Product launches and the launch of a new business can be fraught with worry. Although there are some clear guidelines to project managing the creation of a new arm of your business. Here are some tried and tested steps which will set you on the right path.
Test the Market
Begin by dipping your toes into the water; even while you only have a rough outline for the product or service. At this early point, you need to establish yourself with online communities, industry think-tanks and key influencers. Do market research by looking at competitors websites, their product offerings and target audience. Then try to identify any gaps in the market. How can you do things differently from your competition?
Take an Inventory
Similar to a camping trip, you should make sure you have all of the right supplies before you embark on the exciting launch. In terms of marketing, after your preliminary preparations, you should take an inventory of every connection, blog post, recommendation, subscriber list or anything else of value to the launch.
Even if you’re starting with a small financial budget, you may have 180 blog subscribers, 520 Twitter followers, 1,010 Facebook fans. If so, lucky you! This will all be a powerful way to get the word out. It’s a different kind of currency that’s just as valuable to your success as money.
Teach What You Know
Set the pivotal and all-important launch date some time in the future. The further you can push this, the more time you have to work on building your reputation now. A key part of the launch process is reputation building. The best way to do this is to teach what you know. This may sound ludicrous, but it’s not. Essentially, you have special knowledge and key insights into your product or service. So you should actively show this off. A word of caution – this doesn’t mean blatant self promotion. Nothing is more repulsive than a person clearly on a sales mission!
Offer training articles, how-to articles, blog posts and webinars for free in the lead up to the launch. This builds your profile as a thought-leader and guru in your field, before you push the launch button.
This may sound counter-intuitive in terms of making money. However, it’s the giving away for free of information to a captivated audience, that will make this audience eager to part their with money, as soon as you give them the opportunity.
Create a Landing Page or Microsite
A few months prior to the big ‘kaboom’ moment of launch, you should invest in a microsite or landing page that is dedicated to the product or service. This will contain all relevant information about the benefits of the product/service, your contact information, and the offer in simple terms. Don’t overcomplicate this microsite with too much information, colours or busy design. However, you need to make it compelling enough for the site visitors to want more. The most important aspect of your microsite will be an email opt-in form. This makes it easier to execute the next phase – email marketing in the lead up to the launch.
Share, Curate and Blog
Once the microsite has gone live, it’s important to promote it on social media and on your extensive industry connections. Create conversations with people on social media about related topics and blog profusely about the product or services you offer. In terms of email subscribers, make sure that you email them at least once a week, to create anticipation in the lead up to the launch.
You should also give your subscribers access to at least three posts per month, that are relevant to your product or service and provide real value to them (not sales spin). You must keep the email subscriber list hot with access to new information. Letting the list to go cold with a lack of new posts, is the sure-fire way to get your email filtered into the spam mailbox, before the launch date.
The Big Bang
Get the support of key influencers in the industry, media contacts, friends, fans, subscribers and other associates whom you have met along the way. Do this by promising them VIP access to the product or service after launch date. Invite the media to profile you and your project. Remember to have all of your logistical and technical elements in place for the launch date.
In terms of an online service or e-commerce site, by this stage you should have a fully functional website, buyer journey and a shopping cart ready for action. Along with this, have a fully fledged social media response unit ready, to field any questions or queries in relation to the product or service.
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