Tag Archives: Marketing

What’s Your Sign?

5 Apr

The right signage in the right places.

It’s your first time here, you step into the lobby and look around. There’s the kiosk where you can purchase tickets, the gift shop is nearby, and beyond the new exhibit you’ve heard about. The ticket line is moving slow so you check your phone. After looking at Facebook and email, you get your tickets and walk in. Later that week a friend asks what you thought of the interactive images in the tour app. You’re confused  – “What app?”

Sound far fetched? It’s not.

Physical signage can be the most overlooked step in building a successful mobile experience. And while indeed there are many ways to market your project, without signage, there’s no way for a newcomer to stumble across your tour. Here are tips to avoid this all too common scenario.

Use a unique design!

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 4.55.35 PM

Design matters. Signs for your project should be a continuation of your branding/presence. Whether it’s through typography, colors, or logos, visitors should know who’s behind the project! With good design, users can determine at a glance if the mobile app is an educational guide, a clue on a treasure hunt, or a family experience aimed at children.

While you don’t want to clutter your signs, they should include all the information needed to access the project, such as:

  • Where users can download the app.

  • What URL they need to visit.

  • What phone number they need to dial.

  • What QR code they might scan.

Fun Fact: QR codes can be scanned using SnapChat! Check out our Flickr page for more examples.

Place signage strategically!

Even well designed signs do you no good if they’re not at eye level. Signage should be between four and five feet off the ground. The average sign we produce is 8.5” x 4.25” but we can go larger, or smaller depending on your requirements. Be aware, however, that smaller signs are easier to ignore. Before you mount or install your signs, make sure you know which areas receive the most foot traffic.

Check back!


Be mindful of your signs after their installation. Outdoor signs naturally receive plenty of wear and tear, but indoor fixtures can be susceptible to damage too! Certain materials can increase longevity of your signs, but even a sturdy signage can be easily covered by overgrown vegetation, spoiled by vandalism, or marred by weather related damages.

Use us!

At OnCell, we’re happy to provide feedback and consultations regarding your signage. We’re here to help!

In fact – through the 30th of this month – OnCell is providing a 10% discount on all sign and label orders. Talk to your Client Account Manager to order your signs today!

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!

Five Reasons Every Hotel Should Have a Mobile Tour

23 Jan

If you’re a hotel, you spend a lot of time and effort to provide information to your guests. Racks of brochures line the lobby with info about the surrounding area, and a concierge is available to talk with guests about shopping and dining options. But what about having a smartphone app for the hotel – where guests could access all of this information instantly?

hotels-feature-image_1A mobile app can be an awesome marketing and customer service tool for hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and hostels. We work with large and small properties – and a hotel app provides an opportunity to engage your guests before, during and after their stay.

Here are five great reasons that every hotel should have a mobile tour app:

  1. A Mobile App Provides a Preview of Your Hotel: Statistics show that more and more people are accessing the web via their mobile device each year, yet many hotel websites have not caught up. A mobile app is an effective way to orient potential visitors and to give them a virtual tour of the property and amenities.
  2. A Mobile App is a Portal for Reservations: Once a site visitor has had the chance to view a virtual tour of your property, they can instantly parlay that into action by porting directly from the app into the hotel’s reservation systems. A mobile app provides the visitor with an instant course of action to book a room.
  3. Instant Customer Feedback: Thanks to instant information transmitted from the app, hotels can become aware of guest issues while the customer is in the hotel–and allows you the opportunity to remedy the issue immediately.
  4. Analytics Provide Valuable Customer Data: Apps can provides analytics that help hotels understand and market to their target audience. Much like the Google Analytics gathered from website visits, TourSphere analytics provide demographic and behavioral information about the people accessing your app.
  5. A Mobile App Provides a 24×7 Concierge: Many hotel visitors are more accustomed to turning to their smartphones to advice instead of a concierge. For that audience, a mobile app can provide a “virtual concierge” that orients the visitor, informs them of area attractions and provides them a full listing of the hotel’s amenities. It creates a labor-free service for the hotel to help enhance the guests’ experience without implementing costly programs and additional concierges and guides.

Curious about how hotels are utilizing TourSphere to create mobile apps for marketing and virtual concierge purposes? Check out the Mountainview Grand app or the Chandler Inn app that helps visitors explore Boston!

Apps as a Marketing Tool for Book Publishers

9 Nov

The digital versus print worlds have been at odds in the publishing industry for years, and while many people argue for one side or the other, smarter publishers have learned how to embrace both. The problem is, digital initiatives can be expensive and out of reach for many independent publishing houses.

