We’re living in the mobile era and the trend shows no signs of reversing. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans own a smartphone and that percentage jumps to 95% in the 18 to and 49 year old set. Today, more Americans own a smartphone than a desktop, laptop, or tablet.
A few other smartphone stats of interest:
The data is compelling. A smartphone app is a great way to meet your audience where they are. It overcomes the challenges of social media algorithms limiting content visibility, and the clutter of email inboxes that compromises email deliverability. (Another topic we’ll address down the road.)
As nonprofits are adding mobile apps to their communications tactics, encouraging download and adoption is a critical piece to plan for and address. “If you build it, they will come,” only applies to baseball fields in Iowa. For everything else, building it is not enough, you have to build it, and promote it.
Before you get into the channels you’re going to use to promote your nonprofit mobile app, create a digital resource (a landing page) and an analog resource (a flyer).
A landing page, or teaser page, effectively and creatively informs your online audience. On this page:
A print flyer, the old stand by, is still an excellent tool if you have the opportunity to interact with your audience face-to-face.
Now that your collateral is in place, let's dig into the specifics of how and where you can position and promote your nonprofit mobile app and increase the reach of your charity and its mission.
Your organizational website.
Obviously, your app landing page will live on your website, but living there isn’t enough. You’ll want to provide links to the page throughout the site. Feature links from your site navigation, footer, blog posts, and with embedded links throughout your content. Not only will these links help your visitors find your app, they’ll help with your SEO. If your app is not yet launched, use this page to build anticipation and awareness.
Your social media properties.
The more content you schedule on social media, the more favorable social algorithms are to showing your content. Having weekly social posts on Facebook, twitter, instagram or linkedin with links and QR codes for your mobile app can encourage app downloads, while boosting your organization’s visibility to your social audiences. You can also encourage your social followers to like, comment, and share your posts so friends in their network can learn about the app as well.
Community apps, lists and groups.
If you are serving a local community or neighborhood, consider posts promoting your app to groups on the Nextdoor App, on Facebook neighborhood groups, Patch.com or even Craigslist.
Your organizational newsletter.
Often, newsletters are the most frequently read email a nonprofit sends, and while not ideal for deadlines or urgent communications, they can be a great way to spread the word about your mobile app.
App promotional emails.
Create a series of app promotion emails to be delivered over the course of a few weeks. In each, be sure to include a link to your app landing page or provide a direct app download link and/or QR Code.
Organizational signature blocks in email.
You and your team are communicating 1:1 with your contacts throughout the day, often called transactional emails. These emails are more frequently opened and acted on than promotional emails. Including your nonprofit mobile app in the signature block can boost awareness and downloads.
Host a giveaway.
With a service like Rafflecopter.com you can create special prizes and raffle them away to those who share your app, post about you, or complete other tasks.
Send reminders to current users.
Make sure those who have your app know how to share it. Send notifications (in-app) to current app users with reminders of how to share the app with their friends and families.
Include the QR code on your swag and free merchandise.
A QR code can be easily printed or applied on a sticker. Consider adding it to anything you’re giving away at events.
If you have a physical location, feature your nonprofit mobile app QR code on facility signage, floor graphics, and throughout your location.
Your collateral materials
If you’re sending anything through the mail, add your mobile app QR code to whatever you're sending. Include on your #10 envelopes, postcards, brochures, or other collateral materials. If you and your staff have business cards, add the QR code to them as well.
On your voicemail.
If your community calls your offices, add a line about your app on your outgoing voice message: “Thank you for calling, if you haven’t downloaded our app you can find us in the app store under…”
Press releases and media alerts.
In an age where good news can be hard to find, local news organizations may pick up and cover the launch of your nonprofit mobile app. (Check out how the West Ohio Food Bank mobile app was featured on Home Town News.)
We’re not talking about the celebrity influencers who charge per post! Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from people and organizations who have a level of knowledge or social influence in a particular field. If your organization has an affiliation with anyone who is known and respected in your community, consider asking them to post about your app to their audience.
Other cause-minded organizations.
Within your community there are other cause-minded organizations who have the attention of your audience. Partnering with them to promote your nonprofit mobile app can be a great way to cover all the bases. In exchange for promoting the app, your organization can feature their content as well.
If you’ve not yet launched your app, it isn’t too early to start promoting it. Set up a nonprofit mobile app landing page where your community can learn what’s coming. Make sure to include a form so they can sign up to be notified when the app is ready for download.
When promoting anything, make sure you’re starting with a goal, and know the KPIs you want to track to measure success. For example, the number of current users you have on your app, the number of community members you’re targeting, and the number of people you have in your database and follow your social media properties.
Have additional ideas on promoting a nonprofit mobile app, or questions? Reach out to us, we’d love to hear from you.
We’d love to help you do more good in your community.
We’d love to help you do more good in your community.