google initially started with a base of 1000 people who were given a limited number of invitations to share with friends/ family. Gmail finally went public in the year 2007 but by April, 2006 Gmail had through viral referrals grown phenomenally to a base of 7.1 million users. Quite incredible. Products like Instagram, Dropbox, Youtube etc grew rapidly to a million users through virality.

As with any product the key to being successful in growing virally is to have a world-class product, a product people would love to use and would love to share with their friends. Word of Mouth is a great, free channel for products to grow. But that’s not the only way to build virality in to your products. Look at products that grew phenomenally and you would understand that they built in and utilized at least one or two incredibly viral features in their products. Let’s examine the various viral features a product could have:

1) Inherent Virality : It’s incredibly difficult to achieve this type of virality in all products. There are certain products and niches where the products are inherently viral like gmail or Whatsapp or facebook. These products thrive on users inviting others users because the user gets no value out of them without his families or friends or someone else. But do understand that the easier you make it for a user to invite his friends or family, the more invitations they send out whereby increasing your virality.

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2) Signature Virality : Remember the messages “sent from my Blackberry” or “Sent from my ipad”? This type of virality encourages people to include the messages as signature because they think it makes them cool. Again, you would need a world class product that people would aspire to use to truly achieve this. Could you imagine someone using the signature “sent from my Nokia?” Kidding. But yeah, the point is to spread the message like Hotmail did with a simple “ Get your free email at Hotmail” signature and grew rapidly from a nominal base to 1 million in 6 months and in the next 5 weeks to 2 million. Remember this was a time when there were only 70 million Internet users and in 18 months they had about 12 million users.

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Paypal with their autolinks on ebay is another great example. It automatically inserted Paypal logo to the bottom of each of the listings of the sellers who used Paypal. This was incredibly successful in making Paypal grow virally.

3) Incentivized Virality: Companies like Fab.com or Dropbox are great examples of this. They incentivized their users to send invitations to their network for either monetary benefits or extra storage space in the case of Dropbox. It worked and people brought in an incredible number of referral traffic. Think of Affiliates as well. They thrive on this. The company grows and sells products by incentivizing the affiliate marketer to sell more or bring him more buyers. Amazon has achieved an incredible amount of success through their affiliate networks.

My facebook feed is filled with shares from this new to be launched service :Trevolta

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Of course one is going to share this with their friends, there is no better thing in this world than travelling around the world on someone else’s money! 🙂

4) Embeddable Virality: The biggest example of this is Youtube. Youtube was not the only video sharing website available during its initial stages but what made Youtube a leader was when they made the videos embeddable. People started embedding Youtube videos on their website and with it Youtube amassed massive views and made itself visible to an incredible number of people. This shifted the balance in youtube’s favor and there was no looking back.

5) Social Virality: In this case, Products depend on Social Network like facebook, twitter, pinterest etc to rapidly spread their base. There is a psychology behind Social virality. The key here is always to give people a set of tools to create something awesome which they would want to flaunt with their social graph. Instagram exploded because they could make photos beautiful and people loved flaunting their good looking self to the world. Services like twitter or Scoop.it grew virally because they allowed people to project a certain persona. Even the content shares that are done on any of these networks is in effect a way for a user to project a certain type of persona. If one could get this aspect right, then the product is a sure shot bet to grow virally. What I like about Twitter or Tumblr is the re-tweet or re-blog option which enables a user to create content effortlessly while actually he or she is curating content. It increases engagement on the platform and also gives a sense of satisfaction to the user that he or she is actually creating content.

I guess it’s easy to understand virality but its difficult building virality in to a product and even more difficult trying to measure it accurately.

For measuring Virality, one needs to understand two components:

  • Viral Coefficient
  • Viral Loop time

Let’s assume the scenario where:

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This implies that each user brings you an additional user within a time frame of 10 days ( the Viral Loop time), which is absolutely incredible if you are able to achieve it! J As we had discussed earlier there are different types of virality and in this case we are assuming a simple scenario where each user is sending out invitations to get their friends in (it could be incentivized or simply because your user loves your product)

Now if we were to look at the growth the product would have by the 20th day:

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Understanding Viral Loop time is important because Virality is inversely related to it. The shorter the Viral loop time, the better virality one would be able to achieve. Imagine if the Viral loop time in the earlier case was 1 day, ie, each user invites a set of users and the new user signs up all in a day’s time. That would make the user acquisition 5 times faster than the earlier scenario and your table would look like this:

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Let us plot a graph to understand our growth curve in the first scenario:

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Assuming a product has a viral coefficient that is equal to or greater than 1, it results in a steep upward growth curve. In reality a product having 1 or a number greater than 1 as its viral coefficient throughout its lifetime is impossible although there might be intervals during which the product shows such a viral coefficient. In reality a viral coefficient of 0.4-0.6 for a product is extremely good. Now let us consider such a scenario where the Viral coefficient is 0.5 assuming the rest of the numbers remain the same from our earlier example.

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And if we were to plot this on a graph, the growth curve would look something like this:

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The growth curve flattens out after a particular interval. It’s important for growth hackers and marketers to understand that in reality for most of the viral product this is how the graph would look like if they only depend on user acquisition through virality. So it’s important to plan out the metrics in such a manner that you constantly boost up user acquisition from other channels as well to have a steep growth curve which a product requires to be successful.  Remember Paul Graham and his number for the ideal growth rate for a startup? Utilize not just the virality of the product but also other channels like Press, Market Places , Creation of Viral Content, Paid Advertising or anything that boosts traffic and discoverability of your product/ service which drives conversions in order to maintain an upward trending growth curve.

Now if I were to simply consider the scenario earlier described with users sending ‘n’ invites and x% converts from them giving us a Viral Coefficient of K=n*x%, then the User Base at any particular point of time would be (considering only viral growth):

User Base (t) = User Base(0) * (K ^ (t/vlt +1) – 1)  /  (K-1)

(where vlt is the Viral loop time)

[Reference: David Skok’s article]

The above is not a comprehensive model as there are various things we have left out which includes:

  • The sending invitations process is always staggered. We have just assumed it to happen in one go. If I were to give an example – Imagine dropbox, you will always end up inviting people in a staggered way as you interact with them and share docs with them. It does not happen in one go. And If I were a user of dropbox and If I were to stop using it all together one fine day, then dropbox loses out on any referral signups from me.
  • The churn your product will have as it affects the above mentioned parameter.
  • We have not considered virality across the many channels and the different forms of virality.
  • We have also not included the saturation of a particular channel. If I were using a platform which has a total base of 10Million as the target base for sending out invitations, once I cover the entire user base I can’t rely on the formula.

