17 Ways on How to Promote Your App For Free25 min read

by Cihan Ilter
man presenting in front of a team

Do you want to know how to promote an app? Not just promote app but do it without spending a single dime. 

A lot of people have wondered about it. After all, if you can promote an app for free, then that would be a great way to maximize limited resources.

Thankfully, there are just so many ways to bring out the word about your app. Some of them are easy to do, while others may need more creativity.

So, if you want to improve your app’s popularity, reach, and most importantly, revenue, then you should not miss the best ways to promote your app.

What does it mean to promote your app for free?

Professionals using laptop and smartphones to promote app

After countless hours of designing and creating your app, you finally hit the launch button. However, you know that app stores are already saturated with millions of apps. Without proper promotion, your app would soon be forgotten.

Soon, you’ll realize that app creation is only just half of the work. You also need to market it to your target audience.

Promoting your app for free means that you are going to promote your app without spending money on it or in some cases, spend the lowest amount possible. This is helpful especially when you are on a tight budget or you want to direct your resources to other aspects of your business.

Now, here’s something you need to remember: promoting your app for free does not mean there’s no work involved. In fact, there could be more work needed to be done since you’re going to promote your app with no money involved.

With this in mind, let us now go through our list of how to promote your app in the most cost-effective way possible.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

1. Create apps people will love

Woman looking at her phone while smiling.

Promoting your app starts right before you even sit down and create the first design codes. The truth is that popular apps are not simply popular because they are cute, but rather, they are something people love.

That’s why, when you create an app, be sure there’s a demand for it. You must aim to solve a specific problem or create an app that entertains people. The more useful and entertaining your app is, the more it will be easier for you to promote it.

Keep your target market and audience in mind when coming up with an app concept. You need to identify what people need, what keeps them busy, and what satisfies their cravings. By doing so, they will happily do the app marketing for you.

2. Perform App Store Optimization

Apple App Store on different devices.

App Store Optimization (ASO) refers to the practices and techniques that help in improving app visibility and ranking on app stores. Now, this is a huge topic to discuss. However, you can discover more with our post App Store Optimization: The Definitive Guide. On that page, you will learn how ASO can dramatically attract more downloads, increase conversion rate, and improve your app’s overall success.

Here is a brief overview of how to promote Android app and iOS app for free using ASO:

  1. Use the right keywords
  2. Choose the right category
  3. Design impressive and memorable app icon
  4. Add app screenshots
  5. Add app demo video
  6. Write compelling description
  7. Localize your app

All these are part of ASO. When you give these tips enough time, you should be able to effectively promote apps on Google Play and iOS App Stores.

3. How to promote an app with guest blog posting

Man typing on his laptop to promote an app.

When you want to promote your app, you want an audience, right? However, what can you do if you don’t have the audience? It would tremendously be difficult if you would simply create a blog to promote your app and no one’s going to read it.

That’s where guest blog posting comes in. In this process, you look for a website that is related to your app’s niche. For example, if your app falls under the fitness niche, then you look for fitness websites. 

You can then reach out to the owner of the blog and ask if they offer guest blogging. If they do, then bingo! You got yourself a website where you can post your blog for free in exchange for having your app’s link featured on their website. 

You may wonder why guest blogging works for app promotion. It works because you are bringing your app to an established website, which is already receiving a lot of traffic. You are simply bringing your app where the people are.

If done right, guest blogging can bring in a continuous stream of people who will download and use your app.

4. Find Influencers

Using influencers to know how to promote an app.

In addition to guest blog posting, you can seek the help of influencers to get your app moving. 

Influencers, as their name suggests, can influence, persuade, and motivate people to use your app. They are considered to be an authority in their field and niche. People kind of look up to them to seek advice and knowledge. 

Influencers are also people who already have established an engaged and strong relationship with a group of people.

As you can imagine, Influencers have the power to affect the decision making of their audience. That’s why you get to see a lot of big brands using celebrities, sports icons, and other well-known people to promote their products or services.

When you finally found the right influencers for you, you can follow these tips to ensure you get their support:

  • Send them a personalized and not templated email or message.
  • Be familiar with what your influencer is known for, what they do, and their work. This helps you build a connection with them.
  • Be brief and straight to the point in introducing who you are.
  • Describe what your app offers, its features, and how it can benefit your influencer’s audience.
  • Give the influencer a full access of your app’s features for free as a token of appreciation and to give him/her a chance to try your app.

5. Use social media platforms

an image of a phone with focused apps blurred background.

According to Statista, there are about 3.6 billion people who are using social media in 2020. This number is expected to reach as high as 4.41 billion in 2025! 

That’s just a huge number that is beyond comprehension. Nevertheless, the implication is clear. You need to use social media for your app promotion and the good news is that they are free. 

