How to Promote your Shopify eCommerce Mobile App Offline
As 2023 draws to a close, many of you will find yourselves attending small pop-ups, festivals, and seasonal events to promote your app.
These experiences are not just opportunities for reaching out to one-time customers; they can turn casual shoppers into loyal customers.
By nudging them to install and engage with your app, like the one you've built using our no-code Shopify mobile app builder.
As the festive spirit sinks in and rules our minds and budgets for this last stretch of the quarter, let's explore some effective offline app marketing strategies that can help you get more downloads and, if you play the game right, more customers.
9 ways to promote your Shopify store mobile app offline
We’ve listed several proven offline marketing tactics, from traditional to innovative.
Some of these can help create memorable experiences for your potential app users, and some offer a unique way of bringing your digital app to the ‘real world’.
Let’s deep dive into how offline app marketing strategies can complement your online marketing strategies to create an effective app promotion campaign.
1. Host pop-up shops, events, seminars and events
Both offer a unique opportunity for you and your brand to engage directly with your audience.
Here are a few ways you can effectively use them to promote your app:
- Select your location strategically: Look for areas with high footfall, such as shopping centers, busy streets, or popular community spaces to host a pop-up. For events, select ones whose guest list matches your app’s target audience, ensuring maximum exposure.
- Make it interactive: Create an immersive experience at your pop-up shop or event booth. Set up interactive demos where visitors can try your app, providing them with a hands-on understanding of its features and benefits.
- Get creative with your booth: Your space has to be visually appealing and inviting. Use visually striking banners, digital displays, and posters to draw attention.
- Partner with industry experts: Collaborating with established experts or influencers will add credibility to your brand and boost your app’s reach and appeal. Identify relevant topics that match both your app’s purpose and your audience’s interest.
- Interact personally: Don’t underestimate face-to-face communication. Put a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team to show and teach curious visitors about the app, answer questions, and engage with the audience. This way you get first-hand feedback on your app and use it for future app development.
- Gamify it: Plan fun activities that invite easy participation like contests, games, or giveaways. Besides attracting visitors, they also become a fun and memorable way to learn about your app. For example, if you sell healthy snacks on your app, try a quick recipe contest!
- Give promotional materials: Distribute flyers, brochures, or business cards with QR codes linking to your app’s download page. Offer special promotions or discounts to those who download the app at the event, incentivizing immediate action.
- Build an email list: Some leads just need some extra nurturing. Collect contact information from visitors for future communication. Send them updates about new features, launches, or any upcoming events related to your app.
2. Partner with local businesses
Create relationships where both parties benefit from sharing resources and audiences.
Here’s how you can tap into local networks:
- Identify potential partners: Find businesses that have the same target audience as your app and where your app adds value to their customers and vice versa. For example, if your app focuses on fitness or wellness products, you can partner with local gyms or health food stores.
- Promote mutually: You can display each other’s marketing materials in-store, like flyers, posters, or QR codes that link directly to your app. Since local businesses have more credibility, they can lend you some through association if you are a new app. You can also, for example, reward users who download your app through a local café by sharing a discount on their next coffee purchase and on any coffee products from your catalog.
- Cross-promote on Social Media: Share and promote each other’s exclusive offers or joint events. This will increase reach and engagement with your content.
3. Sell branded merchandise
Not only does this delight loyal users, but it is also a surprisingly effective way to attract customers. Look for fun promotional products that you can have imprinted with your app’s logo or message.
Here are a few points to remember:
- Select the right merchandise: Look for items that are not only relevant to your app but also useful to your potential app user. For example, if you sell art supplies, consider branded brushes or bags for keeping art supplies.
- Do quality control: Poor quality items will reflect negatively on your app’s and brand’s perceived value. You have to keep a customer’s emotional and mental association with your brand positive and encourage repeated use.
- Create a distribution strategy: What use is building merchandise for your target audience if you do not distribute them where they’re most likely to be? Share them through industry events or stores that are visited by many potential app users.
- Add a CTA: People like to be told what their next step should be when presented with new information. Wherever possible, include a call to action with your merchandise, like a QR code that leads them to your app’s download page, or share a promotional code they can access for app-exclusive discounts.
- Try employee advocacy: Encourage your teams to use your brand’s merchandise in their daily lives. This can turn them into brand ambassadors in their circles.
4. Try public transport ads
By turning vehicles into moving billboards, you can capture attention across a wide range of locations and demographics.
Here’s how you can effectively use vehicle wraps to promote your app:
- Design eye-catching ads: Potential app users have seconds to register and remember your ad, so you need to make visually memorable designs. It should showcase your app’s logo and name and also convey what you sell clearly. Use bold colors, inspiring images, and a visually strong CTA to grab attention and make an impression on the move.
