How would you market a local app that allows bar patrons to pay their cover on their iOS device?

Hi, I am a college student who developed this app with a friend because we got sick of stopping at the ATM to be able to pay our cash cover, much less pay those absurd fees. We charge a simple $.99 upcharge so our margin is about $.52. What are some effective ways we can get patrons on our app and engaging with it. We have built a lot of hype. Most students have heard about it and are very excited, but simply aren't using it (many do not know it is ready yet and others don't know how, I think). Bonus: There are 12 bars in town, we started with 2 on our app, with 5 more that said they will be ready to sign when we say the word. That time has come and now they are hesitating. They want to see what other bars sign on, forcing a chicken and the egg problem. Advice? We are looking to place a call with a Clarity consultant to build a plan. Thanks!


So the bar patrons drive the value, right? If your fellow students start using the app (and start asking the guy at the door, "Can I pay the cover with XX app?"), then the bar owners will be the easy part. Focus your efforts on driving adoption. If you've already got 2 bars on the hook, then print some point-of-sale "table tents" advertising the app. Negotiate a drink special that people get if and only if they download the app. Do non-scalable stuff like offering to be the guy manning the door at those two bars for free. Ask every single person with a smartphone to download the app and use it to pay the cover. That's how you can drive adoption: one person, one cover, one bar at a time. You've got to change students' habits, at least at those two bars. They need to reach for their phones, not their wallets. Rally all your friends, and do whatever you've got to do to turn those early adopter bars into case studies that you can turn around and "sell" to other bars in town. Don't look for shortcuts. Get to work.

Answered 9 years ago

Parter with bars and show the value to them (trends and tracking, come to mind) and their patrons.

Offer something of value to patrons, like a discounted drink for their first use to encourage folks to us it.

If you're ready to talk about more specifics, let me know by booking a call.

Answered 9 years ago

As a former owner of a service establishment - I know the challenge of adopting new technology even when it seems to have benefits. The more concrete you can make the benefit - and the more focused you can make the impact (from a time standpoint particularly) the better. Try to demonstrate the value of this in as short a period of time as possible - if it takes months to show a return - its probably too long.

You can kill two birds with one stone by driving adoption around a specific, exclusive event. This gives you the hook you need for the bar through promoting the event to your population (and focuses impact into a short time window) - and you can motivate/attract the population by offering a discount on the cover in return for utilizing the app - or by offering free entry for any user who invites 3 or more friends who attend. You can even make that a long term tenet of the service - because it will serve as a dual incentive (free admission for the users - higher attendance for the bars).

Once you've executed this with the first location - it becomes a demonstrable case study for the other bars. Like anything in syndication - once your competitors are using it - you have to adopt it or risk falling behind.

Happy to discuss further.

Answered 9 years ago

I'd definitely recommend offering some sort of incentive for users to share your app with friends. This will not only help you drive adoption, but also help increase usage if the friends you're going out to the bar with are the ones you just told about the app. (Hopefully it'll be top of mind for at least one of them when they do head to the bar.)

Which leads me to another suggestion - try driving up usage by letting the user input a time to receive a text or push notification that reminds them to use the app when they go out. (e.g. "Want us to remind you about this app next time you go out? Put in the time & date here and we'll hit you up.") Once you have better usage, you can start to look for patterns in days/times that people are using the app and send them push notifications at those times.

Answered 9 years ago

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