With the right knowledge and information, you can easily learn how to promote an app on social media.

Here’s how you can promote your mobile app on Facebook

  1. Create a Facebook page for your app. Once you have a Facebook page, encourage people to follow and like your page so that your posts appear on their feed.
  2. Share your content on your Facebook profile. If you have been using Facebook for a long time, you should already have a decent number of friends. When you post something about your app, it should appear on their feed as well. Aside from that, you can share content from your Facebook page, giving your page more exposure and chances of getting discovered.
  3. Have a schedule of Facebook posts. Aim to post 3-10 posts per week.

Another social media platform you shouldn’t ignore would be Twitter. Here are a few tips to remember:

  1. Tweet 5-20 times per day. As you can see, you need to tweet more often on Twitter to gain the maximum exposure. The reason is that tweets are short and a lot of other people tweets multiple times. So, if you don’t tweet more, your followers can easily miss your tweets.
  2. Use hashtags. While hashtags are useful on Facebook, they are as useful and more popular on Twitter. Hashtags allow your posts to be easily discovered. Use hashtags popular in your niche. 
  3. Follow the right people. Depending on what your app is for, you should be able to find relevant Twitter accounts. Once you follow them, you should then see their tweets on your feed. When you find their tweet, be the first to like, retweet, or comment on their posts. This way, other followers will see your profile and hopefully, follow you too.

Aside from Facebook and Twitter, you should not forget about YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. These are just some of the most popular social media platforms today. The more social media you used, the better.

6. How to promote an app with use Quora

An image of Quora to learn how to promote app

Quora is a huge website where people ask questions and get answers. Now, why should you use Quora to promote Android app or iOS app? 

Easy. 

Because there are more than 300,000,000 people who use Quora and the platform is virtually free!

The great thing about Quora is it allows you to establish yourself as an authority of your chosen niche. Create an impressive profile, search for questions related to your app or niche, and see your profile gets more visits and engagement.

When answering a Quora question, make sure you provide a useful and relevant answer. After that, you can then add a link to your app, preferably at the end of your response. Once you have shown that you’re someone they can trust because of your high-quality answer, then you will most likely be able to convince them to click on your app.

It’s worth mentioning that successful Quora users have seen thousands of organic traffic to their websites. This can also happen for your app.

7. Use Medium to promote app

How to promote an app with Medium.

Medium started way back in 2012 and it has raised a massive following and of course, a huge revenue. In just 5 years since its founding, Medium has already raised $130,000,000. Today, it has more than 180 million monthly visitors.

Medium is definitely free. You can create an account and start writing blogs and content focused on helping, educating, and improving others. Because it is already a platform with a lot of people in it, Medium is a rich avenue for potential app users.

8. Offer free demo or trial of your app

How to promote an app with Medium with free trial.

They say that the best thing in this life is free and who doesn’t want to get free stuff, right? Well, you can leverage this human desire for your own good.

Offering a free demo of your app could be just the key to gain traction when you’re just starting out. In fact, most successful app developers and even other businesses got their break by giving their products and services for free.

So, how can you also adopt this practice into your app? There are two possible ways. One, you can give a full version of your app for free in a limited time. Alternatively, you can let people use only certain features of your app with no time limit. You can then sell the full version of your app.

Why does giving your app for free works? Because it helps your target users to see how your app can help them. It can convert people from ambivalent and suspicious users into loyal, paying customers.

Moreover, having a free app version increases download rate, which in turn, improves your app ranking and visibility — leading to more earning potential.

9. Create video blogs to promote apps

Using videos to promote an app.

Let’s face it: people would rather watch something rather than read them. That’s just how the human psyche works. So, it’s no big surprise that according to an article written by Oberlo, in the year 2022, people would consume 240 billion gigabytes worth of videos per month!

As you can see, videos are no doubt the future of internet marketing and that future is now here with us.

Creating videos can be free. If you already have a phone, computer, and an Internet connection, then you can definitely start shooting and uploading.

Your video blogs can be anything about your app. It could be a tutorial, testimonial, a demo, and a walkthrough. You don’t even have to create videos solely about your app, but you can create helpful videos, where you can promote your app at the end.

Now, where should you upload your videos? There are a lot of places. However, primarily, you should focus on Facebook and YouTube. These are the richest source of viewers. Consistency is the key here. The more you upload high-quality videos regularly, the more followers you get, and the more people who will know about your app!

10. Network with other professionals

A man talking on stage using a huge screen.

As an app developer or owner, you are probably a member of a social club or a group of people who may potentially promote your app. If you have this type of group, you can let them know about your app and have them use it. 

