12 min read

How to Market a Healthcare Mobile App

Today, there are countless applications on the App Store and Google Play.  

If you have an app in this growing, competitive market, you need to learn how to properly market them.

Simply creating a good app just isn’t enough.

There’s so much competition that you need to find ways to make your healthcare app stand out from the rest.

One of the first things you’ll want to consider is your business model. 

Is the app going to be free with in-app purchases or will it have ads? 

Is the mobile app going to be a paid model?

Any of these can work, but if you want to get more people to pay for your app, make sure it has tools or features that make it well worth the purchase price.

Once the app is created, you need to get it in front of the right audience.

Let’s look at some of the things you can do to get your healthcare app noticed and properly marketed.

Table of Contents

  1. Understand Whether Your App Needs FDA Approval
  2. HIPAA and GDPR
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Learn the Demographic
  5. Create User Personas
  6. Optimize the Listing in App Stores
  7. The Name
  8. The Icon
  9. Description
  10. Get User Reviews
  11. Ask for Reviews and Make it Easy
  12. Work With Medical Professionals and Other Health Experts
  13. More Credibility
  14. Approach the Right Expert
  15. Use Multiple Marketing Channels
  16. Your Website and Blog
  17. Social Media and Search Ads

Chapter #1: Understand Whether Your App Needs FDA Approval

Most of the time, a health app can be uploaded and marketed without any worries. 

However, if the app is given a medical device classification, it would need FDA approval.

How are you using the app?

Make sure you understand how the app needs to be classified. If it’s being used as a medical tool, then it would need FDA approval, but if it’s used to automate processes or handle non-medical tasks, it likely won’t need to have FDA approval.

Check with the FDA on what does and doesn’t need to be approved. 

  • Some of the examples of what wouldn’t need to have FDA approval include:
  • Medical dictionaries
  • Translations of medical terms across languages
  • Library of clinical descriptions for diseases and conditions
  • Surgical training videos
  • Interactive anatomy diagrams or videos
  • Portals for healthcare providers
  • Guides for patients to ask appropriate questions of their doctors
  • Apps that determine billing codes
  • Apps for managing doctor’s shifts

Photo Credit: nix-united.com

These are only some of the various types of healthcare mobile apps that will not need to have FDA approval. 

Check the site at the link above for more information and reach out to the FDA if there is any question regarding your app’s need for approval.

1.1 HIPAA and GDPR

Healthcare is a sensitive subject, and certain types of healthcare apps will need to comply with other regulations. 

HIPAA adherence will be required for many types of healthcare apps in the United States, whereas GDPR compliance would be required in Europe.

Of course, this only applies to apps that have patient information and that could pose risks to their privacy. 

If you’re uncertain, you’ll want to research these laws further and consider consulting with an attorney.

Chapter #2: Know Your Audience

Once you have a better idea of the target audience demographics for your app, it’ll be easier to market to them. 

For example, you’ll want to start by understanding your app’s value.

What is it that your app will do for your users? What are the pain points you’re addressing with the app?

Your marketing efforts will need to be focused on the people who would benefit most from the app. 

Photo Credit: medium.com

This could be a wide audience, or it could be a smaller, niche audience.

Below are some of the most important things you need to understand if you want to know your ideal audience.

2.1 Learn the Demographic

Market research can help you better identify your target audience. Some of the factors that can shape your target audience include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Education
  • Devices used
  • Occupation
  • Familial status

Understanding these things can help tell you how and where to market to reach your audience.

2.2 Create User Personas

After you understand the demographics and what your app can do for people, it’s time to start building personas. 

The personas should include more than just the demographics, though.

User personals should also include psychological demographics like personality traits, behavioral trends, and even values. Including these in your buyer personas can make it easier for you to determine how to market to them.

Chapter #3: Optimize the Listing in the Stores

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure your app is properly optimized for the App Store and/or Google Play.

3.1 The Name

What are you going to name your app? Be careful, as this is more important than you might realize.

You don’t want a name that’s exactly like the name of other mobile apps in the store. You need a catchy name that people will remember and that will exemplify your brand.

Take some time to come up with a good name rather than rushing forward and pushing the app through to market. It can make a bigger difference than you may realize.

The title space for your app is just as important. 

You should consider trying to add some keywords that relate to your healthcare niche, as it can help you to garner some added attention.

3.2 The Icon

Along the same lines, you need to have good artwork to get attention. Your name is important, but you can’t forget about the app art.

This is one of the first things that people see. It can draw them in or turn them away, so you need for it to be appealing and recognizable.