The Viral Loop

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The viral loop highlighted in the diagram is what can be called as the single viral loop. It’s important where it’s possible to have a double viral loop to fasten your user acquisition. This is possible especially in case of Social networks. Like we discussed earlier, retention is a key component that defines the Viral Coefficient. An increased retention will result in increased Viral Coefficient and hence a faster user growth. There are simple techniques one could do to improve retention and engagement on the platform. This forms part of the double viral loop. Re-connection always increases engagement and retention and hence it’s important to re-connect people by prompting them as well as by making it easy for them.

For ex on LinkedIn, after we sign up, it prompts us to export contacts from our address books and re-connects us. This removes the friction normally people will have in searching for people and then connecting with them. Also, it helps in retaining dormant users. This is a technique employed by many of the Social networks to bring back dormant users on to the platform. Notifications on follow improves your chances of brining back dormant users.

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This simple step resulted in an increase of 16% in the number of invitations sent. Check the stats below:

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Source: http://www.slideshare.net/joshelman/josh-elman-threegrowthhacksgrowconf81413

Or in case of twitter they take you step by step through the various things one can do on twitter and by it helps you in getting content on your feed and making you follow a few popular people on login itself. It alleviates any friction the user will have initially to engage on the platform and also interacting with the popular users sets the context for them to get active. In doing so Twitter achieves more invitations and requests sent to users and prospective users and also re-connections and engagement between existing users. That’s a double viral loop.

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Similarly, it’s important for any marketer to understand the viral loop of their product, one would have to iterate and measure to understand in detail the parameters and the best possible viral loops.

At Zoomdeck, we are creating a platform for making photos interactive. A User can spot anything interesting inside photos to ask a question or add notes or add spots to highlight an interesting story or experience about an element inside photos, then make it much more engaging by linking the spots to audio, video, products, people, places or any link relevant. Users would be able to discover and share the stories and elements in photos using interactive spots and have contextual conversations around each spot. We have a web version, an iOS app and an embedding option which along with viral content shared across various Social Media sites would be a key driver of traffic and user acquisition for us. When I look at the various channels of virality for Zoomdeck, I have:

  1. Embedding: Bloggers and Publishers embedding Interactive Photos on their website. Similar to how Youtube utilized embedding as an important element of their Viral growth.
  2. User joins Zoomdeck, takes photos and makes them interactive by adding spots. Shares it with their friends and family (Invite). ( This will have a longer Viral Loop time) Similar to how Instagram or Pinterest built their viral loop.
  3. Directly recommends the product to their contacts through the invite option in the app or in person.
  4. Sharing of Interactive Photos they find interesting on Zoomdeck( Content) on Social platforms ( Facebook, twitter or Pinterest). Their network discovers, finds it interesting and shares with their friends. ( This will have a much shorter Viral Loop time) The advantage of having content that is viral in nature is the Viral Loop time significantly reduces as you are providing ready made things for people to share and not asking them to create which is always time consuming and requires an effort and hence would always have friction. A Youtube or Twitter is a great example of this.

The four basic viral loops in the case of Zoomdeck as mentioned above would each have different conversion ratios. While the first option and the fourth option would enable Zoomdeck to reach a much larger base of audience and that too multiple number of times, the conversion percentage is going to be a lot lesser than the second and third option where in our chances of conversions are much higher. Similarly, the Viral loop time for the first and fourth option would be much lesser than the VLT number for the other two. So measure the various parameters continuously and optimize for the ones that give best results.

Importance of Seeding :

Imagine for calculation purpose the current user base of a product as 5000 and consider only the 2nd and the 3rd channels of virality listed above as the growth channels for easiness in quantifying. (Assume a Viral Coefficient of 0.6 and a Vlt of 10 days) We would have a table that looks like this

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And our user graph would look like this:

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Now, assume acquisition of a constant number of users from other channels, we have (all values are hypothetical):

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Seeding initially is critical as that’s what enables the viral growth to kick in. In the first example we flatten out our user base after 2 months. This is why seeding should always be an ongoing process to leverage maximum value from virality or else we should have a viral coefficient greater than 1 to have an eternal upward curve for our user graph which is very difficult to achieve throughout the lifetime of the product. There would be short bursts when the viral coefficient is greater than 1 and would result in phenomenal growth especially if you are on a larger base as well but not through the lifetime of a product.

Key-points:

  • Virality is something that should be inherent in the product. It’s important to design and incorporate virality during product conceptualization itself.
  • Always measure and track various metrics to understand what works best and dig deep into those channels.
  • Iterate as fast as possible to understand the best viral channels. The longer the iteration cycle, the longer it will take for you to spot your best viral loop.
  • Reduce the number of steps required to do any action that results in virality. Make it as easy as possible for the users to send invitations. Understand that the easier you make, the better your metrics would look.
  • Two factors that influence Virality are: Viral Coefficient (K) and Viral Loop time (Vlt). Increase ‘K’ and decrease ‘Vlt’ for rapid growth.
  • Retention and re-connection are important factors that help in Viral growth.
  • Important to seed users initially.
  • Exponential growth from Virality kicks in after a threshold limit. Make use of various channels for seeding the initial audience.
  • It’s very difficult to achieve sustaining growth through virality where you require a viral coefficient greater than 1. Hence, compensate for this and balance it out by seeding users through other channels as well – if required paid channels also to maintain momentum.

References:

http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/lessons-learnt-viral-marketing/

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130402154324-18876785-how-to-model-viral-growth-retention-virality-curves

http://andrewchen.co/2007/07/11/whats-your-viral-loop-understanding-the-engine-of-adoption/

Growth Hacking : It’s about being creative, smart and a lot of hard-work!

Making your product/ service or platform discoverable and increasing its visibility across the web is one of the most difficult yet the most important task for an entrepreneur or a blog owner. The best way is always to try out all the channels available to you and then gauge the conversions from each of those channels so that you can invest more time and money on the ones that’s giving you the best results. The strategy that’s best for you would also depend on your product and the niche you are operating in. You could split the strategies you could adopt into push and pull or paid and non-paid strategies.

