So you have built a mobile app for your restaurant or cafe. Congratulations! But you are not done yet! Do you have a launch strategy for your mobile app? Have you thought about how your current and prospective customers are going to find out about your app and how to get them to use it? In order to successfully launch your mobile app, you need to promote it. After-all, having an app that nobody uses will be a waste of time and resources that you put into building that app. We have come up with a few tips on how to successfully launch your new mobile app and make sure your customer adopt the new technology.
The most important part of your mobile app launch strategy is to make your app visible. Make sure your customers know that you have a mobile app! You can do this by putting advertising material in your store, on your website, food packaging, and etc. Knowing that you have a brand new app that they can use to benefit is step one to get your customers to use your app. Here are a few suggestions on where you can promote your app:
- On top of each table at your restaurant
- By your cash register facing your customers
- Posters around your restaurants
- On your front door
- In promotional flyers you send to customers
- In your delivery packages – such as pizza or to-go boxes
- On your website
- On your social media pages
Now that your customers know about your app, the next step is to make sure they can easily access it. Asking them to open the App Store or Google Play on their phone and type in your restaurant’s name might be a lot of work for them. It might even lead to some confusion as your app’s name might be similar to other app names. You can make it easy for your customers to access your app by using a QR code that will take them to a page to download your app.
QR codes are a great way to make your app more accessible, specially now that iPhone and Android devices recognize them by default. All your customer has to do is to use the camera on their phone to scan the barcode. This reduces the burden on your customers when they want to download your app. Making this easier for them means more customers will actually download your app.
Having a QR code is great, but where would you send your customers to? To App Store, or to Google Play? The fact is that you don’t know if they are using an iPhone or Android when they see your QR code. What you need to do is to have a compelling Landing Page that your customers can visit and chose to download your app from the App Store or Google Play.
Landing pages should be simple and to the point. After-all, you know that whoever is visiting that page wants to download your app, so don’t keep them waiting. Here you can find a few examples of landing pages for restaurant mobile apps: https://staging2.craverapp.com/apps/
When you create a landing page, you’ll need a URL for it. You can embed that in your QR code, but sometimes you might need to provide the actual URL to your customers as well. Nobody wants to type in a long URL in their smartphone browser. You can make this process easier for your customers by shortening your landing page URL. There are many link shortening tools such as Bit.ly or Tiny.cc that you can use. You can also customize your short URL to be more readable like this: bit.ly/crv-apps
Not only these links are shorter and more readable, they also provide you with analytics on your visitors. That is a great tool to have when you launch your app which lets you see the effectiveness of your promotions.
If you want more customers to download your new app when you launch it, you can create an incentive by offering a bonus. If you have a loyalty program in your app, this bonus could be in the form of bonus points. It can also be in the form of a free item or coupon that your customers can use with your app.
If you want to learn more about rewards and loyalty programs, checkout our blog post: 6 Step for Creating a Successful Rewards and Loyalty Program for Your Restaurant
This is a more advanced feature that is not available in all apps, but if your restaurant’s app supports a referral program, you can use this to create a positive feedback loop for your app. The way a referral bonus works is that you give both the person referring your app and the person who received the referral a bonus coupon or points in your loyalty program. This creates an incentive for both sides to use the referral bonus program and get more customers to use your app.
Email and Social Media Marketing
Email marketing can be a great tool to promote your app prior and after it’s launch. If you don’t have a list of your customers emails for marketing campaigns, social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram can be used for this purpose as well. You can start promoting your app even before it’s launched to build some anticipation in your customers and do a big announcement when you launch your app. Don’t forget to mention your app in your email and social media marketing campaigns every once in a while so your new customers learn about it as well. Make sure you include a link to your app’s landing page in your marketing campaigns to make it easy for the readers to install your app.
Don’t Stop Marketing Your App
Similar to any other marketing effort, marketing your app is an on-going effort. It’s something you should be doing continuously. Many of the tips we provided here can be used over and over, but the most important thing is to make sure that you are keeping your customers engaged with your app. You can do that by using app features such as push notifications, promotional codes and coupons as well as loyalty and rewards programs. If your app doesn’t support these features, talk to alternative companies that can provide you with the features you need to keep your customers engaged.