What you don’t want is for your app art to look like a dozen other apps out there. Quality, original artwork will help to eliminate confusion in the marketplace.

3.3 Description

Your description is important for optimization, too. You have to think about your users to get a sense of what they need and how they are going to be looking for apps like yours.

What types of keywords and phrases will they be using? You want to be sure you put those types of words into your short and long descriptions.

Make sure the keywords are related to the app and what it can do. Generally, you’ll want to use between four and five keywords.

Just make sure the keywords are integrated naturally and that they aren’t stuffed into the description. It should make sense to someone who is reading it.

Chapter #4: Get User Reviews

The majority of people won’t leave reviews. 

Most of the time, reviews are only left when a user has a bad experience with your application, which is exactly when you don’t want a review to be left.

Good reviews, however, can make a big difference when it comes to getting people to download your app. 

When there are reviews and ratings, it can provide your app with some added trust.

What you want to do is to encourage more people to leave reviews. 

Fortunately, this can be easier to do than you might imagine.

4.1 Ask for Reviews and Make it Easy

If you want to get more reviews, you need to make sure it’s as easy as possible for users to write them. Integrate the feedback process into the app experience.

You can add buttons to the app that direct users to leave feedback. Just make sure those buttons don’t get in the way of the app’s functionality.

There is nothing wrong with asking your users to review the app. Let people know that their reviews can help you to make the app better.

You can often use plug-ins within an app that can provide feedback functionality. This includes popups that remind people to leave a review.

Just make sure that your requests aren’t too intrusive. If they are, you may not get the good review that you wanted.

Working toward getting better reviews is a more important part of marketing than you might realize.

Chapter #5: Work With Medical Professionals and Other Health Experts

When you develop a high-quality healthcare app for mobile, you’ll need to win over the trust of your potential users. This can be difficult to do if you don’t have a record in the field.

Consider the benefits of having experts promote your app through their platforms. 

If you have an app that helps to count calories, provides information on vitamins, etc., for example, a health blogger or nutritionist might support it.

5.1 More Credibility

However, when you work with medical experts in your niche, it can help to increase your trustworthiness. 

These medical professionals can act as something of an app ambassador.

Potential users who are considering downloading your app will be more likely to follow through when it’s recommended by a medical expert, such as a doctor. 

Try to connect with experts who are willing to review and recommend your app online and offline.

5.2 Approach the Right Experts

You don’t want to talk with just any doctors about your app. You want medical professionals and health experts that are right for the app.

Talk with those who would be a natural fit for the type of app you have created. This will generally provide you with the best results.

Chapter #6: Use Multiple Marketing Channels

You can’t focus on just one method of marketing. Even if you work on getting great reviews, optimizing your listing, and having endorsements from healthcare professionals, you still need to advertise.

You should try several different methods of marketing to find those that will work best for your particular app. 

Depending on the healthcare niche you’re filling you might find that ads on some sites will garner more traction for you than others.

Photo Credit: smartinsights.com

6.1 Your Website and Blog

Your company and brand need to have a website and blog, not just an app you’re selling. Having a website helps to give you legitimacy.

It also gives you places where you can promote your app for free. 

Creating content on your site and blog and talking about your niche and your app can be a good long-term way of getting more downloads.

6.2 Social Media and Search Ads

You also need to use your social media channels to promote your app. You can connect with your audience on these channels through organic means or by using paid ads.

Organic promotion simply means having a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where you can talk about your business, follow people in your audience and industry, etc.

With organic marketing, you don’t want to spam people with constant promotional posts. 

Try to connect with the audience in meaningful ways and they will be more likely to download your app.

Photo Credit: smartinsights.com

Paid promotion utilizes onsite advertising and promotional tools through social media channels. It’s a great way to quickly increase engagement and discoverability for you and your app.

When you’re creating your ads, make sure you consider your target demographic. 

Social media paid ad tools make it possible to narrow your audience to your specific niche.

There are also search ads for Google, as well as the Apple Store, that you can use. 

These types of ads can help to put your app in front of the right audience.

You’ll find that using both organic and paid marketing is key to marketing your healthcare mobile app. Use those methods in addition to all of the other tips discussed above.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot that goes into marketing an app, and things get even more complicated when trying to properly market a specific app category, such as a healthcare app.

There’s a lot to consider, such as HIPAA and GDPR, so doing your research and even hiring a lawyer or other professional proficient in health laws to help you navigate the process is crucial.

If you’re unsure where to begin in your healthcare app journey, our Simple Starter can help get you started. This package includes a detailed technical writeup of your app, wireframes, and market research.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in creating a health app?



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