App Marketing: Five Reasons Running an App Is Like Running a Zoo

By Thomas Sommer | September 29th, 2014

Whether that’s an independent app development shop, a major brand or a zoo, running a business is hard work. Here are five reasons why app marketing can often be reminiscent of managing a wildlife park – complete with illustrative GIFs.

1. Polish the door knob

There’s a lot of people who’ve put in a heavy effort trying to figure out how to get every family’s weekend money. Just because you own a zoo does not make you special (unless it’s an actual zoo – then it completely does). Shine up the door handles, paint the walls and add flags to the gate – you need to make sure people see you promising a good time and putting in the attention to detail that will craft a great experience for them. Make the front doors the kind of gates a visitor wants to walk through, not run away from.

app marketing impression

App Developer Tip: Nail your App Store Optimization. Whether Sensor Tower or any of the other number of players get your ASO game tight.

2. Make it easy to get around

Don’t make parking a huge pain so that the first experience a mother has when dragging her brood to your zoo is frustration before even getting inside. (read my lips: don’t make your registration process a beast.) Besides that, you need to make it easy to get around once they’re inside. If somebody just wants to see the Platypus, if their kid is weird about the Platypus, and it’s the whole reason they’re at the zoo in the first place, then make sure they can find that Platypus.

app marketing user journey

App Developer Tip: Use deep linking technology such as Onboarding Links to connect users to the content that matters to them and get them engaged the moment they walk through your doors.

3. Set and (at least) match expectations

If the picture on the front of the Zoo has lions, tigers and bears but all you have is a barnyard petting zoo, people are going to be disappointed. Kids are going to cry. Bad reviews will be left. To the furthest extent possible, make sure that what you promise in your marketing and ASO is exactly what you deliver. Nobody wants to sit on Santa’s lap and smell sour flatulence and whiskey- deliver what you promise.

app marketing expectations

App Developer Tip: Onboarding Links allow you to modify a new user experience based on any information you have about them, making sure their expectations match what you deliver.

4. Sometimes sh*t gets messy; learn to deal with it

Running a business is hard, regardless of what kind of cats you’re trying to herd. You don’t want anything to get out of their cage – just like you don’t let any data leak. It could be that you find a bug, or that an animal gets sick, but in all cases your job is to clean it up. Either way you will end up with angry customers when things don’t go as planned.

app marketing bugs

App Developer Tip: Having clear ways for your customer to connect with you, whether a simple email form or a more complex two way in app messaging system such as Intercom, will always help manage the disasters when they hit.

5. Hand your fans the megaphone

Once you’ve finally convinced a customer to spend their valuable time with you, and you’ve had the opportunity to delight them with an exceptional experience, it’s time to squeeze the full value out of your hard work. It’s time to activate your downloads. Turn your users into your evangelists. In a few words: make them viral. In a zoo, sell them branded merchandise, get your logo into their hands and onto their shirts, so that when they leave they can be your growth channel. In an app, this means making sharing valuable and interesting content easy and rewarding users either directly or indirectly for helping spread the word.

app marketing virality

App Developer Tip: Use Word of Mouth to give your best users the tools to spread the word about your app. Regardless of what kind of business your trying to run, remember not to let the lunatics run the asylum (zoo), focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience and making sure your advocates have the tools to share their passion with their friends . Then you might just be able to pull it off.

MackThis article was generously submitted by McElroy Flavelle,
VP of Marketing at Tapstream. You can catch him on twitter at @MackFlavelle.

Thomas Sommer
Thomas heads up content marketing at AppLift. As such he’s in charge of sourcing, curating, creating and distributing insightful content to increase visibility and thought leadership for the company. Thomas loves to scrutinize the relentless and trilling developments of the mobile industry. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.