THE BLOG
02/20/2014 11:52 am ET | Updated Apr 22, 2014

I Built a Mobile App -- Now What?

As the rising tide of mobile app proliferation reaches new heights, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for entrepreneurs to promote and differentiate their products. From crafting a successful launch, to securing prime time exposure to drive adoption, a mobile startup's marketing strategy can make or break its success in a matter of days. Many entrepreneurs rely on iOS or Androit to feature their apps, but with more than 300 new apps being released every day, the chances of that happening organically are slim.

Instead, entrepreneurs need to tell their story and build massive visibility for their brands even before their products hit the market. Grabbing headlines, infographics, eye-catching visuals and innovative content marketing techniques are creating new imperatives for startups looking to reach explosive growth and popularity.

In this context, flocking to popular social platforms and forums isn't enough. Here are four actionable strategies entrepreneurs can leverage to create a strong drumbeat of downloads and accelerate adoption.

Activate Your Beta Users as Brand Champions:

Early app usage and beta testing are not only important for product refinement, but also hold the key to igniting adoption. Entrepreneurs need to reward their first adopters and provide meaningful incentives to transform them into brand champions. Building-in sharing options as well as creating a collaborative community that empowers early customers to discuss the value of the app can be powerful propellers for growth. It is often easier to jumpstart community building efforts with a small group of influencers and organically deepen the brand reach through their relationships.

Engage Influencers to Build Credibility:

Tapping into the reputation and social thrust of industry or community influencers can allow entrepreneurs to transcend the painstakingly slow process of growing an audience from scratch.

In the digital age where relationships are the new currency, it's become increasingly difficult to cultivate a loyal following. Influencers can be instrumental in securing deep reach into user prospects and conveying the value proposition of the app.

Learn the Language of the News Media:

Without a doubt, media features provide one of the most direct and prolific amplification platforms for mobile apps. However, securing top tier coverage requires a strategic vision, distilled message and smart media engagement tactics. Very often, reporters gravitate towards writing about industry trends, market drivers and big-picture hot topics. It is very hard to secure meaningful exposure for a new app if the company is swimming against the news current. It has to be aligned with the right wave, trend or technology.

Savvy entrepreneurs should approach reporters and bloggers with their readership in mind. Customizing the pitch to each reporter's beat and building out the story puzzle helps media perceive the spokesperson as a trusted expert source (as opposed to yet another CEO looking for publicity).

Build and Share Content:

In the age of rapid cycle mobile growth, brand loyalty is exceptionally difficult to capture and even more difficult to maintain. To that end, content generation is starting to dominate the marketing mix of many successful startups. Creating content allows entrepreneurs to transcend narrow, self-promotional branding and build their reputations as thought leaders and industry experts. It also enables startups to tell a rich and unique story and humanize their brands. Most importantly, guest blogging and social media engagement allows entrepreneurs to build lasting relationships with their audiences and customers. Bootstrapped organizations that don't have the resources to drive significant traffic to their websites or blogs can capitalize on popular platforms like Entrepreneur Connect and StartupNation to ladder up critical exposure mass.

There is a wide consensus among analysts, tech pundits, and mobile experts that 2014 will be the year of unprecedented mobile app explosion. As the market reaches a point of cosmic over saturation, newcomers will be challenged to find relevance and stake out their territory. In this context, aggressive promotion tactics that combine creative and proven amplification methods can boost downloads and build business acceleration. Regardless of the chosen path, startups that find new ways to empower their users and build loyal champions will be better poised to flourish.