I’m going to leave out the AirBnB or the Mint.com example which is quoted very often as examples of growth hacking. Sure, they were incredibly successful with their ideas and execution and I am sure you have already come across them as well. There would always be certain incredibly brilliant idea that would apply to your product or niche. Let’s leave those out for now and in this post explore the generic pull techniques one could employ. Of course these strategies would require plenty of your time and effort. Nothing comes for free! J

1) Blogging

Blogging is one of the most proven and effective strategies for gaining visibility and establishing yourself as a thought leader. If used in the right way and provided the quality of the content is awesome, it could easily be the best channel to drive traffic. You would want to have blog posts that are read and shared. So ensure that you create quality content, try and analyse what sells or are the most popular blog topics in your niche. Take note of the ones that’s trending and write your own version for best results.

One can adopt various Blogging strategies including what the content and theme of the Blog should be. It’s more important to understand your target audience before you decide on the contents of your Blog to drive maximum traffic. You could either create your own Blog Page or else you could get to post a few as a Guest blogger on Blogs having your target audience. I would suggest you to definitely have your own blog but also try and get yourself a space or two on a few of the more popular blogs in your niche. The advantage of guest blogging is that you open up your thoughts, ideas & your product to a large audience in one go. All along try and build your own blog site as well, because there is nothing like having a large following on your blog as you have complete control over your blog. You don’t necessarily have that control over someone else’s blog and can’t aggressively push your product or services for an eternity. You can always try and exchange blog posts as well with bloggers in your niche. This Is a good strategy to employ to grow your audience faster.

The advantages of Guest Blogging are:

  • Builds natural links
  • Increases your online authority
  • Builds Relationship
  • Opens up your product/ service to a large audience quickly

I’m a big fan of Kissmetrics, Buffer & Moz and each of them have taken the blogging strategy to an all new level to drive traffic on to their service/ product.

Kissmetrics, is an analytics platform. It has its own blog and the contents on the blog are super awesome and cover a wide variety of posts related to SEO/ Analytics/ Digital Marketing etc. They have steadily built up an extremely impressive reader base and invariably converts a lot of them as well. They also encourage guest bloggers on their blog page.

Buffer on the other hand grew phenomenally in its early days using the Guest blogging strategy. Leo Wildrich, co-founder of Buffer admits that using the guest blogging strategy alone, they were able to acquire 100,000 users in the first nine months. That’s like quite incredible. Two sites that you should definitely consider for getting guest blog opportunities are MyBlogGuest and Bloggerlinkup.

Moz similarly used blogging as a tool to build an ever growing subscriber base and with it a healthy base for it’s products.

2) Infographics:

Infographics is a great way to engage your audience and create something that is extremely viral in nature. Creating one is not that expensive either. You can do it yourself or hire someone on fiverr who could create an awesome Infographic for as much as $5. They are visual, useful, entertaining and sharable. This awesome infographic lays out the creative process pictorially of making an Infographic.

8 Steps to Create an Infographic

by mainstreethost on visual.ly

And this is a great Infographic created on infographics by Zabisco.

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Check out these great free tools for creating awesome Infographics : http://www.infographicsarchive.com/create-infographics-and-data-visualization/

3) Social Media:

Social Media is one of the best channels for getting visibility for your product/ service. It’s also very often the most cost effective and viral of channels. Infographics are content and Social media provides the best possible channel to make your content viral and with it bring a truck load of traffic.

  • Understand that your activity on Social Media is for the long run.
  • Build great engagement and brand awareness and slowly you will start seeing results.
  • Content is King – Create great sharable content that would in turn enable you to reach more people.
  • Always be responsive to questions or comments from your followers. Build a healthy community.
  • Depending on your content decide on which of Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Instagram, Google+, Reddit, Youtube, Linkedin or any other platform would work for you. Try and stay active on the ones that give you better engagement and reach based on your content and niche.

Cracking visibility and engagement on each of these channels is an art in itself. I will cover in detail the things one should avoid and the things one should follow to build a community on any of these platforms. ( Check my earlier post on Stumble Upon. Will be covering each of Pinterest, facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

4) Influencer Marketing:

Influencers are gold! Most of us are quite aware of what Influencer marketing is. Let me explain if you aren’t aware. Influencer marketing is marketing to influencers in your niche be it bloggers, journalists, consultants or Industry analysts. And If you spend time and effort there is nothing better to build credibility and visibility.

The first step is to identify influencers in your niche. There are a number of ways by which you could create a list of Influencers.

  • Relevant keyword search on Twitter or Linkedin would give you a great list to start with.
  • PR Tools like Vocus and Cision are also great for finding list of Influencers.
  • Google Blog Search and Technorati can be great tools for finding bloggers in your niche.
  • Set Google Alerts on keywords that you want to track. It will enable you to keep track of all new posts related to those keywords and with it identify the person posting the same.
  • Try and scan Forums/ Communities in your niche to find influencers and be active on those forums so that people start noticing you.
  • I for once find Mom Bloggers almost always a great way to influence women and it’s almost unavoidable in niches like Fashion, Interiors, Gardening, Cooking etc. Try Blogher.

Remember that influencers are almost always busy people and it’s difficult to get their attention. You would have to spend time and effort in building relationship with them.

  • Follow them on twitter and connect with them on Linkedin if possible. Share their content and try and start a relevant conversation on any of their posts. This would slowly make them take a note of you which you could leverage when needed.
  • Or else try and email them either asking a question or appreciating them for their latest content/ post and start a conversation. It might be difficult to get email IDs of influencers as very often they tend to not put it out in public. Use a tool like Rapportive to try a few combinations until you get the right one connected to any of their Social Profiles or read this article to find the best way to find someone’s email ID.
  • Sending gifts to influencers is another great way to build relationship with them. Brands in fashion, food categories more often than not send their products to Influencers who tries them and almost always writes about their experience. It’s a great way to improve credibility and reach a large user base.
  • Creating a list of top influencers in your niche by actually ranking them and sharing it with the masses is a slightly expensive and time consuming exercise but is a great way yet again to reach out to the Influencers. If possible generate a widget as well so that the bloggers could use it in their blogs and very often they would do that as well giving you credible back-links.

5) E-Books & White papers:

Like I mentioned before a lot of the inexpensive strategy would involve your time and effort. Content is the King in all sense. You can decide if Blogging or E-Books and White papers are a better option for you. The latter would involve significant amount of time and effort in producing something of greater value while the former would involve producing a number of shorter posts to keep improving your visibility and reputation.

