12 Low Budget Marketing Strategies To Promote Your App In Africa

Regardless of how underdeveloped Africa might be today, there is no doubt that we live in the world of smartphones, Mobile Apps, and IoT devices. For many of us, it means things must happen in a split second and work must be done instantly. Like my Uncle will say “We live in the age of instant noodles and instant gratification”. Without an app, you can barely connect with anyone effectively.

If you have an app for your business or you’re a developer who just developed a mobile app to solve a particular problem for a specific group of people, kudos to you!

But, what is just as important as developing an app is the right way to promote and market it. Let’s look at some ways you can effectively promote your app on a low (shipinni) budget.

12 Strategies For Low Budget App Promotion

Make it FREE

Making your app free is a marketing strategy that will ensure that every one of the rest of the suggestions below is more effective by 30x or more, releasing a paid app, especially on Android, will only bring you pain. Ask Mr. E.O, In 2010 he spent over $3,000 on promoting a paid app, including professionally done Youtube Video and press releases that hit all the major news wires. 

Result: Only 100 downloads on the paid $1.99 App.

Although, he later got over 700,000 downloads with a Free App. 

You Can read the full story here

Making your App free gives many users the idea of having nothing to lose, hence they are willing to be more curious than analytical. 

Of course, I know all app ideas can’t be free. Let’s proceed.

Enter the Market Before You Market

I know that sounds somehow. Another phrase for that is “Build with your Customers”. A mistake that many businesses commit is to throw their app out into the open world, expecting every single person to instantly download it and make it successful. This may seem like the right thing to do, but it isn’t. 

An Outstanding application marketing strategy begins well before you offer it to the public. This is something I learned from IBM Product Development Training in 2019. What you have to do is contact a few of the targeted users of your App and set up a sponsored user program with them. 

What that means is that you get to develop the beta versions of the product with them and get perfect feature reviews before you announce your app to the public. This will not only help you get a better-performing app but will also check the fact that your app is indeed valued, tested, and evaluated by the targeted market it’s intended for. 

All things considered, you need to ensure that whatever you are building, will be perfect for them. This is the set of customers that’ll become your App Evangelists. Once you have app downloads from existing customers you can then use this to influence more downloads. Getting the first adopters is always a major challenge. You can use this strategy to avoid that and have enough users that are willing and already talking about your app before you actually start major promotion. And you can incentivize your sponsored users to email their friends and reward them by having X number of friends using the app.

Go Crazy on Social Media

This approach may seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed if I tell you many app owners don’t use it enough. You should be screaming about your App on every possible social media platform. Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook play an eminent role in any kind of promotion activities you can think of today. 

Make sure you (and your staff) tell every contact you have about your App and encourage them to download or share it with their contacts also. That’s the outline, you can start: 

  • by sharing with your friends giving a link to the app with screenshots of it. Explaining what it is about, how it works, why choose this app over its other competition (if any).
  • Use Hashtags to promote your mobile application with specific keywords and tags. If you do not have enough friends, followers, or likes, this approach will help you reach out to interested audiences. 
  • Join Facebook and Linkedin Groups and use common sense to engage with potential users and influencers. 
  • Let your personal profile say it all. Use the app designs as your cover image, mention and have the link somewhere in your profile description.
  • Create a page/group dedicated to it, which becomes a platform for people interested in it to directly talk to you and ask questions. It shows how serious and committed you are about the app
  • Promote the page you created using paid promotion service. Facebook and Instagram can be good places to promote your app, where you can reach out to your desired audience at a low price. You can market your app for free or on a very small budget, and as you grow, venture into more powerful mediums of an app promotion. 

Once people learn about your app and read all the features it offers, downloads will start exponentially, and your app will rise among the ranks

Connect with Influencers

Promoting your application will often stretch out past your standard field and regular contacts, these unfamiliar associations are sometimes what you need to get random people on the internet to know about your app and start using it immediately. 

Creating associations with influencers will go far in marketing your application. The question you might want to ask me is how to get high-profile influencers on your shipinni budget. 

