October 10, 2013 Last Updated 8:45 am

Nxtbook Media offers advice on marketing your magazine app

The digital publishing solutions company Nxtbook Media has, for the past two, weeks been offering advice to magazine publishers on how to market their apps. Here are the first two columns combined into one post for your convenience.

A third post is promised for next week.

Here are the three most important tactics for the first stage of app promotion, sometimes called ASO (app store optimization):

Optimize Your Keywords – Most of your readers are finding their apps by searching the app store (source). Apple has given you two tools to lead those searching readers to your app: the title and the keywords. Your title will generally be the title of your magazine. That leaves the keyword section – a list of relevant terms, no longer than 100 characters – as the key area to optimize. To find the best keywords, start out by imagining what terms readers will use to describe or find magazine. Once you have that list, use the Google Keyword Planner or AppCodes to find which terms are the most popular. Finally, stay away from common pitfalls:

  • Don’t use any words in your keyword list that already appear in your title
  • Don’t use keyword phrases like “business development strategy”, instead use the words separately: “business, development, strategy”
  • Don’t use any words that are not relevant to your magazine

BeautyLaunchpad-app-icon-sm Beautify Your Images – Readers will immediately form an opinion of your app based on your screenshots. Use the screenshots to highlight the most impressive aspects of your digital edition, be it embedded video content, striking photography, or an interactive experience. You can use up to five screenshots, and you should use all five. The more the reader can imagine themselves using and enjoying the app, the more likely they are to download.

Sell with Your Description – In the description you will both describe the app and persuade potential readers to download the app. The first paragraph, the area above the fold, should be concise, and explain the top reasons to download your app and read your magazine. The text after the first paragraph will often fall below the fold, and can be used for a more thorough explanation of your content and your app.
These are the most important steps, but they are only the beginning of your app strategy. Contact your success manager or project manager to continue the conversation.

With your optimized app store listing in place, it’s time to move on to the marketing campaign. If possible, start promoting the app a few weeks before the launch; building audience anticipation as the launch date approaches. Here are a few places to start promoting your app:

Social Media – Use a series of episodic posts across your social media profiles that reveal the most exciting features of the app. Next, post a 1-2 minute promotional video showing off the content and app (Reflector is a great tool for recording app videos). After the app is live, you can periodically remind readers that the app is available for download.

AutomotiveWeek-iPad-lgEmail – As the launch date approaches, you should start sending out email announcements. Don’t limit yourself to your subscriber database, though. Readers on newsletter lists, partner lists, and any other contact points could be interested in the app.

Traditional Media – House ads, a letter from the editor, and banner ads on your website are all great options for bringing your current readers to the app. Be sure to register a domain (e.g. magazineapp.com) or use your current domain (e.g. magazine.com/app) to link directly to the app store listing. The short URL will make it much easier for print readers to get to the app from their device. A QR code can also be used for more tech savvy audiences.

Events – Trade shows, conferences, and similar events provide unmatched potential for word-of-mouth distribution. Here are a few tactics publishers have used to successfully promote their apps at events: kiosks where people can test drive the app, a contest or drawing for people who download the app, publishing the show dailies or event guide inside the app, or offering a free issue to event attendees.

Distribution Networks – Sites like Tapjoy and TrialPay promote apps through social media, online games, and ad networks. Partnering with them can reach potential readers outside of your known audience.

As a Success Manager at Nxtbook Media, Adam Grim helps publishers to grow their audiences and attract advertisers. His experience ranges from re-energizing established brands to new magazine launches.

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