E-books and White papers are pretty comprehensive in their content and if it’s a niche you are interested in then it’s almost always catches your eye and makes you go through it. Check this awesome collection of blogs on the Kissmetric platform : http://blog.kissmetrics.com/marketing-guides/

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6) Powerpoint Presentations:

Are you using Slideshare? If you are not, then you are missing out on one of the best lead generation channels especially for businesses. Slideshare is the world’s largest content sharing community for professionals.

“With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, Slideshare is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world.”

This is not the only reason for you to be on Slideshare. Slideshare presentations tend to rank really well in Google for certain keywords.  Look at the Google search results for startup metrics:

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It would do you all so well if you could create your own decks on slideshare. It is inherently viral in nature. Things to Remember while creating content on Slideshare:

  • Create a compelling presentation:  keep in mind the quality of the content and attractiveness of your graphics.
  • Understand that your animations won’t be re-produced on Slideshare and that you are not going to present the deck. So your content should speak for itself.
  • Use nicely designed templates for creating the deck. You may use services like SlideRocket or PhotoSnack slide creation.
  • Ensure that the privacy setting is set to [Public] Everyone.
  • You can include Youtube videos in your presentations or “slidecast”, meaning you can sync an MP3 soundtrack.
  • Just like other Social Media channels, you can follow people, like their presentations, download and interact with them. Do that and slowly build a following.
  • Ensure that you keep your links in the presentation. It’s helpful not only in terms of driving traffic to your site but also gives you good SEO benefits.
  • Always have a call to action on the last slide and provide contact info. If people have made the effort to browse through all of your slides, then they definitely are prospects. Try and convert them.

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7) SEO:

In the earlier methods we have tried various content creation and distribution strategies and all of those add to your SEO efforts. Let’s break up the SEO strategy in to on-page and off-page SEO.  Remember Content is the King, always be creating content that’s valuable.

Refer this representation of the various factors influencing your SEO strategy:

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Highlighting the various steps one could take to improve the on-page SEO:

  • Valuable content and be hyper-relevant to a specific topic
    • Include subject in title tag
    • Include subject in URL
    • Include subject in image alt text
    • Specify subject several times throughout text content
    • Provide Meta description and meta keywords.
    • Crawler/ Bot accessible
      • Make sure there is no duplicate content.
      • Don’t block bots.
      • URLs should follow best practices around length, being static vs dynamic, and being included in any appropriate RSS feeds or XML Sitemap files.
      • Phenomenal UX
      • Make it easy for your users to share the content.  Shares on Social media sites act as strong signals for search engines.
      • Multi-devices ready.

And for your off-page SEO:

  • Share your content with your friends circle on all major Social networks.
  • Keep Blogging and if possible do guest blog on major blogs in your niche.
  • Engage on forums in your niche. Ensure that you add value to the forum and just not another spam backlink generator. Contrbuting to discussions in the group will establish you as an authority in your niche.
  • Submit your websites to the topmost quality directories like DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, ZoomInfo, One Mission, Pegasus, etc.
  • Social Bookmarking is yet another technique. Search engines love these sites and often track them. Ensure that you submit your contents to sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious etc. Also ensure to tag the contents properly.
  • You can try exchanging links with similar blogs.
  • Video promotions. Submit your videos on all major video upload websites like Youtube, Dailymotion etc. They are quality sources of traffic and helps you with your off-page SEO.
  • Contact Review sites to review your product or offerings.
  • Use Press Release service providers like PRMac or PRWeb to issue press releases. Gives you backlinks and in cases where the press release excites people, you might get a lot of additional coverage as well.
  • Get active on sites like Yahoo Answers, Cha-Cha, Answer bag etc.

These are in brief the few on-page and off-page SEO techniques you could employ in making your website more search engine friendly and with it gain significant amounts of traffic. Remember, always be creating content that’s valuable and extremely viral in nature.

8) Go Mobile:

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that you should go mobile just for the sake of getting more traffic to your website. With the smart phone explosion it’s suicidal if one is not on mobile. It’s so very important in terms of not losing your existing users, making their experience better, improving user retention, in being connected with the users 24*7 and all of this adds to your growth. It’s a call you need to make if you need to be on mobile as a native app or as a mobile web app based on the product/ service you provide. There is some amount of resource you would need to spend on building a native app and you would need to understand the returns it would give you to take a call on.  At Zoomdeck, this was a call we took and we did not even think twice. For a social network like us being on the app marketplace was a no-brainer both in terms of increasing our user base and also in terms of increasing the engagement our users would have with our app. The ability that an app provides to be in constant touch with your users is phenomenal. One wouldn’t want to spam the users, but an efficient use of the push notifications will go a long way in improving user retention.

A market place like the app store, google play or the amazon store opens up an entirely new channel for users to discover your product or service and engage. People spend crazy amounts of time on their phones and any product wouldn’t want to miss out on this. I have covered in detail the tips and tricks you need to employ to gain maximum from your appstore debut.

Few other articles on app store strategies:

9) Contests and Give Aways:

If executed properly Contests and Give Aways are a great way to engage your audience and build base. It’s very important to understand the exact reason you are running a contest. If you aren’t sure on that you would probably drift from the core thing you want to achieve and more often than not it would not give you a good ROI. You could run a contest:

  • To increase your social authority : Get Facebook likes or twitter/ pinterest followers and so on.
  • To drive more sales and with it revenue.
  • To build awareness and buzz around your product.
  • To collect email info and other customer information.
  • To generate new leads.
  • To engage you existing audience base.

Before you start a contest clearly define your end result and measure. Now based on the end result you want to achieve, create a very creative contest plan. Few examples of cleverly crafted contests are:

(i) Vera Bradley is fantastic at visual social media marketing and they created this awesome contest on Instagram. The contest asked people to post as many Instagram photos as they liked showing them wearing or carrying a favorite Vera Bradley bag. Submitting was as easy as including the #VBStyleShare hashtag when posting images to Instagram.

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The Vera Bradley Instagram contest was short – just about 4-5 days. At the end, 10 winners received a free wristlet.

(ii) Contiki  Vacation’s “Get on the Bus” Promotion : Contiki, a travel firm that caters to the 18-35 year-old demo, dropped a promotion in mid-February that let winter-weary web surfers imagine their perfect vacation. The winner got one of eight vacations worth around $25,000.

