With so many businesses and startups bringing their product to market, you can’t afford to just wing your product launch—early planning and strategic action is essential. We are often asked to help with an imminent product launch or even after the launch when results were not as anticipated. The best time to start planning your product launch is way before the launch date so you can build some strategic momentum.
We’ve put together some hacks that will create a buzz around your product before the actual launch and which will increase the prospects of a successful launch.
Engage Influencers Early
What makes companies such as Apple so successful with their product launches is that they have mastered the art of leveraging thought leaders and influencers. Whether these are bloggers, journalists or celebrities, they have the resources and platforms to reach your target audience and to build anticipation by merely mentioning or talking about your product.
Reach out to these influencers and thought leaders; ask them to use your product and to review it. Influencers are typically busy people so you will need to formulate a strategy to effectively engage them to get results in terms of real and extended buzz around your product. Check out resources such as Help A Reporter (HARO) to bring the press on board.
Take Advance Orders
There is no better way to get customers interested in your product than giving them the opportunity to order in advance. This simply makes them feel special and every customer wants to feel this way!
Even if you don’t know your pricing yet, you can still harness the enthusiasm by creating a simple website or lead capture page with a sign-up form so prospective buyers can receive updates and make pre-orders as soon as you have your pricing and other logistics in place.
A sign-up form and an update funnel is also a great way to gauge customers’ interest well in advance. It can also give you a head-start in terms of generating leads that could later be converted to actual customers.
Be sure to make your signup form user-friendly and only collect information that is necessary to avoid putting off prospective buyers. Make the page shareable and include a clear call to action.
Build an Event or Contest around the Product Launch
Even if you don’t have the budget for a large star-studded event, you could use what you have to create an impactful fanfare for the pre-launch. Social Tables gives some great tips on planning a product launch event here. For more modest budgets, challenge prospective customers to an online contest where you encourage them to sign up early in exchange for a valuable freebie.
For your contest or event to be meaningful, it’s important to plan it around key metrics. For example are you looking to gain more leads? Raise awareness? Drive traffic to your website?
Content, Content, Content
All your pre-marketing efforts should be built around a solid content strategy. Content not only allows you to provide influencers and prospective buyers with relevant information about your product. It’s also a great way to start optimising your presence in the search engines.
A good place to start is with a blog. There is plenty you could write about—populate the blog with how-to content, industry news, sneak peeks of the product etc. This is an excellent way to keep your upcoming product launch top of mind among your target audience.
You also want to reach out to other business people who are not your competitors from whom you can ask for guest-blogging opportunities. This is a good SEO strategy that will get people talking about your product.
Don’t forget video. Millions of buyers are increasingly engaging with brands through video content. Create a high quality explainer video to create anticipation for your product and distribute it across the usual platforms including YouTube, Vimeo and others.
In this day and age, social media should be your best friend if you are looking to successfully launch a product. A pre-launch analysis of your target audience should tell you where your prospective buyers typically hang out but you definitely want to leverage the big platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
First things first, every time you post content on your blog, be sure to share it with your audience on social media.
Invite people including customers, friends, press outlets and influencers to like your social pages. A Facebook ‘like my page’ campaign is a great way to get some traction in terms of engagement and visibility.
Do the same on Twitter—follow influencers, opinion makers and your competitors too. Engage with their tweets by retweeting or favouriting, tweet about the progress you are making with your product, post content from your blog and keep reminding your followers about the opportunity for pre-ordering.
If you decide to use Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn, the gist of the social media game is the same—post engaging pictures, videos, blog posts, announcements and other content that point back to the impending product launch.
Build Your Sales Funnel Early
Just as content and social are important, email is essential as you create buzz for your product launch.
Start by emailing your list inviting them to be on your early-access list. Give them the details about your new product and the progress so far. For the leads that sign up for early access, follow up with regular weekly emails with insider news or to alert them about a new blog post.
The goal here is to make your audience feel part of your business—these will be your best influencers and product ambassadors after all.
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