China is becoming the next target for businesses and startup founders. The challenge is how to enter the market and stay there. The mobile app and web app market is no different when it comes to breaking the invisible “Great Wall” of strong culture and Chinese perception of Western products.
Internet access and smartphones turned a lot of people into Online shoppers. In China, digitalization and social media have enhanced a lot this trend. Chinese people are willing to spend a lot of time online, even more than the people in the U.S. There are so many users on mobile in China that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to build new apps or channels serving consumers and small businesses. This is more efficient than anything that could be developed offline.
If you have decided that the Chinese market is right for you, you need now to prepare your app to be delivered the right way for this market.
Here there are some steps to follow to create a successful marketing strategy for your App in China. In addition, There are some proven tricks and successful components you can add to improve the chances of succeeding. Try as much as possible to use QR codes, WeChat functionalities, add rich content and optimize your mobile app.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEPS TO MARKET YOUR APP IN CHINA
Use the Chinese language
Chinese people are language sensitive so having a successful app only in English is nearly impossible. It is better to use a Chinese written app to attract more consumers’ attention and gain exposure online in China. In fact, they are more comfortable with Chinese language because even English courses are compulsory at school, a lot of Chinese don’t practice it or have the need to use it in their country.
You should consider not only translation of marketing material such as the App name & description, but also translation of the App interface itself and audio if needed.
Meet local preferences
In your pre-download marketing campaign, your screenshots should address local preferences. Chinese market is huge and complex market, with different culture e needs. Before to enter in the Chinese market, you should deeply understand their culture, to avoid misunderstanding and bad reviews which have a critical impact on your success.
app STORE OPTIMIZATION
If you have a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) then you’ll be happy to know that app store optimization (ASO) works pretty much the same way.
Many of the stores have packages of pay per download (PPD) or payment for being featured in the store for a certain time. It all costs money but the nice thing is that you can boost your downloads in a relatively short amount of time and quickly generate a user base. Take advantage of this option only if needed, but make sure you leave some marketing budget for it as it may be necessary.
Otherwise, you can also increase your app awareness through SEO online.
- Free-to-download apps are great
When it comes to spending their money, people are always cost-sensitive. And there’s no secret in the fact that people want to get true value from what they’re spending their money on.
- Make in-app purchases
If the customer decides to commit to purchasing through your app, you’ll want to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Remember that Chinese consumers use Alipay and Wechat pay, therefore add these payments platforms to your app.
Explore alternative business model
Give some serious thought to your App’s business model, as people in China are very reluctant to pay for Apps. Paid Apps are therefore not as common on the market (and for those apps that are paid, free pirated versions on the hundreds of independent app stores are quick to crop up).
Instead, what works best are Apps which drive revenue, through In-App-Purchases or Advertising, as these are forms of paying for games and content that the China market has already built a tolerance for over the web and offline. Xiaohongshu, Douyin or QQ, all these well-known and successful apps in China are running in this way.
Leverage social media
There are very few Apps these days that are not connected to external services or social networks. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all used in the West, but China has its own unique set of social networks and services, such as Weibo and WeChat.
- Wechat : the first social media app in China
The most used Chinese app for communication. WeChat has become a powerful marketing tool as well for individual entrepreneur as international companies. You can create your brand’s account on WeChat to keep in touch with your Chinese target consumers.
A WeChat official account is a kind micro-website, where you can post news, put your contact information, create an event, even open a WeChat Store for selling.
What makes WeChat better than any other social media platform is that when you put new things, there is an alert on the main page of WeChat. Every person that followed your account will be noticed. In addition, everyone in China use WeChat daily. It’s the must have APP here.
- Weibo: most popular chinese miccroblogging website
Weibo is also a popular social media platform. Weibo is the second most popular social media in China with its user base nearing 500 million users. Like WeChat, Weibo is another platform brands commonly use for social media marketing in China.
It is sure far from WeChat’s 1 billion MAU but they are used differently. Whereas on WeChat, you have to let users follow you first if you want them read your contents, on Weibo it’s more open, anyone can see your account and your activity. Weibo is used to increase a brand’s awareness and visibility online.
Leverage kOLs and celebrities
KOLs (Key opinion leaders) are one of the best ways used to promote in China as they reach a wide audience. Chinese consumers tend to trust information delivered by people much more than the one promoted via traditional channelso, therefore they can be very effective to promote your app among Chinese consumers.
For example, the trendiest app in China Douyin, has began its promotion by leveraging Chinese stars. In parallel to this widespread marketing, Douyin also asks for social media personality to enter in its platform and create their video. They can in that way attract their followers from another app to your app.
Find a local partner
You need to find a good local partner. It’s important to have knowledge and local relationships to do business in China. When it comes to market, to advertise, you need to know what is your consumer’s behavior and what is the Chinese customer journey map.
TRICKS AND SUCCESSFUL COMPONENTS FOR YOU APP
- CREATE A QR CODE
It’s no secret that Chinese people have a soft spot for QR codes, their likeliness to use the quick response codes is close to obsession. This is why many Western brands have incorporated QR codes into their apps once they decided to conquer the Chinese market.
- ADD WECHAT FUNCTIONALITY
In China, WeChat functions as a messaging and calling app, localization app, search engine app, news feed app, e-wallet app, public services app, mobile top-up, and booking app.
- THE RIGHT CONTENT FOR CHINESE MARKET
The most common things you will find are rich content, bright colors and lots of gamification actions. The minimalist and reduced approach doesn’t work well in the case of Chinese apps. Chinese users generally prefer a more elaborate UI/UX design. Make sure to add plenty of copy, mascots, and characters that will keep your users engaged.
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