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The “Get on the Bus” promo challenged fans to get a crew with four friends together, choose a trip and then try to get as many votes as possible in order to win. the effort, which ran from February 23 through March 31, garnered 8,000 Likes for Contiki and generated more than 10 million ad impressions through Facebook shares, Likes, tweets and blog coverage. One reason for the success was a feature that let users and their friends create a bus, which incorporated music, movies, Likes and interests that users had in common via their Facebook profiles.

Summing up a few pointers to remember while running a contest:

  • Plan your contest based on the end-result you want to achieve.
  • Give meaningful prizes to your audience.
  • Always include more than one prize if possible. You could have one major prize and a few consolation prizes.
  • Always use multiple channels to promote your competitions so that more people see it and participate in it.
  • Try and keep the entry simple so that you get maximum participation. Have different levels in the competition that would increase the chances of people winning the competition.
  • Decide on the duration of your contest: I would say for a simple straight forward contest – 3 weeks would be ideal as it’s not too long or too short for you get good engagement. It would also depend on the type of contest you are running.
  • Do blog, tweet, make a facebook post, share across different platforms on announcing the winner. Experiences are the best form of give aways and always capture the winners moment. Creates an instant connect.

Check a few of the incredibly successful & awesomely creative campaigns but of course they all had a bit of budget as well. Never know, they might encourage you to try something really creative and innovative but not expensive though

(i) Heineken’s departure roulette was brilliant. It was expensive but made an instant connect with the audience. They set up a board at JFK’s Terminal 8 and dared travellers to play “Departure Roulette”—changing their destination to a more exotic location with the press of a button. They had to agree to drop their existing travel plans—without knowing the new destination first—and immediately board a flight to the new place.

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(ii) Or this brilliant campaign from TNT, this was incredibly viral :

(iii) “The Old Spice Guy” campaign was just phenomenal; its viral success is something that hasn’t been matched In the short history of Internet. Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice Guy, was able to pump out hundreds of hilarious videos at alarming pace in response to Old Spice Video commentators. They even had a Reddit thread to respond to others.

This one has more than 46 million views. Incredible.

(iv) Hugh Macleod is a professional cartoonist and his idea of releasing a succession of Daily Biz Cards was just brilliant.b

In his campaign he creates cartoon in which he targets a particular individual, a random person, a celebrity but always someone. His market is pretty huge and he would of course need a lot of visibility to build his business. He relied on the ego and the influence of several large names on the internet who would circulate or share the cartoon with their tribe giving him greater visibility. Brilliant stuff.image

(v) Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump vowed the world and is one of the most brilliant campaigns executed ever. Dubbed “the mission to the edge of space,” it featured Felix Baumgartner making a freefall jump from 24 miles above the earth last October. The jump broke five records, according to officials at Guinness World Records, and Mr. Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier without engine power. Mr. Baumgartner’s feat captured consumers’ attention the world over. TV stations, news reports and journalists all referred to the event as “Red Bull Stratos” rather than shortening it to simply “Stratos,” as is so often done with branded events.

The event was carried on nearly 80 TV stations in 50 countries. The live webcast was distributed through 280 digital partners and racked up 52 million views, making it the most-watched live stream in history.

There are plenty more of such brilliant and creative campaigns that’s been incredibly successful and pulled in a lot of visibility and conversions for the brands. The essence of the success of anything you do to leverage “Pull ” is to create quality content and to tap in to all channels to reach the audience who would get excited by it. Be smart, be creative and put in a bit of hard-work! Focus not just on getting traffic, but also focus on retaining your existing users and delighting them always! J

Mobile App Retention : One of the most Important metric marketers tend to neglect

Apple and Google have created a new era of mobile computing whose rapid growth is rivaled by the Internet boom of the 1990s. A recent research from ABI Research revealed an estimated 70 Billion app downloads in 2013 – 58 Billion to smartphones and 14 billion to tablets, that’s a total of over 10 apps downloaded per human being on earth.  The App Store has an estimated 775,000 apps as of Jan, 2013 and the Google Play/ Android has an estimated 800,000 apps as of Jan, 2013 ( Refer Fig.1)

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Figure 1

 With the market for apps being extremely crowded and the quality bar rising continuously, the era of the get rich quick apps have long gone by and the real challenge for the marketers/ App Entrepreneur is to gain a significant mindshare of their user base.

This is where the significance of Mobile App retention comes in. With so many apps to download and use on the app store, most of the apps get lost among the collection of apps downloaded by the user or gets deleted soon after download. It is estimated that in case of most apps within a period of 3 months, over ¾th of your customer base is long gone,

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Figure 2

Web marketers don’t stop marketing their product to the users who visited their website once. They use various techniques and channels to re-target that user. This is important because they understand the value of an existing customer or a user who has passed maybe a couple of stages in the Customer Funnel. However more often than not, in the mobile world marketers tend to forget the value of an existing user both in terms of the positive effect it can bring in driving more word of mouth and downloads and also in terms of the amount of additional revenue it can generate.

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Figure 3

In case of app store, the avg. cost of acquisition of a user is >$1. This leaves a common App Entrepreneur with a single purchase price of $0.99 with losses financially. Hence, it’s important for an App Entrepreneur to understand the financials involved in acquiring a user and the amount of money that can be generated from that user, which is nothing but ARPU ( avg. revenue per user).

Having a look at Figure 3 tells us that:

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Figure 4

As you can see , for your profits to increase basically you would have to increase your count of Active Users and ARPU and reduce the avg. cost of acquisition of users.

One basically improves on the Active User count by having the right techniques for retaining and engaging with existing users.

ARPU is again influenced by the user retention percentages. The more the user retention percentages, the more the avg. time spent on the app which directly correlates with the average revenue per user (in app purchases). With retention the LTV (lifetime value of a user) goes up significantly adding to the top-line.

There is also an indirect factor which people often tend to forget: With good retention and happy users, one drastically reduces the Cost of Acquisition of Users as through Word-of-mouth, the happy users will recruit a significant number of new users.

A small increase in your app’s user retention numbers can go a long way in adding a few more dollars in your kitty directly as well as indirectly. An eg:

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How does one improve User retention?

