So you've just created an awesome app. What now? It's likely you haven't generated much hype during the development phase so your user base is minimal/non-existent. With the cost of app development being what it is, you may not have much of a marketing budget to grow your user base. But there are still ways to attract exposure and increase app downloads without taking out a second mortgage. We call these growth hacks.
The first growth hack involves moderating your app reviews. The words used in your app store reviews are indexed by Google Play and iOS. Provided the reviews contain relevant keywords (words you expect users to be searching when looking for your app/similar apps) there is a greater chance your app will be found. There's no way to completely control reviews about your app but you can get creative here.
Obviously there's no substitute for a good product. If users enjoy engaging with your app and remain satisfied it's likely they will positively review/refer your app. While the purpose of this article is not to outline how to create a good app, there are simple ways to improve satisfaction at the early stages of user involvement. An example of this is the login interface. By including a social login you're able to decrease friction associated with the login process and account creation.
Currently there are 7,099 languages that are spoken with 23 languages accounting for more than half the worlds population. It's clear that we live in a multilingual society. In order to maximise your applications geographic reach, you should localise your app using different languages. Begin by altering the description and name within the app store as most users will search for an app in their native language. If it becomes apparent that you have a significant following in a specific region/language, it may be worth translating the entire app.
You'll want as many media outlets covering your release as possible. This can be quite difficult and at times you won't receive any interest. If this is the case, it may help to give a media outlet the exclusive right to publish your announcement. That publication now becomes the first to write about your app which may lead to other websites/publications backlinking to their site. Media outlets generally value an exclusive story more.
Free Your App
If you have a paid app, many users will seek a free alternative. Honestly who can blame them. Why pay for something when you can get it for free? Unless a paid app shows the extra value it provides over a free alternative, it will inevitably result in less downloads. One strategy to deploy here is a paid-to-free campaign. This is where you make your app free for a limited period of time to encourage downloads. That will subsequently grow the user base and increase the likelihood of someone recommending your app. The same concept can be applied to free apps with in-app purchases. By giving the user something valuable, a feature that makes them feel special, you increase user satisfaction.
These growth hacks aren't intended to operate as an exhaustive list. The best growth hacks emerge with experimentation. Try different tactics and don't feel disheartened or restricted by a limited marketing budget.