This is a summary of a post that I wrote on Entrepreneur.com.

Coming up, I’m going to share five of my all-time favorite growth hacking strategies to increase app downloads. You don’t want to miss it, stay tuned.

Transcript:

What is up App Nation? It is Steve P Young, founder of appmasters.co – the place you go for all your action packed app marketing content. And I’ve been really, really studying the app space for a very long time. And I’m going to share 5 of my favorite all-time growth hacking strategies.

So number 1, which is still a favorite of mine. Is called a Paid to Free campaign. Now traditionally, this campaign is all about making a paid app free for a couple of days. Getting press for it, and driving hundreds – well thousands – if not hundreds of thousands of downloads within a couple of days. I find it, it’s a very useful campaign. And now we’re actually moving towards building in app purchases, specifically for this campaign.

So what I mean is, traditionally, Paid to Free is paid app gone free for a couple of days. But now, growth hacker in me says, “What if I have a free app?” Well you can make one of your in app purchases for free for a couple of days. Get press for it, and then drive thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of downloads within that span. And I’ve seen increases in both downloads, and revenues.

So if you’ve got models– A revenue model that isn’t dependent just purely on ads, but you’ve got other in app purchases in there – in your app. You will see an increase in sales. I’ve done it for a couple of clients. And my friend even actually reported back to me. He said, “Hey I saw a bump in sales. I made more sales in that campaign than I did the past few months that the app has been out there.

So it’s a brilliant – I love this campaign. Like I said, we’re actually using it now as we’re building apps. We build in app purchases to just make it free for a couple of days, and use this particular campaign.

So a couple of things you’ve got to know about this campaign – 1 – you have to get press for it. So App Advice and BGR are the 2 websites that I always pitch, and I tend to get my clients on there. They’re the biggest sites out there. Reddit has an app hookup Sub-Reddit that you can use as well. So make sure people know about it. You can’t just do it and hope that these downloads will come.

And number 2, if it’s an in app purchase, make sure it’s a non-consumable. That it’s like, you buy it once, and you get forever. So think remove ads, new levels – not gems – you can’t– You can always buy gems. So something you can buy once and get forever, alright?

Number 2, my favorite growth hacking strategy – is App Store optimization. Now I know a lot of people know about App Store optimization. Which, if you’re not familiar with it, is just SEO for the App Store. But as I found, that most people are sort of moving away from it now. I want to double down on it. Because I still think it’s a great, great avenue to drive organic downloads. And I think the people who are complaining about it not working, they’re just not making a good enough app, right?

But if you think of a big company, like Uber or Kindle, they have opportunities there because they’re a well-known brand. Because they’ve built a really good app, they can really maximize App Store optimization, to drive even more downloads. So I think for ASO to work, just like SEO on the web – you need a good website. You need a good brand. You need to create good content. And with the fundamental blocks of ASO, you can drive a ton of great downloads through ASO.

I’ve seen it work for my clients who have really good apps, and I think it’s still a valid strategy. It’s the people who are complaining about it right now, are the people that were re-skinning (4:09?) and trying to sort of hack their way into downloads by using ASO. Those are the people that are suffering from it. Those are the people that are saying, “It’s no longer working.”

So really, really focus on ASO. And I’ve shared this black hat strategy in the past. But leveraging App Store reviews to increase keyword rankings. And I have that course in the links below if you want to check it out. But it’s a great, great strategy, and I’ve seen it work many, many times for my clients and my own apps, right?

So number 3. Now I’ve got to give a shout out to my friend Gonzalo, founder of eTips, who shared this strategy with me. I’ve yet to utilize it for myself, so I just want to be clear on that. Hate people who share strategies based on other people, and don’t really come up – and they pretend it’s theirs, right?

But so, Gonzalo uses this strategy to maximize is (5:01?) it. It’s called Localization. It’s localizing your app name and your keywords for the – other languages, not just English. So really, really focusing on ASO. This goes in line with ASO. And localizing your app name and your keywords for the other countries and the languages, right? Apple has about 28 different regions that you can target, and really, really focus more on having good localization.

So for instance, in the UK, you guys call it localize with a “Z.” (5:35?) In the US, we say “Z.” That’s just one example that you want to leverage. But China, Japan – if you have a game – really start thinking about localizing your app name for that particular market. And what Gonzalo recommends is – at first, if you’re on a budget, localize the app name and the keywords. Then if you see an impact in downloads, then go ahead and localize the screenshots and localize the description. And once you have that, then take it a step further and localize the in app content in your apps, right?