- Place them strategically: Choose strategic locations for your ads based on your target audience. If your app caters to fitness enthusiasts, consider routes with high traffic and visibility that pass through districts with a higher density of gyms and wellness stores.
- Maximize exposure: Utilize a mix of vehicles and public transport options like buses, subways, taxis, and even bike-sharing services. This way, your ad can reach different segments of the target audience.
5. Leverage traditional media
Don’t give up on newspapers, magazines, radio, and television just yet.
Traditional media can target demographics that are less likely to be exposed to your ads on online platforms and can complement your digital marketing strategy.
Here’s how you can run an effective app promotion campaign on traditional media:
- Understand each medium’s audience: Newspapers and magazines tend to appeal to a more informed and mature audience, while radio and television have broader mass-market reach. Look for one that aligns with your brand’s target app users, or tailor your message accordingly for each channel.
- Craft an intriguing narrative: For newspapers and magazines, creating a story is key to increasing brand recall. Add a human element by sharing insights into your brand’s journey, the problem it solves, or the unique features you offer.
- Leverage radio: Radio has a wide appeal as it reaches listeners in their cars, homes, and offices. You can sponsor segments, buy ad spots, or look for interview features. Tailor your campaign to be appealing through audio.
- Television ads: These can be expensive but can give great returns. If you have a smaller budget, look for local cable channels or specific time slots that are more affordable.
6. Design your business cards with QR codes
QR codes are the perfect blend of traditional networking tools and modern technology. This makes it easy for any interested customer to download your app.
Here are a few tips on using business cards with QR codes to promote your app:
- Make the QR code stand out: Your card should not only reflect your brand identity, but it should also have enough negative space so that including a QR code does not clutter the design and encourages scanning. Add a brief CTA near the code like Scan to Download the App” to make it more effective.
- Ease of Use: The QR code should directly take an interested user to your app’s download page or landing page. Remove any additional barriers or steps that will discourage them from downloading your app. Since they’re easy to use, they’re also convenient for networking.
- Test it: Make sure that the QR code scans easily. Test it with various devices and QR code readers before printing your cards.
- Tracking Engagement: Use a unique QR code for your business cards to track how many scans and downloads are generated from these interactions. This data can be valuable in understanding the effectiveness of your networking efforts and the appeal of your app.
7. Employ billboards at strategic locations
By placing large-scale ads in high-visibility areas, you can capture attention across a diverse range of locations and make a bold statement that’s memorable enough for the brief seconds people will see it as they travel on public routes.
Here’s how you can create an effective and appealing billboard:
- Choose High-impact locations: Select areas with high vehicular traffic, like tech hubs, universities, shopping centers, or busy intersections.
- Create eye-catching designs: Your billboard has to be visually striking to capture attention within a few seconds. Use bright colors, compelling imagery, a clear app name and logo, and minimal text.
- Try digital billboards: If your budget permits, consider where you can change visuals. This way, you can show different features of your app or through best-selling items from your catalog.
8. Send press releases
A well-crafted press release can grab the attention of journalists, bloggers, and influencers, leading to media coverage that can significantly boost your app downloads.
It may take time and effort to pay off but here are some tips:
- Craft a Compelling Story: Like traditional print media, they key here is to create a compelling story. Don’t just announce your app, but share the problem it solves, its unique features, or the impact it has on users.
- Target the right agencies and outlets: Look for industry-specific blogs, local news outlets, tech magazines, and other relevant publications. Tweak your messaging for each outlet, explaining why your story is relevant to that particular audience.
- Include quotes: Personal quotes from you or key team members can make your brand seem more approachable and increase public trust in your app.
9. Apply for awards
It’s not just about winning; being nominated for an award will also increase your app’s credibility, visibility, and appeal in a crowded market.
Check out these tips to make the most of this offline marketing strategy:
- Apply for relevant awards: Look for awards that include your competitors or your app’s niche. Don’t just apply for large-scale or famous awards; smaller, niche ones will also add to your authority.
- Understand selection criteria: Remember to tailor your submission to highlight how your app meets or exceeds its standards and focus on explaining its unique selling points, user benefits, and exciting features.
- Display award badges: If your app wins or is nominated for an award, don’t be shy about shouting about it from any digital rooftops, so to speak. Prominently display award logos on your website, app store listings, marketing materials, and social media. Talk about it in your press releases, blog posts, and emails.
These offline app marketing strategies aren't just effective during the holiday season.
By testing and experimenting with these tactics throughout the year, you can create an effective app promotion strategy that drives growth and engagement consistently.
Want more inspiration for promoting your mobile app?
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