My Answer: 

1. It depends on your app industry. 

2. There is always someone that can influence the influencer you need.

3. You can chat me up for more info.

Start a Blog and Connect with Bloggers

Blogging is one sure way to leverage SEO and put the news about your app on the web. Asides from that, you’ll have an online platform where users can always visit to learn more about your app. 

Don’t just make a single blog post and assume that’s all you have to do.  You must be concerned enough to have blog articles to explain the features of the app, how to use the app, the benefits of the app, the pains your users are going through without the app…  Like you know already, you’ll get a better outcome if you’re not doing it alone on your website. Connect with other bloggers and offer to write guest posts on their website. It’s called doubling and multiplying your hustle. 

Submit to Multiple App stores

Submitting your app to several app stores is an easy free way to ensure you’re more visible. A red little red bird told me to recommend Google Market. I also heard it’s free to submit to Getjar and Amazon Android Marketplace. 

Google Market + Amazon take a revenue share of the money you make from either selling your app or from any in-app purchases (IAP) that are made through their billing solutions which is the trade-off for exposure. Getjar only accepts free apps and allows you to implement your own billing solutions if you use IAP. App stores are effectively risk-free as a revenue share is given to the app store owner.

If you’re into famzing, you can find out who looks after the editorial sections of Google, Amazon, Getjar in your country, email them and tell them why your app offers such good value to the end-user.

Leverage Affiliate networks and Referral Systems

I know for sure that this was one of the top strategies that enhance promotion for Luno, Carbon, and Opay in Nigeria.

Including a recommend a friend program is a great way to grow your business with the right customer demographic. Within certain apps, you can include incentivized referral programs. This allows you to encourage, and reward existing customers for recommending you to their friends. This is one of the best ways to promote not only your app but your business as a whole. Its word of mouth advertising in the digital age. 

Implement a referral system to reward people who refer your app to their friends. You can incentivize people to email their friends, reward them by having X number of friends within the app. Remember, Your biggest advocates are your current customers.

Pay per install providers

A limited budget for promoting your app might stop you from trying certain new things and increasing outreach, but you have the good old advertising medium to help you spread the word. 

When you pay per install for an application you’re normally paying for the user to download and open an application. Some providers of this service include: Getjar, Everbadge, Appbrain, Admob, Millennial Media, Jumptap, Smaato, Adfonic, and Charles Adetola (:

Find Recommendation sites

This is somehow similar to the sponsored user approach, but not exactly. 

You find Mobile App recommendations sites like androidcentral.com, androidpitt.com, androidpolice.com, appESP, Appolicious, Chomp, AppBrain, Appboy, AppAware. 

They will review your app and write their review about it. Be sure you have a good product or you might not like the outcome once they publish.

Highlight The App in Your Emails

Your new application should be engraved into each part of your advertising, that incorporates the entirety of your messages. As a business, you will convey incalculable messages, and excluding your application in each of those is a grand chance.

Since most users have email apps on their phones, it is much easier to reach them by email nowadays. Whether they read the entire content or not, if you throw in a download link, and communicate its value, they will want to click it.

Make a Demo Video

Remember, I always emphasize the need for visual and auditory stimulation when putting anything on the internet for promotional and marketing purposes. 

Record a 30 – 120 second business-standard video. Ensure you communicate the Why, How, and What pain your App will take away. 

You can use this video on any platform, free or paid. And it’s always going to be an asset to document your efforts.

App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization (ASO), aims at growing your app organically. The main idea is to make your app more visible in the app stores and let the app market itself.

The good thing about ASO is that it brings organic users and those users increase your rankings, which in turn will help you get even more users. You can read more about it here or check this article: 40 App Store SEO Tips to Boost App Downloads (2021 ASO Guide for iOS & Google Play Apps)


The success of the app depends highly on the promotion strategies, and the success of the business greatly depends on how many users you can reach through your app. 

So, that’s the end of my write-up. Hopefully, it was helpful. For any questions feel free to add comments. I would be happy to help.

In future posts I will try to cover more of the above points.

Have a productive day,

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