From there, you get people downloading your app and not only that, you get the chance to hear what they think and gain important insight on how to improve your app.

Moreover, you need to grab the opportunity to join events. If possible, give a talk. This does not only improve your reputation, but also an opportunity to let people know about your app. 

You don’t even have to talk on top of a stage, but you can network in small groups while you huddle around for talks and conversation.

11. Feature blogs in every platform you own

Image of gmail interface and sending emails.

Sometimes, you just have to be aggressive and have your app featured in as many places and media as you can. Here are some ideas you can start with:

  • Emails
  • Websites you own
  • Podcasts 
  • Business cards
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • T-shirt
  • And other places.

The key here is that if you can promote your app on that platform, then go ahead, promote it. There’s no shame in that, but who knows, it would be a key to your app’s success.

12. Reward promoters to increase your app ranking

A photo of a trophy.

When you have created a truly helpful and awesome app, people would naturally tell their friends about it. Word of mouth is no doubt a powerful and free tool that you can use to promote your app. Not only that, but having users endorse your app to people they know dramatically increases your download and conversion rate.

So, how do you motivate users to promote your app for free? Create a referral or reward program. In this plan, you would reward those people who would refer your app to other people. Now, there’s a lot of ways to do this. Here are some examples:

  1. Give promoters free access to the full version of your app.
  2. Send them a free item or provide free services.
  3. Offer big discounts to both the promoter and their friends who would then use your app.
  4. Reward promoters with free in-app features, coins, items, and others.

Depending on what your app is, you can be creative in thinking about how you would reward your promoters. As long as your incentives are attractive enough, people would surely take the initiative to promote your app on Google Play or Apple App Store.

13. Aim to have your app featured by Google and Apple

A screenshot of the Google Play Store Homepage.

One of the best things that could happen to your app is to get featured right in the front page of Google Play Store and Apple App Store! 

Now, that’s every app owner’s dream. Being featured will not only make you feel good, but it will tremendously increase your app ranking, visibility, and download rate.

Sounds good, right? The best part of it is it’s free!

Now, before you get your hopes too high, there’s just one problem: getting featured isn’t easy. It demands great work and only those truly useful apps will get the spotlight.

So, what do you do? While it is entirely in the hands of Google and Apple to decide which app they will feature, there are a few things you can do to increase your chance of getting featured. 

Here are some of them.

For Google Play Store:

  • Solve a problem – Google rewards apps that actually offer solutions to a particular problem and meet certain needs or demands.
  • Improve your app’s reliability – make sure your app doesn’t crash especially on popular devices. Since Android runs on a wide range of devices, it is important that your app is compatible to almost, if not all, devices. When your app often crashes, Google will ignore you.
  • Shoot for increased retention rate – this rate refers to the number of app installs and uninstalls. Google is happy if people download your app and retain it on their device for a long period of time.
  • Localize your app – while English is a dominant language in the world, you shouldn’t ignore other major languages. If you are able to create an app version with other languages, you will certainly grab Google’s attention even more.
  • Stay updated to Android’s latest features and additions – Android is dynamic and it introduces various features to both users and developers. Stay abreast with Android’s technology and quickly incorporate that to your app whenever necessary. For example, Android added features such as AR, dark mode, and tighter privacy. If you can have that as well as other newer features, then it would be a great plus.
  • Follow the launch checklist of Google – if you are a developer and you haven’t launched your app yet, please go here. It’s a launch checklist created by Google itself. So, it would be worth following their directives. If you already have your app live, you can still go back to this checklist and see which one you might have missed during your launch.

For Apple App Store:

  • Improve your app detail – Apple’s way of thinking is focused more on the details rather than the big picture of your app. This means that you shouldn’t ignore small glitches and problems. You need to check the seamless functionality of your app from animation to user experience.
  • Incorporate Apple’s latest features – like in Google Play, Apple also releases new and innovative features and APIs. Whenever Apple releases a new iOS version, check if you can add any updates to your app. For example, dark mode and Sign in with Apple was introduced. Check if you can have those as well.
  • Offer unique features and functionalities – when you bring something new on the table, Apple can’t help but notice that. A unique and different app can only be made when you pay attention to your potential competitors. Check what they have not yet offered and see how you can provide what’s missing in the market.
  • Make your app compatible with all devices – unlike Android, the iOS is exclusively offered to Apple devices. However, this doesn’t mean that you can relax and just create a one-size-fits-all app version. Make sure that your app is built for all devices, from smartphone and tablets to Apple Watch and Apple TV. 
  • Create simple design – Apple is no doubt big in simplicity. You can see it across all their products and services. If you can further simplify your app, then that would be great.
  • Create easy-to-use interface – aside from having a simple app design, you also need to make sure your interface provides intuitive user experience. What this means is that users, whether experts or beginners, can easily navigate through your app. They should quickly know what each button does or how they can easily perform their desired actions.

