Chances are, you’re an indie Android Developer. You just finished an app and are about to release it on the Play Store then it hits you: you don’t have a way to get those downloads going. It hits you so hard that you might as well as gone well back in time and and fought in the civil war.
No, really though, gaining prosperity in the market isn’t an easy task. It takes some companies thousands, maybe millions of dollars to get an app going, while you stare down at your bank account with only enough money for a cheeseburger.
“But Eric, I thought you live in England. Why are you speaking in dollars?”
You shut up now.
This is going to be a guide to getting your app into prosperity in the Android market and still being able to buy that cheeseburger later tonight.
It’s noteworthy that I’m definitely not the first guy to talk about a $0 marketing plan, some guys have done amazing jobs at it like this guy on Quora, but this guide lives to tell you how to go even further beyond with the power of Firebase.
The Standard Stuff
This is probably the first good $0 budget article you stumbled upon, so I’ll talk about the standard non-Firebase-y stuff here as well. If you’re already well versed in this art, you can skip to Going Even Further Beyond with Firebase below.
USPs (Unique Selling Points)
Firstly, if you haven’t developed your app with your USPs in mind, mate you’re in for a rough time. Your USPs exist to make your app stand out in the market and if you ain’t got any of these, your app ain’t gonna stand out in the market.
I have an app called Class-ify School Planner, and here are its selling points which I planned WAY before development
- Clean, easy-to-navigate interface
- Colorful icons
- Quick input flows
- Customisable colour palette
- Collaborative “Peer System”
On top of that, you gotta make sure when one of your potential users visits your app’s page on the Play Store, you want them to get SOLD on your app. This means a beautiful app icon and screenshots that show you put in effort like you did when you and your first girlfriend started going out (assuming you ever had one my fellow programmer).
ASO (App Store Optimisation)
There are really only a number of ways to make your app more visible in market searches without Facebook’s number of downloads, but you gotta do what you can.
- Pick a keyword
- Put it in the name
- Put it at least 5 times in the description
- Get backlinks all over the internet
Backlinks are a biggie. If you don’t know what they are, they’re links to your app’s page anywhere on the internet that isn’t a social media platform. The more backlinks you have around the web, the higher your app’s search ranking is gonna be.
Well, anywhere is a lie. Some sites have links that are considered “no-follow” which means they don’t contribute to backlink juice, but value any link equally. If they can’t be a backlink, they can still act as a referral link to take potential users to your app’s page which is what you want in the first place.
Reddit and Quora
Online forums are a great way to reach out to potential users. Quora has people asking away for solutions to all their problems, and if any of those are problems your app can solve, that’s free real estate to advertise away (try to sound genuine though, not like one of those door-to-door salesmen). Note that with Quora, consistency is king. Keep finding questions that relate to your app, and maybe one of them will go viral as many answers do on Quora.
Reddit includes sub-forums for just about everything with tons of people subscribed to each one. Find the right one and make a cheeky post about your app (again, try to sound genuine and make sure to read the rules of the sub-reddit before posting away). I did this with the recently released Dota Soundboard of mine and got 15 comments in a single day.
Application Reviewers on Youtube
These guys have followers who are actively seeking to try out new apps. As long as you don’t sound like an intrusive door-to-door salesman, you can make use of these people and make use of the comments section as more free real estate to your advertisement. You can also cheekily ask the reviewer himself to talk about it. You never know what fortune may come your way.
Going Even Further Beyond with Firebase
If you think everything until now was a reworded copy of that Quora post I linked earlier, you’d be right, but here’s where it gets interesting.
While Firebase includes many services to increase user engagement with existing users (which you don’t have), it does have a couple ways to get you new users. Particularly:
Firebase Dynamic Links
Dynamic Links will be the primary player here, because it’s the only one that does something before users install your app. In a nutshell, they’re links to installing your app that include data your app can identify so that it can give your users an extra bonus, so users have more incentive to download your app. For example, if your app has a premium version, you can offer a free trial period if a user downloads your app with that link.
Firebase App Indexing
In the case where a user downloads your app and never uses it again but still keeps it in the app drawer (this happens a lot), app indexing will be your primary way of re-engaging your users. Basically, if a user does a Google Search for content that can be found in your app, Google will instead present your app in the search and that user will be able to open your app from there. You could even redirect the user to the right activity in your app.
Firebase Cloud Messaging
This also requires users to already have your app installed. All Cloud Messaging does is send a cheeky notification to your users usually to tell them about things like great deals. If you want to get extra cheeky, you can disguise your advertisement in ways such as using the notification to ask for feedback or some real ass-pull like that. Maybe you’ll hit both birds with one stone.