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6 incredible email marketing hacks to accelerate app downloads

More mobile apps are being downloaded than ever before, with 230 billion downloads in 2021 alone, according to Statista. App revenue is growing exponentially too, with overall revenue expected to top $935 billion by 2023.

With so many apps jostling for downloads (1.96 million on the Apple App Store; 2.87 million on the Google Play Store), you’re probably looking for ways to accelerate downloads of your own app. One of the best ways to do this is via email.

With effective email marketing, you can raise awareness of your app and increase downloads. This isn’t easy, however, as email inboxes are crammed with new messages every day, which compete with your emails to capture attention and generate click-throughs.

This article shows you six techniques to hack your email marketing strategy and help boost app downloads.

Table of contents

Target existing email subscribers and invite them to beta test your app

Make the most of your existing email list subscribers by sending them an invitation email to beta test your app. (Just make sure the subject line of your beta testing invite clearly states the purpose of the email.)

If you think you’re driving them crazy with another email, think again. Chances are they’ll feel valued and will be happy to be among the chosen few to beta test your app and gain early access to its features.

Let’s look at some beta test invitation email samples. The first is from Echograph:

The copy in this beta test invitation email sample is straightforward and to the point. No beating around the bush, just a couple of steps explaining the functionality and images suggesting what the potential testers should do within the private beta (you could also include screenshots), making for a good beta invite emails.

Once the beta users submit their beta testing feedback, make it a point to send them a thank you email as well, just ensure you offer something extra. An app upgrade, for example, would be a nice touch.

Here’s Dropmark’s thank you beta testing email campaign. Right off the bat, the email template thanks the users for testing the beta version of the app, then clearly states that Dropmark will offer beta testers an upgraded app for a special price.

Once your app is beta tested and you’ve successfully submitted the app to the app stores, it’s time to spread the word.

Start planning your email marketing campaign now

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Bottom line up front (BLUF) emails with a direct link to the app store

You’ve finished building your app using a software development kit (SDK). Now how do you let people know about it?

While taking to social media and posting on LinkedIn is a good idea, people may scroll straight past your app announcement. Instead, use email to promote your app launch.

These launch emails should be short and to the point, so take full advantage of the bottom line up front (BLUF) method:

  • Use bullet points in the explanation

  • Be economic with your words

  • Grab the reader’s attention with your copy

Here’s FreshDirect’s email blast promoting its iOS app (for the Apple iPhone and iPad) and Android app. As you can see, the messaging is straight to the point, with mobile being the focus.

Also note the inclusion of large buttons with direct links to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, enabling users to directly download the app on their devices. You could also include a call to action (CTA) leading to a landing page on your website.

Get them started with an onboarding email

It’s very exciting when users are downloading your app, but if you start to notice many of them are then deleting the app after a couple of days, you’ve got a problem.

To avoid this, try sending app onboarding emails within the first three-day period. An app onboarding email reminds the user that they’ve downloaded the app, provides guidance on how to use it and explains what users can expect from it. It’s essentially a new app launch email.

Make sure your onboarding email is perfectly crafted to present your app’s features to new users. Here’s a great onboarding email example from Hitlist:

Hitlist found that its new users weren’t likely to use their app immediately after signing up. To give downloaders an initial push, the company used a behavioral email with all the right triggers.

The email urges users to relax, but also take action. It promises to help users find answers to all their travel queries.

Familiarize them with an underused feature

You can also encourage usage by reminding downloaders of the amazing features within the app that remain underused or unused. These reminder email notifications can help users find a new value for your app leading to better app retention.

Try different analytic tools, such as Appcues, to find used and unused features within your application programming interface (API).

Swarm’s email below provides insights into how such an email works. As you can see, this email design immediately draws the user’s attention to the new feature within the app. More importantly, there are two buttons inviting them to try out the new features.

What’s more, the email comes with deep links to open Swarm, sending them directly to the messaging feature.

Use in-app behavior insights to strike a better chord with users

Your company emails should capture relevant information that resonates well with your target audience. With app analytics, you can monitor your users’ in-app behavior to personalize emails.

Keep track of items people frequently use and add to their shopping cart, as well as the screens they tend to spend a lot of time on, then impress them with an email displaying all these desired products at discounted rates.

For example, the Amazon personalized email below targets searchers of Canon cameras.

Use profile data to personalize your notifications

With so much competition in crowded inboxes, you’ll often need to go above and beyond the conventional email approach to keep users happy.

The more information you can compliantly accumulate from users when they are using your app, the easier it will be to craft personalized emails for particular demographics of recipients. This can benefit both parties: you’ll get to know your users in greater detail, while your audience will receive a better user experience and notifications for relevant things that they care about.

Ask for information such as:

  • Name

  • Age

  • Behavioral data

  • Geographic area

  • Interests

  • Gender

  • Job title or company size

  • Past purchases

  • Purchasing frequency

Final thoughts

Email marketing is an evergreen strategy, particularly for businesses and startups promoting an app. When done well, it’s extremely cost-effective and can provide an excellent return on investment.

By using automation to personalize your email marketing efforts and build effective email workflows, you can show your users they’re valued while raising awareness of your app and increasing downloads.

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