In summary, to get featured on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, aim to create impressive, unique, and intuitive apps. When you do, it is just a matter of time before you’ll see your app getting featured!

14. Get featured on Product Hunt

A screenshot of Product Hunt, a platform for promoting Apple App Store.

Product Hunt is a community of technology enthusiasts, creators, developers, makers, and marketers who talk about interesting products, services, and apps. How it works is that you get to submit a product and people will upvote it if they like what you have submitted. As you can imagine, the more upvotes you get, the more your product gets popular.

Product Hunt has seen an explosive growth over the years. As a result, it has been a common goal for companies to include Product Hunt for their promotion strategies.

Now, if you have already been using Product Hunt for a while, that’s good then. You probably have established a good profile there. You can share your app yourself.

Nonetheless, if you are new to Product Hunt, you can still promote the app yourself. However, if you want to make a bigger impact, you can reach out to existing “hunters” on Product Hunt who already have a lot of followers. If they promote your app on Product Hunt, you’ll have more exposure.

15. Be active in forums and promote your app

A photo of people having a forum and discussion.

There are just so many promote android app forums out there. You probably have already subscribed to them. The key here is for you to find a community forum that is related to your app. 

Here are some of the websites you can go to if you’re looking for a certain forum:

  • Reddit – reddit is currently one of the biggest forum websites in the world today. It’s tagline is understandably accurate: “The frontpage of the Internet.”
  • Stack Overflow – you will love Stack Overflow as the majority of people using it are developers and programmers. So, you’ll find like-minded people here. The forums are geared toward sharing answers to tough coding questions, sharing knowledge about programming, and solving problems related to work and personal life.
  • Facebook Groups – Facebook allows its users to create groups and gather people together who have the same interest. You can look for Facebook groups relevant to your niche. Join their groups and be active in their forum.
  • XDA-Developers –  the motto of XDA is  “founded by developers and is made for developers.” It’s a great place to find featured technological products. You’ll find some of the most engaging forums about the latest mobile devices, apps, online trends, and a lot more.
  • GameSpot – If your app is mainly a mobile game,then GameSpot should be on your top list of forums. Huge gamers and enthusiasts flock together on the platform to talk about almost anything about games.

The forum doesn’t have to be directly about apps, technology, or digital products. The forum can be about people who discuss problems that your app can help them with. It can be a forum about a certain event that you can add your app into. As long as you can see the opportunity to mention your app, then join a forum.

16. How to promote an app by joining award competition

Screenshot of the homepage of the best Mobile App Awards website.

It’s one thing that a lot of people believe your app is useful and getting an award is quite another. Getting an award will not only give you the bragging rights, but also increase your app’s popularity. A lot of people would surely gather around to see why you were given the award and they would undoubtedly go to the app store and look for your app.

Please note though that only join award competitions when you really believe, without bias, that your app deserves an award. Remember, a lot of people would be sending out their app as well. So, to avoid wasting time and energy, work on your app first so it will get the highest chance of getting an award.

Now, there are just a lot of award contests you may want to give a try. Here are some of the most popular:

17. Use alternative app stores

Screenshot of Galaxy Store.

Sure, we all know that the most popular app stores are Google Play Store and Apple App Store. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to ignore other app stores.

Yes, you read that right. There are other app stores available out there aside from those two giants. 

Now, there’s no doubt that the competition in Google Play Store and Apple App Store is just fierce. With millions of apps in those stores, it is not difficult to see how many apps have fallen down the cracks of oblivion.

The best thing about alternative app stores is it gives you a chance to shine. While competition still exists, you would still find yourself having a better chance of standing out compared to simply relying on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

So, let us give you a list of alternative app stores for you to start using:

  • Samsung Galaxy Apps
  • Sony Apps
  • LG SmartWorld
  • Huawei App Store
  • Aptoide
  • Amazon Appstore
  • SlideME
  • F-Droid
  • GetJar

As you may see, choosing an alternative app store could be overwhelming because each of them come with their own pros and cons. We highly suggest that you go through each app store. Read more about them and you’ll soon see which one would best fit your needs and preference.

How to promote an app effectively

There you have it: our list of the best ways to promote your app for free. Surely, we have just scratched the surface here. There are more to know. If you are serious about promoting your app, you can go through each tip mentioned on this blog and research further about them.

Moreover, if you want to bring your app promotion campaign to a higher level, be ready to set aside a budget. Yes, promoting your app for free is no doubt a great way to save money, but adding paid promotion services would surely help your app become the next big thing in the world of digital technology!

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