Mobile App Marketing 101: Tips For A Successful Pre-Launch

By April 19, 2019Game Marketing
mobile app marketing

Do you have a mobile app marketing plan for the pre-launch of your new game? If not, the time to start is right now.

When it comes to mobile app marketing, there are dozens of strategies that you can use to help get your  game noticed from basic optimization techniques to more advanced Facebook marketing and other clever hacks.  

So, today we’ll break down some of the must-dos for gaining exposure that you can do pre-launch to get people buzzing about your game. You can use any or all of these excellent tips to help you not only promote your game but create a successful marketing strategy in the process too.

Are you ready to learn the best app marketing strategies to do pre-launch?

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Then let’s go!

Mobile App Marketing 

1. Do Your App Store Research

For any app or game to be a success, research is crucial. So, take the time to analyze the App Store and figure out what people are playing and why. When you research the top performing games and the latest trends, you’ll have a better idea of what’s currently working. Use your findings to help you design the type of game that players are interested in playing.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, in our 10 Things Every Indie Developer Should Know post; we explain how to do App Store research step-by-step. It’s easy to do. Just choose the platform that you plan on releasing your game on and analyze the top charts as well as in your niche (i.e., action arcade). Take notes on anything that jumps out to you. Is there a specific art style that you keep seeing or gameplay type? Review these top games’ store listings then download and play them. Use what you find to apply what works to your game’s design for a higher appeal.  

Many developers neglect this critical step, which means if you take action and do your research, you’ll have an automatic edge over the competition.

2. Model Other Successful Apps And Their Marketing Strategy

Success always leaves clues. Aim to not only model other successful games but their marketing strategy too. If they can do it, so can you. Start by choosing three to five of the top indie games in your potential app category (i.e., top free racing games). Then start digging deeper into the game’s history and developer. Make a note of anything that stands out. Read their reviews. Visit the developer’s site, see what social platforms they’re using, and some of the other apps they’ve also released. Then dig even deeper by Googling the app name’s to find any recent press. Jot down what you discover and use it as a guide for your mobile app marketing strategy.

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3. Get On Social Media

All of your potential players are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get your game out there too. Create social media accounts or pages to represent your app. Include a link and call-to-action in your bio to encourage people to download. Social media is a great tool to use to build up a fan base. You can generate buzz and followers by consistently posting cool screenshots, updates, demo trailers, tips, and announcements. Try to choose the most used platforms of your competitors as starting points and work from there to avoid overwhelm.

When your game is ready, you can use the advertising features on Facebook along with other social platforms to gain traction and promote your game.

4. Start A Game Dev Blog

Documenting your game development journey is another excellent way to promote your app and establish a following. Both gamers and other developers enjoy seeing the ‘making’ or process of a game. Minecraft creator, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson launched his hit game using a game dev blog and social media. He didn’t spend a cent advertising and had millions of die-hard fans before the game was even released. Starting a game development blog is a great way to push your upcoming app and motivate you.

5. Make A Killer App Landing Page / Microsite

Having a landing page or microsite for your game is also a smart app marketing tactic. Take some of your best screenshots and trailers and post them on the page. Add info about the game, and your indie studio with contact info. For further exposure, embed a signup section to collect visitors emails so you can send them updates or tips. Pre-launch you can have them sign up to get a notification when your new game releases and post-launch to share secret tips or tricks for earning a high score. Also, when you’re setting up your microsite, make sure the URL address includes your game’s name for better visibility on Google.

You can link your game dev blog, social media, and even add a press kit link to cross-promote your app too.  

6. Pitch to Press

If you want to establish your indie studio and get people talking, you’ll need to get some press. Getting the attention of a gaming journalist or reviewer will put you on the upcoming game’s radar.

The best way to get press is to have an easily accessible press kit on hand and then do email outreach. Here’s a complete guide on the process with resources:

Create a press kit with high-resolution screenshots, your game’s icon, banners, a demo video, and a press release document with info about your game and your studio. Then start pitching.

Quick Tip: Save your press kit in a Dropbox folder or Google drive for quick access. Also, include it on your site as a link or downloadable form.

First research the top game journalists that cover similar games and compile a list of names. Then draft an email telling them about your new game. Keep it short but descriptive with a trailer video link and offer your press kit.

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7. Connect With More Game Developers

Journalists aren’t the only people you should be connecting with to market your app. Gamers and other developers in the indie mobile scene can help you out too. There are tons of great indie game development forums with boards for promoting and networking. You never know who you might meet or what tip that you’ll find that will be a total game-changer for your app.

Most forums have designated boards for sharing your game, finding beta testers, getting feedback, collaborations and partnerships. The more people know about your game, the better.

Try joining popular forum like TIGSource, TouchArcade, and of course the Buildbox forum. 😉

8. Reach Out To Social Influencers

Another mobile app marketing tip to follow is to reach out social influencers across different platforms. Most influencers have thousands to millions of followers that could be potential players and fans of your awesome game. A single post, mention, or tweet could drive a considerable amount of interest and traffic with the possibility of your app becoming viral. You can reach out to social influencers early and give them free promo code or access to your game before its official release date. Use tools like Buzzsumo, HypeAuditor, and FollowerWonk.

9. Generate Buzz With A Promo / Gameplay Trailer

Your mobile app marketing strategy should also include some epic visuals to attract and spark interest in your upcoming game. Create an entertaining gameplay trailer showcasing the coolest features in your game. This trailer should be anywhere between 30 to 90 seconds. Skip the menu screen and get straight to the good stuff — the gameplay. Highlight what makes your game great.

Post your video on YouTube and your other social media accounts. And don’t stop there, create several versions and teasers to use as you near the release of your game too. You can take clips from your video and make GIFs to share as well.

10. Optimize Your App Store Listing

Last but not least is optimization. For better rank and discoverability in the App Store, you have to optimize your listing. App Store Optimization (ASO) involves making sure your app visuals, name, description, and keywords are ideal for maximum exposure. Make sure your game’s icon is attention-grabbing, and all of your screenshots highlight the best parts of your game. Add your epic game trailer to your listing too. The goal is to get players excited about trying out your app.

Use your previous App Store research and tools like SensorTower and Keyword.io to see which terms your competitors are using. You can read our guide on finding ASO keywords for more detailed steps. Then choose the most relevant keywords for your game and try to include them in your app’s description as well. Your game name should also be catchy and memorable.

Remember to thoroughly test and polish your game before hitting that submit button to make your app great.

These mobile app marketing tips are just some of the steps that you can take for a successful pre-launch. It’s all about having a plan and taking action!

Tiana Crump

About Tiana Crump

Tiana Crump is the social media manager and staff writer for Buildbox. She's an avid game enthusiast with 5 years professional writing experience primarily focused in online, social and mobile gaming.

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