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SZYMON NOWAKApril 27, 2020

How to promote Mobile App for Free? 16 Ideas

Quick introduction (Have a look at no. 11, you won't regret it.)

Here at NS Code, we have been working in the mobile app development industry for plenty of time. Our customers have been happily using applications hand-crafted by us but there is one place that can be always improved - promotion and marketing.

However, often a successful app is not scored by how beautiful it is or how many hours of development there was to develop it, but how much revenue it generates. There are few ways to improve it by using creative promotion which is - most important - free. Can it be any better? Free ideas for boosting sales? (well, maybe creating an app with us?)

Anyway, let's jump right into it.

1. Social Media

The first thing that comes to my mind about promoting your app is social media. But not just Facebook and Instagram. Go omni-style. Be creative and try to promote your app on every possible platform that you can think of. Just a few to try:

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube

Prepare some eye-catching content (just like heading of this article 😉) and go everywhere you can. It's always better to get 1-5 more users by posting something on new media, than getting no one.

2. Newsletter

If you have your mailing list, it's awesome. If not, why don't you? (P.s. how about joining our mailing list?) Mailing lists are very useful lead-generation machines. Why? Because you've got direct contact with your clients. You can send them personalized content, messages, and offers. For our team, mailing lists are the best source of leads when we talk about conversion rates.

Give your contacts a quick note about your app. Let them know, that you've got your very own app. Maybe create an offer only for your newsletter subscribers? It's your creativity that now must decide what to do.

3. Influencers

Right now influencer marketing is a very powerful source of generating new users/sales. List as many influencers connected with your app's industry as possible. Don't hesitate to contact them with cooperation inquiries in mind. The most simple way to have them promote your app for free is by creating an offer only for their followers. If your app is paid, a great way is to give a share of sales generated by the influencer.

4. Alternative App Stores

Apple App Store and Android Google Play Store are the most recognizable app stores. But there are plenty of other app stores which can be used to catch new users. Some of the third-party app stores pay for downloads and often offer more lucrative app deals than App Store / Play Store.

Here are some of the best alternatives for Android:

  • Amazon App Store
  • Huawei AppGallery

And iOS:

  • GetJar
  • AppLand

5. Local Press

It is very simple to get noticed by the local press (we mean, websites, not paper). Find some small sites about tech that are making lists of new mobile apps. Prepare press kit (app description, screenshots, app logo) and ask them kindly to promote you.

Maybe create promo codes for readers? Or promote the press in-app? It is up to you, but don't forget about this source of users.

6. A/B Test your icon

People like nice-looking things. Your icon is the first thing that they see in app store. A/B Tests are very easy to perform. But hold on, what is it in the first place?

A/B of icons is just showing two (or more) different variants of your icon and letting users decide which one is better. The easiest way is just to show your users/customers two variants of your app icon and ask them which one they like more.

If you want to go a step further there are some free and paid services for A/B testing. Android developers have A/B test built-in Play Store Developers Console.

7. Check your screenshots.

You can always take better screenshots. Screenshots are an essential marketing resource in mobile app development. People want to see what's inside your app before they download/pay for it.

Maybe try some kind of composition? Add some catching headings? Here are some examples that got our attention:

Headspace screenshots

Todoist App Screenshot

8. Link your app in an email

I bet that you are sending more than 10 emails a week. Even if no - why don't you add a link to your app in your signature?

Every time you send an email with an offer or just a note to your friends let everyone know that you've got your app. It is very simple to add one link (or QR Code if you want to be fancy) to your messages and generate some additional users.

9. Linkedin & Facebook groups

When we talked previously about social media in general, here we go more in-depth.

Firstly, LinkedIn. At LinkedIn everyone wants to sell something - and that's fine. Do not hesitate to find potential clients or people that would help you with promoting your app.

Secondly, Facebook Groups. It is a very specific place where you can promote your apps. Try to find groups related to your app theme/industry. However - read carefully all groups rules. Ask group administrators if it's okay to promote the app and remember about the most important step - communicate with group members. Help them, ask them for reviews, ask them for feedback. Be a part of the community.

10. Dribbble/Behance

Dribbble and Behance are the destinations to find & showcase creative work and home to the world's best design professionals. It is a good idea to showcase your app here. Create great designs and mockups of your app, tell a story about them, and show them to the world of designers. It is very likely that you get valuable feedback from top designers and get new users.

11. ASO

ASO - App Store Search Optimization is a term known for people connected to the mobile app industry. In other words - ASO means optimizing content in your app description/tags to maximize your potential search rankings in stores (just like SEO and websites).

You can use some of the tips&tricks that we list here:

  • Do Keyword Research.
  • Use A/B tests for Icon and Screenshots.
  • Add to the app's name extra keywords (e.g. Headspace: Meditation & Sleep).
  • Localize your product page.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors and be reactive

12. Integrate Social media in the app

An easy way to be heard (and shared). If your app integrates for example authentication with social media providers (e.g. Sign In with Facebook) it's reasonable to add some social interactions within the app.

For example:

  • Share photos from your app.
  • Invite friends to get a reward.
  • Share an article from the app (e.g. via Facebook / Twitter).

13. Tell your friends

That easy. Your app probably is one of your sources of income. Don't be scared of other's people opinions and just tell all your friends that you've got an app. They should be happy and ready to support you.

14. Record a podcast / take place in one

The audio game in 2020 is getting more and more important. Podcasts are getting more popular and they are a great way to advertise. If you are doing your podcast, try to record one episode describing the problem that your app solves and promote it during the podcast.

However, if you are not a producer on your own, there are a lot of people ready to sit down with you and talk about real problems. Why don't you ask them to help you with advertising? One mention about the app shouldn't be any real problem and you might get new users easily.

15. Encourage users to write review

Ask your clients for review in app stores. App reviews (positive, of course) are very highly scored when we talk about ASO. Asking your clients by showing a popup once in a while for review may skyrocket your position in app stores.

However - don't be spammy. No one likes getting pop up after pop up with CTAs. It applies to all points listed here.

16. Offer free trials

When your app is paid, offer free trials - in any way suitable for you. It might be a Lite version of your app / limited time offer / or big discount for first X users.

People like to try an app before buying it. When you can't provide them anyway of testing your app - it's more likely they won't buy it.


Above all listed here, always listen to your customers. They are your main source of feedback because they use your app! Maybe you might find the most accurate marketing channel within your current user base.