BeerSwift: Launch Week Retrospective


I launched BeerSwift, a new iOS and Android app for Untappd, a couple of weeks ago.  It was an exciting launch, as it was the first time that I put all of the marketing books/tips I’ve learned to good use!  (Huge shoutout to Justin Jackson for his book Jolt!, a large inspiration for the marketing strategies I tried.)

Overall Thoughts

I’m very happy with how the launch went.  Making something that people love is incredibly rewarding!  I definitely could have used more time to prepare though.  I took on too many personal and professional commitments leading up to the launch - next time I need to focus on just one thing. 

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that marketing and promotion is never ending.  I could only do so much, focusing instead on getting the product experience right.  I’m fairly unknown on the Internet too, and BeerSwift is a very niche concept, so I wasn’t expecting or trying for lots of coverage.  Validating the initial idea via Reddit and a mailing list, then leveraging them to drive the launch, were the two best strategies here.  I’m confident that the app will be very successful - it’s just going to take time to spread the word. 

Soft Launch Weekend (9/30 to 10/2)

I believe in being paid for my work.  That said, BeerSwift’s success will definitely come in the long term through marketing and word of mouth sales.  What’s important now is building up an initial user base so putting up a paywall at this point won’t help.  For the first week, I made the app free. Here are the 3 day results: 

Entire Launch Totals - 9/30/16 to 10/9/16


- Individually sent out Android free promo codes to mailing list and Reddit users (I couldn’t set the app to “free” without it being permanently free - lame, Google Play, lame!): Very successful.  Lots of people responded actively, gave feedback, shared how they were going to use the app.  A bit time consuming but the individual touch was worth it! 

- Product Hunt posting: Didn’t do much, which wasn’t surprising.  I was just excited to have something to post there! 

- Reddit post to /r/beer and /r/untappd: Incredibly successful.  Beta users from mailing list chimed in with how much they love the app. I responded to every single comment. 

- Attended Great American Beer Fest (GABF) 2016 in Denver: Saturday session only, 12 to 4pm. Created BeerSwift t-shirts with name/logo on front, “Text ‘beer’ to 38470” (try it!) on back.  T-shirts were a great idea - lots of attendees and beer pourers asking “What’s BeerSwift?”.  Handed out business cards to many people.  Wearing a shirt and handing out cards will be a great way to promote in the future at my local Seattle beer festivals.  If I go to GABF again, all 3 days would make the most sense.  Could look into sponsorship too. 


User Feedback

Great comments all around!  People mentioned going to festivals during the weekend of 9/29, so it was a great choice to launch on a Friday! Exactly what I was counting on.  Some key quotes:

- “We’ve frequently discussed the different methods we try to use to log new beers at beer fests, but struggle to do well, because it’s simply so difficult to keep up.”

- “This is perfect for GABF. Went 2 years ago, Internet was horrible. Had to write them down and checkin beers from my hotel.“  (Ouch!)

- "I was just at a beer festival in the rain and missed a bunch of checkins this would have been perfect.”

- “I can’t wait to try. My favorite bar doesn’t have decent internet and even the free wifi is way too spotty. They have a wide variety and it’s hard to check in everything.”

- “I travel for work and don’t always have a roaming plan. So the offline is interesting to me.“

- (Coolest comment!) "I’ll be going to Vienna and Brussels soon, great moments to test the app!”

It’s amazing to be able to reach so many people - a potential worldwide audience!  I’m incredibly excited to continue building upon BeerSwift’s launch.

Special Thanks

My Wife: Her patience and support during crunch time was very appreciated. Her love keeps me going!

My Team: Their feedback and excitement helped me stay positive and motivated.

My Beta Users: Thank you for taking a chance on a completely new app experience and giving lots of great feedback.

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