There are various things one should ensure as an App Entrepreneur to ensure a high user retention figure for your app and to create a brand of faithful users:

  • Create an app that is awe-inspiring, an app that is extremely useful or fun to use, an app that solves a particular problem or is extremely engaging and entertaining, an app that is beautiful in design. I could go on and on but the bottom-line is one has to create a world-class app for the user to come back again and again and open the app from the dozens of app one downloads on to their smartphone.
  • Analytics: Use analytics to understand user engagement on different pages which includes the bounce rate, avg. time of visit, frequency of visits, . Try and identify pages which have a high drop-off and do split testing to weed out the reasons for the same. Use free tools such as Flurry for analytics. Provide a mechanism for your users to reach you instantly either with an issue or a suggestion. It is critical in a lot of ways:
  1. Avoiding negative ratings on the app store from the few disgruntled users which would discourage new users from downloading your app.
  2. Understanding issues faced by the user which you wouldn’t have thought previously.
  3. Get suggestions and ideas for new functionalities. Use the app user for your research and survey actively to further improve the app.
  4. Giving means for users to contact you when in need just forms one part of the coin. It’s equally important for you to respond back immediately to further improve your relationship with the customer and make the user feel that he is cared for. This goes a long way in making the user an advocate of your app.
  5. Updating and improving the app constantly is yet another important factor. It is important not just because the app should improve both in terms of usability and functionality at a rapid pace but also because with each update the dormant user is prompted to come back to the app. Hence utilizing this is really effective.
  • It’s important to segment users based on their in-app behavior and interact with them differently. Craft a different strategy for different segments of users. There are a number of strategies apps in different segments use to engage with such users. Eg: In a travel app : Send special offers to a particular destination to people who have constantly kept track of the travel packages to that particular destination.
  • Communicate with dormant users with relevant content or any piece of information which would prompt them to log back in. Always use in-app messaging and push notifications to increase retention. Studies from Airpush have shown that push notifications increases engagement 4x times and increases retention 2x times. For eg: a Social media app could send a notification/message to one of its dormant users highlighting the activities of his/ her friends or by highlighting what’s new/ trending.
  • Engage on Social Media to build a good relationship with your users. This would result in a higher mindshare for your brand name in the minds of the user which would indirectly increase retention and word of mouth.
  • Create a reason for the user to log back in regularly either to win points or get a shot to enter the leaderboards. Gamification is yet another important aspect that will encourage users to come back to your app.

Hence, what I would say is that we App Entrepreneurs have a retention problem rather than a discovery problem. The ASO techniques are extremely important in getting you visibility on the app store and maybe a few downloads but with the plethora of apps on the app store and the relatively low barrier to delete an app from a mobile, the major challenge for us is to increase the user retention and with it the Lifetime value of our users.

App Store Optimization Strategy : Insights, tips and tricks

I have been doing a lot of research lately in trying to understand the various ways by which one could promote one’s app in the most cost effective way. In fact in my previous post, I had covered a lot of things a budding App Entrepreneur must take care of in order to get good traction during launch.

The Appstore is a gold mine for App Entrepreneurs and there is no questioning this fact. However the reality is that the money is eaten up by the Big guys more often than not. It’s extremely difficult for a new guy to get his App rated in the Top 10 or even the Top 100. I agree it’s a must that one should build an awesome app, but many a times having an awesome app doesn’t result in your app getting featured in the Top 10 if it doesn’t reach enough audience. And for that for a new entrant it’s important that he takes note of each and every thing that would boost the visibility of his/ her app and especially the ones that’s free ( for now, let’s forget the fact that Time’s money! J )

There are various channels one could use in advertising one’s app. A research from Apptentive shows the percentage distribution of the various App discovery methods.

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As you can clearly see, general browsing in the App Store forms the most significant chunk of this distribution chart. This is why it’s important for you to make your App Discoverable in the App store. The process of optimizing mobile apps so that it ranks higher In the App Store is known as ASO or App Store Optimization. The increased visibility on the App Store results in increased downloads for your app. There are a number of other studies that shows the same pattern. A study from Forrester also confirms the high volume of traffic generated through app store searches.

What are the parameters that determine your ranking in the App Store and hence require an optimization strategy for?

Title – The title of your app contributes heavily on your ranking in the App store, in fact I would say it has the maximum weight. Hence, it’s extremely important that you do your research before deciding on the title of your app. You can always try changing the title with every submission of a newer version however I wouldn’t suggest you to keep changing your app title as your app would have got mentions at various places and constantly fiddling with your title might in fact lose you a few new users.

Keywords- This is an equally important component that determines your ranking in the app store for various search queries. I will cover in detail, the various techniques and tips on doing your Keyword research and optimal use of these keywords in your app’s metadata.

App Description – It’s extremely important to have a clear, catchy message in your app description not only because it gives you a better chance for getting rated for a particular keyword but also because once your app gets discovered people read your description along with viewing your screenshots and reviews before taking a call on downloading your app. The keywords in your App description might not have the same weight as the ones in the Title and the Keywords section of your metadata but it is important nevertheless.

App Ratings and Downloads – This is yet another factor that indirectly influences your ranking for a particular keyword. This makes it very important for you to consider getting yourself rated for keywords that does not have extreme competition from apps that already has raked in thousands of downloads and reviews. Here in, the recent velocity of downloads and reviews matter rather than historic numbers.

Key things to understand and follow in ASO:

ASO is not something that you do once and you are done with. If you think you can put in enough effort on a regular basis to do your research, optimize and track the results then I would suggest you to not waste your time on ASO. ASO requires repeated monitoring of the performance of your Keyword strategy and chopping and changing the ones that does not perform or get you rated for, reasons being any.

Localizing the metadata of your app is extremely crucial if you want to further improve your chances of downloads. This might be an extended topic to cover in one single post, however I would highlight the gist of it. One easy way is to hire someone on Odesk, Elance or Copify and translate existing keywords where required, however, such a strategy won’t always bring you the best of results. I would suggest you to use a mix of tools like Google Translate, Google Keyword Tools and Google Trends to get you an idea of the volume of traffic various keywords can generate. I will do a separate post in detail on Localizing App metadata.

 Use some fantastic products out there in the market that does the heavy-lifting for you.

Appcod.es

MobileDevHQ

Appstoreranking

Searchman

App Annie

Xyo

These are some fantastic tools that you could use to understand the rankings, search volume, traffic etc for various keywords/ apps on the App store. Few of them would require you to pay a monthly subscription for getting access to their entire list of features but I must say it’s totally worth it. I however use a mix of Straply, Xyo and SensorTower without paying a penny for getting my keyword research done! J

While choosing your keywords you need to keep in mind a few things. The important factors that should determine your keyword selections are:

Search Volume – Target only those keywords that has a high search volume

Competition – Target keywords that has less competition

Strength of your Competition – It’s also important to understand the strength of your competition. If there are a number of popular apps with thousands of downloads using the same keyword you are thinking of using, then it’s better to avoid those as it would be highly difficult for you to get in to the top few for that Keyword.

