So you’ve written a great extension, but only a few people have found and installed it from addons.mozilla.org—despite your efforts to create an appealing listing. So, how do you encourage more people to install your extension? This page looks at how.
However, before you start investing in encouraging more people to install your extension, spend some time to make sure that your extension is well-polished and professional. There is little point chasing new installs if they result in disappointing ratings and reviews. Remember to follow the content and UX guidelines, include proper onboarding, and make sure your extension’s performance is good. Even if you think you’ve done this already, it’s always worth checking again.
Friends, family, and colleagues
Real world word-of-mouth can still be a surprisingly effective driver of extension installs. Whether you’re a solo first-time extension developer or an established commercial developer, spreading the word among friends, family, and school, college, or work colleagues can be a very cost-effective way to drive installs of your extension.
Events and meetups
If you’ve created a great extension, get on and talk about it. Look for events where speakers are welcome or meetups where potential users might gather. If your extension focuses on fishing, look for a local fishing club and see if they have a regular meet you could talk to. Other options might include a computer society or maker group. You should consider any group that is likely to be interested in hearing about extension development in general or the features of your extension in particular.
Using social media can be a very effective way of promoting your extension. Consider doing the following when using social media:
- Mention your extension in your personal social media accounts, in addition to any “developer” accounts you may have.
- Create social media accounts for your extension and, if you don’t have them already, your developer persona.
- Record videos to show how your extension improves the web and host them on YouTube or similar channels.
- Draw up a calendar of messages, to ensure your campaign delivers a regular stream of updates and doesn’t get sidelined by other activities.
Engage with your users
Enthusiastic and engaged users can often be your greatest advocates. The power of personal connections and word-of-mouth means that even a modest number of people can rapidly drive installs. To engage with and nurture your users:
- Follow-up reviews you receive on AMO. To do this visit your extension’s details page, click the button to read reviews then, for any review you want to reply to, click Reply to this review. Always be positive, even if the review isn’t: remember that your reply is visible to anyone visiting your extension’s details page. One way to address negative reviews is to provide information on when you plan to address any issues, but always be realistic about what you can achieve.
- Try to reply to all support and general emails; consider creating templates for common replies to manage the effort. Again, always keep your replies positive.
Create a forum, user group, or similar
Your social media account may provide an adequate vehicle for user interaction and exchange of information. However, as your user base grows or if your extension requires more in-depth help and support, a forum or user group may prove to be an effective tool. Forums and user groups can be particularly beneficial in relation to your extension support, as engaged forum members will often help answer support questions and spread the word about your extension.
If you don’t feel you’re ready to manage a forum or user group you can also create a support thread on the Mozilla add-on forum: tag the thread title with “[Support]” and include your extension name. This is also an unobtrusive way of making the Mozilla forum community more aware of your extension.
Engage with bloggers and news media
Independent endorsements of your extension can help to boost installs significantly. You first need to identify bloggers and news media that might be interested in featuring or reviewing your extension. Look for websites or print publications that focus on areas related to your extension’s features as well as technology in general. It might be difficult to generate interest among high profile sites; it may be easier to start with bloggers and news media with a niche or regional focus.
Once you have a target list of bloggers and media, create a “press pack.” This pack should include:
- Fact sheet: short bio of you (and your company), key features of your extension, relevant facts or statistics about the target market, links to your extension’s website and related social media accounts, and any other information you think might be relevant. Remember to clearly highlight your extension’s USP.
- Create a “ready to use” article. If you provide bloggers and news media with content they can quickly repurpose, they may be more likely to provide coverage.
- A how-to guide covering key features.
- Screenshots from your extension, suitably captioned so it is clear what is shown.
If you’ve a modest budget, consider running a small search term campaign using Google Ads. This can be a cost-effective way of reaching potential installers where they are searching the web for information related to the features of your extension.
If you haven’t used online advertising before, Google Academy for Ads provides courses on how to run an effective online ad campaign.