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This article was published on February 22, 2019

13 ways to get customers to choose your app over the competition’s

13 ways to get customers to choose your app over the competition’s
Scott Gerber
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Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

Competition between apps can be fierce. It’s no longer just about selling a great product and doing some light advertising — there’s so much more to it now, especially if you want to steal customers from your competitors.

To find out how to encourage customers to download one app over another, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

What’s one way to encourage customers to download your new mobile app instead of a competitor’s?

Their best answers are below:

1. Add an ongoing incentive

Marketing your app should be about finding incentives, not just for the consumer to download it the first time, but to leave it on their phone. The best way to do this is to offer a discount code only available via the mobile app, followed by the promise of future benefits that come with having the app, such as free trials, gift cards and other promotions. – Zev Herman, Superior Lighting


2. Visualize your argument

Before we download an app, we try to understand how it works before committing to it. If your audience doesn’t know what it’s downloading, they’re very likely to go to your competitor who highlights what their app offers with visualizations like screenshots and demos. Visualize why your argument will help convince people on the fence about your app to commit to it. Let your app speak for itself. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP


3. Use a referral program

Setting up a customer referral program enables you to tap into the power of “word-of-mouth,” which accounts for up to 50 percent of customer purchase decisions for some businesses. Incentivizing your existing users to promote your app to colleagues, family, and friends is an effective way to get those extra downloads. Of course, the first step is to have a great app in the first place. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International


4. Be easy to love

Look at what your competitor is offering and see where the challenges are: There are lots of apps that are not really easy to bond with, they miss out on that extra element of personalization that can make people feel good. See if you can find a way to enhance this in your own app. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting


5. Create an icon that stands out

An eye-catching app icon is important to make your app stand out in the crowd. Choose a unique shape to differentiate your app from others, use a limit of two contrasting colors, and avoid using a ton of text. Also, take a look in the app store, or even on your own phone, and study what icons stand out and why — use that as inspiration for your own icon. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights


6. Show the value

Show customers why they can’t live without your app. Any information you share about your app should include the problem it solves or how it makes your life easier. Providing examples of the many ways your app can help them save money, work more efficiently or save time will be enough to get them to download yours over a competitor. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker


7. Gamify the approach

If you want to win them over your competitors, then give them a reason to leave the app on. The goal is to leave your app on versus your competitors’ apps. For example, an app called Sweatcoin counts your steps and gives you rewards for more steps. If you close the app, it doesn’t count the steps and you don’t receive any awards. How are you qualifying your approach? – Sweta Patel, Startup Growth Mode


8. Pay attention

Read reviews of the apps of your competition, and look for things that customers would like to see added, taken away or changed. Make sure those are addressed with your app before marketing, then use those differences in your strategy. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance


9. Take great screenshots

Great screenshots of your app is an important part of getting people to download your app over others. Don’t just pop a plain screenshot of your app in the app store: Make your app screenshots more visually appealing by adding captions and other visual elements that help show your app features off in a more engaging way. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC


10. Add a video

Adding a video explaining how the app works is a great way to provide more information in case someone is on the fence between your app or a competitor’s. If your competitor has a video, look for ways that you can make the video better by making it easier to understand. – Jared Atchison, WPForms


11. Talk up your accessibility features

Have you checked if your app can be used with a screen reader? Or can it be navigated without a mouse? If so, make sure your sales copy mentions those features. If not, make time. One in five people in the U.S. has a disability, so inaccessibility limits your pool of buyers. Inaccessible websites and apps can also open you up to lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. – Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide


12. Partner up

One way to boost your own ethos and attract customers is to partner with businesses within your field. Focus on businesses who have partnered with others in the past because they may be more open to partnerships. Even though it can be nerve-wracking, look for ways to reach out them either by contact box form on the site, a connection on LinkedIn or an introduction through a business associate. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps


13. Consider traditional PR strategies

I have personally overseen the development of multiple apps that have gone viral. Each app, while entirely unique in conception, benefited from a very strong PR campaign, especially over digital. Between being shared on the Huffington Post, mentioned on Ellen Degeneres and one app being featured on MTV, we were able to sustain massive public appeal. – Kristopher Brian Jones,

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