Archive | September, 2014

5 Strategies for Marketing Your Mobile Tour

15 Sep

Once your mobile tour is launched, you need to make sure people know about it! Marketing and strategic promotion are key. Here are some tips to help you successfully increase awareness and encourage use of your tour.

1) Create Prominent Signage
Signage, signage, signage! We can’t stress this enough! Your visitor won’t use your tour if they don’t know it exists, so a successful tour is one that is prominently promoted. Catch your visitor’s attention as soon as they are onsite–promote the tour with signage in the lobby and admissions area. Countertop signs, brochures, and wall plaques by each point of interest should all point to your app URL or have a QR code to scan. Be sure your front end and gallery staff are knowledgeable about the tour and can explain to visitors not only how to use it, but how it benefits their experience.

2) Market Your App on Your Website
Most visitors hit your website looking for the latest information about exhibits, events, programs, or general visitor information. This is a great time to promote your tour, as they are already in the planning stages of their visit. Link to the tour and offer a QR code to access it on your website, so visitors can save it for their upcoming visit or download it in advance. You can even have a dedicated page on your website that talks about the tour in detail.

3) Utilize Your Online Network
Use your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram networks to promote your tour to an audience that has already shown an interest in learning more about your organization. Be sure to link directly to the tour. If you have a blog, write a post on the tour that has an alternative spin than the usual press release. You should also make an announcement in your newsletter. A blast to your entire staff to experience the tour will not only keep them informed, but can also tap their own social media channels. Partner organizations, such as regional museum associations, sponsors, and your industry’s listservs should be notified as well to spread the word.

4) Media & PR
Write a press release announcing your tour and publish it via PR distribution websites. You can also submit it directly to your local newspapers, news channels, and other bloggers and media outlets who have covered your organization in the past. Let them all know about your new tour and invite them take the tour and interview both visitors using it and the staff that has been working on it.

5) Hold a Launch Event
A launch event is your chance to make a big debut for you tour and a great way to enhance your media campaign. Invite narrators, board members, media, sponsors and partners. Have the Director of your organization speak about what inspired the project, how it was developed, and what you hope to accomplish. You can play samples from the tour, and have narrators and other contributors share their experience in creating it. If you don’t have the funds to hold a launch event try to tie the tour launch into another event or anniversary already scheduled.

Now that your tour has been launched, continue to promote it! Be sure to keep up with the social media campaign, with links back to the tour. Keeping your app content fresh will keep old users interested and pique the interest of new ones. Continue to enlist your front end and gallery staff as they are constantly interacting with your visitors and are a valuable way to encourage use.

Have questions about marketing your tour? Contact our Director of Marketing, Monica Barndt, to learn more!

App Spotlight: Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire

10 Sep

peterborough-720_framedThe town of Peterborough is creating their Explore “Our Town” mobile app in honor of the town’s 275th anniversary.  2014 is a big year for Peterborough as it also coincides with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 100th anniversary of World War I, and the 75th anniversary of the debut of Thornton Wilder’s American classic, Our Town, which was written while the playwright was in residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.

The app was developed by local resident and historian Tracy Messer, who researched and wrote the content for the app, with the project being supported by the Town of Peterborough. In this in-depth walking tour, Messer details over 175 sites throughout the downtown area which can be accessed by a GPS-enabled map and an alphabetical list.

The goals of the app were three-fold. “We wanted to build awareness and appreciation for the historical and architectural significance of our downtown, while also focusing on the present by promoting local business and cultural organizations,” says Messer. “We also wanted to encourage our citizens to become more actively involved in our community by providing an innovative and dynamic platform for learning about “Our Town”.

An unexpected feature is an extensive section about Thornton Wilder and his 1938 fictional three-act play about Peterborough, Our Town. The app details the play’s history, connects users to its many stage and screen adaptations, and relates the play to various sites around town.

The wealth of detail found in the app can also be demonstrated by the Interactive Civil War Statute and Memorial Gates sites, both of which allow the user to learn about each veteran listed on the monuments.

Visitor information, including anniversary event details, restaurants, and parking are also included in the app.

As general interest and further funding becomes available, new content may include expanding geographic scope beyond the downtown area, incorporating themed tours, and audio and video enhancements.

 

peterborough

Explore Peterborough’s “Our Town” on any web-enabled device at http://peterborough.toursphere.com.

App Spotlight: Newport Historical Society Native Apps

5 Sep

Q&A with Stacie Parillo, Head of Collections and Manager of Digital Initiatives at Newport Historical Society

Newport App Splash ScreenThe Newport Historical Society originally launched their web app in November of 2012. TourSphere worked closely with the NHS team to develop a custom theme and build an app that launched a historic properties tour with over 40 sites. They have continued to grow their app over time to include special digital exhibitions of unique treasures from their collection, tours by theme, and additional points of interest that include the famed Newport Cliff Walk. The NHS has broadened the accessibility of their app by releasing both a native iOS and Android app.

Q. Can you say a few words about the success of the app?

A. The app represents an exciting new way for the public to access historical content that the NHS has generated, as well as raises local awareness of Newport’s historic significance by providing pride of place for residents. The app replaces the need for museum-loaned devices as visitors can access Explore Historic Newport from their own personal devices. A supplement to our guided tours, users of the app can curate their own experience of historic Newport, from anywhere in the world, any time of day or night. The history of Newport is now accessible in a way that it never was before.

Q. Why did you decide to create new native apps in addition to the web app?

A. We discovered that many people do not know how to use or are not very familiar with technology and many smartphone users are accustomed to going to either the App Store or Google Play to search for and download an app. The native apps were created to help those that were unfamiliar with the concept of a web app to still be able to access the content via the app stores – many smartphone users instinctively jump to the native stores when they think of mobile apps, so we wanted to work with that behavior.

Q. How do the native apps fit into your interpretive goals?

A.  The native apps will increase exposure and access, which will allow the app to do what we hoped from the onset – put Newport history in the palms of peoples’ hands.

Q. Do you have any new content that people familiar with the app may not know about?

A. Because the app is so flexible and accommodating, it is also infinitely expandable. A newer addition to the app is the integration of NHS exhibit content, allowing visitors to learn more about collections items on exhibit as well as the opportunity to virtually visit the exhibit. We have also started generating born-digital exhibits curated by interns that highlight their subject expertise and our collections. Historic sites continue to be added on a routine basis, and soon to be added are oral histories, video, and more exhibit content.

Q. How do you like working with the team at TourSphere and the App Builder?

A. We’ve had a very positive experience building the app with TourSphere – the team has been very responsive to our questions and concerns and have been quick to help us solve any issues that arise. The interface of the CMS is very intuitive, and has been able to be used by several staff members with little training, making it very easy and convenient to continually add content. It was important to us to make the app dynamic and current. We did not see this as a project that would ever be completed. The app would continually grow, never getting stagnant and TourSphere’s CMS allows us to do just that.

Download the native iOS and Android apps to take a tour through historic Newport, RI.

app-availability-appstore

Available on Google Play

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