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App marketers, want some night terrors? Here’s a not-so-fun statistic: there are now 198 million active adblock users around the world, and the numbers are skyrocketing. Many of you might not even realize how dire a situation it is now that customers can choose not to see any ads at all, but marketers are very aware of this issue.
And sure, adblocking tech hasn’t quite crossed-over into the mobile world yet, but that’s no reason to think it never will. If the VP of Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn is telling us to take adblocking on mobile seriously, we should. That’s why in the near future, good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing might become one of the most powerful tools mobile businesses might have left to draw in new users.
Considering 92% of Americans trust recommendations from their family and friends, and word-of-mouth marketing drives searches for mobile apps, now is the time to put some calories behind this time-tested channel. Here are 3 ways to boost your word-of-mouth app marketing.

1. Ask *satisfied* customers for referrals and ratings.

Many app developers pop up notifications begging for ratings from the exact wrong audience because they use a shotgun approach. Don’t solicit app store ratings from disgruntled users. Utilize app metrics to target loyal users who are more likely to give you 5 stars. And if you’re prompting users to “share with friends,” which should be approached even more delicately than ratings, make sure the user base you are targeting is the most likely to be happy to share your app.

Of course, it goes without saying that the larger your pool of loyal users, the greater your reach with word-of-mouth marketing. Make sure you cultivate loyalty by rewarding users with the right incentives to keep using your app. Great customer service and experience leads to happy stories which lead to more word-of-mouth conversions.

2. Give personalized referral codes for free trials and discounts.

Remember that 92% stat? You rarely see a percentage that high for anything in online marketing (well, anything positive), so it’s definitely something to pay attention to. A thousand online reviews might not sway you, but if your best friend swears by Waze as her navigation app of choice? You’ll probably download it the next time you’re on a road trip.
Create more opportunities for your users to talk up your app by rewarding them with personalized referral codes. Companies like Uber and TaskRabbit have built their empires on individual promo codes. In fact, google “personalized referral codes” and Uber is the top search result. That’s how crucial these codes are to the success of Uber. Your company should also tap into this powerful method of leveraging word-of-mouth.

3. Target the evangelists of your niche.

When Lysol wasn’t selling well in China, the marketing team figured out what group would most likely become evangelists for their product: moms. Free kits were distributed to these “influencer moms” and shipments of Lysol increased 86% month over month.
This story is great because it shows that there is a domino effect if you can first capture the right niche audience. By targeting a group of influencers who are part of a natural network of like-minded people, a little word-of-mouth can go a long way. Do you know the influencers in your business niche? Get your app onto their smartphones first, and reap the rewards.
What tips do you have on increasing word-of-mouth for your mobile app? Sound off in the comments below.

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