How to Successfully Launch Your New Mobile App
Now that the build of your mobile app for your cafe or restaurant is complete, it’s time to launch it. Have you thought about how your current and prospective customers are going to be informed about your app? Have you thought about how you will get them to use it?
In order to successfully launch your app, you need to promote it. We’ve come up with a few tips on how to launch your new app and ensure your customers adopt the new technology.
1. Advertise Your App
The most important part of your mobile app launch strategy is telling your customers about your new app. Start by telling your customers about the app every way you can: ask your cashiers to tell your customers about it when they are taking orders, promote it on posters in your cafe, add it to the home page of your website, and share about it on social media.
Here are a few ideas about 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 sent out to customers
- On your delivery packaging--such as on pizza boxes or takeaway bags
- On your website
- On your social media pages
2. Make Your Mobile App Easy to Download
Make it easy for your customers to download your app. You want to eliminate as many steps in the process as possible. Asking them to open the App Store or Google Play on their phone, and search your restaurant’s name is a fair amount of work. It might even lead to some confusion as your app’s name might be similar to other apps.
Make it easy for your customers to download the app by providing them with a landing page link, or even easier, a QR code that will take them right to the download page.
QR codes are a great way to make your app more accessible, especially now that iOS and Android devices recognize them by default. Your customer only has to use the camera on their phone to scan the barcode. The phone then takes them from the phone app to the default web browser and opens the link.
Designing the Landing Page for Your App
The link you send your customers to is important. You can’t know if your customer is using an iPhone or an Android device, so you need to send them to a compelling landing page that has a link to both the App Store and the Google Play Store.
Landing pages should be simple and to the point. You already know that whoever is visiting that page is there to download your app, so don’t confuse them with excess information. Railtown Cafe has a fantastic landing page that you can use as an example.
Once you’ve created your landing page, you use the URL and embed it into your QR code. But sometimes, you’ll always want to provide that URL directly to your customers. Keep it short and easy to type, especially considering your customers will probably be typing it into their phone’s web browser.
3. Offer an Incentive or Bonus for Downloading
We’ve found that restaurants that offer some kind of incentive or bonus have much higher adoption rates by their customers than those that don’t. Space on your customers’ phones is limited, and it’s important that your customers value your app enough to download it.
That incentive or bonus could be a free item next time they order, a coupon or discount applied, or bonus points in your loyalty program.
If you want to read into designing and implementing a rewards and loyalty program, read the article 6 Steps for Creating a Successful Rewards & Loyalty Program for Your Restaurant.
4. Make the Most of a Referral Program
If your restaurant’s app supports a referral program, you can use it to create a positive feedback loop for your app. Basically, every time a person refers your app to another person, they both receive a bonus coupon or points in your loyalty program. It creates an incentive for both people to use the referral program and gets more customers using your app.
5. Send Out Some Emails
Email marketing is a great tool for promoting your app before and after its launch. If you have an existing newsletter or mailing list, you should work your new app into your editorial calendar. Start promoting your app before its launch date to build anticipation, and then do a big announcement on launch day.
Dedicate a few newsletter editions to specific features in your app like your loyalty program, re-ordering, ordering ahead, ordering for delivery, and curbside pickup, to show the value of each feature to your customers.
Make sure you include a link to your app’s landing page in your emails to make it easy for readers to install the app right away.
6. Share About Your Mobile App on Social Media
Many of your customers follow you on social media to hear the latest news from your restaurant. Well, doesn’t a #newapp count? Share posts, photos, graphics, and videos all about your new mobile app, and include links to your landing page. Take some time to build out a social media campaign to encourage downloads of your app.
Here are some tactics you can use:
- Share user-generated content of customers using your app
- Make videos of how easy it is to order from the app
- Share testimonials from customers about how convenient it is to order ahead
- Run a contest asking customers to download your app, and take a picture of it and share it
- Share all about your bonus or incentive for downloading the app. If a customer gets a free coffee for downloading the app, make sure they know about it!
7. Don’t Stop Marketing Your App
Like all marketing efforts, marketing your app will be an ongoing task. You need to regularly remind customers to use your app, and encourage new customers to download it. Many of the tips in this article can be used over and over again.
Amin Yazdani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Craver, a fast-growing mobile platform for Restaurants, helping them gain and retains their loyal customer base.