Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/9/17
LAMBERTVILLE – With fall in full swing, Lambertville and New Hope are budding with visitors looking for a place to hike, bike, shop or even just enjoy a night out are heading to the popular Central Jersey-Pennsylvania destination.
And now, thanks to the Lambertville-New Hope app, which can be downloaded by visiting mycj.co/2xbeK8w or by searching for “Lambertville-New Hope” in the app store on your phone or tablet, visitors can browse every event, restaurant, shop, business and even parking lot right from their devices.
“It’s a who, what, where, when and how all in one spot on the thing that everyone has in their hand,” said Marianne Romano, founder of Mountaintop Marketing and creator of the app.
Romano first presented the idea for a townwide app to the Greater Lambertville New Hope Chamber of Commerce (now known as the Delaware River Towns Chamber of Commerce) in 2014 when she was serving on the board of directors, but the board instead voted to revamp their website, delawarerivertowns.com, and the Delaware River Towns’ Visitor’s Guidebook.
When she was laid off from her community development position at Hopewell Valley Community Bank after it merged with Northfield Bank in January 2016, she decided to start her own marketing and events company, Mountaintop Marketing, and the creation of the app was one of the tasks on her to-do list.
“I felt so strongly that we needed a mobile resource where everything could be found in one place, so I finally made the financial investment to create it myself,” she said.
The app went live Feb. 20 of this year after a year of work and, in a little over six months, it is closing in on 2,000 downloads and averaging 378 page views per day — which means that people are constantly using the app instead of letting it sit dormant on their phones.
Each business in the area can create a free listing for the app that displays their logo, hours and contact information, or they can create a full profile for $10 a month or $100 for a year, which includes their social media handles, full description, current coupons, hours, directions and contact information.
In the future, Romano said, she plans to also create business-owner profile videos to introduce app users to local merchants.
The app also includes a live feed so when users download the app and create a profile by clicking “Manage Profile,” they can make comments, upload photos, check into businesses and make recommendations for other users.
Romano said that about 60 percent of the app’s users are tourists and about 40 percent are Lambertville and New Hope residents. Anywhere between three and 59 people have downloaded the app every day.
“We are the only app like this for the area,” Romano said. “The goal is to connect the people in our communities with the business owners with what’s going on.”
One of the chief praises of the app from its users is its ease of navigation and how it has allowed users to see just how many businesses are in the area, Romano said.
“Locals use the app not just for the extensive calendar but to call a business rather than Google it to get the number, find out local deals and promotions as well as interact with other app users,” she added.
From 1983 to 2001, Romano co-owned Tucker Publishing Co., which printed publications such as Today in Hunterdon, a biweekly newspaper, and also outlet guides for outlet malls throughout the United States, including Liberty Village Outlet Marketplace in Flemington. She said that since a lot of what she did was business-to-business sales, she grew to have an appreciation for small-business owners.
As the app grows, Romano said that it is extremely important to her to receive community feedback and learn what visitors and residents would like to see on the app, including their own organization’s or school’s events. Users can do this by submitting information on the app by clicking Events and then “Submit an Event,” submitting information at mountaintopmarketing.net/events or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want the app to be multigenerational and are excited to hear from Generation X, millennials and our community teenagers to make sure the app is meeting their community information needs,” she said.
Romano recommends that users click OK when the app asks users to accept new content via a pop-up message because new information and the events calendar are constantly being updated. For example, Romano explained, local vineyards were recently added in the “Info/To Do” section for those who want to create their own vineyard tour.
Mountaintop Marketing is also working with events, such as the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival, which will take place from Jan. 20 to 28, to make these events more interactive within the app.
“The Lambertville-New Hope app is an ever-growing and evolving community resource,” Romano said. “If you’re within our river towns, get your information from the app.”
Lambertville-New Hope app
To download: Search for “Lambertville – New Hope” in the app store on your mobile device or click mycj.co/2xbeK8w
To submit an event, learn more or create a business profile: Visit LNHapp.com, do so via the app or email email@example.com