How do you get your customers to download your app? And what are the best marketing strategies for mobile apps?
These questions come up a lot at Tapcart. Our e-commerce customers are experts at driving customers to their websites, asking for emails, and capturing phone numbers for SMS text campaigns.
But an app? That’s a different story entirely.
Or is it?
Here’s our guide to mobile app marketing.
Why should you spend time on app adoption?
You’ve added a new marketing and sales channel. Now what? With an app, the sky’s the limit.
A mobile app has so much potential that you can invest as much (or as little) time into it and still see results. It’s like social media before timelines changed — like Google before the algorithm updates. With an app, you can set it and forget and see results — but a little nurturing will see it grow exponentially.
“The real thought leaders, the real people that are forward thinking about how people shop, are thinking about mobile apps,” said Greg Frontiero from our Enterprise Team.
Why? Because app users will visit the app more often and spend more than customers just visiting your website.
“Once you get users to adopt the app, they're going to visit the brand 3 to 5 times more frequently than they were your website,” said Neal Goyal our enterprise team lead. “Those sessions are going to convert at higher conversion rates, at higher apps, and as a result unlocks a higher lifetime value from your most loyal and coveted base.”
Each mobile app download turns a customer into a brand advocate, and each push notification subscriber means more eye on your messages. Through community and brand building, app users spend more, with higher average order values (AOV) and lifetime values (LTV).
True Classic is a great example. They needed to combat skyrocketing acquisition costs, so they built an app to help curate their best customers. Now, they see a 200x higher conversion rate on the app versus mobile web.
“If I want to be the best in class, I need to provide a best-in-class experience, and an app allows you to do that. The app allows you to provide that experience that’s harder to obtain via a website” — Adam Hutton, Sr. Manager of Customer Monetization at True Classic
How should you market your mobile app?
How easy is it to drive app downloads for your eCommerce brand? Driving app downloads comes down to two push-and-pull tactics: marketing (the push) and incentives (the pull).
Mobile app marketing can range from small-time investments to entire campaigns. These are some slam dunk moves to get your audience’s attention, with little lift from you (it's giving LeBron).
Try these light-lift marketing tactics to simply let your shoppers know about your app:
Post a banner on your website:
The easiest low-hanging fruit. Letting your customers know you have an app is key. Adding a simple reminder to the top of your website will drive new app downloads — especially with the mobile website prompt. Add a quick sentence about why the app is valuable in this banner to incentivize
Create Facebook and Instagram ads:
Tapcart integrates with Facebook’s SDK, so you can easily create tap-to-download ad campaigns.
Add your app to your email sequences:
Add a small section in your customer emails to prompt shoppers to download your app. We recommend including it early in your welcome series and post-purchase. Customers who download the app are going to visit it four times more than your website.
Post it on social media:
Between sales and product launches, including app messaging in your social media post rotation. Peeps are scrolling on their phone on social anyways, so it’s a smart tactic to meet your customers where they are. Remember, only around 3% of your audience actually sees your posts, so don’t be afraid to share them often.
Sprinkle QR codes everywhere:
Neil Patel agrees you should double down on this hack. Put a download link in your mailings (digital and snail-mail), in your packaging slips, at your brick & mortar stores, on your website, and even receipts. Putting a QR code in multiple places to ensure more customers know about your app.
Include app downloads in existing marketing:
Don’t forget to add app messaging to your already successful marketing strategies. Any channel you’re currently using to speak to your customers provides great opportunities to encourage downloads.
These light lifts don’t take much from your team but can still impact your mobile app downloads. Doing the above tactics are enough. But if you want to take it to the next level? We have some examples of that too.
Tapcart customers have seen great success when pairing their marketing efforts with strong incentives. Here are some of the all-star examples of the next-level value you can provide to your customers.
Try these creative incentives to hook your shopper and see a wave of app downloads:
Early access to products:
Do your products often sell out? Offer access to your top-selling items hours or even days before your website launch.
Release exclusive products, colors, patterns, flavors, or even entire collections.
Create swag, especially for your app customers. Think phone backgrounds, cases, and more.
“We offered phone wallpapers that were exclusive on the app… We've had significant growth just through those small little things.” —Matt Pierce, Director of eCommerce at RipNDip
Promotions and discounts:
Trading a discount code for a download is so popular because it works. Offer 10–20% on first-time purchases in the app, or even create built-in app discounts.
Host app-exclusive sweepstakes and giveaways for bigger prizes. Think in-demand items, a year’s supply of your product, or even luxury goods.
Art of Tea soft launched their app first and offered discount codes to get feedback from their community. Combined with other incentives, they attracted loyal customers and saw 4.6x higher revenue in the app than on mobile web.
How do you pick the incentives to encourage mobile app downloads?
Picking the right tactics comes down to understanding who your audience is. An app is designed for the top 10–30% of your customer base—your best customers that spend the most money.
“Put yourself in the shoes of your customer base and say, ‘What are the things I can provide to my customers that will encourage them to download?’” said Neal.
How do you build a VIP app experience that your customers want to download?
You can do all the marketing in the world, but customers won’t stick around if you have a poor app experience.
There are several standard benefits a mobile app provides your customers. The two most impactful are the reduced friction and speed to purchase. It only takes one to three clicks to make a purchase in your app store, while your website likely takes around seven. While that’s a great starting point to drive app downloads, you can do more.
Since your app is likely to draw your best customers, think about delivering the ultimate VIP experience. Sometimes that means doing a little more than creating a carbon copy of your mobile website.
A new design and new copy is a great place to start, but there are lots of opportunities to get creative in a mobile app.
Create a custom experience
Tapcart’s Custom Blocks allow you to build a low-code, unique experience in your mobile app for your audience.
For example, NooWave Flow State Coffee, a Tapcart customer, built a habit tracker within their mobile app. With ten minutes of coding (and the help of ChatGPT), they built this custom experience within the app. Users can track daily focus sessions, creating an incentive to download and use the app every day.
But that’s just one example. There are endless possibilities, from reminders (like watering your plants) to one-click appointment scheduling and more.
Build a community
Your app is a great place to curate your die-hard fans (and convert casual shoppers into brand advocates.
“Curate a community and build an experience that brings them together as a customer base, builds community, and [creates] conversations and drives a deeper connection with your brand,” said Neil.
Even if your app only draws in 10% of your customers, they’ll likely be the ones driving 40% of your revenue. So even if you’re not attracting a large audience, you still want to give them something extra — spend time thinking about delivering that VIP experience.
Invest the time to market your app
Remember, your app isn’t replacing your mobile website—it targets your top customers with a VIP experience. And it pays off.
Ready to learn more about creating and promoting your mobile app? Visit Tapcart Academy for lessons and inspiration.