Dream Big, Spend Small: Market Your App on a Budget

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Bringing an app to life – and having it generate revenue – takes a lot of grit. When you're on your own, or working with a small team, there's no CEO handing out the budget, no HR department helping you hire exactly who you need, and no product manager telling you what to work on next. 

When you're juggling a lot of priorities, it's tempting to hope that people will discover your product with minimal marketing. But even if it's an industry changing product, future customers still need to know it's there, and understand in very simple terms the value it can add to their lives.

In this article, we'll teach you a few marketing strategies that you can put to use immediately to create value for your app, without spending big bucks. 

Improve your app’s discoverability

Once your app is live on the Marketplace, it's time to make it easily discoverable for your potential customers.

Get descriptive and use keywords

You can start by being as specific as possible about your app's function and audience in the title and description of your Marketplace listing. Customers are usually not searching for a specific product by name. They're looking for a solution, so describe what your product does (ex. TrackALot – Time Tracking for Jira). In the description, use keywords to describe what your product does.

Set up a website

Don't just rely on your Marketplace listing to do all the heavy lifting. Since a majority of customers search for products via Google instead of searching the Atlassian Marketplace directly, having your own website is another way to capture attention. 

Setting up a website not only provides you with an opportunity to build your brand and create content on a personal platform that you own, it also provides another avenue for discovery and a valuable trust signal to future customers. When you're evaluating products for yourself, a website is often the first thing you look for to learn more about the product and who created it. Use your website to build your credibility by telling prospective customers who you are and why you're uniquely qualified to create this specific product.

Besides setting up a website, consider other places you can surface your solution to your customers. Maybe that's in the Atlassian community while you're helping a customer solve a problem, or maybe it's on social media. If you keep adding value to the community, people will keep discovering your product. 

Give away free licenses

Another way to build trust and increase discoverability is by giving away a small number of licenses to people who will advocate for your product. You should also consider offering your product free at the 1-10 user tier to grow your customer base and increase key metrics like number of installs.

Keep an open mind about what form customer advocacy will take. Offering something for free doesn't necessarily mean you'll get glowing reviews, but it may lead to people recommending your product to friends or organically sharing about it on social media, or in user groups like the Atlassian Community. You can also use this as an opportunity to collect feedback to help improve your app, or plan new features.

Provide clear product photos and demos

Before you purchase a product, you want to clearly see what you're getting. Screenshots and product demos help support people's decision to purchase. Keep videos brief (1-2 minutes) to keep your audience interested, and make sure photos clearly show how the features of your app add value by solving a customer problem. 

Learn more about discoverability

For more advice on app discoverability plus a few Atlassian resources that can help, check out our article on how to drive views, engagement and revenue for your Marketplace app. There's also documentation on building your Marketplace presence that's full of useful advice. 

Create opportunities for growth

Scalability and flexibility are key factors when deciding where to apply your marketing efforts if you don't have a lot of time. If you have no marketing budget at all, it's free to start up your own blog on a website you already own, or guest blog for an established website. 

If you have a small amount of money to spend, here are a few ways you can jumpstart your marketing by choosing scalable opportunities. 

Start with smaller platforms and ad purchases

When you're ready to get started with digital advertising, start by making smaller ad buys on platforms where your target audience spends time. Typically, paid advertising 

Here's three platforms you may find helpful when you're starting out:

  • Google
    Google offers paid search ads, which means you can pay for placement in Google's results for certain keywords you select. Paid search results show up at the top and are tagged as advertisements. If you aren't sure which keywords to target, the Google Keyword Planner is a much loved tool of many marketing managers. It suggests keywords related to the one you enter – for example, "jira time tracking" brings up new keywords/phrases you might want to target, such as "enable Jira time tracking", and also shows you the search volume for each term. Keep in mind that there are some paid search keywords you are not able to bid on – click here to learn more and view a list of terms.
  • Facebook
    On Facebook, you can target people who are interested in specific tools, such as Jira, or certain software languages. You can also target people based on groups they're in – for example, maybe they belong to a group for Jira experts. Facebook is a good platform to try if you have a limited budget – the minimum spend per impression is just $1. 
  • LinkedIn
    LinkedIn advertising is slightly more expensive, but offers extensive targeting based on an individual's work history and interests. They use objective based pricing, meaning you're only charged if your objective (for example, a click through to your website) is achieved.

Keep your campaigns targeted and check to see how well they convert – how many people clicked through to your website, and how many of those converted into customers? You can also look at the cost per conversion – if you're paying more to bring in people than you're earning in revenue from those customers, consider changing your keywords, your ads or ad copy, and running the campaign again. 

Gather customer information

If you've spun up a website for your business already, take the opportunity to add a signup field that invites visitors to enter their email addresses. Even if you don't have time to create a nurture email campaign or newsletter, it's a free way to gather information for future marketing efforts. For prospective customers, reach out with product info to push them to consider signing up for a demo. Once they've started a free trial, create an onboarding email sequence – ideally, 3-4 emails – that runs concurrently with a 30 day trial of Confluence or Jira, so they can get up and running quickly – and start seeing the value of your product.

If you'd like to learn more about getting started with email marketing, check out this excellent talk by Atlassian's Head of Customer Communications Tiffany Cotter. 

Use retargeting if you can

Retargeting is a specific advertising technique that involves serving up ads to people who have visited your website before. Think about the last time you clicked on an ad for, say, a t shirt – did that same t-shirt show up in ads on other platforms around the web? Congratulations – you already know what retargeting is!

Retargeting can be a quick, easy way to engage with prospective customers who have already shown interest in your product. It also  scales well since you can serve ads to visitors across different ad platforms, creating a path to bring people back to your website when they're ready to buy. 

In summary

You don't have to have an MBA in marketing to learn how to market your app. With a little bit of effort and some analysis about what's working and what isn't, you can boost your app's visibility and work towards your goals.

For more help marketing your app, take a look at the Marketplace partner portal.