Q&A on how to Promote a Startup App

There is an app for almost anything in this day and age. I wondered how startup apps (that are providing some sort of business) promote its service and brand.

I had the opportunity to dive deeper into this topic by setting up a Q&A with Rita Herbsman, a senior studying public relations at the University of Oregon. Rita currently holds the roles of business director and account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations, a student-run PR firm on campus. This year Rita’s client is Tutortree.

Can you give a brief overview of what Tutortree is and the service it provides?

Tutortree is a startup mobile application that allows University of Oregon students to instantly connect and pay for a verified private tutor with a smartphone. Tutortree pairs University of Oregon students and tutors in the most efficient way possible by enabling students to find, schedule and pay for a prescreened private in person tutor all on one platform.

What makes Tutortree stand out? 

Instead of catering towards a general academic topic, Tutortree tutors base their tutoring around specific UO courses. The app gives peer tutors the convenience of being paid upfront, offers tools for payment tracking and eliminates never-ending scheduling conversations. Parents also have the opportunity to pay for their child’s sessions through the app using Apple Pay or Venmo.

Who is your target audience?

Our broad target audience is the University of Oregon community. However, our main target audience are freshmen. Freshmen will be here for the longest time out of any current students. We also target professors so they can share Tutortree with their classes.

In what ways have you strategically communicated with your target audience?

We use social media to connect with students, pitching to connect with professors and on the ground marketing to connect with the community.

What have you found are the best practices in promoting Tutortree? 

Social media is the best platform to reach students because they’re always on it. We try to ‘like’ most photos on Instagram tagged at the University of Oregon location. Another successful tactic has actually been writing ‘@jointutortree‘ on white boards across campus, which is convenient because it’s free.

@jointutortree Instagram feed

What/if any obstacles have you overcome working with Tutortree as your client? 

Most of the obstacles are with on the ground marketing. UO has restrictions regarding posters in facilities across campus, especially the dorms. It’s also really frustrating when you put a poster on a bulletin board and it gets covered within the hour. It happens more than you think.

Any final tips when it comes to publicizing a startup business? 

When it comes to publicizing a startup business, the main goal of your marketing should be to create awareness. If your client is an efficient company that will help people, people just need to know that it exists and if it fits their needs they will probably use it. From a social media standpoint, its also important to track data over a months to see if what you’re doing is working.


Just like any business, a startup app that is providing a service needs attention and dedication in order to promote the brand. The ability to narrow who your target audience is and find marketing tactics that coincide with your demographic is key to creating awareness. Tutortree is an awesome service and if you happen to be a student at UO download it here!

One Comment Add yours

  1. What a great Startup idea and insightful interview. This is tailored to your target audience and right on theme for technically technical. College kids can learn a lot from this app and the questions you posed.

    Liked by 1 person

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