Guerilla Marketing for Mobile Apps

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If all of your marketing tactics are pretty traditional, adding something unconventional to the mix can give your marketing efforts a boost. Guerilla marketing means using unusual tactics in a difficult situation to advance and get ahead. And since small marketing budgets and big competition can fall into the category of “difficult situation,” guerrilla marketing can help you push through and capture customers in unexpected ways.

One take on unconventional marketing strategy is to decide what you don’t want to be. If you’ve created an app that has direct competition in the market, determining a distinct difference between you and your competition can lay the foundation for your guerilla marketing campaign.

For example, let’s say you’ve developed a drawing app for kids, and you look at your competition and see that they are really talking down to kids or that they are only providing templates that don’t really tap into the kids’ creativity. Your app, on the other hand, truly treats the user (whether it’s the child or the parent) as an artist. So you decide you don’t want to be a mobile coloring book. Your app, instead, is a sketch pad for young artists. Now you’ve differentiated yourself and chosen an entry point for your guerilla campaign.

You could partner with your local museum to offer free trials of your app to all patrons. You could even stand outside the museum on a Saturday and hand out inexpensive art kits, assembled with materials from the dollar store, and a promotional QR code that invites the parents to download your app for their budding artist. Or you can take it on a bigger scale. If there’s an affordable art event in your town (often held in a convention center) you could distribute your QR code there, as families are queuing up to get into the building. Something that keeps the kids busy while the parents shop for art is a big draw, and you could get several in-the-moment downloads if you have the right message and the right pitch.

You can look to other industries for inspiration. How are other small business or individuals marketing themselves? Could you donate free versions of your app as a donor gift for a local non-profit in exchange for promotional space at their next event? Could you offer your expertise as a guest lecturer at your local community colleges or universities? Consider your core audience, visualize their typical day, and find ways to get yourself and your software in front of them, where they live and work and play.

Consider the risks of guerrilla marketing and be sure to ask permission if you’re distributing your message in front of or inside a business. Stories of companies who’ve gotten backlash for leaving hard-to-remove stickers or releasing massive quantities of balloons (to the detriment of local wildlife) abound. Consider what the community will think and feel about your effort before you dive in.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other types of unconventional marketing tactics; you have to determine how much time and energy you have to put into these efforts.

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