Let’s understand the way people search on the App Store. According to a study this is how the search would be split:

80% of Searches are “Category” or “Genre” type searches

5% are for specific app titles

5-10% of searches are Inspiration Searches such as “great apps” or “new apps”

The remaining 5% are transactional searches where the users are looking for a particular app function like “write notes” or “filters for photos”

The problem with trying to get a slice of the Category or Genre based search is that the competition is just too high for a newbie. Targeting search for specific app titles and feeding of them is somewhat Blackhat in a way. However it’s entirely up to you to decide the methods you use. It might give a few initial downloads which is crucial for a new app, we can debate if it’s ethical or not later! J However try and use apps that are in your same niche and share similar audience which would give you a better conversion ratio.

The way I do my Keyword Research is:

Make an extended list of keywords used by apps In the same niche/ similar apps. Use Appstorerankings for getting this information:

imagePost making an extended list of keywords I use Straply to figure out related search terms, search volumes and Competition. I cross-reference the Search Volume on appstorerankings.net as well.

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I will create a list of Keywords for which the Search Volume is relatively high and the app competition is less. Again, the question is how do we estimate a reasonable level of competition? Remember that in an iPhone for every search, results are displayed one at a time. Hence it’s really important to avoid Keywords for which you think you cannot achieve a rank higher than 8 for good results.

Next I scan through search ratings against various Keywords for individual apps in my niche. This gives me even more Keyword choices. What you need to do is

Search for an app that is in your niche after you login to Straply (remember it’s free).

Click on the App name listed in the search results ( the one in the Apple Store)

Straply will show you a list of keywords for which the App is rated. Sort the list based on Search Volume and you will have the high volume list of Keywords for which the app is rated. Now try and figure out keywords for which the number of apps is significantly lesser.

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It might be a good idea to use Keywords that are specific app searches but there seems to be a big error in the spelling searched for. It might be an indication that the person would have just heard about an app and wants to try it out. Guess people like this are more open to trying out new stuff, so it’s always a good idea to present your app also in front of them! J (Grey hat I would say)

Also, use the Missed keyword Opportunities given by Straply to further see your options. There are a few that might be relevant to your niche/ app. It’s extremely important to use keywords that you can associate with your app or else you will finally end up losing downloads.

Now you have an extensive list of keywords you can play around with. Few important tips to note in finalizing your keyword list:

App Store allows you a maximum of 99 characters for the Keywords metadata. Try and utilize as much of this quota as possible.

Don’t use spaces after the comma that’s used to separate Keyword list. For eg: “pic,photo,cam,camera,filter”

Try and avoid using long keywords as far as possible

Split search queries like “tag photos” into “tag,photos” . You will get rated for both the keywords and the “tag photos” search as well.

Use the keyword set you have finally decided upon through all of your efforts and then track how you are doing for various search queries and keywords. Try and change quickly the keywords for which you aren’t performing well. Keep trying out various combinations to get your best set of keywords. I would suggest you to localize at least the metadata of your app as well to see great results.

To conclude, ASO is a great tool for you to greatly improve your app discoverability. However, it involves your time and effort. Get discovered and you are half way there to succeeding on the App Store.

References:

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/app-store-optimization/

http://makeappmag.com/how-choose-keywords-apple-app-store-seo/

Poor Man’s Guide to a great App Launch

How to Plan for your App Store Debut:

Building an exceptionally good app is hard enough and if you thought that was the toughest part, think again! Marketing an app and getting it into the top 100 of the app store is even more difficult (There is an estimated 775,000 apps in the app store). Of course anything’s achievable with a great app and an even greater marketing budget, but then what do you do if you are a normal Indie game developer or is a college graduate stepping in to the world of apps, have built a great app and deserves a share in the app store?

The first and foremost thing for any app to be successful is to have a great experience. Nothing can help you if the app ain’t world class. But then the app in itself being “Awesome” does not guarantee you app store success. For that you would need to plan your app launch meticulously.

I normally split the app launch cycle in to 3 parts:

1) Pre – Launch

2) Launch Day – Day Zero

3) Post – Launch

Pre – Launch Phase:

1. Create a splash page much before you launch your app. Collect e-mail addresses so that you could notify them when you launch your app. I recommend www.Launchrock.com for creating and deploying your splash page. Ensure that you create a great splash page that excites the user and makes them key in their e-mail ID for notification. Also, exceptional Splash Pages that starts trending on Launchrock gets featured by them further increasing your visibility.

2. Create a Facebook and a Twitter Page. Start engaging with your audience. Facebook and Twitter are great channels to drive targeted users. ( Facebook and Twitter marketing is a powerful method and I will write a separate post on how to build your Facebook and Twitter Following).

3. Create banners which are 640х100 iPhone 25 kb jpeg or png. Reach out to as many applications in the same niche as possible and try and buy spots on their pages. Can be expensive but try getting one or two. This would give a stream of downloads. Note that buying display Ad spots can be a little expensive so, chose carefully. Do not over spend. 2011 numbers shows that 30% of all app traffic is from in-app advertising and cross promotions.

4. Create a Press page on your website with all the necessary information. Also, create an e-mail draft to be sent out to the press/ blog reviewers etc. It’s very important that you create a quality e-mail draft to be sent out to the Press. Remember that the reporters receive hundreds of requests for coverage/ review everyday. Hence it’s very important to be precise and catchy with your description. Do keep in mind the following things while drafting the message (you can hire someone from Elance.com, Odesk.com or Copify.com if you think you need help):

·         ·         The name of your app exactly as it is spelt on the App Store.

·                   What it does and why it is different?

·                   The price.

·                   One link to your product page (Your website).

·                   One link to the iTunes product page.

·                   One or two screenshots.

·                   A video – No longer than 30 seconds. Remember this is a very important component. Many a times the reporter would play the video in trying to understand your app before heading to your app page. This leaves the first impression, so ensure it’s quality stuff and excites the reporter.

·                   A description in a concise paragraph. Say who your audience is, what your app does?

·                   What sets it apart from the Crowd?

·                   Contact information. An email address and not a link to a contact form.

·                   Skype IDs, Twitter IDs

I’m giving below a Sample Draft that gives you a fair idea of a good draft. Note that the below is for an app that lets people add interactivity to images:

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Subject: “App Name” for iPhone makes your Images Talk.