Union Park Press here in Boston is one such indie publisher. They put out great titles on history, arts and culture in New England, and they were seeking a

creative way to market their latest title, Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits by Stephanie Schorow. And that’s the reason that those who pick up this title–suitable for both the history buff and the cocktail aficionado–will find a QR code in an unlikely place: on the book’s cover. The QR code leads to a TourSphere tour of the book’s bars and pubs–a virtual pub crawl that, with the help of the interactive map in the app, helps to bring the book to life and allows the user to retrace the book’s steps through the city.

Creatively marketing a book through a free app is something new to indie book publishing, which until now has seen apps and digital marketing as often outside its budget. When apps cost tens of thousands to develop, it’s hard to justify them as part of a small title’s marketing budget. But TourSphere was able to provide Union Park Press with a creative solution that addressed the issues normally faced with digitalmarketing:

  • Expense: While a traditional app can cost tens of thousands of dollars, TourSphere allows anyone to develop an app for free. A small hosting fee applies only when the app goes live.
  • Technical Expertise: Traditionally, app development requires a technical expert or programmer. TourSphere was designed to allow people to develop apps with no coding or programming; it’s a simple content management system that almost anyone will be able to use.
  • Accessibility: Normally, you’d have to decide whether you want to develop an iPhone or Android app, known as native apps, and that would leave many of your potential users out in the cold. TourSphere’s web app technology looks and feels like any other app on your phone but is accessible through any web browser on any mobile device, phone or tablet. Because it’s web based, it also allows for instant and free changes to the app whenever you want.

Drinking Boston’s virtual pub crawl app offers a dynamic addition to the book and helps connect users to its content. By launching a PR campaign around the app, Union Park Press is also able to garner additional attention for the book and engage app users who may then be interested in a more robust history in print.

For more information, or to check out the Drinking Boston app, visit http://drinkingboston.toursphere.com/en/.

Local Publishers: Selling Ads for Mobile

9 Oct

Publishing isn’t an easy road in 2012. At TourSphere, we speak to lots of publishers looking to diversify their revenue streams, provide more robust advertising options and provide different products for their  readership. In fact, eMarket predicts that mobile ad spending for 2012 will hit $2.6 billion — 80% more than the spend in 2011.

One area that local publishers are finding cost-effective is creating mobile tours that align with the content of their local newspapers, magazines or tourism publications. By providing this accompanying mobile tour, publishers can highlight advertisers, special events or locations around town — and can be appealing to both regular readers and tourists, depending on the content in the app.

But how to best monetize this type of app? With advertising, of course. A mobile tour app that accompanies a newspaper or magazine has the advantage of having a built-in stable of advertisers, but how do you convince those advertisers that adding to their package with mobile makes sense?

If you’re putting together your mobile advertising media kit, we’ve got some great statistics and ideas for you to include.

  • Mobile offers multimedia opportunities. Because TourSphere is equipped to include photos, audio and video, you can create a multimedia ad for your advertiser. Promoting a local restaurant? Geo-locate them directly on your interactive map and do a one-minute video interview with the chef. That is powerful advertising.
  • Mobile offers measurability and feedback. Through a TourSphere app, your advertiser can get customer feedback, or just check out the analytics of the app to see exactly who is utilizing it and from where. The visibility and measurability is a standout trait of mobile advertising.
  • Mobile puts you where the customer is. According to TMP Marketing and Comscore, 75% of mobile searches have local intent, and 37% of local mobile searchers visit the advertiser. A Texterity study showed that 40% of mobile users have made a purchase as a result of a mobile ad, and XAd shows that 52% of mobile ads result in a phone call.
  • Mobile demands immediate action. Mobile Marketer recently found that mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons. And while 70% of online searchers will take action on an ad within a month, 70% of mobile searchers will take action within an hour.

Are you selling mobile advertising? What are your selling secrets?

5 Reasons Why App Analytics Are Critical

12 Sep

It’s always startling to me when we talk to museums, cities, and hotels who have an app – but no idea how many visitors are using it.  A huge value that an app can bring to a visitor-based organization is data, data, data!

A mobile app can provide an incredible window into what your visitors and customers want and need.  In order to optimize your mobile strategy and ensure you’re getting the maximum value out of your mobile app here are some key things to consider:

Counting app downloads is worthless – usage is what matters.
Being able to brag about download numbers is nice but it’s not really that meaningful.  Knowing, for example, that visitors who use your app onsite stay 30 minutes longer and eat at your onsite restaurant is incredibly valuable information to any organization.  Understanding these sorts of interactions – and adjusting tactics accordingly – is critical to both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Don’t Let Your Visitors Become Invisible Once they Walk Through Your Doors
Organizations spend valuable marketing dollars to attract visitors.  But ironically once they walk through your doors they become “invisible” – you really have no idea how they are spending their time onsite.  A mobile app that is a guide to your museum, hotel, or campus makes it possible to see exactly where visitors are spending their time and what they are doing. Using this data, organizations can deliver relevant content and services.