Right now, you can keep it all English, and keep your screenshots all in English. But if you localize the app name and the keywords, you’re sure to find more downloads for that particular region. The only downside if you haven’t localized the actual app, is that these people – let’s say in Japan or China – might be a little bit mad.

Because they download your app, and it’s still in English. Whereas the app name and the keywords – they can’t see the keywords – but the app name is in their native language. So that’s the only downside, but it’s a small downside to actually– And the upside’s huge, because you get a lot more downloads for that particular region, right?

Number 4, I’m going to pull up my notes. Oh the exclusive strategy. So when you go out to PR – now I’ve actually interviewed a couple of different reporters. So the editor of The Next Web, Steve O’Here, who’s a writer at TechCrunch. And I thought this strategy was going away. But it doesn’t. They both said the strategy still works.

So it’s giving the exclusive to a publication when you’re about to launch. Now, if you really want to be on TechCrunch, on VentureBeat, give them the exclusive on your announcement. So the strategy that I’ve used in the past, is I actually find the right reporter. And then I pitch that reporter and say, “Exclusive to–” Let’s say I’m pitching Steve from TechCrunch. “Exclusive to O’Here.” And I give the subject line, my pitch.

So you’re giving the publication, the writer the first right to write the article. That means you can’t pitch anybody else, okay? You can’t pitch anybody else. And it works. And they still said – I thought it stopped working – but they still both said, “Hey, we love exclusives.” They’re like ego. I like exclusive, if you make it exclusive to me, I’m happy to have that too. So it’s sort of stroking the blogs ego. It’s sort of stroking the reporter’s ego.

But the only downside is you can’t pitch anybody else, until they’ve literally just said, “We’re not interested.” Most likely, they’re just not going to respond. Which means – they’re passing on it. I’ve actually pitched iMOre an exclusive on a launch. Never got back to me. They ended up writing about the app, and I was like, “I’m following up here.” And he said, “Oh we already wrote about it.” Said, “Okay, thanks.”

So you can do the exclusive strategy to the actual writer, or to the publication if you’re using the tips@techcrunch.com email address. Then you can say, “Exclusive to TC,” and then go into your pitch. So it works still. It seems to be something that they still like, so definitely leverage that if you’re trying to get press and you’re not hearing back from people. Try to do press early on, right? I’m going to do another blog post slash video about this. But you’ve got to do press really, really early in the launch process – before your app is actually out there, right?

Last one. Number 5, my favorite growth hack strategy. And it’s actually more of a vanity metric if you want to think about it. But it’s the App Store feature hack. So the App Store managers at Apple – hi guys. They all manage a category. So what you want to do is go on LinkedIn, find “App Store manager.” And find the category of that person.

Find their email address, then you can use my favorite plug in for Gmail, or for Chrome – is called Email Hunter. And that’s emailhunter.co. What that will do is put a big old button on LinkedIn with– That you can click. And what it’ll do is sort of guess that person’s email address. Then you make your pitch and say, “Hey Apple–” Give them 2 weeks’ notice. So give them 2 weeks’ notice, and pitch them. Say, “Look, this is coming out.” I generally like to wait until I have the app submitted, and at least waiting for, in review.

I would prefer you actually have it approved. I think it makes the pitch sound even better. Because the manager knows the reviewers went through it. It’s all good to go. Now that the App Store review times are only a day, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t just wait until your app is approved, and you can put that into your pitch. And this is the same strategy that I’ve used from my clients to get featured, and I’ve actually gotten an app featured – for my own app. It was featured just in China, but we did pretty well and we’re pretty happy with at least getting 1 country to feature us.

But you find the right App Store manager, make the pitch, give them at least 2 weeks’ notice before you launch. And if it’s a game, they’re probably going to want you to launch on a Thursday. Or that may change as time goes on, right?

Those are 5 of my favorite growth hacking strategies. And if you want links to any of the content – so this was based on an article I wrote for entrepreneur.com. And I put the whole article in the link below, so you can read about it. And you can read it on entrepreneur.com. And it goes into specifics of each strategy, and more details on how you can run and execute each and every single strategy.

Alright guys, thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you on the next video.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.