Spotted something interesting you would want to share with the entire world or something you would want to know more about? Want to share your stories and memories? Yes, “App Name” provides an easy, fun and an elegant way to do that. We let you add annotations (We call them “Spots”) on images and link it to rich media to highlight the interesting elements and stories in an image. Each spot gets its own thread of conversation which makes the conversation highly contextual. The user can join in on any conversation and start engaging in just seconds. This free app also enables the user to explore a plethora of interesting images along with the elements and stories that make them up. Wait, that’s not all, we let you create the rich interactive experience right there on your website as well in a completely hassle-free and effortless manner! It’s fun and highly engaging.

“App Name” lets you:

·                  Take Snaps in a flash and highlight the interesting elements in them using “App Name” Spots

·                  Share the stories and memories in a photo using spots.

·                  Effortlessly Link Video, Audio, Maps, Wikis, Photos, links to Amazon, Etsy, Fancy or any other portal on the web to any spot.

·                  Have engaging & contextual conversation around each spot.

·                  Explore & discover a plethora of interesting photos along with the elements and stories that make them up.

·                  Seamlessly embed your photos with the spots anywhere on the web

·                  Share your spots on Twitter and Facebook with a single click.

“App Name” ( Free) is available for download now at the iTunes Store ( iTunes address ) and you can read more about it at www.appname.com. Here is a video of “App Name” in action ( Link here ). You can also find attached a couple of Screenshots.

Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions about the app or would need a promo code. I would be happy to answer your questions. Thank you in advance for considering my app for review,

E-Mail: [email protected]

Skype ID: “abc”

Check : http://maniacdev.com/2012/05/ios-app-review-sites for a great list of Blog/ Review site whom you would definitely need to contact.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

5. Create a perfect App description to be displayed in the App store. I can’t stress upon how important this aspect of your app is. This is what your consumers would read first, hence ensure that you create an extremely compelling description. Also, Create localized and translated App description. You never know who all from where all are going to download your app. So ensure you have the app description localized. Try Elance.com or Odesk.com to get contractors.

Many a times, people forget the importance of KeyWords in your app description. A lot of your app downloads are going to happen organically through the Search function in the app store. Hence, ensure that you take time and think through properly on the keywords you would want to use so that you get maximum exposure on Search. IMP Notes on Keyword:

·         There is no need to include your app name as a keyword.

·         Separate your keywords with only a comma, not a comma and a space. Writing them like this, “memory,language,card” will help you to make the most of your 100 character limit.

·         Use tools like Google Keywords to research keywords.

·         You may only change your app name or keywords with the release of a new version. So think through and research your decisions.

·         If you don’t think a keyword is performing or being searched often, feel free to replace it with another keyword when you release your next version.

·         Do searches inside the App Store to see how your app ranks for important search terms.

6. Create BRILLIANT screenshots. Again, this is really important. First impression is always a lasting impression. You have may be 5 seconds to get the attention of the user before he swipes and moves on to another app on the app store. So ensure you create high quality screenshots, doesn’t matter even if you have to slightly edit the originals.

7. Identify Youtube reviewers to reach out to on a one-one basis. There are quite a lot of reviewers on Youtube with a large subscriber base. I must say, Youtube is one of the most viral of all the channels.

8. As soon as your App is reviewed and accepted, change the app launch date to your desired date of Launch. Its default date would be the date of submission of the app for review.

9. Try and utilize this period before your official launch. Generate Promo-codes from the app store.  Send out the promo-codes generated to app reviewers and try pushing it out through Facebook and Twitter. A maximum of 50 promo-codes per release is given by Apple, so ensure you send it to people who are willing to write reviews. Try and submit a small update to get another bunch of 50 promo-codes before launch if required.

·         Ensure the promo-codes are sent correctly and people don’t have to type it in to redeem. It can be tedious. Send them the direct links. Usehttp://redeem-now.com/ or http://www.appcodes.com/ for sending out direct promo-code links to download.

·         Run a contest on Facebook/ Twitter to give away the promo-codes if required.

·         Run a small contest on Review sites if possible and give away a few promo-codes for the winner.

Launch

1. Launch on a Tuesday. You will find a lot of varying opinions on this. I strongly believe Tuesday is the best day to launch. It gives you enough number of days to gain momentum so as to feature in the app store Top 100 by the weekend when maximum downloads happen. ( Breaking in to the Top 100 of your respective category is crucial if you want to drive organic downloads).

NOTE: Apple calculates rank based on the downloads/ activity on the last 4 days. Get your app in to the top 100 by a weekend when most downloads happen and will get a lot of organic downloads-

Rank (Day)  = (Day*8) + (Day-1)*5 + (Day-2)*5 + (Day-3)*2

2. Submit/ distribute your press release. Try http://prmac.com – this service is inexpensive and has huge reach. $22 for the extended service – these releases are picked up by serious players in the mobile industry. Others to try arehttp://www.prweb.com/ and more premium services like NewsWirePR – expensive but have 80,000 + industry influencers who could make a big difference

3. Get social. Use your own social network, and friend’s social networks to push updates. Run a contest and entice people to share the app with their friends. You can even buy posts on Large pages. There are quite a few pages with a large audience who would willingly share your posts for a fixed pay.

4. Reach out to Youtube reviewers whom you would have already contacted and make them post review videos.

 

Post-Launch

One day after launch

5. The day after launch, activate cross promotional campaigns using the banners created before launch. Do cross promotion from a network of Applications, related to your app’s category. In 2011, around 30% of all app traffic is from in-app advertising and cross promotions

6. Write and create threads on Forums. MacRumours, TouchArcade, Tuaw, Mac-forums, IGN.com,  etc,

7. Post to Hacker News.

Two days after launch

8. Two days after launch – follow up on any coverage received till date. Thank the people who covered your app. Tweet their posts and write comments on the articles.

9. Continue to create more threads, respond to people who have written on your posts

10. Follow up with all the YouTube Reviewers

11. Send people in the application a push notification to leave one positive review if they are enjoying the application. Ensure that you don’t bug your users too much with these requests but then it’s important as well that you gain a lot of positive reviews. It’s a fact that people who have had a bad experience with the app would instantaneously drop a negative review while people who liked the app have a much lesser chance of giving you a positive review. Hence, encourage them to drop a good note that would drive a lot of organic downloads going forward.

Three/Four days later…

12. Engage more on Social Media Channels.