Marketers Talkin’ Shop About Apps: An Interview with the Creator of Five Plates

Just as we promised you GLAD WORKS friends, we have a very special treat for you this week! 

We’ve interviewed our friend Melissa Lion, a blogger, professional marketer, and working mom who has created an app called Five Plates. Five Plates is designed to help other working moms (and busy people in general) prepare fast, healthy, well-balanced weeknight meals. It hasn’t been launched yet, but it’s never too soon to start marketing! 

We thought you guys would enjoy hearing some of the fun and creative ways she’s been making it her own and really pushing to set her app apart from the rest. As fellow marketers, we love hangin’ out and talkin’ shop with smart ladies like her. 

Let’s hear what she has to say…

What are some of the major elements of your pre-launch marketing plan?

It's not important to me to have a big, splashy launch. I'm aiming for a slow build on the word of mouth, so for pre-launch I've been laying the groundwork for a solid PR push for the Five Plates meal planning app. That means networking with my contacts in the media world and figuring out who would be willing to write a story about Five Plates. I am also building the mother of all press lists. I feel that the story of Five Plates -- working mom builds an app to help working moms save time and cook more--is a good one and will resonate with so many different audiences. I have the luxury of being the marketing person for Five Plates so it's just my time I'm spending pitching various publications, not marketing dollars on this effort.

What is your plan post launch?

My post launch plan is to start working with smaller publications and publishers on articles and blog posts and getting their audiences on board. The app is in its first iteration now. It's just my vision and how I think it should be. Our users will likely prefer things to work differently. I'd like to evaluate their suggestions and then revise the app so it suits their needs. When I feel the app is solid and truly serving the needs of our users by eliminating meal planning time and making weeknight cooking a fast, healthy activity, I'll launch advertising and PR in national publications.

How is social media playing a role both pre and post launch?

Social media's back channels have been essential in networking with my contacts. The Twitter DM is more reliable than email and gets people's attention faster. I've reached out to a lot of my community on back channels and asked for their help to promote the app. Most people who I've reached out to privately on social media have committed to helping me get the word out.

Post launch, I will be working with sponsored bloggers to promote the app. Each blogger will receive a trackable link so I can check which blogs are driving the most traffic. I'll continue working with the blogger whose audiences are enthusiastic about Five Plates and add more sponsored bloggers to my roster. I also have a small budget for Facebook ads. I know these have not been as successful as they were a few years back, but I'm willing to give it a try. I see Facebook ads as building the audience on the Five Plates Facebook page where we'll have a community of people who are using the app. People will share their recipe modifications and offer tips to others. I will also do a sponsored post when the app launches.

Are there any things that you think may not be worth investing in with a limited budget?

I'm not doing any banner ads or print advertising. I don't think banner ads work and print advertising just doesn't seem to fit with marketing apps. I am interested in email marketing, however. I think that's a very effective way of keeping a brand top of mind for users. I don't know how it fits into the Five Plates marketing now, but I would like to explore that further.

What part of your plan are you most proud of or excited about?

I'm thrilled to be paying bloggers actual cash money. As a former blogger I will tell you that companies think bloggers should write about their product for very little compensation. It's tiresome. The blogging community has been so good to me since I started blogging eight years ago. It feels so wonderful to give something back to them and to honor their hard work. It's my favorite part of executing the marketing plan.

Obviously GLAD WORKS friends, there’s a lot of planning and thought that goes into marketing an app. Having a marvelous idea is wonderful, but that’s just the very beginning. You have to have a solid monetization plan and follow it up with a well thought out marketing strategy. All of these things will help you open yourself up to success!


  • Wed, 01/30/2013 - 11:37am reply

    Thank you for the opportunity to talk apps and marketing!

    • Wed, 01/30/2013 - 11:37am reply

      Thank you for talking to us, Melissa! We can't wait for the launch! :) 

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