How to Build a Web App, Part 4: Marketing and Promotion

You’ve spent countless hours preparing your web app for “The Market” . . . but what now? Do the people you’ve imagined using your product actually exist? And if so, how do you find them?

Having a full-time marketer isn’t always an option, so we’ve provided a few simple methodologies for getting started on your own.

1. Identify Your Audience

Successfully bringing a product to market will require a balance of listening carefully to your users—and potential users—and continuously iterating on feedback. You’ve likely envisioned the people your web app will serve since day one. It’s time to go out and find them!

Being ready to analyze when someone uses social keywords that pertain to your web app will help you connect with subject matter experts and potential users. <a href=“ “target=”_blank”>Mention allows you to monitor billions of sources in more than 40 languages, and is a powerful tool for following topical content.

By asking compelling questions, you have the opportunity to learn from compelling answers! Quora is both an engrossing social Q&A community, and a good source for referral traffic and potential leads. For some marketers, using Quora has proven to triple their referral traffic for a reasonable investment of time.

2. Do a Trial Run With Friends And Family

Write a personalized email! Pick up your phone! Send a postcard! Do all three! Let your loving, trusting community of humans know that their feedback is essential to the ultimate success of your web app, and that you will follow up with them for better or worse. Collecting data—ANY data—on these initial users is the proverbial fertilizer for your product’s success. Did they share your app on any social media sites? Engage them when and where they extend this courtesy. What words did they use to describe the app? Record and use this language for building the lexicon of your product, especially when certain keywords and phrases continue to appear.

3. Commit to Data

Interviewing is a tool for discovering how the public interacts with technology, discovers new applications, spends money, and much more. Conducting surveys on a regular basis is crucial to the marketing process. Typeform is a free survey tool that uses personalization to attract participants and has a clean mobile UX.

Along with conducting interviews, you must watch passively as users interact with your web application. Each grain of behavioral data that you gather with analytical tools (including duration of visits, search behavior, IP location, etc.) indicates something about what your customers want. HeatMap is a tool that visualizes how users navigate your product through mouse tracking, and has a free 14-day trial. Learning how different designs and content performs will prepare your UX for a successful launch.

4. Launch!

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar began by reaching out to online hobbyists with an interest in trading items with other hobbyists. He invited bulletin board participants to use his site as a forum for trading items—from there, he was able to add the buyers and sellers he needed to build his community.

Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can collaboratively manage several of your social communities at once—and save you time. Don’t immediately try to master ten social apps, but do commit a quotient of hours each day for developing your message. Also, remember that the language and content choices you make reflect directly on your brand, and on those audience members who are already on board.

5. Recommit to Research

Each time you revisit this gauntlet of research, the process will become easier and more fruitful. The data you gather will offer understanding for how to optimize your web app for the market that uses it most actively.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the conclusion of our “How to Build a Web App” series! Revisit how to plan, build, and push a web app live on our blog, and tweet us your own app marketing tips at @CodeFellows.

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