Guerrilla Marketing for your local app

Have you developed the next great app for your local community, and want to market it?

Are you short on marketing budget, and want some other ways to market your local app?

In this article, we’ll look at some guerrilla marketing strategies you can implement to get the people around you more aware of your app, and hopefully drive your downloads and rankings higher.

Step 1 in Guerrilla Marketing: Talk to influencers in your city or region

Just about every region has bloggers, journalists, and even Yelp Elite. Reach out to them specifically, and pitch your idea to them. They cover things that are happening in your locale, so you just have to get their attention. This is usually a free way to get a good community base built up for your app.

Open your email with something like “Hey, you are THE expert in ___, so I wanted to get your opinion about my new app.” Stroke their ego a bit, and then encourage them to try out the app and tell you what they like about it and what they’d prefer you add or change. You’ll get valuable feedback, and possibly even a write-up about your app.

Leverage social media advertising

You may or may not already know this, but Facebook and Twitter are great ways to market your app. Create an account for each one, and engage your app’s users about its progress and other updates. Your goal with the Facebook page and Twitter account isn’t to drive downloads; instead, the idea is to engage the community of users you already have. They’ll help you bring in more users through word-of-mouth.

You should also consider leveraging Facebook ads, which have been very beneficial to others in marketing their apps. A little-known fact about Facebook advertisements is that you can target them to people near your locale, so you aren’t wasting your advertising dollars on people who can’t even use your app. Apps like Applauze/955 Dreams have seen ten-fold higher click-through rates and half the cost per install using Facebook Ads than with any other user acquisition strategies.

Approach online and real-life communities

Many cities have online and real-life groups that you can approach about demonstrating your app. While some of these groups frown on promotion, quite a few of them will also welcome demos of new apps. Just be prepared to give a professional presentation, and encourage feedback from the attendees about your app.

One way to find these communities, actually, is a Web page. Meetup is designed to help neighbors get together to learn new things, share ideas, and do cool things. Looking for a Meetup near you that’s relevant to your app is a guerrilla marketing tactic that could go a long way towards getting you the exposure you want.

Tim Perry, the developer behind concentration booster Build Focus, found that engaging with MeetUp organizers can lead to a huge amount of enthusiasm for his app. One such organizer has been networking constantly for Build Focus, working wonders for the app’s marketing efforts. This helps get the app into the hands of users who will benefit from it, and engages a larger community.

Take it to the streets

The last guerrilla marketing strategy that’s worth considering is good old-fashioned street marketing. You want to be smart about this, though, because your time is a valuable resource. Look for upcoming events related to your app, and show up with flyers. Even post cards with a QR code and the Web page address for your app can suffice for this.

Gina Blaze, founder of motivational app DeclareIt, hands out business cards with the link to her app’s Web page. These business cards have greatly increased the exposure to her app, generating the majority of DeclareIt’s downloads. Proving the point even further, restaurant feedback and secret shopper app Servy has seen downloads increase by as much as 20 percent during warmer months when they stand outside restaurants with long lines and hand out cards promoting the app.

Conclusion

These guerrilla marketing strategies will help you generate downloads and improve your search rankings on the App Store or Google Play Store. It’s not impossible to get national coverage for regionalized apps; we’ve successfully gotten region-specific apps covered, but it’s much more challenging.

The final piece in the puzzle is to make sure you don’t forget other marketing strategies, especially good App Store Optimization practices. For more ideas, check out our article on ways you can get your app noticed.

Jeff Butts

Jeff Butts

General Manager at AppMasters
Jeff is the general manager at AppMasters, responsible for client care and overseeing all of the content you read here. Jeff has a deep background in technology journalism and public relations, along with teaching experience with writers and technology majors alike. He's also a penultimate geek, into everything from LotR and Dr. Who to Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.
Jeff Butts