The Association Manager’s Guide to Launching an App

April 30, 2020
There’s no shortage of benefits to having a native mobile app for your association. However, app creation is only the first step toward boosting member engagement and participation. Like many association managers, you may have considered integrating an app, but feel apprehensive about how to launch an app. Not everyone is equipped with a full-fledged marketing team to help them coordinate an effective launch. More often than not, they have to manage the launch themselves, potentially leaning on their app builder for support. Luckily, there are a number of associations whose previous app launches serve as an excellent framework for those who are just getting started. The experienced team at MobileUp has compiled a few useful app launch ideas to help you along the way:

Include App Download Information on All Owned Platforms

Apps are not periodic initiatives like events. They won’t thrive off one-time promotional efforts. If you opt for a year-round app solution like Engage 365 from expert app builder MobileUp, your promotion should likewise be year-round. One of the most critical tips for a successful app launch is to treat it no different than a change of address. In other words, update all of your contact information with your app download link. Place it on every publication, promotion, email signature and correspondence that your association produces. Your download link should be ubiquitous across all “owned media” platforms. These platforms are prime marketing real estate for promoting your mobile app. For this purpose, MobileUp provides their clients with a scannable QR code that you can easily affix to all of your print and digital materials.   Places to include your download link or scannable QR code include:
  • Brochures
  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Business cards
  • Newsletters
  • Email signatures
  • Mailers
  • Member ID cards
  • Association magazine/publications
  • Correspondence footers & email signatures
Consider it the #1 best practice of how to launch an app: if you produce it, add your app download information to it. One of your most trafficked platforms is your association website. To drive more application downloads, add a static banner to your association website that directs members to your download link. In addition to a QR code, MobileUp provides clients with a ready-made meta tag to make website banner setup easy.  Once you’ve covered your bases with cross-promotion on all owned platforms, you can turn your focus to event promotion.

Launch and Promote Your App at Community Events

It’s common practice for associations to hold events and conferences for members. In fact, events are often the reason that association managers are interested in getting an app, due to the myriad ways it can enhance member communication and engagement at the event. To support association conferences, MobileUp offers a complete conference and event app solution These apps can be configured to support your conference with: 
  • Event agendas 
  • Speaker lists
  • Sessions
  • Sponsors
  • Materials
  • Competition leaderboards
Events also serve as an excellent place to promote your app before a captive audience. It allows you to showcase all the other benefits of the app first hand, rather than exclusively relying on passive promotion like ads and announcements. To prepare for an event launch, order hard-to-miss oversized signage promoting the app, which you can place around the venue. Consider having a designated table exclusively for app registration and promotion, and be sure to train staff members or volunteers on the app benefits. Encourage members and event attendees to download when arriving or registering for the event to drive as many downloads as possible.

Create App-Specific Benefits and Merchandise

The last thing you want is to have a massive uptick in downloads during an event, only to see it fall after it concludes. To keep member app usage consistent, you can leverage incentives, giveaways and strategically planned content to draw them back. In fact, your association content may fare much better on the app than it does when scattered across your website, emails and newsletters. With the added benefit of push notifications and home screen access, migrating content to your app could dramatically increase the extent to which members interact with it. This is why Facebook and Instagram built their empires on apps, not mobile browsers. App-specific promotions are also a great way to drive new downloads and reengage existing members. Here is a look at how other organizations have taken advantage of app-specific promotions:
  • In-app only merchandise: Associations can sell items like custom shirts, hats and tote bags that can only be redeemed within the mobile app. Alumni associations have used this strategy to great effect. 
  • Giveaways/contests: Make downloading the app a requirement for entry into a raffle, or introduce a contest in the app so that members have to refer back to it to find out updates and winner information. 
  • Member APPreciation months: Some associations have cleverly placed their mobile app at the center of their member appreciation efforts. “APPreciation” is an opportunity to load your app up with member perks, including the aforementioned in-app only merchandise, as well as sponsor-driven benefits, gift cards and discounts. By making “APPreciation” offers time-sensitive, you can create a sense of urgency for members to download the app.
  • Promote member benefits: Use the app to promote timely benefits that members can take advantage of. Using notifications and alerting members through the app can be a great way to deliver membership value.
You can explore examples of how other MobileUp clients have used in-app promotions to create buzz around their apps. In addition to these self-starter marketing endeavors, your mobile app creator may be able to lend support along the way.

Take Advantage of Specialized Integration Support

With the right strategy, tools and mindset, launching an app can be as smooth of an experience as getting it built. Select app builders, like MobileUp, are more than willing to lend a helping hand with your launch. The team at MobileUp won’t simply hand you an app and send you on your way; they provide new clients with a dedicated account manager and customer success representative.  Our account managers take a hands-on approach during the first 90 days after your app goes live. They will help you track the number of users, suggest launch strategies and recommend potential ways to reach more members.  After the app’s successful launch, accounts are passed to the support team for any ongoing help needed. Your account manager will jump in whenever necessary. Additionally, our team will provide you with resources and tools to help make implementation as smooth as possible.

Launch Your Association App With Support from MobileUp

At MobileUp, we work to address any uncertainties you might have around launching an app for your association. Years of working with similar organizations has equipped us with a wealth of knowledge and resources that we can supply you with. You’ll also have access to our experienced team of account managers and customer support specialists, ensuring you never go at it alone.  Promoting downloads is a task with no finish line, especially as your association grows and takes on new members. But that doesn’t mean promoting downloads has to be hard. When you work with a cost-effective app builder like MobileUp, you cut the cost of creating an app considerably. This leaves you with more wiggle room in your marketing budget than those who opted for pricey custom development shops.  MobileUp offers a sophisticated cloud-based platform at a budget-friendly price point. In addition to our custom-branded native mobile apps, we offer comprehensive customer support during your app launch and beyond.

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