Analyze + Evaluate + Optimize = Happy Visitors
The more data you have on a visitor, the more your content and services can serve them.  Programing, amenities, content, even signage can all be customized based on the data you gather. Customization typically leads to happy guests and it’s no secret-  the happier your guests are the longer they stay, they come back again and the more likely they are to Tweet about it.  Happy visitors are a really good thing for your brand.

If you can’t measure it you will lose it
Mobile analytics are mission critical to any organization that wishes to have a long-term mobile strategy. If you have a mobile app it is because it supports your organization’s mission in some way or other.  Analytics should be given to Directors/Boards/Upper Management on a regular basis so that everyone can see exactly how your mobile program is supporting that mission.

There is No Such Thing as a Mobile One-Size-Fits-All
TourSphere analytics allow you to see what types of devices are being used by your visitors.  Armed with this data you can make informed decisions about your long-term mobile strategy – be it app development, advertising, programming and more.

Part 2 of Marketing Your Smartphone App: Online

26 Oct

So we covered some of the basics of Marketing Your Smartphone App: OnSite.

Now let’s talk about marketing your museum’s mobile app online.

Marketing your app online is fun because you can use video and compelling images to get people excited about your organization and the app.

So now let’s jump in to things you can do to market your museum’s mobile app online.

1. Make it very visible on your website:

  • Place a link to the mobile app on your website, so visitors can access it on their own phones and tablets.
  • You may want to promote it on your Home page or “Planning Your Visit” of “Latest News” section of your website
  • If you have a blog, do a blog post on it
  • You may want to create a visually appealing“Landing page” dedicated to details of the mobile tour. – This way you can link back to this page from social media or other promotional mentions and get people excited about your app. Here are some examples of what our clients have done:



2. Promote the Tour Online & Via Social Media

  • Announce it via your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn networks
  • Put it in your monthly newsletter (email and/or print)
  • Send an internal email so that all of your staff is aware of it and has the chance to give it a try
  • Send an email announcement to partner organizations (i.e. NEMA) and colleagues (i.e. museum list-servs)

3. Submit your app to online Web App stores.

You may wish to submit your app to the following sites so that it is listed in these directories and easier for users to find:





There are many more ways you can promote your app and increase the awareness and use of your app.  Next up I will be sharing thoughts on PR, Launch events and Social Media.  Look for more posts to come…

Marketing Your Smartphone App: OnSite

4 Oct

Great, your museum or city has a smartphone app!  Now the key to success is getting visitors to USE your app.  This post is the first in a series which I will be posting on how to effectively market your app.  In this post we will cover ways you can promote your app on-site at your location.

In our experience 2 things are key:

  1. Awareness – Visitors must know about your app
  2. Accessibility – It must be very easy for visitors to get the app


Here is a simple checklist of things you can do to make sure visitors are aware of your app:

  • Large, prominent signage in the lobby/ entrance
  • Countertop signage on admission desk
  • Plaques by each piece on your mobile tour
  • QR code and/or app address printed on all maps and brochures within museum
  • Customer-facing staff must be trained and familiar with the app


As far as making your app easy to get – app size, technology platform and delivery method are all important.  What do I mean by this?  Well, if you only have the app available as an iPhone app, then Android users, Blackberry users, and, well, anyone without an iPhone (and non-iPhone users make up 75% of the smartphone market) will be unable to access your app.  A Web App solves all of these problems.  A Web app paired with a QR code can make getting to your app a snap.

Here is a great example of signage which hits both of the key objectives.

AASLH Post-conference Report

23 Sep

We just returned from the American Association of State & Local History annual conference in Richmond, VA. It was a fantastic time and we had the chance to brainstorm interpretive and mobile strategies with dozens of interesting historic sites and museums from around the country.

We’re proud of our friends at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House – who won a Leadership in History Award for the app we produced with them. Here’s a quick interview with Chris Shires, Director of Interpretation & Programs:

Keep an eye out for the upcoming webcast we’ll be doing with Chris about their award-winning mobile project. Stay tuned!

What do museum visitors think of apps?

9 Sep

Our friends over at The Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a Mobile App with us this spring.  They took to the halls of their museum to find out what their visitors thought.  See for yourself:

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